PEER's California field office opened in May of 1998 to work with state environmental employees. Karen Schambach, California PEER Director, has a strong track record as an activist in off-road vehicle and forestry issues. Karen has a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies, and worked as a paralegal specializing in employment law prior to becoming PEER's California representative. As a volunteer for various environmental groups she gained extensive experience with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), as well as experience working with agency whistle blowers.
An organization she founded in 1986 (Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation) has had a strong influence on environmental policies on the Eldorado National Forest. The group's challenge to California's guidelines for the state's off—road vehicle program resulted in a new regulation package.
When not on the phone or in front of a computer, Karen loves sailing and backpacking. She and her late husband, David, spent 10 years sailing their 32 foot Westsail 30,000 miles from California to the East Coast, to Europe and the Carribean.
P.O. Box 4057
Georgetown, CA 95634
The Golden State is home to beautiful beaches, dramatic deserts, majestic mountains, and 38 million people, all clamoring for their share of these wonders. Making sure access doesn't become excess is a challenge for State and Federal agencies that manage the millions of acres of public lands in California.
Our National Parks, National Forests and BLM land managers struggle with the conflicting demands for extraction and recreation, while trying to protect the valuable natural and cultural resources under their stewardship. Congress puts a great many demands on these lands, yet is unwilling to provide adequate funding.
State parks struggle to stay open with miserly budgets and also face increasing conflicts between resource protection and visitor demands.
California PEER is in the thick of these struggles, providing a voice for resource specialists, managers and law enforcement interests that would otherwise be muffled. We act as a go-between for employees with legitimate concerns about resource protection, and managers who must try to balance preservation and public access.
We are also there for employees who need to "blow the whistle" on illegal activities in their agency, providing safe avenues for doing so, or acting on their behalf to try to get management changes.
Some of the activities in which California PEER is currently engaged include:
- Conservation is Patriotic
- Reward for Capturing Petroglyph Vandals near Bishop, California
- Forest Service Off-Highway Vehicle Route Designation
- Red Rock Canyon State Park General Plan Amendment
- Protection of the Sand Mountain Blue Butterfly habitat (BLM Nevada)
- Algodones Dunes OHV management (BLM)
- Protecting rare desert riparian areas from off-road vehicles
Learn more about PEER activities in California.