Lying peacefully in east Orange alongside the Santiago Creek, the 1,269-acre Santiago Oaks Regional park is a nature lover's paradise. This secluded refuge offers hikers, bikers and equestrians the natural charm of mountain vistas, an orange grove, a meandering creek and a mature forest of many different species of trees. Wildlife abounds and a series of interconnecting trails leads through shady groves and to a lookout that features an awe-inspiring view of Orange and the surrounding foothills.
On March 11, 2007, a vegetation fire started near the Windy Ridge Toll Plaza of the 241 Toll Road. Fueled by heavy winds and dry vegetation, the fire spread in a southwesterly direction, burning 2,036 acres.
Starting in March of 2011, nearly 200 new coastal live oaks were planted at the park in a park restoration project that is also a mitigation measure being fulfilled by OC Waste & Recycling.
Santiago Oaks Regional Park provides the visitor with a sense of removal from the urbanized environment. The native plant life coupled with the specimen forest in the Rinker area provide an atmosphere of relaxation and serenity. The park has a series of interconnecting trails suitable for equestrians, hikers and mountain bikes. The park trails also provide access to the Anaheim Hills Trail System and offer spectacular views of northern Orange County.
The nature center, which opened in the summer of 1981, offers exhibits and programs on various natural history topics. Park Rangers provide a variety of interpretive activities including nature walks, slide programs and films. Group programs are provided for a nominal fee and must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance. Nature programs for the general public are conducted on weekends dependent upon staff and volunteer availability. Contact the park office for more information or click the link for Events and Programs.
Of the more than 9,000 acres estimated damaged in the Canyon Fire 2, the large majority are within four primary OC Parks regional properties: Irvine Regional Park, Santiago Oaks Regional Park, Peters Canyon Regional Park, and Irvine Ranch Open Space. Other facilities, including several regional trail segments, are also damaged.
The Canyon Fire 2 swept through eastern Orange County this week, burning extensively into multiple County parks, closing three regional parks at least through Monday.
Irvine Regional Park, Peters Canyon Regional Park and Santiago Oaks Regional Park still have numerous hot spots, weakened trees and other hazards that make them unsafe to enter without proper precautions. Active flare ups continued to plague the parks as late as Friday morning, and fire weather conditions are expected Saturday through midday Sunday.
The Old Orange County Courthouse will host the exhibit On the Edge of Flames – Fire and Recovery at Orange County Parks from June 11 to Oct. 12, 2018.
With a special focus on Canyon Fire 2 from 2017, the displays show how fire has affected the land, the response during and directly after a fire, and how OC Parks and other partners help the land recover.
This exhibit features photos of historic fires, before and after pictures of fire and recovery, trail camera footage and a compilation video of Canyon Fires 1 and 2 from Orange County Fire Authority, firefighting tools and materials, and information on how to prepare for wildfires.
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.
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