Friday, September 12, 2008

Backcountry Trails 30th Anniversary Celebration and Peter Lewis Memorial

Following is the schedule of events for the Backcountry 30th Anniversary Celebration and Peter Lewis Memorial, invitation for the event and a map to the Yellow Pine campground. A limited number of camping spaces are available on Wednesday evening. Please RSVP at if you would like camping space. We experienced some computer difficulties and if you previously replied to, please resubmit your RSVP for the event.

At the entrance station(s) to Yosemite let Park Service staff know that you will be attending the Backcountry Trails Project 30th anniversary event and the memorial service for Peter Lewis. You will be provided free entrance to the park.

Due to road construction you can only access the event site at Yellow Pines Campground by driving from the west on the Southside Drive. You can only exit Yellow Pines Campground by driving to the west on Southside Drive. To access Yosemite Village you must drive west on Southside Drive to Northside Drive. During construction, Northside Drive is open to two-way traffic.

Please be especially careful driving to the event.

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008-
1:00pm- Arrival and Gathering of Friends
2:00pm- Backcountry 30th Anniversarry Celebration Program
3:00pm- Barbecue
4:30pm- Peter Lewis Memorial
6:30pm- Informal Campfire Gathering, Singing and Telling of Tales

Click to Enlarge

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Program from the Memorial Service September 7, 2008


Memorial Service for Peter Lewis
7 September 2008

Invocation - Rabbi Naomi Steinberg
23rd Psalm - Congregation
Memories of Peter
Musical Offering
Piute Creek - a poem by Gary Snyder
Prayer for the Departed - Rabbi Naomi Steinberg
Mourner’s Kaddish - Family
Closing Blessing - Rabbi Naomi Steinberg

The 23rd Psalm
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His namesake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Though preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

