Bill Center - Agitator and Consensus builder, remembered as a Nature Advocate

by Placerville Newswire / Sep 25, 2017 / comments

"A force of nature in EDC...May your courage flow thru our rivers..." Jeff Hand.

[CATHY LOCKE, Sac Bee. Img: Bill Center. Photo courtesy Center family]

Bill Center served a term as an El Dorado County supervisor, but friends and colleagues say it was his decades as an activist advocating for regional planning and environmental causes that helped shape the county and the future of the Sierra Nevada.

Center, an avid whitewater rafter who with his wife, Robin, owned and operated Camp Lotus Lodge and Campground, a rafting resort near Coloma, died Sept. 18 of stomach cancer. He was 68.

Often a lightning rod in the county’s struggles over growth and land use, Center was an author of Measure Y, approved by county voters in 1998, which requires developers to pay the cost of improving roads to handle the additional traffic their projects cause. In the 1970s and 80s, he led the fight against a series of water projects and hydroelectric dams that he feared would harm the American River environment and recreational activities, including rafting.

Critics characterized him as a agitator, who often worked behind the scenes, said Ron Briggs, a former county supervisor, who, like Center, represented communities including Cool, Coloma and Lotus – an area popular with rafters, equestrians, hikers and bicyclists. Briggs said Center led by inspiring and empowering people...