The news of former Inyo County Supervisor Linda Arcularius’ death hit the community and the Board hard. She retired from her District 1 seat in 2015 but memories of her counsel, her strong stances on issues, her dedication to sustaining Inyo’s rural economy and way of life and her encouragement and openness to those who needed to tap into her lifetime of experiences were still fresh in the minds of Board members and staff at Tuesday’s meeting.
As a refresher course on Arcularius’ legacy, Darcy Ellis, Inyo’s Clerk of the Board, sent out a copy of the resolution passed in December 2014 prior to her successor Dan Totheroh’s swearing in. The following are excerpts from that resolution:
She was appointed to the Board in 1993 to fill an unexpired term, then went on to serve five terms, in four of those elections she ran unopposed;
She remained true to her values, worked hard and earned the respect of her constituents, staff and colleagues;
She was proactive in resolving issues “in favor of the County’s immediate and long-term needs;
During those 21 years, she represented Inyo County as a delegate on the National Association of Counties, the U.S. Forest Service Centennial Congress, the Rural County Representatives of California, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, the California Statewide Watershed Committee, the Inyo/Los Angeles Standing Committee, the Inyo Council of the Arts, the Inyo County Financial Advisory Committee, the Local Agency Formational Commission, the Eastern Sierra Council of Governments and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District;
She strongly supported securing Federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes (reimbursements for state mandates and vehicle license fees), coordinating with Federal land managers on decisions impacting the County, Digital 395 fiber optic project and protecting public access to public lands;
Her two-plus decades of service saw statewide droughts, the implementation of the Long Term Water Agreement, unification of the court system, natural disasters, the creation of the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority, County infrastructure projects, the construction of the Juvenile Hall, the Bishop Airport Terminal and the County Animal Shelter in Big Pine.
In short, she lived a long and productive life.
On a personal note, I sat down with the Arcularius’ while working on a series of stories on Inyo’s ranching families. Re-reading that story, once more Linda-ism is clear: the story she and her husband Howard told was the Arcularius story, not the Linda story. She met and married Howard in Nevada, building a house on the Arcularius ranch at 7,000 elevation at the end of a 45-mile dirt road, describing it as “pretty remote.”
The first Arcularius purchased land in Round Valley in the late 1890s. The family story is shared by the Eastern Sierra’s long-time ranching families—you do what you have to in order to live the life you treasure.
Howard and Linda relocated to Sierra Valley, California, then back to the homestead in Round Valley in the 1980s. One point of pride: the family retained water rights on Pine Creek. The Arcularius’ leased the family cow camp portion of a fishing resort in Long Valley for limited summer grazing.
While the Eastern Sierra is changing with each new wave of former visitors looking for a simpler life in a beautiful place, Linda Arcularius and her story is an important part of the land’s history.