As cities began to develop in the late 1800s, farming became the backbone of the local economy and remained an important part of Orange County until the 1950s. A variety of crops including wheat, barley, beans, grapes, walnuts, and oranges were successfully grown on the land. Citrus trees eventually became one of the most prominent crops grown on the Irvine Ranch, with Orange County producing a sixth of the nation’s Valencia orange crop by the 1930s.
By the mid-1950s, small sections of the Irvine Ranch began opening to urban development, which led the economy to be dominated by tourism, manufacturing and service industries. Due to the rise in urban development on the Irvine Ranch, local residents put forth an effort to preserve the local native wildlands. In 1988, the Irvine Open Space Initiative was passed, which ensured the permanent preservation of large areas of land throughout Irvine for wildlife habitat and recreation.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy, in partnership with the City of Irvine, continues to help preserve, restore and protect the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks by actively managing these native wildlands and ensuring they can be enjoyed for years to come. To learn more about the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org.