134 acres of forest preserve “for a song”
Support purchase and preservation of a mile-long region of unusual biodiversity, making it permanently available for:
• low-impact cultural gatherings
• climate science studies
• forestry & native ecology education.
Musick Creek Confluence is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Donors receive a receipt for taxes.
An astounding success!
Thanks to support from nearly 200 people, Musick Creek Confluence just purchased this beautiful place. This will alow a continuation of our 20 year stewardship and new efforts, too!
We took in nearly $71,000 in donations to accomplish all this! In buying the land, we also incurred $110,000 in loans we now must repay.
“It’s a magical slice of land! I loved the flowers, the moss and lichens on the granite, the ancient manzanitas, the creek itself with its holes for full immersion…and the lady bugs.”
— Judy Irving, nature filmmaker (Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Dark Circle, Pelican Dreams, Tales of the San Joaquin)
Click Donate or send check/Venmo
When you click Donate, it's immediate gratification. And, there's a fee for us or you to pay. Another option: Make your donation go farther by sending us a check! It'll still be listed here—once we’ve received it. It only costs your stamp. Or, for Venmo users, @JoelPomerantz will go to the campaign if you note that it's "for Musick Creek"!
Only send a check if you can do it right now. Fees are better than procrastination! We'll happily pay them.
Write checks payable to:
Musick Creek Confluence
PO Box 170191, San Francisco, CA 94117.
About the land
“This is a special place. The area is the homeland of the Mono and there are still many important sites that have not been damaged. The community needs to continue to spread the word about how to respect and care for these lands.”
—Honorable Ron W. Goode, chairman of the North Fork Mono (Nium) Tribe
The Musick Creek property is between National Forest and a resort town. These 134 acres have no buildings. Most adjacent properties, likewise, are undeveloped. This protective stripe helps the forest, insulating against pressures of development. It's also good for the town, reducing fire-emergency impacts thanks to our years of careful hazard reduction work downslope of our neighbors’ homes.
During 20 years of stewardship under the previous owner, we've come to know every inch of the land and are thrilled to now be able to keep it from development.
Musick Creek is also a transition zone. In this time of climate uncertainty, the biodiversity here makes it a regional resource, almost like a seed bank. The lower foothills get extreme summer heat. High Sierra areas get copious snowfall. Musick Creek spans the elevations between. And it has a year-round creek. The result is a mix of more than a dozen tree types, hundreds of shrubs and flowering plant species, fungi, mosses, lichens and diverse animals.
The property contains perhaps the largest measured population of a rare lupine—known as golden flowered lupine or orange lupine (Lupinus citrinus citrinus). It grows only in the immediate area.
“The contrast between the ecological integrity, preservation of biodiversity, and lack of human impact on this property is impressive even compared with many protected sites such as national parks and other preserves.”
— Christopher Richard, retired curator of aquatic biology, Oakland Museum of Calif.
Nature vitamins for urban humans
One of the prime purposes of our work is to welcome people who need more exposure to nature. Events and programs on the property will expand these opportunities, bringing together the sweetness of musical campouts and cultural retreats with learning about natural systems.
Forest exploration & education
Kids who get time in nature develop better lives. The evidence is strong. Same goes for those who connect with people of all ages, diverse backgrounds and varied lifestyles. Our events are intergenerational, intercultural, exploration-oriented, supportive and inclusive.
“Next time we camp here I’ll bring a ukulele.”
— Miranda, age 6
Resources in the community
Some folks involved with Musick Creek are urban dwellers. Also many of us live nearby. Our skills include forestry, community-building, medical, historical, educational, business, music & arts, sustainable construction methods, scientific innovation, social work and other useful contributions to the project. Would you like to be part of the community, too?
Let us know if you want to be on our email list, regardless of whether you donate.
For the nerdiest
Location Location Location
Fact 1: The Musick Creek land is 7 miles from the geographic center of California.
Just down the mountain is the famous spot known as “Where the palm meets the pine”—two trees in the Highway 99 median that represent northern and southern ecosystems and the geographical halves of the state.
