Washington, D.C. - This year the American Society of Landscape Architects presented the LaGasse Medal to landscape architect John Reynolds, FASLA, and citizen activist Sylvia McLaughlin. The LaGasse Medal is presented to a landscape architect and a non-landscape architect who, through professional practice or utilization of landscape architecture, have made notable contributions to the management of natural resources, the management of public lands, or the management of other lands in the public interest. Previous recipients include Gerald Patten, Morris Udall, and Ian McHarg.
For over 40 years, John Reynolds has served the U. S. National Park Service (NPS) as landscape architect, regional director, and as deputy director of the entire National Park Service. His innovation, skills, and dedicated service earned him the Department of the Interior's first and second highest awards, the Distinguished and Meritorious Service Awards. Reynolds's many accomplishments include: the removal of intrusive development in Yosemite Valley; relocating commercial service facilities from the Giant Forest redwood grove in Sequoia National Park; and protecting the sensitive cave systems in Oregon Caves Monument while providing for growth in visitor use.
His support of environmental and conservation issues within his agency has enhanced the reputation and influenced the direction of the NPS.
A truly dedicated public servant in whatever capacity he serves, Reynolds is noted for his patience, his integrity, and his ability to balance public needs and the management of environmentally sensitive lands.
Forty years ago the San Francisco Bay had been reduced from 680 square miles to 430 square miles, and less than 20 feet of its 260 miles of shoreline was accessible to the public. While 70 percent of bay waters remained, without taking action, the so-called "reclamation" of the bay through filling would have rendered it a deep water ship channel in less than a century.
This man-made disaster did not occur because three women intervened before it was too late. In 1960, through the work of Catherine Kerr, Esther Gulick, and Sylvia McLaughlin, the Save San Franciso Bay Foundation was formed.
The efforts of these women and the citizen's association they created was rewarded. By 1969, the foundation was 17,000 strong--strong enough to persuade the state legislature to pass laws preserving and protecting the invaluable natural resource that is the San Francisco Bay.
Because they seldom held office, this generation of powerful, persuasive, and politically active women is too easily overlooked. Although this is one of many honors Mrs. McLaughlin has received over the years, the American Society of Landscape Architects is proud to award the non-landscape architect LaGasse Medal to Sylvia C. McLaughlin.