Friday May 13 2011
Clothing line dedicated to the outdoors
By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
Descendant of John Muir passes on legacy
A local descendant of famous naturalist John Muir is passing on his family’s legacy thorough a new clothing line dedicated to the outdoors. Robert Hanna, Roseville resident and great-great-grandson to Muir, began his clothing company, Range of Light, less than a month ago and said he is excited about sharing his family’s legacy. “The whole concept behind Range of Light was spurred by a trip to the Sierra with my wife,” Hanna said. “We were at the top of a peak and we just thought every person in the world should experience what we were at that moment.” Hanna said that event back in 2007 motivated him to create an entity that would inspire people to get out and experience nature with their families. So Hanna contacted some manufacturers in Colorado and on the East Coast to create the clothing line. Range of Light clothing spans from recreational to active outdoor wear, including men’s and women’s jackets, headwear, functional moisture-wicking performance wear and accessories. “My clothing line is really designed for all who love nature and the outdoors, so it’s a pretty wide range,” Hanna said. “Our clothing stems from the foundation of our family’s passion.” Hanna said he wants to use Range of Light as more than just a clothing company, but as a way to create experiences for people and serve the community. “My message is to … start tearing down these barriers, start eliminating excuses and get kids off of those BlackBerrys and iPhones,” Hanna said. “To not just look at pictures of nature, but get out and actually see what it looks like. That really sits with you for the rest of your life.” Christian Koszka, owner of Freetime Productions, which runs the company’s web and social media sites, said the clothing is a small part of allowing Hanna to start hikes and get involved with the community. “I’ve never been camping before, I hate camping, and Robert kind of turned me into a hiker and a camper,” Koszka said. “So if he can change me, he can do it for anybody. I have total faith in him.” Hanna said he hopes to partner with local schools in the near future to set up programs and outings for kids to get out and visit some of the state, national or local parks. “In an era of technology and cell phones, a lot of kids don’t get that exposure early on, so they grow up not really understanding what’s right here in our backyard,” Hanna said. “I feel obligated to do whatever I can to put them in the middle of that experience.” Hanna said that when he was growing up, his family never pushed the outdoor lifestyle on the children. Rather, they took the kids on family outings to Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra, sat back and watched the children create their own bond with nature. “It’s important to be able to expose people to nature so they can form their own bond,” Hanna said. “For some people it’s more spiritual, for some it’s just a place to get away. For some people it’s life changing and in some cases life saving.” Range of Light got its namesake from a famous John Muir quote, in which Muir says the Sierra Nevada should be known, “not as the Nevada or the Snowy Range, but as the Range of Light.” For now, Hanna is selling his clothing line directly through the company website, www.gorangeoflight.com, and he hopes to be selling through local retail outlets soon. The company website also contains a link to the John Muir Resource Center at the University of the Pacific, which contains rare family photos of Muir with his children and grandchildren. “I think one of the big things that is going to be interesting about Range of Light is allowing the company to evolve,” Koszka said. “We’re just starting with the hikes and the clothing and then we are going to let everyone in the community decide how that evolves.” Toby Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.