Board of Directors and Advisory Board

“Who publishes the sheet-music of the winds or the music of water written in river-lines?” John Muir

Board of Directors


Doug Carstens, Board President
Douglas Carstens is the Managing Partner of a five person petitioners’ environmental law firm, Chatten-Brown & Carstens LLP, based in Hermosa Beach and San Diego, and practicing throughout the state. The firm primarily represents environmental and community groups in seeking to enforce state environmental laws and protect natural resources. He recently helped groups in the Sierra Nevada foothills in opposition to an environmentally damaging strip mining project in Amador County.
Doug is a frequent lecturer and panelist regarding environmental law, and has written many articles on the subject. Doug has facilitated California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) workshops in Southern California with the PCL Foundation and throughout the Sierra Nevada with CalTrout to ensure communities can participate effectively in the environmental review process. Doug is especially proud of the firm’s effective park advocacy and preservation of open space. Along with Jan Chatten-Brown, a past President of the Alliance, he has helped bring about the public acquisition of parklands in the Rio De Los Angeles State Park, the State Historic Park in downtown Los Angeles, and additions to the Kenneth Hahn State Park in Baldwin Hills, and a park known as Elephant Hill in East Los Angeles.
Doug also enjoys an annual trip to Yosemite when attending the State Bar’s Environmental Law Conference, and has long attended the Sierra Nevada Alliance Annual Conference. Doug graduated from Cornell University and UCLA Law School. Prior to attending law school, he served as an officer in the Navy.
He looks forward to working with the Alliance’s board, staff, and membership to promote conservation in and around the Sierra, and help the Alliance grow to become an even better force in helping member groups in accomplishing their missions

Nicole Cartwright, Vice President
Nicole is the Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator at the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. Nicole had her first exposure to the Sierra Nevada Alliance serving as an AmeriCorps member in 2007. Since her service she has worked for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District developing and implementing programs including aquatic invasive species control, watercraft inspections and public education. Being the first Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership Alumni to serve on the board she hopes to bring intimate insight into program development and planning for Alliance’s future. Living in South Lake Tahoe, Nicole enjoys playing in her “backyard” while mountain biking, backpacking, snowboarding, paddleboarding and spending time with her family and friends.

Richard Taylor, Secretary
Richard S. Taylor spent his teens hiking up and down the Sierra and is now a partner with Shute Mihaly & Weinberger LLP. He has years of experience advising community groups and agencies on complex planning and land use matters. He was part of the negotiating team that brokered the landmark settlement agreements protecting the Martis Valley between Tahoe and Truckee and he recently advised a coalition of conservation groups in negotiating an agreement for preservation of 240,000 acres of the historic Tejon Ranch in the southern Sierra. Richard also works with local community groups on planning issues and drafting initiatives that address local land use concerns such as establishing urban growth boundaries and linking growth to the availability of water supply. In 2009 he was recognized as a “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year” in the area of Environmental Law. Before practicing law he worked as a planner with the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and Santa Barbara County. In law school at U.C. Berkeley he was Managing Editor of the Ecology Law Quarterly. Richard resides in San Francisco with his wife Tracy Grubbs and continues to enjoy hiking in the Sierra Nevada.

Bob Barrett, Treasurer
Mr. Barrett is a mediator, facilitator, and consultant, working primarily on environmental and other multi-party cases. He splits his time between the San Francisco Bay Area, where his firm, Collaborative Decisions, is located, and Incline Village, Nevada. He has degrees from Stanford and the University of California School of Law at Berkeley (Boalt Hall). Before beginning his practice, he was the program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation responsible for its grants in the environmental and conflict resolution areas.

John Friedrich
John Friedrich of South Lake Tahoe, has a rich career leading environmental non-profit programs and projects, including as the Membership and Development Director for the Yosemite Association, Program Director for Yosemite Conservancy, Campaign Consultant for the Sierra Nevada Alliance, and Program Director for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. While living in Washington, DC, John founded Community Harvest, an organization that worked to connect local, family farmers with low-income communities and operated an urban organic farm. John has managed numerous political and issue campaigns, and has experience campaigning to stop bad development, promoting smart land use, and educating residents on good stewardship practices. He has a true passion for community and sustainability. A recent returnee to South Lake Tahoe, John is settling back into high Sierra life with his wife Kim Carr, spunky 7-year old daughter Rosie, and lovable Tahoe native dog, Riley.

