Kathleen Goddard Jones Correspondence, 1918-2002 (bulk 1926-1932) MS 173
Kathleen Goddard was born to Willis and Nellie Goddard on July 2, 1907. Shortly after her birth the family moved from Sacramento to Santa Barbara, where her father served as secretary of the YMCA. Her love of nature began on hikes with her family into the surrounding countryside and grew with her participation in Campfire Girls. “At the age of twelve I began to really hike,” she recalled, “to go to the higher peaks and to learn to sleep outdoors and to cook outdoors, and to find that this was something that was important to me…and has continued to be one of the most important facets of my whole life: a kinship with the earth, a spiritual refreshment from moving easily along trails and over the contours of the earth.”
During the summer of 1926, after a year spent attending Santa Barbara State Teacher’s College, Goddard Jones traveled to Europe. Upon her return, she enrolled as an English major at Mills College in Oakland. While at Mills Goddard Jones became friends with Cedric Wright, a music professor at Mills, who introduced her to Ansel Adams and the Sierra Club.
Goddard Jones left Mills at the end of her junior year to marry Ali Shirazi Parvaz. Between 1929 and 1932 they lived in Washington, D.C. and New York City, working with the Persian Legislation to fund and execute the first “America-Persia Goodwill Flight.” Although the flight was eventually abandoned after a failed landing and limited funding, eventually the couple would travel to India, Burma, and Iran, where they lived for several years.
Upon return to the United States, Goddard Jones worked in radio at NBC for several years before divorcing Shirazi and returning to California. In 1945 she married Duncan P. Jackson and they adopted several children.
In 1949 Goddard Jones joined the Sierra Club, primarily so she could go on their annual trip to the High Sierra with her old mentor, Cedric Wright. It was on this two-week hike that many important relationships were formed with national leaders of the Sierra Club, including David Brower. Goddard helped found the Santa Barbara group of the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, which became the Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club in February 1952. She served as chair for several years, and in 1956 became a delegate to the national Sierra Club Council, which she eventually chaired from 1956-1957.
Goddard moved to Paso Robles, where she once again helped form a new local Sierra Club group as part of the Santa Barbara Chapter. The Santa Lucia Group first met on November 9, 1961; the first outing was a hike in early 1962 through the Nipomo Dunes, near Oso Flaco Lake. The trip became a permanent annual outing, which Goddard Jones led from 1962 to 1995. In October of 1968 the San Luis Obispo County members attained chapter status for the Santa Lucia group.
Goddard Jones’ most important efforts led to the preservation of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. “I want everyone to know what a lovely place we have out here on the mesa,” she said. “It is a wealth of beauty, and all of it is free.”
Goddard Jones’ growing environmental activism led to a split with her conservative husband and the Jacksons divorced in August 1966. On August 21, 1971 she married Gaylord Jefferson Jones, who shared her love of the dunes and the outdoors.
In the early 1960s she saw a newspaper article announcing that utility company Pacific Gas & Electric had acquired dune land for a nuclear power plant. The article sparked Goddard Jones’ campaign of 13 years to have the nuclear power plant relocated elsewhere and the dunes preserved. In 1974 PG&E sold 857 acres of dune land to the state for a park and sought another location for the nuclear power plant.
Of this decision, Sunset magazine contributor Matthew Jaffe wrote, “PG&E’s eventual decision to build its plant in a little-known spot farther north, Diablo Canyon, led to criticism of Jones by both environmentalists (who opposed all nuclear power plants) and locals (who were angry about the loss of tax revenue and building contracts). But the process of saving the dunes had begun.”
In 1983 the Regional Oral History Office at UC Berkeley interviewed Goddard Jones for their Sierra Club Oral History Series. Goddard Jones remained active on behalf of the Dunes until her death on October 2, 2001.
Anne Van Tyne, interview with Kathleen Goddard Jones, "Defender of California's Nipomo Dunes, Steadfast Sierra Club Volunteer." The Sierra Club Nationwide II, 1984 http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/ROHO/collections/subjectarea/natres/sierraclub.html
Matthew Jaffe, "California's Ultimate Sea of Sand — Nipomo Dunes." Sunset Oct 1992 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1216/is_n4_v189/ai_12884195
Nancy Loe, “Biographical Note.” Kathleen Goddard Jones Papers Finding Aid, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 2007: 9-10.
Sue Hagen, "A Guided Tour: Black Lake Canyon: The Mesa Fairyland." Five Cities Times-Press-Recorder [Arroyo Grande, Calif.] 16 June 1978
"Statement of Kathleen Jackson before California Public Utilities Commission on February 17, 1967, San Luis Obispo." Box 16 Folder 7, ts, Kathleen Goddard Jones Papers, Special Collections, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo