In a surprise addition to a birthday celebration on April 8, former Yucaipa Mayor Dick Riddell was honored with The Wildlands Conservancy’s (TWC) prestigious Lifetime Conservation Award.
“I thought I was invited to have lunch with a few of my close friends to celebrate my 96th birthday,” said Riddell. “You can imagine how surprised I was to see over 30 of my long-time friends, many of whom I have worked with since before the city’s incorporation in 1989, to mold Yucaipa into the special community we live in today.
“Among those in attendance was Mr. David Myers, the executive director of the Wildlands Conservancy, with whom I have worked with for many years on preserving land in its natural state in perpetuity.”
Myers made a rare appearance and attended the luncheon, along with Wildlands Conservancy’s Dana Rochat. He presented Riddell with the majestic bald eagle in flight statue.
“The Wildlands Conservancy gave Dick Riddell our Lifetime Conservation Award for his leadership and success in establishing a state park, a city wildlands park, regional trails and giving a courageous voice to conservation whenever and wherever it was needed,” said Myers. “The bald eagle sculpture symbolizes his honesty, integrity, and strength of character that makes Dick a great American.”
The attendees applauded and Riddell said he was deeply honored and it was the greatest award he had ever received during his career and it meant the world coming from his “hero.”
“I was surprised and overwhelmed,” said Riddell. “The majestic flying eagle trophy symbolizing such an important award from this renown organization left me completely speechless.”
Riddell is also known for authoring the Oak Tree Ordinance throughout the city of Yucaipa. His name and credit, along with Frank Sissons, is permanently secured on a monument at El Dorado Ranch Park. Additionally, he has been a supporter and member of Crafton Hills Open Space Conservancy, Yucaipa Valley Conservancy and California Oak Foundation, Yucaipa Historical Society, and has been vocal about his commitment to protecting open space and the rural character that is Yucaipa.