Because of his “special love for the outdoors,” President Reagan should have the Angeles National Forest in northern Los Angeles County renamed in his honor, the Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday.
The board, at the urging of Supervisor Pete Schabarum, voted 4 to 0 to urge Congress to change the name of the protected forested region to the Reagan National Forest. Schabarum, who served in the Legislature when Reagan was California’s governor, cited the President’s longtime association with the state as a major reason for his proposal.
But environmental groups scoffed at the suggested name change. Calling it “an April Fools’ Day joke on the people of California,” Sierra Club spokesman Bob Hattoy said, “Substantive issues aside, naming a national forest after Ronald Reagan is like naming a day care center after W.C. Fields.” Fields was the crusty comic actor whose dislike of children was a Hollywood legend.
Joining the board’s three Republicans in supporting the name-change was Democrat Kenneth Hahn. Hahn, noting that the Reagan Administration has slashed Interior Department proposals to expand the nation’s recreation areas, nevertheless suggested that the President may be more receptive to such expenditures if the Angeles National Forest bore his name.
The other Democrat on the board, Ed Edelman, was not present Tuesday.