Bommer Canyon is one of the most popular sites in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Visitors wander along the trails on foot and bicycle, enjoying the natural habitat. Many people want to know more about the plants and animals that live in this canyon, and the new Bommer Nature Garden will help visitors get up-close to the flora, fauna and history of this natural area.
In 1867, Bommer Canyon served as the hub of James Irvine’s cattle operations. More than a century later the cattle operations ceased, and then in the early 1980s the City of Irvine purchased the property to create an open space preserve. Today, remnants of the cattle operations infrastructure dot the hills, embedded in the natural space to remind visitors of the site’s history.
The native plants are still growing in and getting established, and during that time the garden will be open for a guided walk during the monthly Wilderness Access Days and for other scheduled programs. There will also be community volunteer opportunities in the garden, with members of the public invited to participate in keeping the plants free of weeds.
Wilderness Access Days in Bommer Canyon are scheduled for October 17, November 21, and December 19. Each Wilderness Access Day includes an “Exploring Bommer” walk that is guided by a trained naturalist. Beginning in October, each of these guided walks will include a trip through the Nature Garden, and if you’d like to learn more about the garden and the area’s history, there will be a naturalist-led walk called “Exploring Bommer: Life on the Ranch” during the November 21 access day.
Even when the garden itself is not open, visitors can stop along the Nature Loop Trail and see the native plants, vintage cattle operations structures and the many birds flitting between the large shrubs and trees. For more information on upcoming programs in Bommer Canyon, visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/activities.