Board Approves Three Year Contract Extension with Irvine Ranch Conservancy
(Courtesy of OC Parks)
A partnership that has brought tens of thousands of visitors to Orange County’s Irvine Ranch Open Space areas will continue, increasing opportunities for public access and adding new trails.
This week the Board approved a three-year contract with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy to continue its partnership with OC Parks to operate the 20,000-acre Irvine Ranch Open Space, which is almost entirely in the Third District.
“The people of Orange County are the owners of this incredible resource at Irvine Ranch Open Space, and our open space is known around the state and the nation,” Supervisor Todd Spitzer said. “The job of the Board of Supervisors and our OC Parks staff is to ensure the public’s ability to enjoy open space while protecting these areas and the plants and wildlife that inhabit them.”
In 2010, the Board approved acceptance of these 20,000 acres of open space donated by the Irvine Company. This wild land was the very first California Natural Landmark, and has been designated a National Natural Landmark.
With this land’s move from private to public ownership, the Board and OC Parks have been working to maximize public access while also managing these resources and sensitive habitat responsibly. For the past three years, the Irvine Ranch Conservancy has effectively partnered with the County to do just that.
In those three years, more than 34,000 people have participated in more than 3,700 public programs. Some 375 regular volunteers have contributed more than 57,000 hours, leading hikes, restoring habitat and performing other vital tasks. And to help protect these wild lands, 200 Fire Watch volunteers have deployed an average of six times each year during high fire-risk days.
OC Parks and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy have pledged to increase the number of programs, participants and volunteer hours going forward. They also plan to open 40 miles of new trail loops and connections.
The Irvine Ranch Conservancy operates numerous programs every week at locations including Limestone Canyon, Black Star Canyon, Baker Canyon, Loma Ridge and the Hicks Haul Road. In addition to regularly scheduled activities, like hikes and bike rides, there are monthly Wilderness Access Days for self-guided access.
For a full schedule of activities, go tohttp://www.irlandmarks.org/Activities/.