“Southern California Coastal Mountains to the Sea” Book Released Today

A visually spectacular new book, “Southern California Coastal Mountains to the Sea: A Celebration of Open Space on the Historic Irvine Ranch,” was released today offering an awe-inspiring picture tour of Open Space in the heart of densely populated Southern California.

In “Southern California Coastal Mountains to the Sea,” acclaimed photographer David R. Stoecklein depicts the magnificent 50,000-acre network of permanently preserved Open Space land that stretches from the Pacific Ocean to Southern California’s coastal mountains. In photos and narrative, the book captures the essence of this unique land, which has been permanently designated as a Natural Landmark by both the State of California and the U.S. Department of the Interior.

With 208 pages and more than 150 color photographs, Southern California Coastal Mountains to the Sea is a grand book illustrating The Irvine Ranch land, its lasting history and its significance as a Natural Landmark. Today, more than 50,000 acres of the historic 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch have been permanently designated as Open Space. It is one of the largest urban Open Space areas in the United States, with more than 3 million people living less than 20 minutes from this pristine terrain.

The book is proudly published by the Irvine Company to increase awareness of the Open Space and parklands available for Southern California residents and visitors to explore and enjoy.

“Open Space represents freedom and an opportunity to experience nature. It has been my vision that access to this majestic Open Space and parkland is available to residents to enjoy in perpetuity,” said Donald Bren, Chairman of the Irvine Company. “This book serves to celebrate what has been preserved and protected on The Irvine Ranch and to increase awareness of the vast beauty available to residents and visitors alike.”

Today, the public has access to thousands of acres of Open Space and parklands as a result of ongoing efforts to enhance and restore these biologically important lands, representing an important chapter in land preservation and conservation in perpetuity.

“Southern California Coastal Mountains to the Sea” is a beautiful testament to the efforts of many generations of Irvine Ranch stewards to preserve and protect this spectacular, yet fragile land,” said Joan Irvine Smith, a philanthropist, environmentalist and great-granddaughter of James Irvine, founder of The Irvine Ranch. “I applaud the Irvine Company for their efforts to increase awareness of the beautiful Open Space land that residents and visitors can explore and enjoy.”

Throughout the pages of the book, a window is opened for all to observe the beauty that lies in the midst of coastal Southern California. Stretching from the coastal mountains to the sea, the historic Irvine Ranch is home to some of the most ecologically important land in the world. From deeply forested oak woodlands and vast canyons to a unique geological formation known as “The Sinks” in Limestone Canyon—which originated some 35 million years ago and resembles a miniature Grand Canyon—this land has never before been photographed in such exquisite detail for all to see and experience.

Website, Facebook Page

A website and Facebook page offer a look into Southern California Coastal Mountains to the Sea. The website,, provides a multifaceted and interactive view of the book. Visitors can purchase the book directly through the website and learn more about the 50,000-acre network of permanently preserved Open Space on the Irvine Ranch. An interactive map of The Irvine Ranch and Orange County, California, allows viewers to take a photo tour of The Irvine Ranch Open Space, with never-before-seen images of each unique Open Space region featured in the book, including Crystal Cove State Park, Newport Beach “Back Bay,” Shady Canyon, Limestone Canyon, Irvine Lake, Black Star Canyon, Fremont Canyon, Weir Canyon, Gypsum Canyon, Loma Ridge and Bommer Canyon.

Website visitors can learn more about the history of The Irvine Ranch, read a summary of the book and its chapters, learn about the foreword authors and photographer, view the table of contents and see sample pages. The website also provides regularly updated details about book-signing events, press and reactions to the book.

A Facebook page, titled Southern California Coastal Mountains to the Sea, provides visitors and those who “like” the page with weekly releases of never-before-seen photographs from the book. The Facebook page also links to the book’s website where those interested may purchase the book.
To purchase Southern California Coastal Mountains to the Sea, please visit the website at Proceeds from the sale of the book will be contributed to the Irvine Ranch Conservancy for the ongoing support of land conservation and preservation.

