NEWS

National Recognition For Old Irvine Ranch

National recognition for old Irvine Ranch
The ranchland’s remaining open space joins an exclusive list of national landmarks.

Pat Brennan
Orange County Register

October 11, 2006; News 3

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger congratulates Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren after he received a plaque in recognition of 37,000 acres of the Irvine Ranch being recognized as a National Natural Landmark.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger congratulates Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren after he received a plaque in recognition of 37,000 acres of the Irvine Ranch being recognized as a National Natural Landmark.

CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK – Some say Orange County’s scrub brush is the Rodney Dangerfield of natural landscapes: as the legendary comic himself might have said, “It don’t get no respect.”

That changed when 37,000 acres of the old Irvine Ranch — coastal sage scrub lands, chaparral-covered slopes, oak woodlands — were placed on the list of the nation’s National Natural Landmarks in a ceremony Tuesday.

As Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other dignitaries made short speeches, the scrub brush in the background was dry and largely dormant  its typical state this time of year, and part of the reason it hasn’t quite attracted the attention of, say, Yellowstone or Yosemite.

But biologists and geologists who conducted an in-depth evaluation of the ranch’s natural features say it is every bit as worthy of recognition.

Elisabeth Brown of Laguna Greenbelt, who has fought to preserve open space for years, said she was glad for the national recognition.

“Everybody in Sacramento thinks there’s nothing down here but malls,” she said as she left Tuesday’s event. “But we have some wonderful back country, and the beaches are great.”