The next time you find yourself on a stretch of pristine California coastline, you can thank Peter Douglas for what you don't see, such as high-rises or offshore oil-drilling platforms. The 69-year-old, who died April 1, fought hard against coastal development throughout his storied career as an attorney and the director of the California Coastal Commission.
His and the commission's long list of conservation victories includes blocking the Pebble Beach Company from developing a golf course that would have cleared thousands of trees. His work to protect public access led to the development of a number of state parks all along the state's 1,100 miles of coastline. Tomales Bay in Marin County, north of San Francisco and Crystal Cove State Park in Orange County are two examples.