SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - The Man From "Shangri-La"

By Bob Weaver

Meeting outstanding personages during my lifetime have mostly been happenstance.

One was Daniel Ide Taylor, (right) the founder of Woodlands Institute on Spruce Knob Mountain, a project he founded in 1972.

In the 1980s I contacted him about having a weekend retreat for recovering alcoholics-addicts at Woodlands, a retreat that was held for nearly a decade. Woodlands was a pristine location on Spruce, adorned by Himalayan styled "Yurts" designed to withstand high wind.

As a young boy Taylor grew up with his missionary parents in the Himalayas, a man with enormous vision, engaged in social change and world conservation for at least four decades with a focus on building international cooperation to achieve ambitious goals.

He founded the nine Future Generations organizations worldwide (including the accredited Future Generations University). In 1985, after providing the scientific explanation for the Yeti (Abominable Snowman), he led creating Nepals Makalu-Barun National Park, then, in close partnership with the Tibet Autonomous Region, Chinas Qo.

In Pendleton County he provided retreats for West Virginia's brightest scholars and improved health care in the rural region.

In discussing his projects on Spruce Knob, I quickly learned about his brilliant mind, far reaching my understanding.

Since he was connected to Nepal-Tibet, I told him my source of knowledge was based on the 1937 film "Lost Horizon," about finding a lost paradise on earth - Shangri-la.

Taylor, while painting a beautiful picture of the area and staring at the universal sky on Spruce Knob, he advised that Nepal-Tibet are among the poorest countries in the world, far from paradise.

I knew then, I had met a visionary.