Improvements to the entry of Aliso Wood and Canyons Wilderness Park will enter their next phase, after the Board of Supervisors on August 8, 2017 approved a contract to build a new visitor center.
The park’s 4,500 acres of coastal canyons, grasslands and oak and sycamore woodlands, represent one of the most pristine remaining natural areas in Orange County. The recently completed, award-winning enhancements to the park’s main entrance provide a staging area for hikers, bikers and equestrians to start their journey into the park. The next phase of improvements to the main entry include a visitor center, restrooms and park staff offices.
With the contract award to CJW Construction, Inc. for the construction phase services, construction is anticipated to start this fall and be complete in spring 2018. Funded partially through a $1 million grant provided by the California Coastal Conservancy, the new 2,600 square foot center will provide park visitors with an introduction to the park’s vast natural and cultural resources and provide a place for outdoor environmental stewardship and education.
The prefabricated visitor center and public restroom buildings are designed taking the site’s natural elements in mind as well as structurally providing a “light on the land” approach with its unique foundation system that minimizes site grading. The buildings will be surrounded by elevated decking and an observation deck with views into the canyon.
The visitor center will include a reception desk, an interpretive exhibit area and a conference room for educational opportunities, along with park ranger and staff offices. Roll-up doors provide natural light in the exhibit area and extended “outdoor classroom” opportunities, slanted windows were designed specifically to minimize bird/glass collision and building materials are reclaimed and recycled where appropriate.
With the addition of the visitor center, park users will be able learn about all the great places in the park to experience for their enjoyment, recreation and education.
The visitor center will include the following improvements:
- Reception Desk
- Interpretive Exhibit Area
- Public Restrooms
- Conference Room for Educational Opportunities
- Elevated Deck Viewing Area
- Park Ranger and Staff Offices
The project is partially financed by a $1 million grant from the California Coastal Conservancy.
Phase 1 of improvements, completed in 2015, included:
- Boulder and Stone Arrival Area
- Grove Gathering Area
- Reconditioned Parking Lot Surface
- Trail Connections
- Native Landscaping
- Equestrian Staging Area
- Electric Vehicle Charging Station
A - Park Entrance Transition Zone
B - Sycamore Grove Gathering Area
C - Parking Area
D - Entry Arrival Area and Trail
E - Proposed Trail (Connect to Aliso Creek Trail)