Roots & Branches

Dear Friends of Roots, Branches, Music, and Mount Tam,

Roots & Branches Conservancy is a San Francisco Bay Area-based non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of natural resources, both physical and cultural. The broad arc of our mission ranges from regional environmental and educational work to the preservation and evolution of artistic and cultural traditions – musical, visual, narrative, and beyond. Wherever possible, we aim to create intersections between the environment, education, and the arts to their mutual benefit.

Towards those ends, our interests lie in producing resonant community experiences in our events, providing educational components in our programming, and making meaningful contributions to worthy beneficiaries

Roots & Branches was born in the context of drastic cuts in the California State Parks budget and our belief in the power of art and community to gather force for a good cause. Our flagship project, Sound Summit, a celebratory music and arts festival held high atop Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, was launched in the fall of 2015 as a creative and dynamic response to those budget shortfalls on a local level. Sound Summit’s aim was to raise money for, broaden awareness of, and deepen community connection to this very special place in the neighborhood. And it has succeeded in doing just that, raising over $250,00 for Mount Tam to date and fostering old and new ties to this gem of our local landscape.

Our annual grants from Sound Summit have funded projects ranging from trail restoration and public access to fire prevention and water conservation to emergency equipment acquisition, visitor services, and more.

Last year, $50,000 in funds we’ve donated from Sound Summit proceeds were allocated to the restoration of the recently reopened Steep Ravine Trail, one of the most beloved and well-traveled on the mountain, which had been closed to the public for over six months due to unsafe conditions. Our grants paid for the replacement of all deckings and railings on nine key bridges, as well as supported the replacement of a tenth failed bridge.

And we’ve just allocated funding for the complete restoration of the historic and immensely popular Steep Ravine Environmental Cabins via a State Parks contract with HistoriCorps. The cabins, perched dramatically above the coast and built in the 1940s, have been severely compromised by time and weather and we’re very excited to make this project a reality. We’ve also targeted additional funds from Sound Summit proceeds to renovations of the Pantoll and Bootjack Campsites and Trails and the Mountain Theater.

It’s rewarding to see funds we’ve been able to contribute through our work and your support around a memorable musical gathering in turn go to projects that have direct positive impact on the public’s access to and enjoyment of the mountain’s wealth of resources.

As its name implies, Sound Summit is an intentional double-entendre – at once a musical gathering and an image of a strong, whole peak. In short, one exists to sustain the other. In time, Sound Summit has become both a festive annual community gathering and a sustainable revenue source for Mount Tam via a brief but very meaningful footprint. We aim to continue that trend, staging another festive and memorable day of music on the mountain this year and conjuring up some new creative adventures we’ve been brewing for awhile. Among them . . .

• A curated series celebrating the deep roots and fruitful branches of Bay Area arts and culture, pairing an eclectic array of artists and cultural figures in engaging programs of performance, collaboration, and inspired conversation, each to be filmed as an ongoing educational resource and archive.

• A multi-media, multi-genre “Happening” which will combine regional music, dance, photography, film, spoken word, visual and performance art, and more in a unique setting.

Inspiration has long been one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s greatest resources, stemming from a physical and cultural landscape that has equally long been rich with stunning natural terrain, diverse habitats, and eclectic denizens. A territory of stirring vistas, groundbreaking paths, pioneering artists and thinkers, pivotal social movements, new frontiers and adventurous spirits who blaze the trails that lead to them.

We at Roots & Branches feel strongly about both preserving and celebrating treasured Bay Area cultural and environmental resources and evolving others we hope will become equally treasured. Implicit in our name is the concept of connection – past and future, foundation and growth, root and branch – that guides and inspires our goals, our programs, and our development.

Those goals and the wherewithal required to reach them are inherently tied to community involvement and participation. We want our projects to resonate with our community both as experience and outcome. And we like the idea that good deed doing can be as creative as it is productive.

We hope you share our passions and are game to lend a hand to our endeavors, both existing and upcoming. If you’ve enjoyed Sound Summit, whether this year or in years past, and believe in what we’re doing, we ask that you consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount and create the opportunity for Roots & Branches to literally branch out and reach its broader potential.

You can do so online by clicking the button below. Or if you prefer, you can also send your contribution to us in the form of a check at the following address:

Roots & Branches Conservancy
P.O. Box 180
Mill Valley, CA 94941

Thanks again for your support. We look forward to seeing you for further adventures down the road!