Fact 2: Let’s say you hiked a straight line from Yosemite Park, southward. You’d cross 30 miles of the Sierra National Forest. Then, near the Shaver Lake community, you’d enter a property called Musick Creek—the land we're stewarding!
Fact 3: We are located just inside Jose Basin along the San Joaquin River. The river gorge connects the western Sierra with the eastern, forming a passage that allowed summer travel to Mono Lake for millennia. Thus the cultural and native linguistic connections between the two places.
We have granite, meadow, marsh, flood plain, riparian (streamside), forest, chaparral and dry uplands. Four tributary water sources flow into Musick Creek on the property with many small springs.
Our hillsides generally face the southern sun, so snow rarely limits access.
Our special flower
The resident Lupinus citrinus var. citrinus is a variety of lupine that grows in granite gravel and crevices. It is an annual, known nowhere in the world except within a few miles of this spot. (California Rare Plant Rank: 1B2—rare, threatened, or endangered in CA and elsewhere.) It is a "species of concern" and was listed threatened in 1979. The population on the property is the largest cluster known.
“It was land-love at first sight.”
— Laura Lent, retired librarian
Fire control & fire ecology
A CalFire station is about 3 road miles away.
Using State & Federal grants awarded to us these past 15 years, we’ve mulched underbrush & reduced fuel load on 97% of the acreage, resulting in a near park-like landscape with minimized fire danger. If and when fire arrives, instead of burning deep and hot, we expect a limited patchwork of burn zones, stimulating healthy forest processes associated with the natural cycle of occasional forest fires and the ancient practice of human-controlled burns.
Dead limbs and trees fall across roads, especially in winter. Roads take maintenance. We'll get equipment for these purposes eventually, but for now we make use of generous neighborly offers.
Setting an example
We are trying unusual things here to show they can be done well. Depending on the availability of support, here is an example from among our dream projects:
More than half the land being steep, we do not wish to cut into hillsides in the name of better car access. Instead, we're looking to develop a car-free system on site. We’re looking at simple European micro-monorail systems designed for village access and vineyards on Alpine slopes. We have other ideas percolating, from shuttles to boardwalks and pedal-powered cableways. Plus we'll have a trail system! Help us find solutions and spread the word!
For 19 years the property was owned by Sierra Music & Arts Institute. SMAI sold it to our nonprofit in December 2019. Musick Creek Confluence, the organization, was created by community members who’ve been involved since 2001 and will protect it from development.
This fundraiser will allow the nonprofit Musick Creek Confluence to repay the remaining $110k in loans and secure its future.
Let your mind wander to a secret hide-away in the woods… where people gather… to play and learn, explore and build community. Would you like to come, too?
This place is a gem. Let’s take care of it together… and discover what it can teach us!
“I’ve lived all my life in and near the Sierra. I’ve hiked it up and down since childhood, worked in forestry since teen age and worked various camps in these mountains all my life and traveled the world. I consider Musick Creek an unusual treasure—its beauty, productivity and human accommodation. Many native people lived here for a very long time because it was pretty much perfect in its microclimate, topography and resources. Musick Creek offers us a wealth of resources and opportunities to learn to care for the land. If we do so, it will take care of us.”
— Jemmy Bluestein, Musick Creek founder
Now that we raised what we needed to close escrow, in both loans and donations, the goal on this campaign has been changed to reflect donations toward our land purchase. The loans are what we still need to raise, and are no longer counted as funds raised.
We are not providing the common crowdfunding gimmick of gifts and naming rights, incentives and rewards for donors. With so many devastated places on the planet, we're guessing that you'll be proud to put some money toward saving and celebrating the ones that are profoundly healthy, like this—along with the specific community and cultural benefits.
However, we are not above naming things to honor really substantial donations. Just sayin'.
Special thanks to Barry Deutsch and the Marren Family Foundation for supporting our early costs incurred in forming a corporation, and to all the donors both listed and anonymous.