President Obama signed S. 925 (Boxer, D-Calif.) into law Friday, renaming a mountain peak in Mono County for 1950s Olympian and former Mono County Supervisor Andrea Lawrence, who died in 2009.
Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), whose 25th congressional district includes the area, carried companion legislation (H.R. 1818) in the House. It passed in December on a 408-7 vote.
Sen. Barbara Boxer released the following statement Friday:
U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today praised President Obama for signing her bill, the Mt. Andrea Lawrence Designation Act, into law. This legislation will name a mountain peak in Mono County “Mt. Andrea Lawrence” in honor of the renowned conservationist, three-time Olympian and former member of the Mono County Board of Supervisors who passed away in 2009. The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and passed the House on a 408 to seven vote.
“I am so pleased that President Obama signed this bill honoring the life and contributions of one of Mono County’s most distinguished residents,” Senator Boxer said. “Andrea Lawrence dedicated her life to protecting the treasures of the Eastern Sierra. Her passion and achievements were larger than life, which is why I cannot think of a more fitting tribute than to name this majestic peak in her honor.”
Andrea Mead Lawrence was a three-time Olympian who remains the only American double Olympic gold medalist in alpine skiing. She was inducted into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1958 at the age of 25, and in 2002, sports writer and documentary filmmaker Bud Greenspan called her “the greatest Winter Olympian of all time.”
Lawrence was also a committed conservationist who worked to protect and restore Mammoth Lakes, Mono Lake, Bodie State Historic Park and other important natural and cultural resources of the Eastern Sierra. She served for 16 years on the Mono County Board of Supervisors as well as on the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District and in 2003 founded the Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers to promote environmental protection and economic vitality in the region.
Peak 12,240, previously identified only by its elevation, is located in Mono County near the Tuolumne County border. It is on the border of the Ansel Adams Wilderness, just east of Yosemite National Park. The John Muir trail passes close to the peak.
Senator Boxer and Congressman Buck McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) – who sponsored identical House legislation – first introduced the legislation during the 111th Congress. Supporters of this bill include Andrea Lawrence’s family, the Mono County Board of Supervisors, the Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, the Mono County Democratic Central Committee, the Mammoth Town Council, the Mono Lake Committee, the Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers, the Sierra Nevada Alliance, the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Town of Mammoth Lakes Council Member Wendy Sugimura and former Mono County Supervisor Tim Alpers.
McKeon issued the following statement in December:
U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon
Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon praised the passage of S. 925, legislation naming a peak in the Eastern Sierra in honor of Andrea Mead Lawrence, a local hero in the Mammoth Mountain area. S.925 is a companion bill to Congressman McKeon’s House version, H.R. 1818 and passed last night by a vote of 408-7. This bill is now headed to President Obama’s desk for signature into law.
Below are Congressman McKeon’s remarks on this bill as prepared for the Congressional Record:
“I would like to thank Senator Boxer for working with me to ensure the legacy of a great woman who called the Eastern Sierra home. Let me also express my appreciation to the leaders of the Committee on Natural Resources, Chairman Hastings and Ranking Member Markey who worked to help bring this legislation to the floor today, as well as Majority Leader Cantor for allowing this bill to move.
“Andrea Mead Lawrence was a remarkable woman. I was honored to know and work with her for the protection of the Eastern Sierra, a cause she championed for much of her life. Born in Rutland County, Vermont on April 19, 1932, she developed a life-long love of winter sports and appreciation for the environment. A skilled skier, she competed in the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland as well as the 1956 Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo Italy. She also served as the torch lighter at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. In the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo Norway, she won two Gold Medals in the Olympic special and giant slalom races. For her significant accomplishments, she was inducted into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame in 1958, at the age of 25.
“These remarkable achievements at a young age, however, were just the beginning of a life of service to her community and environmental preservation. In 1968, Andrea moved to Mammoth Lakes in the spectacularly beautiful Eastern Sierra of California. It was in this special region she spent the rest of her life working to protect the area’s natural treasures.
“Never one to rest on her accomplishments, she founded the Friends of Mammoth to maintain the beauty and serenity of Mammoth Lakes and the Eastern Sierra. She served for 16 years on the Mono County Board of Supervisors, where she worked tirelessly to protect and restore Mono Lake, Bodie State Historic Park, and other important natural and cultural landscapes of the Eastern Sierra. As a member of the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District, she worked to reduce air pollution caused by the dewatering of Owens Lake. In 2003, she founded the Andrea Lawrence Institute for Mountains and Rivers to protect the environment and the economic vitality of this important region.
“In 2008, she testified before the Mono County Board of Supervisors in favor of the Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act, a bill enacted the day before she died on March 31, 2009 at the age of 76. Andrea left a rich legacy of a family of five children and four grandchildren, as well as a distinguished record in skiing. Her tireless efforts have left a better legacy for the people who live and recreate in the Eastern Sierra.
“Andrea Mead Lawrence’s life philosophy is summed up in her quote “Your life doesn’t stop by winning medals. It’s only the beginning. And if you have the true Olympic spirit, you have to put it back into the world in meaningful ways.” Mr. Speaker, it is very fitting to name Peak 12,240 “Mt. Andrea Lawrence;” both in her honor, and as a visible point of inspiration for future generations.”