Crystal Cove Conservancy is a nonprofit public benefit organization dedicated to leveraging the unique cultural, historical, and natural resources of a restored and protected Crystal Cove State Park as an outdoor laboratory and classroom to cultivate our planet’s next generation of environmental stewards.
The Conservancy works in partnership with California State Parks to provide stewardship support for Crystal Cove’s nearly 2,800 acres of public lands including: The Crystal Cove Historic District and beach cottages, a National Register of Historic Places site; 2,400 acres of pristine wilderness habitat and the unspoiled Moro Canyon watershed, a National Natural Landmark site; over three miles of rocky beach coastline and intertidal habitat; 400 acres of coastal bluff habitat; and special underwater and offshore areas including the Crystal Cove State Marine Conservation Area. By being a stewardship partner for this Southern California jewel, The Conservancy has been uniquely positioned to develop a nationally-recognized STEM education program that uses authentic field science and monitoring to immerse students and community members in the practice of conservation and open space management.
The Alliance to Rescue Crystal Cove, originally founded in 1999 by Laura Davick to stop the loss of this important piece of California history, transitioned to Crystal Cove Alliance in 2003, and since 2017 will forever be known as Crystal Cove Conservancy. Laura Davick spearheaded the effort to preserve Crystal Cove State Park’s Historic District from becoming a luxury resort. Once the historic site was rescued in 2001, and a new Preservation and Public Use Plan was completed and approved, this organization was awarded the Official Non-Profit Cooperating Association contract and the Concession Management contracts for the park. Through this collaborative relationship with California State Parks, The Conservancy has become a nationally-recognized model for public-private partnerships.
Laura Davick is a third-generation “Covite” whose family, began tent camping at Crystal Cove in 1937. Laura’s parents met at Crystal Cove in 1940 and then occupied Cottage #2 from 1961 until 2001, now known at The Shell Shack. In 2001, the private leases expired and all of the Covite’s moved out.
Crystal Cove was originally part of the Irvine Ranch and was owned by the Irvine family and The Irvine Company for almost a century. The cottages evolved during the 1920’s and 30’s and were originally built by squatters. In 1940, the Irvine Company began a formal leasing system with the occupants that lived there. In 1979, the Irvine Company sold the property to California State Parks. It truly has become one of Orange County’s greatest parks and most iconic destinations. Today, these cottages stand as the last intact example of early California vernacular beach architecture and have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.