NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 12, 2014) — Culminating more than 50 years of open space master planning on the historic Irvine Ranch, the Irvine Company in 2014 donated 2,500 acres near Orange and Anaheim Hills—which were approved for 5,500 homes—so it could be preserved as open space.
The gift builds on previous donations to create one of the largest urban land preserves in the nation, stretching from the coastal mountains to the sea. In all, the lands that will be gifted bring the grand total of parklands and open space donated by the Irvine Company to nearly 57,000 acres, or approximately 60% of the 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch.
The gift came as the Irvine Company celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2014. The Irvine Company has long treasured land as a precious resource to be used for the benefit of the public. In 1897, the founding Irvine family donated more than 300 acres to the people of Orange County for what today is Irvine Regional Park.
“As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Irvine Company, this is a perfect opportunity to add to our open space and parklands legacy,” Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren said. “With this gift, we complete our open space vision.”
“The lands represented by this new gift are last pieces of a spectacular open space puzzle that has been assembled on The Irvine Ranch,” said Michael O’Connell, executive director of the nonprofit Irvine Ranch Conservancy, which works with the County of Orange to manage natural lands while providing public volunteer and recreational opportunities. “Preserving these areas protects the balance of stewardship and recreation that ensures the long-term health of this tremendous natural resource.”
In recognition of the biological and geological significance of the open spaces of The Irvine Ranch, thousands of acres of preserved lands were designated as a National Natural Landmark in 2006 and as a California The 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch stretches nine miles along the Pacific coast, 22 miles inland and encompasses more than one-fifth of Orange County’s total 798 square miles. Within its boundaries lie the city of Irvine and parts of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Tustin, Orange and Anaheim, plus unincorporated county land and portions of Santa Ana and Costa Mesa.