The New Year inspires people across the county and beyond to set goals to improve their quality of life. Every January people are often inspired to get healthy, spend more quality time with family and friends, and give back to the community. If there’s a resolution on your list that involves more time spent outdoors, there are many opportunities to get outside and enhance your lifestyle on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Visit www.LetsGoOutside.org or read below to browse an array of programs and activities to jump start New Year’s resolutions for a brighter 2018.
Whether visitors are setting goals to start moving more or improve their overall fitness, adventure-seekers of all ages and skill levels have the chance to start their health journey on the Landmarks. Ditch the overcrowded gym for fresh air and open spaces and move your exercise routine outdoors.
Those looking to incorporate a fitness routine into their busy schedules can start with the After Work Fitness Hike on Paved Hicks Haul Road every Monday evening from 6 – 7:30 p.m. Led by Irvine Ranch Conservancy volunteers, this personalized hike encourages health hunters to ease into what fitness level they are most comfortable with. Participants can either walk, job, or run on the paved Hicks Haul Road in OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. Hikers are encouraged to dress in layers and bring adequate water and red lens flashlight for this 3.5-mile hike to the top of Loma Ridge and back down.
For a change of scenery, trekkers are encouraged to get fit in the City of Irvine during the Orchard Hills Evening Hike from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. This 3-mile hike is led by Conservancy volunteers at a moderate pace and occurs several times a month. Fitness-seekers will conquer several very steep climbs during the hike and be rewarded with sweeping and unobstructed views to the west.
Families looking to find kid-friendly activities that don’t involve sitting in front of the TV can opt for a program on the Landmarks! Getting out of the house and into nature can serve as great family bonding time, while also giving everyone the opportunity to get moving and learn about the surrounding lands.
Wilderness Access Days are a great opportunity to gather the family and choose your own adventure through the network of trails offered in several different parks. On Saturday, January 6 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Wilderness Access Day: Black Star Canyon offers beginners and families great introductory trails for a pleasant hike through nature. Whether you choose a 30-minute stroll or a 7-mile cardio trek through the canyon, discover the local plant and wildlife on the open spaces of OC Parks’ Black Star Canyon.
Those families looking for a more guided approach can join the Family Hike: Round Canyon program from 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm. This monthly interpretive program gives families the chance to enjoy nature while walking along a flat trail and watching for red-tailed hawks and mule deer. The slower-paced hike will travel 2.5 miles into Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. Families should come prepared with comfortable shoes, water, and be ready to enjoy the sights and smells of nature in early evening.
Donating your time to the Landmarks during a stewardship program is a wonderful opportunity to give back to nature. Roll up your sleeves and feel the earth beneath your fingertips while helping care for the local habitat.
Whether visitors volunteer once a month or a couple times a week, the Dig in! Plant Wildflowers with the Native Seed Farm program welcomes nature lovers to get their hands wet – or dirty! During this program, volunteers will help behind-the-scenes at the one-of-a-kind Native Seed Farm on the Irvine Ranch Open Space Preserve. Plant native plants in the growing fields and remove invasive weeds to protect them while they grow. Once these plants grow, their seeds will be harvested, grown, and seedlings will be planted on the Landmarks to provide food and shelter to the local wildlife.
Visitors can continue their volunteer experience at the Native Plant Nursery at Augustine Staging Area program. This activity gives volunteers the unique opportunity to help plant local species including coastal sage scrub. Once the plants sprout, they will enhance the native habitat in Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. All tools and training will be provided for volunteers, so no prior experience is needed.
No matter what visitors wish to achieve in the New Year, the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are the perfect place to kick-start a great year! Most programs are free with required registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to the event. To learn more about or to register for these activities, click on the titles above or go to www.LetsGoOutside.org/activities.