Hikers, bicyclists, equestrians and outdoor enthusiasts can now enjoy the rolling meadows of Quail Hill, after ownership of the distinctive open space along the I-405 freeway was formally dedicated to the City of Irvine at a community celebration earlier today.
The transfer was part of the historic Open Space Agreement approved by Irvine voters in 1988, which guarantees that beautiful places throughout the city – places like Quail Hill, Bommer Canyon, the Jeffrey Open Space Trail and others – will be protected forever as the company pursues long anticipated master planned community development elsewhere in the city.
The ceremony took place at a new 2.8-acre trailhead off Shady Canyon Drive that provides access to the Quail Hill Loop Trail, an easy two-mile natural surface trail at the foot of Quail Hill which is open for unguided public access, and provides a link to the region’s extensive trail network. Naturalist-led activities from the trailhead include opportunities to explore spectacular Shady and Bommer canyons from Quail Hill. Soon, connections to multi-use trails and bikeways will provide links to the Jeffrey Open Space Trail and the Mountains to Sea Trail, a National Recreational Trail.
“The community desire to protect Quail Hill was a key component of the Open Space Agreement, and we are pleased that the city’s open space plans are coming together as they were envisioned in 1988,” said Mike LeBlanc, senior vice president for The Irvine Company. “The transfer of Quail Hill is the result of thoughtful, collaborative planning between the city, its residents and The Irvine Company.”
“When the residents of Irvine passed the historic 1988 Open Space Intiative, calling for the preservation of more than 16,000 acres of open space in and around Irvine in perpetuity, they voted to protect irreplaceable natural resources and provide a wonderful outdoor lifestyle for everyone who lives in Irvine,” said Irvine Mayor Beth Krom.
Quail Hill is one of Irvine’s most beloved natural areas. It is home to a variety of plant and animal species, and includes access to a trail system that will ultimately lead all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It is a key part of the southern portion of the Irvine Open Space Preserve and is the only permanently preserved open space along the 405 freeway between Los Angeles County and Camp Pendleton. The lands are also part of the 37,000-acre Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark, established in 2006 by the U.S. Secretary of Interior.
“Irvine is distinguished by our extensive network of parks, trails and preserved natural spaces, and Quail Hill is yet one more benefit of our long-term commitment to thoughtful community planning,” said Mayor Krom.
The City of Irvine boasts an uncommon legacy of parks, trails and wildlands. Over one-third of the city – more than 16,000 acres – has been preserved as parks, trails and natural wildlands. The City partners with the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve Trust, a local non-profit organization, to provide education, public access and stewardship on its Open Space Preserve.
For more information about the Quail Hill Loop Trail, and other activities, visit: http://www.irvineranchlandreserve.org.