The Laguna Wilderness
by Ron Chilcote
2014, 10 1/2” x 11 1/4”, 120 pages, 115 photographs
This publication is an extended and updated version of Nature’s Laguna Wilderness title first published in 2003. This book is an activist document. The accomplished photography of a sumptuous landscape may obscure the fact that The Laguna Wilderness consists of equal parts of the three most powerful currents of nature photography over the past half century—art, political advocacy, and love of nature. Ron Chilcote deploys beauty as a political weapon.
This book is the product of more than forty years of activism in the struggle to secure and preserve what is popularly known as the Laguna Greenbelt – the undeveloped land between the city of Laguna Beach and the developed interior of southern Orange County.
The Laguna Wilderness further shows how people who care about nature can achieve control of precious open space and hold it intact for future generations. In this redesigned and revised volume, Chilcote provides a brief history of the way people have impacted the wilderness and even though historical accounts are incomplete, participant memories conflicting, and information contradictory, his description attempts a synthesis of what really happened. He also depicts the geography and geology of the area and its wildlife.
The Laguna Wilderness chronicles the decades-long struggle of a small coastal community to save its surrounding wilderness and celebrates the enduring presence of the hills and canyons of the Laguna Greenbelt. More than just beautiful images, Ron Chilcote’s photographs express the deep attachment he feels for the land in what is ultimately a work of love.
Elisabeth Brown, President, Laguna Greenbelt, Inc.
The remarkable story of the preservation of Laguna’s wilderness needs to be told. Lida Lenney, a leader and catalyst for saving Laguna Canyon, was beginning a book on this monumental effort before her untimely death. Fortunately, Ron Chilcote has taken on that task, and from this book it is clear why the Laguna Greenbelt inspired such devotion and commitment.
Ann Christoph, former mayor and advocate of open space
The Laguna Wilderness is a joy. Its concise and comprehensive history of Laguna Beach and its surrounding open space should be required reading for all Lagunans.
Gene Felder, Laguna Beach Historical Society
Ron Chilcote’s skill as a photographer and his passion for this incredible open space resonate with the thousands who helped to preserve it. This wonderful book captures what so many of us love about the South Coast wilderness.
Derek Ostensen, President, Laguna Canyon Foundation
The camera’s lens has been used skillfully, dramatically, and artistically to showcase the incomparable beauty of the Laguna Wilderness. The photographs show why thousands walked to save Laguna Canyon for current and future generations.
Carolyn Wood, President, Laguna Canyon Conservancy
Chilcote’s magnificent images are a faithful reminder of the passion this wonderful land evokes in the many people who worked so hard to save it. The book is a fitting tribute to their perseverance and an accurate record of the years of struggle, hope and ultimate triumph in preserving and protecting the wilderness open space.