About the Irvine Ranch Conservancy

The Irvine Ranch Conservancy is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization. Its mission is to use resources and expertise to encourage the highest quality stewardship of the permanently protected Natural Landmarks on The Irvine Ranch. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy is involved in all aspects of stewardship, from natural resource management to scientific research, to public access and education programs, to fundraising and building partnerships. The organization fundamentally believes that higher awareness and appreciation by the public, through making personal connections to the land, is essential to transforming the wild lands and parks into an internationally acclaimed treasure of conservation management and recreational enjoyment.

About the Irvine Company

Founded in 1864, the Irvine Company is an internationally renowned real estate development company known for its award-winning master-planned communities, its vast portfolio of high-quality investment properties, and its leadership in conservation and natural resource management. The growing real estate portfolio encompasses office, apartment, retail and resort holdings located throughout California’s premier markets, including assets in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties, and holdings in Northern California. As a steward of some of America’s most beautiful and scientifically important Open Space and parklands, the company has donated to Orange County more than half of the historic 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch in Orange County — 50,000 acres — to permanently preserve these lands. The U.S. Department of the Interior and the State of California have designated these parklands as “Natural Landmarks,” one of the most prestigious land preservation designations. The privately held, diversified company traces its roots to the 1860s with the formation of The Irvine Ranch® from Mexican and Spanish land grants.

About the Foreword Authors

Bruce Babbitt served as U.S. Secretary of the Interior from 1993 to 2001, as Governor of Arizona from 1978 to 1987 and as Attorney General of Arizona from 1975 to 1978. As Secretary of the Interior, he worked for eight years to protect our nation’s precious natural resources, while maintaining a balance between economic use and species conservation. He pioneered the use of habitat conservation plans under the Endangered Species Act and worked with President Clinton to create 22 new national monuments. Currently Mr. Babbitt is working on conservation issues in the Amazon Basin as a fellow of the Blue Moon Fund, a private foundation. He has also written the book Cities in the Wilderness: A New Vision of Land Use.

Fran P. Mainella served as Director of the U.S. National Park Service from 2001-2006 and has more than 40 years’ experience in park and recreation management. As Director of the National Park Service, she strengthened programs to enhance and restore our nation’s park and natural/cultural resources and worked to increase public awareness of them. Before being appointed to lead the National Park Service, she served as director of Florida’s Division of Recreation and Parks. During this time, Florida State Parks won the Gold Medal for Best State Park System in the Nation. Currently, Ms. Mainella serves as a Visiting Scholar for the Clemson University Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and as an influential speaker on parks, natural and cultural resources, health and children and nature.

Douglas P. Wheeler served as California’s Secretary for Resources from 1991-1999. During his tenure, Mr. Wheeler developed nationally recognized strategies to integrate economic and environmental goals and to effectively manage the state’s natural resources in the face of rapid growth and development. He has worked exclusively with natural resource and environmental issues since joining the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1969, where he served for seven years as Assistant Legislative Counsel and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. Currently, Mr. Wheeler is a partner in the Environmental Practice Group at Hogan Lovells US, LLP and serves on the boards of the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy and the Conservation Lands Foundation.

About the Photographer

David R. Stoecklein launched his photographic career taking lifestyle shots of skiing, fishing, hiking and biking, landing assignments for companies such as Stetson, Wrangler, Pfizer, Farnam, Keds, Merial, Bollman Hats, Dos Equis, Nestlé, Sony Pictures and Justin Boots. It was not long, however, before he turned his lens to his neighbors on the great ranches of the West, including California. Mr. Stoecklein’s personal and professional quest to keep the spirit of the West alive is heartfelt and uncompromising. He has published over 40 books celebrating the American West and its heritage and traditions. He is one of Canon’s distinguished “Explorers of Light” photographers and has been named the “Best Living Photographer of the West,” for four years by the editors of True West magazine.