Irvine is looking into developing a trail system south of the intersection of State Route 133 and Interstate 405, which, if completed, would provide a walkway in the city’s southern area all the way down to the beach in Crystal Cove State Park.

The City Council last week unanimously agreed to conduct a feasibility study of the proposed trail system, to determine whether it is the best use of the open space in that area, which is largely untouched.

The proposed trail system, which would start from Lake Forest Drive, near the Los Olivos Community Center, would be adjacent to Laguna Altura, Hidden Canyon, Los Olivos and Barcelona neighborhoods, located in the southernmost part of the city near the Spectrum Center.

Because those neighborhoods weren’t developed when Irvine planned its open space trails, residents living there don’t have nearby access into the city’s open space, said Councilmember Mike Carroll, who proposed the feasibility study.

Residents there have expressed their desire to access the city’s open space adjacent to where they live, said Carroll.

“Now is the time to act,” he said. “As I’ve been exploring these southern villages of Irvine, it appears possible that we can create a new trail system from Lake Forest Drive … that would connect our residents living in the area to the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Bommer Canyon (and) Shady Canyon, and provide connectivity all the way down to the Pacific Ocean at Crystal Cove State Park.”

Related Articles

Local News |

Santa Ana council split on requiring protestors to keep distance when targeting a home

Local News |

Huntington Beach looking at privatizing library operations despite widespread opposition

Local News |

Costa Mesa considering cap on number of cannabis retailers

Local News |

Santa Ana council to consider ordinance prohibiting picketing within 300 feet of a residence

Local News |

Addiction treatment and sober homes, with their spasms of chaos, prompt new bills

The City Council unanimously approved Carroll’s proposal, but Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmember Kathleen Treseder stressed the importance of keeping wildlife in the area safe.

Irvine has thousands of acres of native habitat, where mule deer, bobcats, mountain lions and coyotes — as well as hundreds of endangered birds, mammals and reptiles — live. The city’s open space preserve has been designated a natural landmark by the state and the U.S. Department of the Interior “for its preservation of critically important flora and fauna,” according to the city.

Khan recommended that city staff consult the Irvine Laguna Wildlife Corridor group and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, an Orange County-based environmental nonprofit, when exploring the feasibility of establishing the proposed trail system.

“These are areas that are home to a lot of our native plants and animals, and preservation is key for the south coast wilderness area,” she said. “When areas are open to people, it restricts their movement.”

City manager Oliver Chi said the city is already in conversation with the Irvine Ranch Conservancy about the proposed trail system as well as how to mitigate unauthorized access and activity already happening there. 

Irvine already has several open space trails west of State Route 133, including ones near the Quail Hill Trailhead and Turtle Rock Community Park.