In 1989, the world was a different place than it is today. The Berlin Wall came down. Student protesters were killed in Tiananmen Square. Taylor Swift was born. And 8,000 Laguna Beach residents marched to Save the Canyon.
On November 11, 1989, an organized protest march began in downtown Laguna Beach and peacefully made its way to The Tell, a 636 foot art installation made up of 60,000 photographs, snapshots of life around Orange County, created by Mark Chamberlain and Jerry Burchfield. The marchers were protesting the 2150-acre Laguna Laurel development which had been approved to be built in the open space of Laguna Canyon, sacrificing pristine wilderness to build an initial 3200 homes, shopping centers and golf courses.
Residents came together to protest this development, and in 1990 approved a tax increase to help pay for the purchase of the land. That year, Laguna Canyon Foundation was formed to help complete the purchase of the land, ensuring that the open space would be protected in perpetuity.
Today, let’s celebrate the 29 years of history that have gone into our greenbelt, culminating in the 22,000-acre South Coast Wilderness that surrounds our community.
When you’re out in our canyon, whether on foot, on bike, or just driving through, take a minute to think about what could have been. What we could have lost if those 22,000 acres hadn’t been preserved. Not only would we have lost the wildlife we’re privileged to share our home with (bobcat, mule deer, red-tailed hawks, just to name a few), but we would have lost those incredible vistas, the smell of the coastal sage scrub, the break from all of the hustle of South Orange County. We would have lost our respite, one of the most critical things that makes our community so special.
29 years ago, Laguna Beach residents came together to preserve our open space. Today, Laguna Canyon Foundation is proud to continue carrying that legacy into the future, acting as guardians and stewards of the open space so many fought so hard to protect, rising to meet new challenges and new threats to the habitat and the animals that live there.