The Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are home to many rare and native species across more than 40,000 acres of open space preserves, with designated areas open to the public for self-guided access and volunteer-led programs. In honor of National Public Lands Day, September 30, explore the open spaces in the City of Irvine, City of Newport Beach, and OC Parks by registering for an activity or enjoying designated trails. Connect with nature on National Public Lands Day and all month long on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, and start your adventure today at the Turtle Ridge Trail in Bommer Canyon which offers 7 day access from dawn to dusk.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy partners with the City of Irvine, the City of Newport Beach, and OC Parks to help care for the unusual geology, diverse flora and fauna, and native wildlife on the Landmarks. Last year over 200,000 participants across the nation helped improve 2,600 sites in honor of National Public Lands Day, and nature lovers looking to give back to the local lands can help care for native species by registering for an activity at the Native Seed Farm in the City of Irvine.
It’s Harvest Time! Collect Wildflower Seeds at the Native Seed Farm is a reoccurring activity that falls on September 30 from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., and welcomes volunteers to learn about plants native to the Landmarks. Volunteers will also harvest seeds and help weed out invasive plants, and the rewarding work of volunteers will provide local wildlife with food and shelter while also creating a barrier from the negative effects of floods and wildfires.
OC Parks’ Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park acts as a doorway between the Cleveland National Forest and the northern Santa Ana Mountains. This highly protected landmark is open to the public during scheduled programs, and visitors can enjoy self-guided access in Black Star Canyon on Wilderness Access Day Saturday, November 4 from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon is another open space preserve that offers programs to the public, including weekly treks along Paved Hicks Haul Road throughout the month of September and beyond.
Quail Hill in the City of Irvine connects southern Irvine’s widespread trail network, and the 2.8-acre Quail Hill Loop Trail is open daily for self-guided tours and is the only wilderness trail within the Landmarks that allows dogs on leash. One of the many guided activities offered at Quail Hill is the Mid Week Hike on Wednesday, September 20 from 7 a.m. – 12 p.m. This hike is moderately paced and contains single-track trails and steep climbs and descents and will give visitors a mid-week break from the week.
The City of Newport Beach’s Buck Gully Reserve is a natural canyon located on the coast of Newport Beach and gives visitors self-guided access from dawn to dusk and access during scheduled programs. On Saturday, October 14 from 8 a.m. -11:30 a.m. visitors can continue enjoying public lands, and explore Buck Gully with an Irvine Ranch guide during the Buck Gully Loop Hike.
Most programs on the Landmarks are free with required pre-registration, which closes 4 p.m. the day prior to each activity. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian, and nursery programs are suited for nature lovers age 8 and older. For more information on self-guided trails or to register for a program on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks in celebration of National Public Lands Day and beyond visit www.LetsGoOutside.org.