Former Coastal Commission Executive Director Peter Douglas passed away April 1st. Peter’s leadership in protecting the coast of California cannot be underestimated and we at Coastwalk will miss him
terribly. Peter was not only a Coastal hero, he was inquisitive, self reflective, a lover of nature and wickedly funny. He was a great guy to spend time with.
Peter was an inspiration, not because he chose to fight for what was right for California’s coastline, but rather because he chose to fight effectively. He was not a man of the hollow gesture. He did not play Don Quixote tilting at impossible windmills. Instead he prudently evaluated what was important and what was possible and then very strategically achieved a huge number of victories for the coast and the environment.
Peter was the California Coastal Commission’s longest-serving Executive Director, a position he held from 1985 to 2011. Prior to working for the Commission, he served in the Legislature as an aide to Assemblyman Alan Siertoy (D-Beverly Hills), and as a committee consultant. During that time he was responsible for the drafting and passage of Proposition 20 (the Coastal Initiative) in 1972, as well as the California Coastal Act of 1976 which created the Coastal Commission.
We can learn much from what Peter achieved and how he went about doing it. Coastwalk can work to honor Peter and keep his legacy vibrant by educating the public on critical coastal issues. If we
effectively advocate for public access and coastal preservation, and chose to work on issues that are both strategically important and achievable, we will be honoring Peter’s legacy.
Click above to listen to an audio podcast featuring Peter Douglas!
Photo courtesy of Santa Lucia Chapter of Sierra Club.