Triple Bottom Line: Going beyond the Truckee/Tahoe region
TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Although Truckee is home base for Sierra Business Council, SBC interests extend far beyond. SBCandamp;#8217;s dedicated staff members are often required in other regions of the Sierra Nevada, San Francisco and Sacramento so that almost invariably, during weekly staff meetings, someone is reporting from afar on a local issue or meeting or success. Staff shares stories, articles, links and video that help keep the crew connected to one another and to communities many miles distant. Sometimes an SBC staffer will know more about a local concern than many of the people who live there.Despite the vastness and the diversity of the region, certain threads tie all of we Sierra Nevadans together. We all live in this big watershed that nourishes not only the state but our nation and others. We share a love of the mountains, whether we are enjoying the view from the office window; exploring on foot, by snowmobile, or on the back of a horse; or racing down on one of our many outdoor toys. SBC is about connecting the pieces of the Sierra Nevada, seeing the region as an interlaced whole, identifying challenges and seeking solutions region-wide.My former role as SBCandamp;#8217;s Eastern Sierra Field Representative kept me hopping from Olancha to Markleeville, and recently, toward the end of my service with SBC, the majority of my time was spent on two projects based in Inyo and Mono Counties: the Eastern Sierra Land Tenure project and the Eastern Sierra Innovation and Prosperity report.The Eastern Sierra Land Tenure project began as the BLM and USFS began updating their land disposal and acquisition lists. Concurrently some communities along the east side were feeling pinched by the lack of private land (more than 90 percent of Inyo and Mono Counties are public lands) and most everyone agreed that better communication and coordination of proposed land exchanges and sales was sorely overdue. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy funded a project to improve public understanding of the federal landownership policies, to solicit input from communities on how land exchanges might affect them, and to facilitate collaboration among land management agencies, county planning departments, and community organizations.Economic development and diversity is a hot topic these days around the Sierra, as the local economies slowly begin to recover from the Great Recession. In Inyo and Mono counties, new opportunities were opening up with funding of the Digital 395 Broadband project and with interest in situating renewable energy projects in the region. SBC recognized the opportunity for diversification of the local economy and will be releasing in May 2012 the Eastern Sierra Innovation and Prosperity report.The Eastern Sierra Innovation and Prosperity report is the result of hundreds of hours of collaborative discussion, research, outreach, interviews and polling among community members and leaders from Inyo County and Mono County. The report provides an assessment of historic and current economic conditions that provide context for the economic development strategies recommended within the report.Though I am no longer employed with SBC, now that my projects are complete, I am thankful to know that over here on the east side, where we sometimes feel forgotten by the rest of California, SBC has provided important services that will help the region I live in and love prosper into the future and I was lucky enough to be a part of it. Vickie Taton is Sierra Business Councilandamp;#8217;s former Eastern Sierra Field Representative. When she hasnandamp;#8217;t just snagged the best thrift store find for a hundred miles, sheandamp;#8217;s rearing horses, making jewelry-and taking care of her own-little corner of the world.
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