The Kortum papers, dating from 1954 to 2014, include correspondence, documents, maps, clippings, photographs, and ephemera
on national and local environmental and political topics.
Bill Kortum was a longtime Sonoma County environmental activist involved in many of California's most important land-use campaigns.
A veterinarian specializing in dairy cows, he was well acquainted with the county's rural and coastal agricultural open spaces
and was determined to save them.
Dr. Kortum worked to pass Proposition 20, a measure that established the California Coastal Commission. He advocated through
public office (Petaluma School Board, Democratic Central Committee, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors), though he and another
supervisor were later recalled during county turmoil over a building moratorium and property taxes. Nevertheless, the policies
he advocated were ultimately adopted countywide.
He continued his environmental advocacy, co-founded Sonoma County Conservation Action which educates the public on environmental
issues, and helped to establish the Sonoma County Agricultural and Open Space District.
Dr. Kortum promoted visionary anti-sprawl policies such as urban growth boundaries around cities and greenbelt protections
between cities, both adopted. Most recently, he successfully fought for voter approval on the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit
(SMART), a commuter train that connects Sonoma and Marin counties.
As a founding member of the California League of Conservation voters, he served as its chairman for many years. He was a 20-year
board member of the Sonoma Land Trust, and co-founded Coastwalk which provides coastal hiking experiences and, as California
Coastwalk, promotes the completion of the California Coastal Trail.