Before John Poimiroo began CaliforniaFallColor.com in 2009, few people thought California had much of an autumn. Perhaps that’s why he, with tongue in cheek, added this tagline to his website: “Dude, Autumn Happens Here Too.”
Since he began CaliforniaFallColor.com, Poimiroo has transformed how Californians and the nation see California’s autumn from a season of a few days, to a three-month traveling show that descends 10,000 feet from tree line to sea shore. In doing so, he has awakened California residents to the singular autumn beauty to be found in their state’s forests and created a newly discovered season of wonder for outdoor enthusiasts.
A fourth-generation Californian, John Poimiroo’s influence on outdoor recreation began at the Eldora Ski Area in Colorado (’73) where he introduced the concept of skiing on manmade snow to skeptical Coloradans and established one of the nation’s first corporate ski leagues. He was a member of the Mainline Inc. team (’74) that helped consolidate State and private holdings into the mountain resort Squaw Valley is today and later helped establish the Corporate Ski Challenge. A second-generation ski patroller, he retired with a national appointment after 18 years ski patrolling and was commended for producing radio winter safety minutes and coordinating the U.S. National Ski Jumping Championships in 1976, the last time ski jumping occurred on Squaw Valley’s 80 meter Olympic hill. He subsequently was one of the first patrollers on the American River Bike Patrol.
At Yosemite National Park (’85-’92), his use of humor by SF Chronicle cartoonist Phil Frank on drink cups, table cards and placemats influenced visitors to stop feeding park animals, protect fragile meadows by staying on trails and reduce traffic by riding on park shuttle buses, and he informed the world that there are no limits to what a disabled person can do through his management of media coverage of the ascents of El Capitan and Half Dome by paraplegic climber Mark Wellman.
While serving as California’s state tourism director in the ‘90s, Poimiroo was instrumental in establishing the California Roundtable on Recreation Parks and Tourism and the Western States Tourism Policy Council which resulted in consolidating information from various state and national agencies to make it easier for people to recreate outdoors here and throughout the western United States. He then created California’s first, multi-agency, statewide guide to outdoor recreation, promoted California skiing to international skiers and snowboarders and conceived an industry-funded method of financing state tourism promotion that lifted California from the 49th state tourism budget to first.
Over his 50 years being an outdoor communicator, John Poimiroo introduced millions of people to the joys experienced in California’s outdoors. He has won more than 50 awards for travel and outdoor writing, photography, public relations and destination marketing and was: named Writer of the Year by the Outdoor Writers Association of California twice, voted the United States’ best state tourism director, received the University of Colorado’s first Chancellor’s Tourism Award, inducted to the California Tourism Hall of Fame and received the California Travel Industry’s lifetime achievement award.
Today, he continues traveling California’s byways and backroads in search of California’s wonders.