1950 May 8 11:58 AM: Born to Phyllis and Wolfe Lewis in Brighton, New York, a suburb of Rochester
1953 May 9: Sister Barbara is born
1955: Started school at Brighton Elementary School; Peter sweet talks the girls out of cookies and other goodies in cafeteria line; reported to be the wildest kid in the schoolyard
1958 May 18: Brother Scott is born
1960: Started Brighton Middle School
1962: Brighton Little League Don and Bob’s Major League Championship Team (treated to Custard Ice Cream)
1963 March 9: Peter’s Bar Mitzvah
1964: Won a new green Pontiac sedan at auto show raffle and was given a bike in lieu (parents got car)
1968: Graduated from Brighton High School: received the Ira C. Sapozink Memorial Award for Outstanding High School Athlete; Head of the Madison-Brighton High School (interracial) Exchange Committee; Captain All-County Wrestling Team and defeats defending champion with a take down in last 10 seconds to win County Championship for the 112 pound weight class; Captain All-County and All Star Soccer Team (forward-second highest scorer in Eastern Division); Coxswain Rochester Rowing Club (only high school age crew member); President Student Council, National Honor Society; Outstanding Teenager of America (1967) (seriously); New York State Regents Scholarship; Varsity Letterman’s Club; Leaders Corps; Archery Club; Horatio Alger Award for the Varsity Club; won Citizens Savings Bank Award for Community Service; protects sister Barbara from potential boyfriends.
1968 – 1970: Attends Columbia University
1970’s: Rode the rails across the country; fan of the Beat Generation Writers - Kerouac, Snyder, etc
1970: First Summer in the Sierra, National Park Service Trail Worker, Merced Lake, Yosemite
1970-71: Travels the world as a stowaway then a merchant marine; bikes through Japan, works in a kibbutz in Israel; tours Europe on motorcycle, and fulfills promise to parents to be back in Rochester for Scotty’s Bar Mitzvah on May 29 arriving with a few hours to spare.
1971: NPS Trail Crew: Merced Lake, Yosemite; brings Scotty, then age 13, out for the summer as a Bar Mitzvah present – to introduce him into manhood – sends him on 2 week hitchhiking adventure to Disneyland with hippy park ranger John – writes note for police that Scotty was not kidnapped and John has permission to take him around.
1972: NPS Trail Crew: Tiltill Valley, Washburn Lake, Ottoway Lakes, Lyell Fork
1973: Graduated Columbia University with Bachelor’s degree in Geography; Coxswain on Crew Team, Deans List; Peter digs a hole in front of student housing to make a barbeque and feeds all the kids in the neighborhood; Peter breaks into the telescope at Columbia regularly to watch the heavens.
1973: NPS Trail Crew: Tuolumne Meadows
1974: NPS Trail Crew: Glen Aulin, Return Creek, Ottoway Lake, Red Peak Pass
1975: NPS Trail Crew: Pate Valley, Yosemite, Tuolumne Meadows
1976: NPS Trail Crew, Yosemite: Hetch Hetchy, Miguel Meadows, Lake Vernon, Jack Main Canyon; in June, distracted by one departing & one arriving girlfriend, severs artery in right arm with double bit axe and is evacuated to Yosemite Valley by helicopter; returns to crew and on July 4 plays harmonica and leads crew in performance of the Star Spangled Banner broadcast over NPS radio.
1977: NPS Trail Crew: Hetch Hetchy, Lake Vernon, Jack Main Canyon; leaves mid-Summer to go to Forestry School
1978 Fall: NPS Trail Crew: Tiltill Valley
1979: NPS Trail Crew: Yosemite
1977–1980: Graduated Yale School of Forestry with Masters of Forest Science; breaks into the historic telescope at Yale and gave “official tours”; Peter strips buck-naked at graduation to rescue a ball that lands in Long Island Sound after being overthrown by Dean Charles Henry Wheelwright Foster III .
1980: NPS-CCC Trail Crew, Hetch Hetchy, City Camp, Pleasant Valley, Yosemite
1980 Fall: Works NPS Trail Crew in Grand Canyon
1980 November 17: Hired by the California Conservation Corps as a Crew Supervisor at the Siskiyou Center (Montague)
1981: Does RV road trip from San Francisco to San Diego, family unites and RV breaksdown
1981: Works in Ghana, Africa with Operations Crossroads Africa; makes surprise visit to Scotty in Ganta, Liberia
1982: Works in Gambia, Africa with Operation Crossroads Africa; cosponsors college education for Fatou, a Gambian friend.
1983: CCC Backcountry Trail Crew Supervisor: Bluff Creek and Fish Lake, Six Rivers National Forest; Nordheimer Creek and Big Flat, Klamath National Forest; Wolverton & Rock Creek, Sequoia National Park
1984: CCC Backcountry Trail Crew Supervisor: North Fork Salmon, Elk Creek, Granite Creek, and Coffee Creek, Klamath National Forest; Big Bend, Shasta-Trinity National Forest; Mineral King, Big Arroyo, Sequoia National Park; Horseshoe Meadow, Big Whitney Meadow, and Sawmill Pass, Inyo National Forest, and Hockett Meadow where Scotty and his wife-to-be Bernice introduce Peter to Cheryl making mom very happy.
1985: CCC Backcountry Trail Crew Supervisor: Elk Creek and Bailey’s Cabin, Klamath National Forest; Red Fir, Crabtree Meadow, and Arctic Lake, Sequoia National Park; Rafferty Meadow, Yosemite National Park; crew sets record for most multi-tier wall constructed (Peter instigates controversy after his crew record is broken in 1988 by a crew supervised by Phil Lafollette). Road tests relationship with Cheryl in Europe.
1986: Peter is awarded Governor’s Safety Award for his 1985 crew’s safety record.
1986 April 14: Promoted to CCC Project Coordinator at the Tahoe Center (Meyers)
1987 June 8: Started as Coordinator, CCC Backcountry Trails Project (based in Klamath). Travels with Cheryl to Nepal and Thailand.
1989 July 2: Married Cheryl Blatt at Elk’s Head Bluff in Trinidad, California
1991 May 18: Son Gabriel is born
1994 May 3: Father Wolfe passes away
1995 February 4: Son Forrest is born
1995 July 23: Mother Phyllis passes away
2003: Breaks into Columbia telescope with Gabe and Forrest using old student ID card.
2004 May 17: Peter’s good friend Doug Andrews passes away on the trail in the Marble Mountains
2004 June 12: Son Gabriel’s Bar Mitzvah
2008 May 31: Son Forrest’s Bar Mitzvah
2008 August 26: Peter passes away

2008 September 24: 30th year of the Backcountry Trails Project will be complete: 148 crews have built and maintained over 8,600 miles of trail and over 600 corps members have been hired by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, California State Parks and other land management agencies as a result of experience gained in the program.

Happy Trails
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.Who cares about the clouds when we're together?Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.
Some trails are happy ones,Others are blue.It's the way you ride the trail that counts,Here's a happy one for you.Happy trails to you, until we meet again.Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then.Who cares about the clouds when we're together?Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.Happy trails to you, 'till we meet again.

