OC Parks is initiating a new firewood policy designed to reduce the risk of damaging Orange County’s oak and sycamore woodlands and other trees from invasive pests.
Effective today, visitors to OC Parks’ two camping parks, Caspers Wilderness Park and O’Neill Regional Park, may no longer bring or burn outside firewood, unless it is commercially produced, heat treated and labeled “Pest Free” or “Safe to Move.” This is due to highly invasive and destructive non-native insects that could travel in firewood and decimate local tree populations.
Gold Spotted Oak Borer (GSOB), an invasive beetle that has killed thousands of oak trees in San Diego and Riverside counties in a short span of time, has now been detected in Orange County. The GSOB was discovered in approximately 60 trees on County park land in northern Orange County. Since GSOB is transported in oak firewood, it is critical that Californians keep firewood local and not move it out of the area.
The clocks fall back early Nov. 4, marking the end of daylight-saving time and OC Parks’ spring-summer operating schedule. Most regional parks close at 6 p.m. for the fall and winter, and wilderness parks close at sunset.
For the past 20 years, Orange County Codified Ordinance OCCO 2-5-29(n) prohibited the use of all motorized conveyances, including electric bicycles (eBikes) on all County bikeways and trails.
On July 17, 2018, the Board of Supervisors passed a revision to the ordinance, making the following exception: “Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles, as defined by the California Vehicle Code, on those regional paved, off-road bikeways designated for such use by the Director of OC Parks.”
Currently, this means that Class 1 and 2 eBikes are now permitted on more than 75 miles of paved Orange County regional bikeways. Due to safety concerns, all classes of eBikes continue to be prohibited on unpaved trails within regional and wilderness parks.
Spring is here, and that means longer hours, warmer temperatures and more people – and wildlife – out in the parks.
Parks open later: Spring-summer hours, during Daylight Saving Time, mean parks close at 9 p.m. or sunset.
Wildlife sightings: Park rangers have reported increased sightings of snakes, including rattlesnakes. Be sure to keep yourself – and your dog, where permitted – on the trail and aware of your surroundings to avoid an encounter.
Wildflowers: As of early April, only sparse blooms are reported. Take all the photos you want from the trail, but never pick wildflowers – leave them for others to enjoy and to spread their seeds for next season.
Warmer temperatures: While it’s always important to be prepared, warmer weather makes essentials like water and sunscreen even more important.
The clocks spring forward early March 11, marking the beginning of daylight-saving time and OC Parks’ spring-summer operating schedule. Hours for most regional parks will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Please click the link for more details.
The OC Parks mobile application is now available to download. The new app makes it easy to explore all that the County regional and wilderness parks have to offer.
Using the OC Parks app for iOS or Android, you can easily get outside and find a park near you with the most detailed, accurate maps of all regional, wilderness, beach and historic parks and regional trails operated by the County of Orange. The app also offers detailed park descriptions and photos.
The mobile app lets users easily locate the closest playgrounds, parking and restrooms in each park. Search recent OC Parks news, events and alerts regarding park access, weather, trail conditions and more.
Starting in August, hikers will be collecting imagery of Orange County trails using the Google Street View Trekker, a wearable backpack with a camera system on top. The Trekker automatically gathers images as it goes. Later the imagery will be stitched together to create the 360-degree panoramas you see today in Google Maps.
Significant traffic on unauthorized trails has caused damage in the Ladera Ridge (Las Flores) area of the park. This area is closed, and in the interest of protecting the valuable natural resources found on both County and the Rancho Mission Viejo Reserve, measures will be taken to prevent further destruction.
The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB) is an invasive beetle that attacks common native and landscape trees, leading to branch dieback and overall decline. This can have a devastating effect on local trees, and you may see some being treated or removed in County parks.
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
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