James II. She rode with the cowboys who herded the king's cattle. She
watched his crops grow -- he liked to call himself a farmer. She
fished with him -- bringing home the catch and tossing it into his
swimming pool to stay fresh. And when she wanted to visit the
seashore, she went to the little green house on one of the King's
coves, to this day called Irvine.
But sadly, the day came when James II was no longer there.
Joan Irvine Smith has spent her life trying to fulfill her
grandfather's vision and to protect the environment he treasured.
"If my grandfather wanted to widen a road and a tree was in the
way, he moved the road," she said. "That is probably how I learned
the respect I have for the environment."
Irvine Smith was the guest speaker Oct. 8 at the Laguna Canyon
Conservancy dinner. She had expected to speak on Proposition 50,
Californians for Clean Water and Coastal Protection, which she
wholeheartedly supports, and briefly on Proposition 51, which would
secure the wildlife corridor for the Great Park.
"To my surprise, I read a notice that I would be speaking on my
experiences as a child at the ranch and at Crystal Cove," Irvine
She never visited Crystal Cove as a child, although she reveres it
now as an island in time."
"It is reminiscent of the early days in Irvine Cove and hopefully
we will be able to retain that feeling," she said.
Irvine Smith shared other memories Tuesday of her childhood and
the battles she fought as an adult with those she calls the Irvine
Co. management, not a term of endearment. It was an informal talk,
more like a chat among friends.
"She did exactly what I hoped she would do," said conservancy
President Carolyn Wood.
A capacity crowd was on hand to hear Irvine Smith.
"My goal has been to keep the master plan for the Irvine Ranch in
place, which included the park at Crystal Cove and large amounts of
open space," she told them.
At its largest, the ranch was 120,000 acres.
"As a child it was like living in your own country," Irvine Smith
It was still 93,000 acres when Irvine Smith became a member of the