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Nancy H. Pohl, 86; Preservationist Helped Save Fryman Canyon

Nancy Hoover Pohl, 86, an environmental activist who fought to preserve Fryman Canyon and other areas of the Santa Monica Mountains, died Sept. 2 in Studio City.

Pohl, the wife of Wadsworth Pohl, the award-winning technical effects expert for “Mary Poppins” and other films, became intrigued by the mountain canyons when she moved from Toluca Lake to Studio City in 1951. When rampant development threatened to denude those hillsides as it had her former community, Pohl got busy.

In 1952, she persuaded Los Angeles to regulate hillside growth. When officials threatened to build the Laurel Canyon Freeway in the 1970s, linking Los Angeles International and Palmdale airports but slicing through the Santa Monica Mountains en route, Pohl took her lobbying to Sacramento.

She invited, among others, then-Assemblyman and later Rep. Howard Berman to walk the hills with her and experience why the area must be preserved. The freeway was blocked.

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Pohl’s yeoman efforts over half a century were honored in 1998 when her favorite spot, 8401 Mulholland Drive, a mile west of Laurel Canyon Boulevard, was named the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook at Fryman Canyon Park.


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