About Friends of the Inyo


Friends of the Inyo is a community based in California’s Eastern Sierra that believes public lands are a national treasure.

To protect the plants, animals and iconic places here, this community believes in a balance of preservation and exploration. Encouraging people to explore their public lands and educating these visitors on impact is a key part of the Friends of the Inyo mission to grow this community of public lands advocates.

When more people learn to responsibly visit the Eastern Sierra and beyond, the community grows, and the consensus that keeping public lands wild and free for the benefit of future generations of people, plants and wildlife amplifies.


The organization is run by a board of directors and five full time staff. Seasonal, professional trail and restoration crews also play a role in the work the organization accomplishes.

The Friends of the Inyo community also includes federal agencies—the Inyo National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service—and local and reginal organizations, such as the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, the Mono Lake Committee, the California Audubon and Winter Wildlands Alliance.

But the heart and soul of the Friends of the Inyo community is individuals who believe in public lands and want to ensure a vibrant future for the places they love.


Friends of the Inyo is a member-based organization—much of our funding comes from member support. We actively engage the community in causes and initiatives that affect public lands and the local environment, economy, and culture of the Eastern Sierra.

Through events and volunteer projects, we bring the community together to get boots on the ground in support of trails, meadows, campsites, lake shores and all the beautiful places in need of restoration.


The board members of Friends of the Inyo have spent countless hours discussing the name, Friends of the Inyo.

FOI was originally organized over 30 years ago to comment on the Inyo National Forest (INF) forest planning process. Since then, FOI has evolved into its current form, a local membership-based group working on a broad range of public land issues.

Does the name FOI really convey who we are and what we are trying to accomplish? After all we are more than the Friends of the Inyo National Forest, which was the original intent.

We work on public lands in Inyo and Mono Counties, partnering with Bureau of Land Management offices in Bishop and Ridgecrest, as well as the National Park Service.

We’ve kept with the name because of continuity, and because the word Inyo has power. Most think it is a Paiute word, meaning “dwelling place of the great spirit.” As those of you who walk, climb, bike, ski, run, birdwatch, backpack and otherwise wander here know, it is a great, spirited land.