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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

Sierra Club
   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

Coastal guardians receive Sierra Club national awards

Ken and Gabrielle Adelman win Ansel Adams Award

painting, "Past Ventana" by Bill Fravel
Gabrielle and Ken Adelman prepare to update the California Coastal Records Project

Corralitos residents Ken and Gabrielle Adelman will receive the Sierra Club's prestigious Ansel Adams Award for photography which furthers the cause of conservation at the Club's National Banquet in September in San Francisco. The Adelmans have personally taken over 12,000 aerial photographs of the California coast and created an online website of the collection. Gabrielle Adelman pilots a helicopter as Ken takes the pictures. Ken's virtuosity in the high-tech world has enabled him to transform a vision into a valuable public resource.

Their detailed, online visual survey instantly became an indispensable tool for coastal activists, scientists, students, and environmentalists. "The pressure for development along the California coast is unrelenting," noted Gary Patton, Executive Director of LandWatch Monterey County. "Thanks to the Adelmans, concerned persons everywhere can now see what that development has done and how much of this spectacular coast is still worth protecting."

Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz
(c) 2002-2004 Kenneth Adelman, California Coastal Records Project,

Mark Massara, Director of Sierra Club Coastal Programs praised the Adelmans for donating every aspect of the project. "As campaign staff and volunteers travel up and down the coast recruiting Sierra Club activists for state-wide and local coastal protection efforts, we are ever grateful for the gift that the Adelmans have provided to conservationists free of any charge," said Massara.

The project was created in 2002 after Susan Jordan of the California Coastal Protection Network decried the lack of an aerial database to use in coastal protection. When Jordan was unable to generate foundation funding for the project, Massara introduced her to the Adelmans. A year later the Corralitos couple had developed the process they would use to create this extraordinary resource including determining the optimum altitude, angle and frame speed for the digital photos and developing the manner in which the pictures would be made available to the public.

Lovers' Point from the air
(c) 2002-2004 Kenneth Adelman, California Coastal Records Project,

The images are easy to download in a choice of file sizes for various uses. Revenues generated by for-profit users are donated to the California Coastal Protection Network for coastal conservation work. The visual record became even more valuable when a collection of more than 5,800 aerial photographs from 1972 was recently added to the website. The magic of the digital age has now allowed easy comparison between current images and the photos taken before the California Coastal Act was passed.

To view this extraordinary collection of photographs, visit

Peter Douglas honored with Distinguished Service Award

Peter Douglas

Peter Douglas, Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission since 1985, will be honored with a Distinguished Service Award at the Club National Banquet in September. Douglas has been active in coastal protection for four decades and was coauthor of Proposition 20, a citizens' initiative that established the Coastal Commission. He was principal author of the 1976 Coastal Act that made permanent California's coastal management program.

Douglas earned a BA in psychology followed by a law degree in 1969 from UCLA. He has written extensively about coastal management and environmental stewardship. A founding member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science Advisory Board, he was reappointed to another three-year term in July 2001. He is the only non-scientist on that board.

As Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission, Douglas manages a 165-staff State agency mandated to balance use and conservation of resources along California's 1,100-mile coastline. Under his leadership, the Coastal Commission has expanded public access to the coast for all, with notable successes at Pebble Beach and numerous sites in southern California.

Douglas successfully led a legal challenge to the federal government's action to automatically renew the 36 offshore oil and gas leases off the California Coast. He has worked to protect habitat from the Oregon border to Mexico. "Perhaps Peter's greatest accomplishment is the building of an agency staffed by professionals who independently apply the Coastal Act free from political pressure," observed Susan Jordan of the California Coastal Protection Network.

The coast of California would look very different were it not for the dedication and hard work of Douglas's lifetime of service influencing public policy and educating residents to protect the coast. His most enduring legacy is what you don't see: the hotels not built on sensitive coastal dunes, the golf courses not constructed on windswept bluffs, the scenic views not blocked.

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