Open-Space Advocate Will be Remembered in Perpetuity

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Conservancy President Carolyn Wood tries out a bench dedicated to the organization’s founder.Photo courtesy of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy

Conservancy President Carolyn Wood tries out a bench dedicated to the organization’s founder.Photo courtesy of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy

Former Laguna Beach Mayor Lida Lenney was honored Tuesday, Nov. 11, with the dedication of a memorial bench to commemorate her leadership in the effort to block development of open space that became part of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

The trailside bench is inscribed with a quote by Margaret Mead, which was a favorite of Lenney: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

The bench is near the Nix Nature Center where on Tuesday a 24-minute video about a historic protest in Laguna Canyon took place 25 years ago was shown as part of the ceremony. About 50 members of the public attended along with protest organizers Harry Huggins and Charles Michael Murray.

Lenney was on the City Council in 1988 when she founded the Laguna Canyon Conservancy to fight Irvine Company plans to build homes in Laguna Canyon. On Nov. 11, 1989, her leadership and that of others drew 7,500 protestors to march from the Irvine Bowl Park to Sycamore Flats, now known as the Jim Dilley Preserve. The destination was a 600-foot long mural known as “The Tell.” The protest stopped the bulldozers and led citizens to pass a $20 million bond measure to acquire space for parkland.

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