Skip to comments.CA: 37,000 Acres of Irvine Ranch Receives Prestigious ‘National Natural Landmark’ Designation
Posted on 10/10/2006 4:59:28 PM PDT by calcowgirl
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Standing on land singled out by the federal government for its national environmental importance, National Park Service Director Fran Mainella today announced the designation of 37,000 acres on the historic Irvine Ranch as a National Natural Landmark (NNL).
The Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark joins Mount Shasta, Anza Borrego, Hawaiis Diamond Head and other beloved national landmarks
Honor recognizes designated land as a nationally significant natural area
First site in California to receive NNL designation since 1987
Land is a shining example of our nations natural treasures, says National Park Service Director Fran Mainella
Governor Schwarzenegger notes, Todays event celebrates another area of our state that can be enjoyed for generations.
The designation by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior of The Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark culminated an extensive and rigorous federal scientific evaluation process that involved the most objective, independent scientific study of the land to date, Mainella said.
This is an extraordinary day for all of us who have worked so hard together to set a new standard for protection, conservation and public access to open space in Orange County, said Donald Bren, chairman of The Irvine Company.
The 37,000 acres included in the NNL designation are precious, carefully preserved and maintained parks and open space owned by the County of Orange, the City of Irvine, The Irvine Company, The Nature Conservancy and California State Parks. They are part of the 50,000-acre Irvine Ranch Land Reserve, which was created over the last 100 years through conservation efforts of The Irvine Company, community organizations and municipalities.
"We must protect our environment so our children and grandchildren can enjoy the great land that we have inherited," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "Today's event celebrates another area of our state that can be enjoyed for generations."
The Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark is the first NNL to be designated in California since 1987.
The areas recognized by the NNL designation include Limestone and Fremont canyons, in the northern section of The Irvine Ranch in unincorporated county territory; Peters Canyon Regional Park near the City of Orange and maintained by the County of Orange; Crystal Cove State Park and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, which form a vast contiguous open space system stretching between the cities of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach and extending inland along Laguna Canyon Road, and Bommer Canyon, a key part of the City of Irvines southern open space preserve.
National Natural Landmarks are considered outstanding examples of the natural heritage of the United States, alongside national parks, recreation areas and monuments. Fewer than 600 sites have received the special designation. They include Mount Shasta, Torrey Pines State Park and Anza Borrego Desert in California; fabled Diamond Head on the island of Oahu; the Willamette River in Oregon; Dinosaur Valley in Texas, and Monhegan Island in Maine.
The Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark represents one of the few places in Southern California where contiguous, preserved habitats stretch from the mountains to the sea. It protects a wide variety of plants and animals, some endangered and others found nowhere else on earth.
Speaking from atop a bluff at Crystal Cove State Park to city, county, state and federal officials, Reserve landowners, and outdoor and environmental advocates, Mainella noted that the findings of the scientists who participated in the review process affirmed previous scientific evaluations that recognized the biological importance of the land.
The lands included in The Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark are first-rate in terms of their national environmental and scientific significance, Mainella said. The added bonus, of course, is that they happen to be remarkably beautiful as well. Simply put, they represent a shining example of our nations natural treasures, and Im honored to welcome them into the Park Services National Natural Landmarks program.
There have been many scientific studies on the geological and ecological resources on The Irvine Ranch in the last few decades, but the comprehensive review leading to the NNL designation was the most rigorous, objective and independent scientific study to date. Findings of the scientists who participated in the review confirmed and reinforced previous evaluations that recognized the biological and geological importance of the land, Mainella noted.
The exceptionally high scientific value of these designated lands stems from a combination of unusual geological and rare biological characteristics, said John Francis, vice president of research, conservation and exploration for the National Geographic Society. Rich coastal sage scrub and chaparral natural communities were the primary biological features that made many areas of the Reserve worthy of the NNL designation. Embedded within the expanses of scrub, Francis noted, are communities such as grasslands, stream corridors and oak woodlands, as well as important populations of rare and endangered plants and animals. The coastal sage scrub is very healthy and relatively undisturbed, and is one of the largest areas of this highly threatened Mediterranean-type shrubland remaining in California, the scientific reviewers noted.
In addition, rock formations and fossils found on the land revealed a sequence of events chronicling earths history that dates back nearly 80 million years. Indeed, geologists who studied the land as part of the NNL designation process recognized a number of unique and rare features, including fossils of hadrosaurian, or duckbilled, dinosaurs in the area known as Blind Canyon. From a big-picture perspective, the designated lands on The Irvine Ranch NNL wonderfully illustrate the complicated geologic history of the southwestern margin of the United States, Francis said.
This designation is so important because there are very few places left in Southern California where high-quality habitats extend from the coastal shores to the inland foothills, said Thomas Oberbauer, an expert on coastal Southern California plants and one of the peer reviewers who participated in The Irvine Ranch NNL scientific review.
Said Bren: This designation validates the significance of the diverse land protected on the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve, and the remarkable cooperation between our company and government, community and environmental organizations whose collective efforts preserved and sustain this land. It is a spectacular natural and recreational resource unmatched in its variety, beauty and accessibility -- a national treasure for all to enjoy.
The NNL program was established to encourage the protection of Americas natural heritage while fostering scientific advancement and education to better understand these irreplaceable resources. To be designated an NNL, nominated sites must undergo a rigorous evaluation process and meet exacting scientific standards. The protected natural habitats on The Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark were evaluated and peer-reviewed by 10 recognized experts in biology and geology, who concluded that the natural resources were among the best examples to be found anywhere. The Irvine Company submitted the application to the National Park Service for the NNL designation.
