Despite the challenges COVID-19 has brought, OC Parks continued progress on numerous improvement projects in 2020.

Clark Regional Park installed new pedestrian bridges and Craig Regional Park a new shade structure at its sports complex. Caspers Wilderness Park’s nature center received exterior paint and siding repairs, as well as the replacement of the San Juan Arizona crossing.

Pedestrian bridge at Clark Regional Park 

Playgrounds at Mason Regional Park now have shade sails, and Laguna Niguel Regional Park replaced a restroom building. Parking lots at Laguna Niguel and O’Neill regional parks, as well as Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park were repaved.

The amphitheater at Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve was remodeled, and George Key Ranch Historic Ranch received seismic retrofits. Additionally, the Old Orange County Courthouse completed exterior repairs on all sides of the building, as well as HVAC and exhaust system repairs.

The amphitheater at Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

In 2021, we are looking forward to more projects, including ADA-compliant restrooms at Carbon Canyon, Irvine, Laguna Niguel, Yorba, Craig and Tri-City regional parks; and new shade shelters at Caspers Wilderness Park, Irvine, Mile Square, Santiago Oaks and Yorba regional parks.

Other projects include an outdoor exercise area and accessible fishing dock at Tri-City Regional Park, redesigning the entry at Mason Regional Park, adding restrooms at Peters Canyon Regional Park and remodeling the amphitheater at O’Neill Regional Park.

Work on the new large mammal exhibit at the OC Zoo will also begin this year.


Wet winter weather is here, and with it come trail closures to help prevent lasting damage.

Trails in OC Parks may close for up to three days following rain. While we understand this is a temporary inconvenience, it is necessary for the long-term health of the trail system.
Many people ask why we close trails here, when other areas of the country, like the Pacific Northwest, do not. Arid Southern California has a great deal of clay soil, which stays wet and slick for long periods after a significant rain. A lot of the trails in the rainy Pacific Northwest are more loam (mix of clay, silt, and sand), which drains much better than our thicker clay. Many of the trails in the Pacific Northwest also have more trees, which have more roots, which are better for holding the soil together and slowing erosion.
So why do we close our trails?

  • Walking or riding on soft or muddy trails leaves footprints and bike tracks, creating low spots and trappings of water. Further deepening over time can form canals and ruts.
  • When approaching a wet area or puddle, some users go around it, which widens the path and destroys habitat.
  • It is very costly in terms of labor and dollars to repair damaged trails.
  • Medical emergencies can happen at any time, but if trails are wet and muddy, it may not be safe for emergency vehicles to drive the trails to help.

It’s even more important to stay out of areas that were recently burned, like the extended closures in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. Trails and habitat in burn areas are very prone to mud flows and severe damage.
During and after rain, make sure you check the alerts page on our website for any closures. Park staff updates these alerts as park and trails status change:

You can also check out this video of Park Ranger Brad Barker explaining why OC Parks closes wet and muddy trails. 


Wetlands, birds and wildflowers – watch this month’s Naturalist Almanac to
learn more about what to expect in February!


We preserve and enhance OC Parks’ natural and cultural resources
for recreation, education and exploration.

Our mailing address is:
13042 Old Myford Rd, Irvine, CA 92602

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