A fund has been established to help provide for the costs of college education for the Lewis Boys, Gabriel and Forrest. Please make your contributions to the “Lewis Memorial Fund” at the Umpqua Bank, 1063 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521.

Thank You from the Lewis Family for your thoughts and support

Friday, August 29, 2008

Peter Lewis
May 8, 1950 – August 26, 2008

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the sudden passing of Peter Lewis on August 26th, 2008. He was born on May 8, 1950 and raised in Rochester, New York. In 1970, Peter went to Yosemite National Park to work on a trail crew and fell in love with the mountains. He attended Columbia University and finished his graduate studies in Forestry at Yale University. He spent the rest of his life sharing that love with his family and friends. Peter inspired thousands of young people to follow him into the backcountry through his work with the California Conservation Corps for nearly thirty years. He was a great leader. In his work for the California Conservation Corps, he helped to create and sustain a backcountry trails program that is a national model. Graduates of this program have gone on to careers in parks and forests throughout America, advancing the stewardship ethic that they learned from him. He touched countless lives. He had enormous energy and an enveloping spirit. To meet him for an hour was to gain a friend for life.

Peter’s sons, Gabe and Forrest, have fond memories of their dad always sitting on the bleachers to watch their many sports events, hiking with him through the Sierras, his love of swimming in cold mountain lakes and rivers, his enjoyment listening to talk radio and the way he loved to play the harmonica around the campfire.

Peter is survived by his wife, Cheryl, his sons, Gabriel, 17, Forrest, 13, his sister, Barbara and brother-in-law Don Paulson, his brother, Scott Lewis and sister-in-law, Bernice Lewis, his nieces, Julie Sherman and Mariah Lewis and nephew, Walker Paulson. He was predeceased by his parents, Wolfe and Phyllis Lewis. Peter will be greatly missed by his family and many dear friends.

A memorial service will be held for Peter at 2pm on September 7th at the Wharfinger Building: 1 Marina Way, Eureka, CA.

In lieu of flowers, an education fund/support has been established that will benefit the Lewis sons’ college/support needs. Gifts in this form will be greatly appreciated. Please make your contributions to The Lewis Memorial Account for benefit of Gabriel and Forrest Lewis at any of the Umpqua Banks in Humboldt, CA. or in Arcata at: 1063 G Street Arcata, CA, 95521. The Lewis family thanks you all for your overwhelming support.

Family and friends are welcome to gather for prayer services at 470 Lynn Street, Arcata, CA, followed by a potluck dinner from 6-8pm on the following dates: Sunday, August 31st and Monday through Wednesday, September 1st, 2nd, and 3rd.

All your entries are welcome. A celebration of Peter Lewis’ life is planned for midday September 24, 2008 in Yosemite Valley. Please access the blogspot in the days ahead for information and updates on this celebratory event.

The Lewis family appreciates your thoughts and prayers.

David Murak1, CCC Director

Many of you have heard that Peter Lewis, my dear friend and the CCC’s treasured leader of the Backcountry Trails Project passed away unexpectedly at his home in Arcata. Peter was 58 years old and leaves behind his wife Cheryl and sons Gabriel and Forrest.

Simply stated, Peter was the best friend one could ever wish for and the best person one could ever hope to know. Fortunately, many of us in the extended CCC family could call Peter our good friend. He was extraordinarily thoughtful and generous beyond measure with his love, his time, and his energy. Peter’s ripple effect was a giant one touching more lives more deeply than anyone I’ve ever known. He connected us all in a sweeping social network that made all of our lives so rich. Peter honored tradition and at the same time was wholly unpredictable. He could and did change the energy in a crowd as if he controlled a switch.

By this point in any message, Peter would have written something really funny and there will be time for us to share the stories we have of our time with him. There will also be time to expound on his many accomplishments. Thankfully, the differences he made are long-lasting and embodied in real people now grieving throughout the world and in real useable products, some made of granite, throughout the mountains of California.

We will honor Peter. The more we reflect on and learn from his life and his work the better we will be as people and as an organization.

I will forward along more information as it becomes available. My best wishes to all of you.

From the all of us and your friend forever: Happy Trails Peter

David Muraki, Director

California Conservation Corps

PT with Peter

Video- 2007 Debriefing

Glacier Point


From Tim Ludington

From Tim Ludington

Hello Crews

Hello Crews

From Ben Luna

From Ben Luna

From Paul Lyons

From Paul Lyons
2006 in the Trinity Alps

CCC Reunion

CCC Reunion