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Our Heritage

Saving Upper Newport Bay: How Frank and Frances Robinson Fought to Preserve one of California’s Last Estuaries
by Cassandra Radcliff

Published by Top Reads Publishing, Cover painting by Terry Ann Stanley

Available at the Peter and Mary Muth Center gift shop (closed until further notice): $17.00

Buy online now using Paypal link below. 




During Orange County’s population boom in the early 1960s, the Robinson family moved to Newport Beach. A short walk from their home was Upper Newport Bay, where they and their neighbors could play on North Star Beach, water ski on the bay’s calm water, or dig in the shallow mudflats for fresh clams for dinner. But land developers and local government officials had a different use for the open space in mind — build a private harbor much like the bustling lower Newport Bay and Balboa Island.

In 1963, 14-year-old Jay Robinson rode his bike down to North Star Beach and found a newly erected “private property” sign. His parents, Frank and Frances Robinson, would soon find themselves embroiled in one of the most important ecological battles in California, with friends, neighbors, newspapers, the government, and the courts all taking sides.

This is the story of two ordinary people’s life-changing journey, which ultimately impacted the history and ecology of southern California. (8×8, 128 pages, paperback)

Author, Cassandra Radcliff-Mendoza, a writer and editor from Orange County, California, began volunteering at Upper Newport Bay in 2014 after visiting the park for birdwatching. She currently lives in south Orange County with her husband and cat, and works for Walter Foster Publishing, a book publisher founded in Laguna Beach in 1922. Her passions are habitat restoration, local history, travel, and Disneyland.