Huey Johnson (1933-2020)

Huey D. Johnson

January 1933 - July 2020


Prominent Environmentalist Huey Johnson passed away on July 12 of injuries suffered from a fall. He will be missed.

Restore Hetch Hetchy is sad to hear of the passing of Huey Johnson, a long-time leader in environmental circles.

As Regional Director of the Nature Conservancy, Huey engineered the purchase of the Marin Headlands which were subsequently turned over the the National Park Service. He helped establish the Trust for Public Land and created the Resource Renewal Institute in 1982, where he worked until his passing.

Huey served as Secretary of Resources for Governor Jerry Brown from 1978-1982, after initial misgivings about working for the government.


Huey Johnson is one of four former California Secretaries of Natural Resources to actively support restoring Hetch Hetchy. From left to right, Douglas Wheeler (Governor Wilson), Johnson, Mary Nichols (Governor Davis), and Norman (Ike) Livermore (Governor Reagan).

Huey's initial involvement in our campaign to restore Hetch Hetchy took place in 2004, when he agreed to co-author the foreword of the Environmental Defense Fund's Paradise Regained report with Doug Wheeler. Both gentlemen readily agreed that the bipartisan pairing was a good idea, but differences in writing style were not overcome until the deadline drew near - causing a bit of anxiety among the report authors.

Huey and Doug also published an editorial opinion in the San Francisco Chronicle to support Restore Hetch Hetchy's ballot measure in 2012, and were part of a group sponsoring an amicus brief for our legal challenge in 2017.

As longtime supporter of Restore Hetch Hetchy, Huey was also often a fixture at our annual dinners. One year, he did grumble about missing a Warriors' game - at least until we offered him a glass of Restoration Red.

Huey will be missed, by Restore Hetch Hetchy and by so many others who benefit from his impressive legacy.