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May 28, 2005

1st of 3 Mtn. to Sea Trails opens in Orange County, Ca.

This is great news for Cyclists of all stripes, and walkers, and hikers, as well.

Three trails connecting the Cleveland National Forest to the ocean are focal points of an Irvine Co. plan to preserve 50,000 acres of the old Irvine Ranch.

Company Chairman Donald Bren announced Thursday that the Bren Foundation will donate $20 million to the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve Trust to expand access to the area, the largest portions encompassing Weir, Fremont and Limestone Canyons to the north, Shady and Bommer Canyons in the south and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

California has a great reputation for some of the best hiking, and biking spots in the nation, and Orange County's place in it has just gotten an unbelievable boost.

The first trail, called "Mountains-to-Sea," runs from Weir Canyon all the way to Newport Coast.

Portions of the trail were completed years ago, but the Irvine Co. worked with five cities - Irvine, Newport Beach, Tustin, Orange and Anaheim - and the county to link all the segments.

The other two planned trails will straddle the planned Great Park and also run from the mountains to the sea. Bren said he wants those trails opened within 18 months.

I've written about portions of this trail, that I've rode on my bike, and the Newport Back Bay is one of my favorite, and interesting, places to visit.

For Bren preserving the land for recreational use is a passion.

Bren asked the elected officials and conservation leaders gathered at Irvine Regional Park on Thursday to join him in an "unwavering commitment to ensure that this precious land is managed, improved and enjoyed forever."

Bren's latest donation brings to $50 million the contributions to the reserve by the Bren Foundation. The money will be spent to cut 30 new trails, some as long as 17 miles.

"I believe we can create a world-renowned park, restored and managed to standards that inspire others," he said.

Choosing to make this announcement in Irvine was important to him:

"We chose this setting because of the park's deep historical ties to our company's open space and historical legacy," Bren said of his gift to the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve.

Irvine Regional Park, just outside the northwest city limits of Orange, was donated to the county in 1897 by Irvine Co. founder James Irvine. The land reserve, 50,000-plus acres, includes 11,000 acres set aside in 2001.

When most folks think of the Irvine Co. they think of housing tracts, and Shopping Malls, and may not realize the historic part the company has played in the preservation of open land in Orange County.

The opportunities for exercise, fun, and adventure, are endless in the Great Outdoors, and  depending on the time of day you choose to wander about you may, alongside an amazing variety of trees and blooming wildflowers, see abundant wildlife such as bobcats, deer, rabbits, squirrels, skunks, fish, lizards, snakes, bats, ducks, and a variety of other local, and migratory, birds.

This particular route  ( Wonderful Interactive MAP!! ) passes through the cities of Orange, Tustin, Irvine and Newport Beach, and the other 2, future routes, will be further to the south.

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May 28, 2005 in Riding Orange County | Permalink

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Comments

Great but how do you get on it. I ride up the trail from the back bay but I can't find it. The markings on the trail end at that bridge that goes across the creek by that skating rink. You must leave the creek trail and start north on the mountain to sea trail somewhere right around there but I can't find it. Any help will be appreciated.

Posted by: Hugh | Jun 10, 2005 4:30:24 PM

The Jeffrey detour markings need to be improved... they're not very user friendly.

Posted by: Ellen Dowd | Jul 12, 2005 1:39:37 PM

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