SILVERADO, Calif.—Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve will reopen to the public in February, having been closed since two wildfires impacted the area in fall 2020, Irvine Ranch Conservancy (IRC) and Orange County (OC) Parks officials announced on Jan. 17.
“Nearly all of OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve burned in the 2020 Silverado and Bond fires, including large portions that actually burned twice. These incidents significantly impacted the wildlife and landscapes that are close to the hearts of so many who visit and volunteer at Limestone Canyon,” OC Parks Supervising Park Ranger II Nick Martinico said.
Since the fires, the Parks have been diligently working to restore lost infrastructure and monitor the recovery of native habitats. Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve is set to reopen for Wilderness Access Day on Feb. 5.
“We observed this closure to allow a rest period for wildlife, time for habitat regrowth and to rebuild infrastructure,” he continued. “We deeply appreciate the public’s patience and support and are now eager to once again host activities at Limestone Canyon.”
From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, OC Parks and IRC will host the first Wilderness Access Day in Limestone Canyon since 2020. To register for Wilderness Access Day and upcoming guided activities offered in Limestone Canyon, visit LetsGoOutside.org.
During the closure, IRC staff monitored the health of the land and replaced important infrastructure, including new trail signage and improved trails, as well as adding fire-resistant materials to the West Sinks viewing deck.
“Limestone Canyon is home to important, high-quality habitats including oak woodlands that wildlife in the area rely on for food and shelter,” said Nathan Gregory, IRC vice president and chief programs officer.
Gregory said during the closure his team monitored the Canyon’s conditions, working closely with OC Parks Rangers.
“Unfortunately, the lack of rain this past year meant continued stressful conditions for wildlife and slower vegetation regrowth,” Gregory said. “However, we now feel that the situation has sufficiently improved to handle the impacts of public activities, and we are excited to host the community out on the land once again.”