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Laguna Canyon Conservancy Marks 1st Year

February 05, 1989

The Laguna Canyon Conservancy celebrates its first anniversary, and we made it with the help of many, many friends.

To freshen some memories, remember the "Phantom"--the signs that warned of impending canyon development and destruction that were erected by starlight along Laguna Canyon Road by a mysterious canyon specter? Remember the great victory we won with coastal commissioners when Caltrans was denied the right to butcher Laguna Canyon Road? And do you recall disappointing County Board of Supervisors meetings and Harriett M. Weider's crushing swing vote?

How satisfying it was to know that tens of thousands revered the canyon too.

Yes, cooperative group efforts did much to increase the public's awareness about the attributes of an extraordinary canyon region, and those efforts were instrumental in raising funds to fight legal battles. But there were noble individual efforts as well.

As dry weather prevailed, a few of us remembered thirsty canyon deer and provided water-filled tanks for their survival. One or two of us routinely tended to the dirty job of collecting trash thoughtlessly left along the Canyon Road. Some assembled exhaustive reports documenting inadequacies in developer EIRs.

On Jan. 2, The Times, in an editorial entitled "Caring for the Earth," asked: "After all, what can one person do about the atmosphere or the ocean?" To that many Lagunans add, "What can one person do about a small, sweet coastal canyon?"

As those and similar questions were asked, the Laguna Canyon Conservancy was winning some victories and losing others. We settled on an Irvine Coast suit and won for the city of Laguna Beach the option to purchase two important canyon pockets as open space that could otherwise be commercially developed.

However, the city of Laguna Beach, in cooperation and the city of Irvine, dropped a 20,000-unit Aliso Viejo project lawsuit. And as this letter is written, newspapers report that the judge "tentatively sides with the county and Irvine Co. on the 3,200-unit Laguna Laurel project."

So, where do we go from here? What can one person do? The answer is: We can do what we do well. We can make a lot of noise--but this time we get still louder. Maybe, we even make fools of ourselves for the canyon.

Earthlings possess what The Times says are "most or all of the technical equipment needed to slow or halt just about all the bad things that are assaulting the planet." As much as we'd like to report that the Conservancy's first birthday would be its last, you can see that we shall grow a bit older together.

If you want to make the world a better place, start here and start today. Say: "Today I am going to do something to help preserve a piece of Planet Earth. Today I am going to help save Laguna Canyon."

RICHARD HARRIS

Chairman

MAREN BLACKETER

Laguna Canyon Conservancy

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