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News: 12/15/2015

Walks, writing contest among events planned to celebrate Jack London legacy in 2016

One hundred years ago Jack London - the internationally renowned writer, thinker, adventurer, social activist, innovator and pioneering farmer - passed away on Nov. 22, 1916, at his beloved Beauty Ranch in Glen Ellen. London was the most popular and highest paid American author of his day, and the first American writer to make a million dollars. Of the 50 books and hundreds of essays authored by London, Call of the Wild, White Fang, and others have been translated into over 70 languages. London is also famous for his adventures, world travels, as an innovator, social activist, artist, philosopher, and for his pioneering farming experiments with sustainable agriculture.

Throughout 2016, Jack London State Historic Park, the land that was London's Beauty Ranch, will mark this Centennial milestone and pay tribute to London's legacy with a special yearlong celebration, “Discover Your Call of the Wild.” Each month throughout the year, the park will present key events that highlight Jack London's inspiration and innovation.

Here are the events kicking off at the start of 2016:

Discover Your Call of the Wild - a writing contest for students

London lived a life of adventure by traveling the world and writing about his exciting experiences. Some of his best stories described the survival of the fittest man or beast in harsh environments. Students in grades 4 through 12 now have the chance to write like London and discover their own Call of the Wild. Students will write and submit an original short story about an animal, an adventure, or a quest. Each entry will be judged on originality of thought and creative use of language by a panel of teachers and literary scholars. Winners in each age category will receive a cash prize and have their story posted on the Jack London Park website. Entries must be accompanied by a printed entry form and delivered to Karen Buchanan at Jack London State Park by Feb. 29. Contest winners will be announced in March 2016. Forms are expected to be available soon, either at the House of Happy Walls Museum or online at

Take the Klondike Challenge

“Take the Klondike Challenge” is a call to action to get out and walk. Channel the derring-do spirit London exhibited when, at 21, he “heard the call of the wild,” and tales of gold in Canada's Klondike and set out to find what adventure awaited him there. The experiences he encountered and travails he endured inspired him to chronicle his trip, ultimately leading to his life's work as a writer. In this spirit of adventure, Jack London State Historic Park will sponsor a walking challenge tailored to current times. The goal is to cover 500 miles in the Bay Area, the place Jack London called home. Interested participants (either individually or in teams) who want to take on the challenge and walk throughout the year can register on the park's website ( to qualify for prizes, achieve their goal of health and discovery, and participate in the communal spirit of celebration at the Park. The 29 miles of trails and the ongoing organized hikes at Jack London State Historic Park are an ideal place to fulfill the Klondike Challenge, and the First Day Hike on Jan. 1 (see this event) is a great way to start out the Klondike Challenge and the New Year on the right foot. Participants are also encouraged to explore other local parks and open spaces, particularly in Sonoma County. For more details on “The Klondike Challenge” and the First Day Hike visit or call 938-5216.

Ongoing Centennial Celebration activities will be featured and regularly updated online at

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