Path to be dedicated to Anne Brower, local environmentalist

By Jia-Rui Chong, Daily Planet staff
Friday April 05, 2002

Though Anne Brower was often overshadowed by her husband David, Berkeley will be honoring the woman who was a worthy environmentalist in her own right by dedicating a path in her name on Stevenson Avenue on Saturday. 

Councilmember Betty Olds, who has been working on the project since Anne’s death in November 2001, will be hosting the ceremony at 11 am at the entryway of the block-long path that runs down to Miller Avenue. 

Ken Brower, who is Anne and David’s son, said that he was happy his mother is getting some well-deserved recognition. 

“She was the conscience and editor of my father and played a big unknown role in the environmental movement,” Brower said.  

Brower, a nonfiction writer who lives in Oakland, will be attending the ceremony with his sister Barbara Brower, a geographer at Portland State University. 

The Brower’s have not been very involved with the path project, but Ken said that he knows his mother loved the walk. 

“As the wife of a mountaineer, she loved paths. She could walk from our home to the UC campus [where she worked] on trails and never went on streets except to cross them,” he said. 

Jackie Ensign of the Berkeley Path Wanderers Association, one of the groups spearheading the effort, said that the Anne Brower Path was part of Anne’s daily jaunt.  

“It was in her neighborhood, and it was one she used a long time. We wanted to honor her with something that was very important to how she lived her life,” Ensign said. 

The BPWA has been maintaining, surveying and familiarizing people with Berkeley’s path network for four years. As they were developing a map of the network, they discovered that this stretch had not yet been named. They knew that Olds was interested in honoring Anne’s legacy and suggested the idea to Olds. 

The Anne Brower Path will be Path 70 on the city’s index of pathways and appear on the map that the BPWA hopes to make available next month. 

But it’s not a new path, said Ensign. “We were looking at old maps and saw that the path had been named Twain Path, which became Twin Path. It’s been used by the neighbors a long time.” 

Local Boy Scouts also played a major part in improving the grounds. Eagle Scouts put down railroad ties and gravel to make the steep hill a little friendlier. 

“The city has $50,000 a year to help maintain the paths, but that’s not enough,” Olds said. 

“The Path Wanderers and the Boy Scouts have done an amazing amount of work. It shows you what positive things Berkeley residents can do instead of just protesting something,” she added.