Honoring Our Founder, Laura Davick


This year, The Conservancy honors Founder, Laura Davick and her tireless commitment to saving Crystal Cove.  A third generation “Coveite” she has dedicated the last twenty years of her life to advocating for environmental protection, historic preservation, and education at Crystal Cove State Park.

Davick grew up at Crystal Cove amid the 46 cottages, built in the early 1920s and 30s, on land originally owned by the Irvine Company, and her experiences there shaped what would become her vision for a fully restored and protected Crystal Cove State Park. Davick’s parents met as campers at Crystal Cove in 1940. They moved into Cottage #2 in 1960 when Davick was a year old and this became the base from which Davick would launch her fight to save the Cove.

For decades, the Cove was a haven for artists and families that were fortunate enough to live there.  In 1979, The Irvine Company sold 1,898 acres of coastal property, including Crystal Cove and its cottages, to California State Parks.  The residents living there remained until their leases expired in 2001 and they had to vacate.

In 1999, when a long-term contract emerged to create a luxury resort on the site – now known as the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District – with rooms estimated to cost $350 to $700 per night, Davick’s fight to save the cove took on new meaning.  This could have been a dangerous precedent for California State Park lands.

Using the leadership savvy and entrepreneurial spirit she had developed as a business owner, Davick founded the non-profit Alliance to Rescue Crystal Cove, now Crystal Cove Conservancy. A formidable force on many fronts at the Cove, including both environmental protection and historic preservation, she has crawled through pipes to prove that runoff from a nearby development was polluting the waters of the Cove and led the fight to prevent the historic cottages from becoming a luxury resort.

Under Davick’s thoughtful and strategic leadership, the original Alliance to Rescue Crystal Cove played a pivotal role in persuading the State to abandon the luxury resort plan by raising public awareness through an association of State Parks officials, community leaders and other interested groups. After years of tireless work on Davick’s part, the California State Park Commission and the California Coastal Commission adopted the Preservation and Public Use Plan in 2003 that preserves the cottages in the Historic District for interpretive and overnight public uses. When this plan was adopted, efforts shifted from rescue to restoration, education, and conservation.

In 2003, under Davick’s watchful eye, the organization became the official Cooperating Association benefiting the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District. This contractual relationship runs through 2056 and allows The Conservancy to work diligently in partnership with California State Parks as their public benefit partner.

Davick, now Founder Emeritus, sits on the board of The Conservancy and is Co-Chair of The Heritage Legacy Project for California, a campaign to fully restore the last 17 historic cottages in the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District.

On behalf of everyone who knows and loves the Cove, we wish to thank Davick for her dogged determination and unstinting dedication to protecting this beautiful and iconic place for people to enjoy for generations to come!

Join us in honoring Laura Davick at the Crystal Cove Soiree on October 5. For tickets or more information click here or call 949.376.6200.

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