August 23, 2010


Take a paddle with Tim down the Smith River by watching this one minute film.

Take a paddle with Tim down the West Fork Carson by watching this short film.


The fall 2010 Rivers of California book tour is now over.

Tim is available to share an inspiring evening of images and stories from his new book Rivers of California. For more information, contact Tim directly.

For other inquiries about the Rivers of California, please contact David Isaacson at Heyday Books.

August 21, 2010


"Like no other book, Rivers of California illuminates the beauty and wonder of rivers....This irresistible collection of photos and text celebrates what we at Friends of the River love, and it will entice Californians to better care for our rivers." 

--Paul Tebbel, Executive Director, Friends of the River

"Tim Palmer looks at California's rivers with an artist's eye. This book is a delight." 

--Tom Knudson, Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, Sacramento Bee

"In this grand tour of California's rivers, Tim Palmer captures the beauty of our flowing waters and makes the most compelling case for conservation that I have seen. This spectacular book should be read and appreciated by all--residents and visitors, politicians and scientists alike." 

--Peter Moyle, Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology, U.C.-Davis

August 20, 2010


Look for Rivers of California at your local bookstore, or visit Heyday Books.

August 19, 2010


Paul Tebbel presents Tim with the award--a specially engraved paddle!

On October 8, Tim Palmer received the "Mark Dubois Award" from the statewide river conservation group Friends of the River.

Each year Friends of the River honors one individual whose work recalls the spirit that Mark Dubois infused into the organization with his efforts to save the Stanislaus River. The award recognizes individuals who have taken a leading role in furthering river conservation in California. 

Here's what Friends of the River says about Tim and his work:

Tim Palmer has been a longtime friend and ally of FOR and California rivers. Paddler Magazine has named Tim one of the ten greatest river conservationists of our time. He is the author of 20 books about the American landscape, conservation, travel – and especially rivers.  His first book, Stanislaus: The Struggle for a River is the story of the fight to save the Stan that resulted in the founding of FOR.  His newest book, Rivers of California is coming out this fall.  Tim has given over three decades of his life to bringing the beauty and wildness of rivers, especially California’s, to people throughout the country.

August 17, 2010


To learn more about photographer and author Tim Palmer, check out his website:

August 15, 2010


Tim Palmer talks about his photography, his passion for rivers, why they are so important, the issues they face, and more....

Q. Given the economic, social, and environmental crises that California now faces, why do you believe that rivers are so important?

A: Everything that lives needs water, and rivers are the water supply of the world. Beyond that, problems of water supply, water quality, and flooding induced by climate change are among the most serious of the crises that we face—or will shortly face—and each of these problems relates directly to rivers. And beyond all of that, rivers are much more than our sources of water; they are essential to our fisheries, centerpieces to our communities, necessary for recreation, and among the most beautiful natural features of our state.

Q. To pursue that just a bit further, I get the notion here that you believe rivers are—if you pardon the expression—the center of the universe. Obviously you think they are more than just water running downhill. Am I correct?

A: Yes. Rivers symbolize life as well as support it directly. They are our lifelines, both figuratively and literally.

Q. Rivers of California puts these waterways up front-and-center as a highlight of the landscape. Yet a lot of people would think of something else—say, beaches, the city f San Francisco, Central Valley farmland, or the redwoods—when they think of California. Have our rivers been a “poor cousin,” so to speak, when people think about our state?

A. Perhaps so. It’s important to realize that the other landscapes you mention are closely linked to rivers. For example, much of the sand on those beaches wouldn’t be there if it hadn’t been washed downstream by rivers. San Francisco gets its drinking water from the Tuolumne River. Valuable farmland exists not only because of water delivered by rivers but also because of soil that was transported by rivers ages ago. And the redwoods grow best on the floodplains of our big northern rivers flowing out to sea along the North Coast. Rivers are central to our landscape and our existence in many ways, and my book seeks to celebrate that fact and to make our dependence on rivers—healthy rivers—better known.

Q. But your book is mainly about beauty, isn’t it?

A. The pictures are, yes. That’s because the rivers are incomparably beautiful. We may know that we need rivers. But I focus on the beauty because I think this is one of the big reasons that people love rivers. Let me also say that, though beautiful photos are the main attraction in this book, the text discusses how rivers work, some interesting details of their natural history and their problems in some depth. It’s important to know about rivers and their issues, yet I don’t think many people want a book that puts the problems in their face constantly.

Q. And you certainly don’t. The cover photo here is absolutely amazing: it shows a stream of whitewater ending with a big wave, like at the ocean, and then a distant landscape of pine trees and rocky cliffs far below. It’s not the kind of photo I would expect on a cover. What’s really happening there, and how did you get that shot?

A. The picture you’re talking about is the top of Glen Aulin Falls on the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park. I took the photo right there at the brink of the falls, in very high water when all that snowmelt was just blasting downstream. The river mounded up in that wave and perched there before it plunged to the base of the waterfall. I managed to balance myself on a rock just off the shoreline and capture the scene as the sun backlit that big wave. It was a real thrill just being there, and also getting the photo. I wish everyone could see it for real.

Q. I was fascinated by the opening scene of your text—when you leapt off a rock and into the American River. You could have started the book in many ways; why this?

A. I like the idea and the reality of total immersion. What better way to begin a discussion of California rivers than to jump in and see what happens.