Cleveland National Forest protector wins award
he prestigious Feinstone Award, presented annually by
the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry,
has been awarded to San Diego County resident Duncan McFetridge. This year's
award will be made to McFetridge and three other individuals who by their
voluntary action, and on an unpaid basis, have made an outstanding contribution
to improving the physical environment.
Mr. McFetridge, who resides in Descanso, is President
of Save Our Forest and Ranchlands, and recently assumed the post of Executive
Director of the recently-formed Cleveland National Forest Foundation.
This award is the result of Mr. McFetridge's tireless
efforts. In 1993, he virtually single-handedly generated a ground swell
of county-wide support to establish the San Diego County Forest Conservation
Initiative. The initiative, a landmark effort now being emulated by others
throughout the state, saved the Cleveland National Forest from mass urbanization
and its virtual destruction. The initiative was overwhelmingly approved
by 65.7 percent of the voters.
Presentation of the award will be made by the President
of the State University of New York, who will travel to San Diego in the
early fall to present the award to Mr. McFetridge.
The Cleveland National Forest Foundation is a non-profit
citizens' organization undertaking the task of guarding and implementing
the voters' mandate to preserve one of the most precious forests in our
country, its endangered wildlife and diverse natural resources.
The Cleveland is recognized as the last wilderness in
our region. Established by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Cleveland's original
2 million acres has now been reduced to only 65,000. The plants and animals
surviving in this small remnant - including the puma, mule deer, golden
eagle, bald eagle, spotted owl, pond turtle, and San Diego thornmint - continue
to be threatened by urban development. Large areas of open land are critical
for their survival. The forest provides valuable watershed and grazing areas,
and is host to two world-class observatories. The Cleveland functions as
an important wilderness area linking Orange and Riverside counties to points
south and east. The Forest watershed supplies up to 20 percent of San Diego's
drinking water, saving many millions of dollars in imported water costs.
The Cleveland National Forest is composed of four non-contiguous
land areas in San Diego, Orange and Riverside Counties, separated by private
lands that include areas of rapid development. Within its boundaries, the
national forest is checkered with private property. All of this produces
the constant pressure of encroaching development - but also the opportunity
for acquisition or maintenance of land for preservation.
The Foundation's primary mission is to acquire private
land to extend, protect and restore the integrity of this vital natural
refuge for all Southern California. Private contributions will be used by
the Foundation to qualify for federal and state matching funds for strategic
land purchases and conservation agreements to preserve private lands.
The Foundation has assembled a prestigious body of advisors
including the Zoological Society of San Diego, the U.S. Forest Service,
Sweetwater Authority, eminent scientists, large landowners, the Audubon
Society, Mt. Laguna Observatory, and San Diego County Fly Fishers.
All contributions are tax deductible. For more information
or to request a brochure, call (619) 595-3693, or write the Cleveland National
Forest Foundation, P.O. Box 779, Descanso CA 91916.