lion, the deer, the mouse, the gnatcatcher and others.
I dream these things because they feed my soul. Mine and the soul
of mankind. Henry David Thoreau wrote, "In Wildness Is the
Preservation of the World," and his words speak to us all.
What wonder. A walk in the woods. To clear the mind of worry and
strain. To stretch the legs and limbs and bring fresh oxygen deep
into the lungs. To listen to the soft calling of the canyon wren or
the overhead cry of a red-tail hawk. This possibility, this satisfied
yearning, found here, in our own backyard. For we Lagunans have a
rich luxury, the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, in our midst. We have
trails to hike or bike or ride, wildlife to observe and coastal fauna
Dedicated in April 1993, the 6,600 acre Laguna Wilderness Park
lies at the heart of the 19,000-acre South Coast Wilderness system of
parks, preserves and marine sanctuaries. The first lands were
purchased with funds the Laguna voters committed through the passage
of a $20 million tax bond in 1990. Other lands have been transferred
to the system through development agreements.
The park is managed by the County of Orange, Harbors, Beaches and
Parks, and supported by three nonprofit organizations, Laguna
Greenbelt Inc., The Nature Conservancy and Laguna Canyon Foundation.
The park shares borders with Crystal Cove State Park (managed by the
state of California) a spot of Laguna Open Space and the Irvine
Company Open Space Reserve (managed by the Nature Conservancy of the
As the first in a flurry of winter storms edged in on Saturday
afternoon, Steve and I enjoyed the company of Park Ranger Barbara
Norton on a brief tour of the park.
Barbara, a local resident, has what she describes as a "dream
job." A former PTA mom with the Laguna school system, she turned her
love of the outdoors into a successful ranger application. She got
her current assignment after earning her stripes in the Huntington
Beach system. Barbara has cropped sandy hair, a wide, inviting smile
and an infectious love of "her" park.