Bob Dean
Robert Dean
Bob was most recently a member of the Calaveras County Water District and Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), Bob works extensively on water issues. He is a long-time involved resident of Calaveras County. Currently, Bob is also spearheading a two-county effort to develop a citizen group to support preservation of foothill oak woodlands; he is on the Board of Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch. Bob is vice chair of the Mother Lode Land Trust, a regional group which supports land preservation in Calaveras and Amador Counties. He serves on the board of the Youth Mentoring Foundation.

Steve Haze
Steve and his wife Diane live in the old logging town of Auberry in the foothills of the Southern Sierra in eastern Fresno County. For over 50 years Steve has had a passion for this majestic range. He first worked at summer camps, and took frequent backpacking trips on the John Muir Trail. His favorite trip is Evolution Valley, Kings Canyon National Park. During the 1980’s and 90’s Steve and his wife Diane took volunteer work crews out to work on many of the trails in the backcountry of the Southern Sierra. While in the Bay Area working in the high tech and IT industry, he also served on the Board of Directors of organizations such as the Land Trust of Santa Clara County, Committee for Green Foothills, and Friends of Stevens Creek Trail and Wildlife Corridor. He has been an ardent supporter for over 12 years and the non-profit San Joaquin Valley Leadership Forum, which he founded, is a member of the Alliance. Steve’s passion for the environment, as well as cultural, historical preservation – and the betterment of communities has taken him to Mexico, the Middle East and Southern Africa. Steve currently serves on the Board of Friends of the Peace Parks, USA on behalf of the Peace Parks Foundation, South Africa in which he and his wife are founding members. Steve is also the Executive Director of the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council based in the town of North Fork, Madera County and president of the San Joaquin River Trail Council.

Photo Coming
Susan Gearhart
Bio Coming

Stephen Smallcombe
Steve is a retired scientist now living with his wife Rosemarie in Mariposa County near Yosemite National Park. Steve received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from U.C. Irvine with an emphasis on Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), and then moved to Pasadena where he was a Senior Research Fellow on the Research Faculty at the California Institute of Technology. In 1974 Steve moved from academia to private industry with Varian Associates in Palo Alto, a major manufacturer of scientific instruments.
Steve’s first real taste of the Sierra Nevada high country was when his research group at Caltech took on a 110-mile section of the John Muir Trail in 10 days without use of cached supplies, including a hike to the top of Split Mountain – one of the 14,000+ foot peaks in the Sierra.
Now in retirement, Steve and Rosemarie have built a “green” home in Mariposa. In this case, “retirement” for Rosemarie includes serving as a County Supervisor; and Steve stays busy helping a variety of local environmental and community organizations. Steve uses his background in science to help educate the local community about climate change and things we can do to mitigate it. Currently Steve is heavily involved in dealing with the tree mortality issue in the Southern Sierra and trying to find beneficial use of the dead trees via generation of bioenergy and biochar – a way of sequestering forest carbon rather than burning and releasing that carbon.
Steve and Rosemarie has enjoyed the Alliance Annual meetings and Steve is excited to now be on the Board of Directors.

Sara Hedgpeth-Harris
Sara Hedgpeth-Harris is an attorney in Fresno, CA with extensive experience in environmental, land use, and natural resource law. Sara established a small, public interest law firm in 2008 after practicing law for 20 years, including 13 years with the 5th District Court of Appeal and 3 years with a law firm specializing in complex civil litigation. A fifth generation Californian, Sara grew up hiking and riding horses in the Sierra Nevada foothills west of the San Joaquin Valley and listening to her father tell stories about running the pack station at Mineral King. As a new board member Sara looks forward to working with her board colleagues and Alliance staff to expand public education regarding the critical importance of preserving and protecting the environment of the Sierra Nevada mountains and foothills.

Scott Kruse
Scott is a Biophysical geographer, and has been an Alliance supporter since the beginning. He is currently working on the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) project, a hands-on, school-based international environmental science and education program in 5,000 kindergarten through 12th grade schools in more than 70 countries, with 30 schools in the Sierra. Scott served on the Futures Fund Committee prior to becoming a Board member.

Advisory Board

Gary Adest

Tanya Africa

Laurel Ames

Jim Baetge

Randy Barrow

Joan Boothe

Cristi Bozora Creegan

Patty Brissenden

Bill Center

Jan Chatten-Brown

Jennifer Cooper

Martha Davis

Tom DeVries

Ray Griffiths

Tracy Grubbs

Bob Kelso

Tim Little

Zeke Lunder

Terry Manning

Tom Martens

Geoff McQuilkin

Pete Pumphrey

Lynn Sadler

Peter Van Zant