Tens of thousands of people visit the parks, trails and natural habitats on the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve every year. Bren predicted that, with the new designation of 37,000 acres as the Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark, even greater numbers will come to understand and appreciate the wonders of the Reserve. The commitment to providing new and diverse opportunities for public enjoyment is carefully balanced with measures to protect this natural resource by all the owners and managers of the land, so that it will be preserved forever and its beauty can be experienced for generations to The Irvine Company come, he noted.
Many people may not automatically equate Orange County with nationally significant natural wonders, said Congressman John Campbell (R-Irvine). But todays designation by the National Park Service puts an exclamation point on what all of us have been saying for years: If you want to take in some of Mother Natures most amazing handiwork, look no further than our own backyard.
This designation underscores the global significance of Californias Mediterrean-type ecosystems, said Mark Burget, California Program Director of The Nature Conservancy, which has managed much of The Irvine Ranch wildlands for the past 16 years. Mediterranean habitats exist in only five places in the world and cover only 2 percent of Earths land mass. Yet they account for 20 percent of the worlds plant species.
In May 2005, Bren unveiled an ambitious vision to enhance the protection, management and expansion of public access to the beautiful and environmentally significant lands on The Irvine Ranch. He announced formation of the non-profit Irvine Ranch Land Reserve Trust to help protect, restore and enhance the natural resources and to encourage the creation of new and diverse opportunities for public enjoyment and education.
At the same time, Bren announced a $20 million gift to support the Trusts mission, which brought to $50 million the amount he has donated to enhance the Reserve. Working collaboratively with the numerous landowners and managers throughout the Reserve, the Trust initiates and conducts scientific, recreational and educational programs to ensure the conservation of the biologically rich 50,000 acres of permanently protected open space on The Irvine Ranch.
For more information on about the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve and the unique natural resources of The Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark, go to http://irvineranchlandreserve.org/activities.
Irvine Ranch gets special status
Donald Bren points out features of the newly named Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Fran P. Mainella, director of the National Park Service.
Irvine Ranch gets special status
Donald Bren, left, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveil a brass plaque this morning that proclaims 37,000 acres of Irvine Ranch land a National Natural Landmark.
Another win for Agenda 21 and the U.N. :-(
I have many wonderful memories of hiking on the Irvine Ranch as a kid, and hiking Back Bay around the salt ponds of lower Newport Harbor.
Of course, in those days, ('60's and '70's) Orange County was still mostly orange groves and orchards!
I remember when officials from the OC Airport came to our neighborhood (Santa Ana Heights, around the Back Bay) and promised all of us that the OC Airport would NEVER allow any jets to land there!!
I haven't been back home in many, many years, but I understand my old elementary school, Back Bay Elementary, was long-since bulldozed...and I have no idea how Kaiser Junior High or Newport Harbor High are faring.
My Mom and her sisters are all alumni of Newport Harbor, classes of 1927-1932.
Man...it's been years since I thought of Back Bay and the Irvine Ranch!
BBQ's at Irvine Ranch with Glen Cambell,those were the days........
OC Register story: Ranch a national treasure
Ranch a national treasure
LANDMARK: Jeremy and Kathleen Taylor, part of an Irvine Ranch Land Reserve Trust group, hike out of Bommer Canyon.
Part of the 50,000-acre Irvine Ranch will receive a rare boost in prestige today: designation as a National Natural Landmark, the first for California since 1987.
In a ceremony at Crystal Cove State Park, National Parks Service officials will confer the honor on 37,000 acres of ranch property and parks that once were part of the ranch.
The land will include two large parcels, according to the Irvine Co.: Crystal Cove and Irvine Co. land near Laguna Beach, and natural canyons northeast of Orange.
Fewer than 600 places nationwide have gained National Landmark status. They include Anza Borrego Desert State Park, Torrey Pines State Park and Mount Shasta in California, Diamond Head in Hawaii, and the Willamette River in Oregon.
The natural habitats on Irvine Ranch represent prime examples of vanishing Southern California ecosystems, and were reviewed by biological and geological experts before the designation could be granted, the Irvine Co. said. Landowners must apply to receive the landmark status.
I remember horseback riding in some of those orange groves as a kid.
I don't think you would recognize the area today. Much has changed.
We lived and worked in Irvine for many years. I'm not totally unhappy to see part of that beautiful community preserved.
Another win for Agenda 21 and the U.N. :-(
DING DING DING ...we have a winner!!! Back to the ReWilding of America so only Bren, Ahnold, the Kennedys and the Rockefellers and their Billionaire buddies will be able to set foot on designated areas. All hail the Elites ... oyvey
Arnold just spreads good news wherever he goes, doesn't he?
Did I mention I will not be voting for him? I thought so...
John Campbell... don't get me started.
See post #13.
After that Gilchrist scare, he suddenly became Mr. Anti-Illegal Alien. To be fair, he's been very good and active on the issue. He'd better be if he wants another term. On other issues, though, there has been an occasional lapse, caused no doubt by now latent RINO tendencies. He definitely requires watching.
I am a conservative Reagan Republican along with the best of them. There really should be nothing to complain about regarding this Irvine Ranch Reserve. It is large, it is beautiful, and it preserves a part of California for all people and for all time. On top of that, it was donated by Mr. Bren, who himself is a loyal and solid Republican. If anyone needs more, consider also that Mr. Bren is a former Marine. This is a Win Win for everybody.
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