On Saturday night, two of our area’s environmental heroes were honored at the Santa Barbara Club by the National Forest Foundation for their contributions to the protection of our public lands.

Robert Lagomarsino grew up in a ranching family outside Ojai and came from long time California roots. His political career was both long and solid – as a California State Senator from 1961 to 1974, he was instrumental in the creation of our local bike paths as well as the California Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Marine Resources Protection Act. As a member of the House of Representatives from 1974 to 1992, Lagomarsino authored legislation that created the Dick Smith Wilderness and the established of Channel Islands National Park, both of which would forever endear himself to area environmentalists.

Yvon Chouinard came to Southern California from Maine in 1946. A product of French Canadian parents, he quickly fell in love with the outdoors through the sport of rock climbing. By the time he was eighteen, he had migrated to big wall climbing in Yosemite. Teaching himself the blacksmithing skills needed to forge hardened pieces of steel into pitons for protection, Chouinard quickly learned how to support himself by selling the climbing hardware he made in the winter months to those he was climbing with in the spring and summer. Though he didn’t realize it at the time he was in the process of developing the business acumen that one day would be used to build one of the finest and most environmentally responsible outdoor equipment companies in the world: Patagonia.

Though from far different parts of the political and social spectrum both Lagomarsino and Chouinard remind us that we all have a responsibility to do what we can to help protect our natural environment. It is what Chouinard calls our “earth task” – a duty to find our own ways to give back for the impact each of us has on the environment.


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