(VISALIA, CA) - The Sequoia Riverlands Trust community is mourning the loss of SRT Board Chair and longtime friend and conservation leader Mike Chrisman, a fourth-generation Californian who passed away in Visalia, California on Tuesday, October 11, 2022. Mike died after a months-long battle with cancer at age 78.
“Mike’s mentorship and guidance helped establish a firm foundation for SRT’s new leadership. I feel so fortunate to have been able to work closely with him over the past year, and I will deeply miss our regular chats, his generous spirit, and steady support.” said Logan Robertson Huecker, SRT Executive Director, adding that “His long record of public service speaks to the impact he had on so many of us. Mike took on a wide variety of roles,” she added.
In addition to his role as owner/partner of Chrisman Ranches, a family ranching and farming business in Tulare County that was established by his forebears in the mid-1800s, Mr. Chrisman had a long record of public service. From Undersecretary for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, to the California Fish and Game Commission, to the Wildlife Conservation Board, Mike eventually served as a member of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cabinet as the governor’s chief adviser on issues related to the state’s natural, historic, and cultural resources.
Chrisman also chaired the California Ocean Protection Council, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and the Delta Stewardship Council. In 2010, he became the director of the Southwestern Partnership Office for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. There, he oversaw the foundation’s fish, wildlife, and habitat programs in the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona until 2013. From 1994 to 1996, he served as undersecretary for the California Department of Food and Agriculture. From 1997 to 2003, he served on the California Fish and Game Commission, where he also was chair of the Wildlife Conservation Board. Chrisman joined the SRT Board of Directors in 2020, and was elected SRT Board Chair in late 2021.
Prior to becoming natural resources secretary, Chrisman served as region manager for Southern California Edison Company, where he managed all phases of company and customer business, and the political and civic activities in Edison’s San Joaquin Valley service area.
“I am profoundly grateful for Mike’s contributions to not only Sequoia Riverlands Trust, but to our region and the state of California as a whole. SRT extends our sympathy to his family and to all who loved him. We will do our best to build upon Mike’s work and honor his legacy,” said Robertson Huecker.