April 11, 2012 – Ushering in a sweeping new era of public ownership and access to thousands of acres of Orange County’s most prized natural lands, the (Orange County) Board of Supervisors today accepted the long-anticipated final gift of more than 20,000 acres of pristine, permanently protected open space and parklands from the Irvine Company.
These lands have been designated both a California and National Natural Landmark and are part of a grand total of 50,000 acres of permanently protected open space and parklands located on The Irvine Ranch and donated to Orange County. This unprecedented gift was created through collaborative conservation efforts spanning over 100 years involving the Irvine Company, community organizations, municipalities, government agencies and environmental groups.
This exceptional 50,000-acre gift is over 10 times the size of Griffith Park in Los Angeles (4,210 acres) and almost 60 times the size of Central Park in New York (843 acres).
The vast donation of permanently protected land includes: Bommer Canyon, Crystal Cove State Park, Upper Newport Bay, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and Quail Hill. Today’s gift adds the spectacular Limestone, Fremont, Weir, Black Star and Gypsum canyons to that list.
More details about the donation – Donald-Bren.com
From OC Parks:
…encompasses approximately 4,300 acres of riparian and oak woodland canyons, rolling grassland hills and steep slopes of coastal sage scrub and chaparral. The park is highlighted by scenic rock formations, including the beautiful Red Rock Canyon.
There are three intermittent streams: Borrego, Serrano and Aliso Creek meandering through the park, each hosting an abundance of wildlife. Remnants of the former cattle ranching days can be seen throughout the park.
Though 90% of the park burned in the Santiago Fire of 2007, the land is in the recovery process.
In our last trip we see two sets of deer, falcons overhead, ridiculously large squirrels, and we may or may not have been growled at by a mountain lion!
Definitely worth a trip.