Happy 20th Birthday Laguna Coast Wilderness Park!
It was 20 years ago this month that the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park was officially dedicated as an Orange Country Park! We all know establishing the park took the hands of many - and we are so thankful to all of those who worked together to form the park. Every day I personally give thanks to those with the dedication and vision to preserve this open space for all to enjoy.
Since that day, thousands of people from all over the world have forged a personal relationship with the park - they have hiked its canyons, viewed its wildlife, biked its ridge lines, or painted its natural grandeur. Each of us who enter the park return rejuvenated and, I hope, a bit happier.
However, I am concerned with what the next twenty years will bring to the park. With the increase in park attendance and our impact on the land, we must not forget why this land was preserved - to provide a home for this threatened ecosystem. The coastal sage scrub ecosystem found in the Park is one of the world's 34 biodiversity hotspots and contains several endangered and threatened species - in fact, there are several species that are only found in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.
We must always remember that our presence in the park impacts the ecosystem - but there are ways to reduce our impact. They include:
Please stay on designated trails - all of the designated trails take into account wildlife migration and sensitive species areas. By staying on legal trails you are giving wildlife a break. Designated trails are always signed.
Do not enter the park at night/twilight. Many of the animals are nocturnal and active at night. This is the only break they get from people - so let's help them out.
Leave the dogs at home. Dogs are not permitted in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park for good reason - they are carnivores and threaten native wildlife. I guarantee you will not see wildlife if you bring a dog to the park.
Join LCF for a Keep It Wild restoration day. Every month, volunteers help OC Parks restore native habitat and remove invasive species. This year I will say happy birthday to the park by getting my hands dirty by removing mustard, thistles and poison hemlock! Please help me celebrate the parks 20th anniversary by supporting OC Parks and LCF in our ongoing mission to preserve, protect, enhance and promote the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Volunteers and donations are always welcome. For more information visit: www.lagunacanyon.org.
Laguna Canyon Foundation