Friends of Elfin Forest Honor ‘Heart and Soul’

Written by Estero Bay News

November 17, 2023

Yolanda Waddell being presented with a resloution by Assemblymember Dawn Addis during a Friends of the El Morro Elfin Forest. Photo submitted

The non-profit group Friends of El Moro Elfin Forest recently honored a longtime supporter of preserving the wilderness preserve of approximately 90 acres that is the home to a wide variety of native plants and animals. 

Last month, Yolanda Waddell was honored at the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of El Moro Elfin Forest held at the Morro Shores Mobile Home Park in Los Osos. 

“It is thanks to Yolanda Waddell that we have this treasure for ourselves and our children to enjoy for many years to come,” said Roger Carmody, secretary of Friends of El Moro Elfin Forest. “One person can make a difference.”

Various governmental and civic groups recognized Yolanda for her many years of service to the community of Los Osos.   Assemblywoman Dawn Addis presented a resolution from the State Assembly.  Yolanda was also honored with proclamations and certificates from US Congressman Salud Carbajal, California State Senator John Laird, the California Conservation Corp, the SLO County Parks, the County Board of Supervisors, and the Los Osos Chamber of Commerce.”

“Yolanda Waddell deserves all these accolades and more,” said Roger Carmody, secretary of Friends of El Moro Elfin Forest. “She has given many hours of her time and talents to maintaining and overseeing a unique and wonderful spot of land on the northern side of town overlooking the Morro Bay Estuary. The forest has been a principal concern of hers for the last 40 plus years. In many ways, Yolanda is the heart and soul of the Elfin Forest. She, along with the other founders, kept the idea of the Elfin Forest alive, even when it seemed an almost impossible dream.”

In 1985, before the property became a protected preserve, it was held by a private individual and was being planned and plotted as a development of vacation home sites with views of the estuary.  

“Yolanda had a vision of the area as a Wilderness Preserve, and she was determined to do everything she could to make it a reality,” Carmody said. “Yolanda helped organize a group of visionaries who gave their time, energy and skills to the project of the Elfin Forest.  Rose and Les Bowker, Elsie and Jerry Deitz, Larry and Pat Grimes, Barbara Machado, along with Yolanda formed the nucleus of this organization that was to eventually become the Friends of El Morro Elfin Forest .

After many years of letter writing and grant proposals, bake sales and creativity, the funding was finally obtained to acquire the land and in 1994 it become a permanent preserve, owned by SLO County Parks and California State Parks. The Friends of El Moro Elfin Forest act as stewards in caring for and maintaining the property under an “Adopt-A-Park” agreement with SLO County Parks. 

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