Coastwalk California staff and board members attended several retirement events for retiring Coastal Commission Executive Director, Peter Douglas, over the past two months. Mr. Douglas lead what many have called the most powerful land use regulatory agency in the world for twenty six years. Mr Douglas has been a towering figure in coastal preservation and was one of the authors of Proposition 20 as well as the California Coastal Act. His impact on the coastal geography of California cannot be underestimated.
All his retirement events were glorious celebrations of his legacy to the people of California and the environment. Notable speakers at the event in San Francisco, including California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, praised Douglas’s pioneering work and steadfast commitment to integrity. Douglas happily passed the torch to his newly appointed successor, Charles Lester, and he spoke of Mr. Lester’s outstanding qualifications for the job. When asked what advice he would give to his staff for the future, Mr Douglas replied with his usual dry humor “Don’t screw up!”. The evening closed with a large number of Coastal Commission staff singing to Douglas a newly arranged version of This Land is Your Land with wording that included “this sand is your sand”.
Coastwalk is committed to actively supporting Peter Douglas’ legacy of coastal stewardship and public access and we hold him warmly in our hearts and wish him all the best.