CSPRA Honorary California State Park Ranger - 1998
Les Strnad

For over 24 years, Les has dedicated his life to coastal protection, environmental education, enhanced public recreational opportunity, wetland and marine wildlife protection within California's central coast region.

As Deputy District Director for the California Coastal Commission, Les has been a major force in formulating and implementing public policy directed at protecting the irreplaceable coastal environment that he truly loves. Few individuals have achieved such outstanding success and engendered such profound respect from the public, local government officials, and fellow professionals in resource management.

Les began his distinguished career as a Seasonal Interpreter / Naturalist for California State Parks at Point Lobos State Reserve. He aspired to become a State Park Ranger but instead followed a career path with the Coastal Commission. Along that path, Les has worked with the many of the Department's District Superintendents and other park professionals from San Mateo to Ventura Counties. Les' management philosophy and style embodies a cooperative interagency approach to solving environmental problems. Linking environmental planning concepts, research and politics to informed and effective coastal protection policy, the California State Park System, and its values as embodied in its mission statement, have benefited greatly as has the recreating public enjoying the outstanding scenic and natural wonders of California's central coast.

Les has recently received eighteen awards of recognition for his years of distinguished public service. Rather than summarize his considerable accomplishments, we have attached copies of these awards so that you can read the full extent of praise bestowed upon him. A lifetime of outstanding achievement in field of environmental protection and coastal resource management, his efforts in environmental education and his contributions as an ardent supporter and ally of California State Parks well qualifies Les Strnad to be recognized as a Honorary State Park Ranger by the California State Park Rangers Association.

Les has been a particular ally of State Parks resource management and protection goals through his application of the Coastal Commission's regulatory authority to management of central coast river mouths and lagoons. Pioneering State Parks funded research at Pescadero Marsh identified the importance of these habitats for steelhead and other aquatic life and the detrimental affects of breaching these lagoons for flood control and other utilitarian purposes.

The Coastal Commission staff recognized that the Coastal Act has regularity authority over lagoon breaching activities. As a result of Les' diligence on this issue management plans have been prepared for most central California coastal lagoons and breaching has now done following guidelines in these management plans. Most of the significant negative effects of the previously arbitrary breaching activities are now being avoided.

During public presentations Les often speaks of his early experiences as a State Park employee and his aspirations to become a State Park Ranger. Les recently took early retirement from the Coastal Commission so he could devote all his energies in fighting a life threatening illness.

It is appropriate that the California State Park Ranger's Association recognize his lifelong devotion to the coastal environment of California by bestowing on him the title of Honorary Ranger. In so doing, CSPRA brings honor to itself and to recognize an individual dedicated to the goals and mission of California State Parks.