Active Norcal was founded in the summer of 2013 with the single goal to combine sports, fitness, recreation and the outdoors of California's north valley into an all-inclusive magazine. We will tell the stories of athletes and teams in our area along with the great activities our outdoor surroundings offer its residents. From youth football to hiking the peaks of our local mountains, we will bring you all the stories from your favorite pastimes in our active community. We are not a news magazine. We tell the stories about the lives and adventures of our community. We cover the active lives of the north valley from Chico to Yreka. If we can bring the North State community a little bit closer through our shared passions of local activities, our goal will be accomplished.

Zach O’Brien, Publisher


He likes to claim he “was born into this,” Zach is simply continuing the family business of magazine publishing with his first magazine, Active NorCal. A young lover of literature who never had the attention span to get too seriously into reading books, Zach took an early interest in magazines with his subscriptions to The Sporting News and Sport’s Illustrated. He realized his knack for writing-under-pressure due to his procrastination during college, so he chose the path of journalism at Chico State. Graduating in 2010, he pursued sports PR with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League. Raised in Redding, he moved back in 2012 to work in magazine publishing. Active NorCal popped into his head during the summer of 2013 and, as they say, the rest is history.

Don’t ask him what his role is with Active NorCal. He’ll probably say something pretentious like “maintaining a vision.” His favorite magazines are Sport’s Illustrated, Inc. and Outside Magazine. He works as the Marketing Manager and On-Site Production Manager for AIN Publications. His most tangible asset in his life is his airline miles.

Chip O’Brien - Contributor


Author of two books and hundreds of articles on outdoor life in Northern California, Chip earned his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Bradley University in Illinois, his master’s degree in Creative Writing from National University and his teaching credential from Simpson University.  He is a regular contributor to California Fly Fisher and Northwest Fly Fishing magazines.  He also is the author of River Journal, Sacramento River and California’s Best Fly Fishing: Premier Streams and Rivers from Northern California to the Eastern Sierra.  While living in Redding he was a fly fishing guide, teacher and regional manager for CalTrout.  He is currently also a high school teacher in subjects of English and Journalism.

Ross Lawrence - Contributor


Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri (or as they say in NorCal: "out East"), Ross earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication from the University of Missouri in 2013. Since moving to Redding in February 2014, he's become familiar with once foreign concepts such as houseboating, wildfires, "State of Jefferson", droughts, "spending a day on the lake," dry heat and fairweather MLB fandom. A devoted, life-long Cardinals fan, Ross refuses to engage with Giant's fans who believe that their team is a "storied franchise." In terms of his favorite active things to do, Ross enjoys soccer, roller hockey, basketball, skateboarding, snowboarding and hiking. His proficiency in each of those activities would best be described as "mediocre".

Trail Guide Banner Ad
Lassen Banner Ad
Mt. Shasta Banner Ad