Jock Hooper was a fourth-generation member of one of the oddest clubs in North America: the Bohemian Club, a 140-year-old organization best known for its Bohemian Grove, a campground north of San Francisco, where many of the nation’s most powerful men gather for two weeks each summer to camp, perform skits and bond. The Grove is a place of remarkable beauty and tranquility, and Jock spent hours hiking its remote 2,700 acres, which hold some of the last stands of old-growth redwoods anywhere. One day he noticed that several of the finest redwoods were marked for cutting, and the more he walked the more appalled he became at what he saw.
Assuming there must be some mistake, he notified club officials, who patted him on his figurative head and told him to mind his own business. Angry, not cowed, Jock kept pushing. He wrote a letter to the members describing what he had witnessed. The president called that “unbohemian,” which is apparently about as low as you can go.
In truth, Jock had loved being a Bohemian. He is a performer who will burst into song with almost no provocation. But in the end, he loved the trees and his principles more. He resigned from the club to carry his fight, which became an 11-year odyssey, during which he was belittled, ridiculed, threatened and shunned. Old friends crossed the street to avoid him. Others wished him well in private but kept silent in public.
One person can make a difference.