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In Memory of Gary Bornholdt

March 07, 2016 by Diane

Gary Bornholdt of Three Rivers had quite a life, starting his career as a cowboy near Monterey and ending up as a National Parks Service safety manager at Sequoia & Kings Canyon national Parks. When he retired, he stayed nearby, and in addition to a plethora of hobbies, he discovered SRT’s Dry Creek Preserve.
Until his passing in May 2015 at age 72, Gary was a regular visitor to Dry Creek, the former gravel mine that SRT has worked to restore as a rare sycamore alluvial woodland, and home to our Native Plant Nursery. According to his daughter Mary Ladd, Gary’s personal feelings about nature fit right in with the Dry Creek story.
“He was truly into keeping the land and nature as is, not liking the way our world is headed,” Mary said recently. “He wanted to keep the world the way it is, not use it up.”
So it should come as no surprise then that even after Gary has left this world, he is helping the beautiful natural world of the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Foothills. Gary’s family has a memorial service scheduled for April and has asked that in lieu of flowers, friends and family make a donation to SRT to continue the restoration of Dry Creek Preserve. To make a donation in memory of Gary Bornholdt, visit
“This will last, this will go to something to goes on forever,” Mary explained about the decision to ask for donations to SRT. And indeed it will – Dry Creek, like SRT’s other lands, is protected in perpetuity – forever.
Gary’s love for nature is obvious by the many hobbies Mary said he had. “He liked to ride his Harley, he hunted and fished. He made Kachina dolls and jewelry, and tied his own flies. He played drums and guitar. He was well-rounded.”
Gary loved photography, and left behind thousands of slides and photos of flowers and trees, many of them at Dry Creek, Mary said. In fact, on one of her and her daughter’s last visits, they wanted to take nature photos, so Gary directed them to Dry Creek. They didn’t want to travel that far as Gary was not well that day, but Mary said the next time the two come to the area they will go to Dry Creek. Her granddaughter has Gary’s old camera now, so perhaps she will be able to see a little of what Gary saw there.
SRT thanks Mary Ladd and Gary Bornholdt’s friends and family for thinking of us and helping SRT keep its preserves protected. Thanks to wonderful people like you, we can keep fulfilling our mission to provide lasting protection for these important lands.

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