Whether visitors are newcomers looking to discover the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks for the first time or returning to the lands for a new adventure, Wilderness Access Days give visitors of all skill levels and interests the chance to get outside and connect with nature. Keep reading for more information on Wilderness Access Days and to register for the next program!
Wilderness Access Days give the community self-guided access through the open spaces on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Hikers, bikers, and equestrians have an opportunity to explore trails within the City of Irvine’s Bommer Canyon, and OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve and Black Star Canyon Wilderness Park.
Usually only accessible through guided-programs, Wilderness Access Day: Bommer Canyon on Saturday, December 16 from 8 a.m. – 2p.m. invites trail enthusiasts to enjoy self-guided access through Bommer Canyon and Shady Canyon. Nature lovers can hike or ride through ancient oak and sycamore groves and rough rock outcrops. Those looking to step out of the city and into nature can look to highly trained Conservancy volunteers for directions, tips about exploring the landmark, or for fun facts about the plant and wildlife around them.
Alex Spiczenski, Field Naturalist at the Conservancy, leads special guided hikes during Wilderness Access Days that give visitors a new perspective on the Landmark they’re visiting. These hikes are highly variable with topics that range from geology and birding to taxonomy and kid-friendly hikes. “There are interpretive hikes throughout the year that cater to what’s thriving that season, like birding programs in the winter and wildflower hikes in the spring – there is always something happening on the Landmarks” commented Alex.
Visitors looking to learn more about the newly renovated corral in Bommer Canyon can join guided-hike, Exploring Bommer: Life on the Ranch on Saturday, December 16 from 9am – 10:30 a.m. and are welcome to explore the canyon afterwards during Wilderness Access Day. On Saturday, January 6 from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m., outdoor enthusiasts can join a nature talk and learn more about the birds that call Baker Meadow in Black Star Canyon home during Explore Black Star Canyon: Birding in the Meadow. After the program, participants can continue to survey Black Star Canyon during Wilderness Access Day: Black Star Canyon.
These events coincide with Wilderness Access Days and are a wonderful jumping off point to exploring the open spaces. Nature lovers can start their morning with the guided interpretive hike to learn more about the space they are exploring then are free to create their own adventure and discover other exciting trails throughout the Landmark.
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 Wilderness Access Days 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.