Outdoors has an advocate in Peach

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Editor’s note: This is one in a series of profiles spotlighting Auburn State of the Community award recipients.
When Eric Peach reflects on his life, it’s tough for him to think of a period in which the American River didn’t play a major role.
Just as the river that runs through the canyon south of Auburn has given Peach so much, he’s given plenty in return. He will receive the “Friend of Recreation” award Friday at the State of the Community Dinner.
The river fed by the Sierra Nevada snowmelt has fascinated Peach since his youth in Sacramento. Upon moving to Auburn in the early 1970s, he devoted countless hours to the preservation of the American River and educating the community about the canyon and its numerous recreational opportunities.
“I think we were a part of that early wave of families rediscovering the canyons for the recreational potential,” Peach said. “It’s a great source for outdoor experience and the way our family approached it, we looked at it as discovery of the natural world. Recreation is a big part of it, but the bigger part of it is the discovery and the ecology and the history of the area.”
Jim Ferris, a good friend and a member of Canyon Keepers, nominated peach for the Friend of Recreation award. Peach has been heavily involved with Protect American River Canyons for more than 30 years. Ferris’ nomination received the backing of the Auburn Recreation District, which sponsors the award.
Peach has been involved with ARD programs throughout the years. He has taught ceramics classes and led educational hikes in the canyon.
“We’ve developed a good relationship,” Peach said of ARD, which has sponsored the Confluence Festival each June for the past 10 years. “They have a lot of great activities that provide opportunities for the community.”
Peach was self-employed as an upholsterer in Auburn for many years. He now teaches ceramics at local schools on a freelance basis. Much of his free time is spent working with PARC and getting out on the trails or in the water with friends and family.
“I know ARD puts a lot of value into the river and the canyon,” Peach said. “It’s one of our local assets that a lot of people are tapping into.”