About Mesa Refuge


The Mesa Refuge is a writers' retreat located in Point Reyes Station, California. Its mission is to provide a quiet and inspiring space for people writing about ways to create a more just and sustainable world. We have traditionally focused on the environment, economics, and social injustice.

"The Mesa Refuge invites people to think and write about the intersection between human activity - capitalism in particular - and the natural world we are obliged to preserve. A Mesa Refuge residency is an opportunity to develop ideas and projects so that they may be published and transformed into practice." - Peter Barnes, Founder, Mesa Refuge

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Now receiving applications for our Fall 2015 residency program.

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2015 Application Process

Fall 2015 Residency Dates

For Fall 2015 residencies, complete applications due Monday, June 1, 2015

  • Session 5: September 18 - October 1
  • Session 6:  October 2 - October 15
  • Session 7: October 16 - October 29
  • Session 8: October 30 - November 12

Spring 2016 Residency Dates (Tentative)

For Spring 2016 residencies, complete applications due Tuesday, December 1, 2015

  • Session 1: March 25 - April 7, 2016
  • Session 2:  April 8 - April 21, 2016
  • Session 3: April 22 - May 5, 2016
  • Session 4: May 6 - May 19, 2016

Program Information

The Refuge offers two-week residencies to writers of all genres. We seek applicants from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, and consider not only the themes and quality of the writing but also its potential impact.


The Refuge sits on a bluff overlooking the Giacomini Wetlands, at the southern tip of Tomales Bay. It lies above the San Andreas Fault, on the periphery of a great city, at a spot where urban civilization adjoins agriculture and wilderness. It is an ideal place for contemplating the edges of many things.

Residents are encouraged to enjoy the many attractions of the Point Reyes area, including hiking, kayaking and bird-watching. The town of Point Reyes Station, with yoga and a good coffee bar, is a ten-minute walk away.

Living Arrangements

The Refuge hosts three residents at a time. Each enjoys a private room in a spacious shared house. Wi-fi and a printer are provided. A single telephone is also available on a limited basis.

Room and five dinners a week are provided at no cost. Travel to and from Point Reyes is each resident's responsibility. Donations are not required but are encouraged.

Application Information

Complete application information can be found here:

Mesa Refuge Application Information

Supporting the Mesa Refuge

The Mesa Refuge is supported entirely by donations. We invite donations from alumni and friends. Donations are tax-deductible, and we appreciate gifts of all sizes.

Click Here for more information on supporting The Mesa Refuge.

Online donations can be made here: Donate Now

Checks can be made payable to Trust for Conservation Innovation, our fiscal sponsor. Please put Mesa Refuge in the memo line and mail to:

Trust for Conservation Innovation
150 Post Street, #342
San Francisco, CA 94108

For information regarding major gifts please contact Susan Page Tillett, Executive Director, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 847-452-7637.


Mesa Refuge Board of Trustees

Peter Barnes, Founder
Harriet Barlow
Mark Dowie
Jaune Evans
Anna Lappé
Kate Levinson
Peter Mattair
Richard Taylor
Judith Shaw

Mesa Refuge Advisory Committee

Carl Anthony
Joan Bieder
Sue Conley
Claire Hope Cummings
Ellen Friedman
Terry Gamble
Mark Hertsgaard
Van Jones
Jerry Mander
Bill McKibben
Susan Moon
Michael Pollan
Robert Reich
Terry Tempest Williams

Resident Quotes

"These days are a blessing
The safety and security of this shed
This chair on the porch looking out
So I could look in
After seven years a book completed.
A leap. Thank you. Thank you."
Terry Tempest Williams,
Naturalist and Author, Refuge

"I wake up to the sound of two red-tailed hawks screaming for joy.
They soar low over the pasture, keen eyes hunting. I shake off a dream
and return to my desk, to a story asking to be told. I am so grateful for
this opportunity to discover, in the midst of a demanding life, the freedom
of poetry, the gift of art."

Phil Klasky - Director and Poet, Bay Area Nuclear Waste Coalition

"I've gotten a tremendous amount of work done here at Mesa, the final 40,000 words of a 60,000 word book. This retreat hasn't been good; it's been vital."
Jim Motavalli, Editor, E Magazine, and Author, Forward Drive: The Race to Build the Next Generation of Clean Cars

"I find the time to contemplate the timeless. That is the gift of this spot."
David Morse - Author, The Iron Bridge

Download "Holding Still", a journal entry graciously shared by Christina Ammon.