Irvine’s Open Spaces

One of the best — and most distinctive — things about Irvine is our commitment to preserving open space.

The City of Irvine has more than 16,000 acres of permanently preserved parkland and open space – remarkable for a city of our size.

Irvine.flowerIn 1974, early in our city’s history, voters approved multimillion dollar measures to fund public parks and recreational facilities, and for the acquisition and development of bicycle trail and hiking trail improvements.

In 1989, the City negotiated an historic agreement with the Irvine Company that set aside more than 9,500 acres as permanent open space marshlands, bike trails, parks, nature conservancies and agricultural areas, protecting fully one-third of the city from development.

In addition, in 2006, nearly 37,000 acres of the Irvine Ranch were selected as a National Natural Landmark, a designation which reflects the outstanding condition, rarity, diversity, and value to science and education of the natural resources on the land.

As our Irvine Open Space Preserve website explains:

“Since its incorporation in 1971, Irvine has had a strong desire to balance the built and natural environment. As this incredible master-planned community has grown, each phase of development has been accompanied by the preservation and enhancement of natural open spaces, creating the network of parks, trails, and wildlands that residents and visitors may enjoy today and for generations to come.

Irvine.trails.01The Irvine Open Space Preserve comprises a significant portion of this landscape, protecting thousands of acres of native habitat, and providing linkages between natural resources found in the region, including the Cleveland National Forest, the San Joaquin Marsh, and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park among many others. The City’s commitment to preservation of local natural resources is reflected in the mosaic of native habitats, including chaparral shrub thickets, riparian wetland, native grass meadows, oak woodlands, and extremely rare coastal sage scrub. Here – in this wildlife sanctuary – deer, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, and hundreds of endangered birds, mammals, and reptiles thrive. A protected habitat for flora and fauna alike, the Preserve also provides a rare recreational opportunity for the community. Irvine’s residents and visitors may explore the land through myriad activities – from hiking, biking, and equestrian treks, to plein air painting, to stewardship and restoration programs – or may simply retreat into the open space to find peace and solace.”

Some of the things you can do in the Irvine Open Space Preserve are:

  • Hike, bike, or ride your horse along the trails and across the bridges in beautiful Bommer Canyon, where you can also see remnants of the old cattle ranch that operated here until the second half of the 20th century. If you want to push yourself a bit harder, continue onto the trails in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, a beautiful nature preserve operated by Orange County Parks.
  • Sign up for a guided sunset hike along the Orchard Hills Loop Trail, where you will be rewarded for your exertions with a gorgeous view of the city from Loma Ridge. On clear days, it’s also possible to see Camp Pendleton, Catalina and San Clemente Islands, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the distance.
  • Sign up for a guided sunset hike along the Orchard Hills Loop Trail, where you will be rewarded for your exertions with a gorgeous view of the city from Loma Ridge. On clear days, it’s also possible to see Camp Pendleton, Catalina and San Clemente Islands, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the distance.

Please visit the Irvine Open Space Preserve website to find out more.  You can also visit the website for the Irvine Ranch National Landmarks, which has a terrific interactive map, explaining more about the nearly 40,000 acres of open space on the historic Irvine Ranch that have been designated a Natural Landmark by both the State of California and the U.S. Department of Interior.

If you have any questions, contact our City of Irvine staff, who will be happy to help you enjoy Irvine’s parks and open spaces.

You can also contact me at mefox@cityofirvine.org (for Irvine Community Service Commission matters) or melissa@melissafoxlaw.com.

Please visit Irvine’s open spaces!

Let me know about your adventures!

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