Public to Dedication of ‘The Sinks’ Viewing Deck in Limestone Canyon March 11

Supervisor Bill Campbell & OC Parks Invite the Public to Dedication of ‘The Sinks’ Viewing Deck in Limestone Canyon March 11
Hikers, bikers and all outdoor enthusiasts welcome to join the celebration…

The public is invited to join Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Campbell, OC Parks, and Irvine Ranch Conservancy to dedicate the newly-built viewing deck boasting stunning vistas of O.C.’s very own "mini Grand Canyon." The event is Friday, March 11 in Limestone Canyon Wilderness, an especially beautiful part of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Participants will hike and ride bikes and horses to the destination, starting their trek at 8:30am and making their way to The Sinks, a striking geological formation where the new viewing deck is located. Chairman Campbell will officiate a short ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:00am.

The activity programs are free (horse riders must provide their own trail-ready horse), but registration is required. Due to the size of the viewing deck, space is limited to the first 20 hikers, 20 bikers and 10 equestrians, so sign up today! Hikers can expect a moderate-intensity, eight-mile round- trip trek starting at Agua Chinon near the end of Portola Parkway, ending at The Sinks. Equestrians will also commence at Agua Chinon; while bikers will depart the Augustine staging area off Santiago Canyon Road and ride to The Sinks (map/directions and more details will be provided to program registrants). Water and light trail snacks will be provided at The Sinks, but participants are asked to bring their own water for the trail and wear appropriate outdoor attire and sturdy hiking shoes. For those who can’t make the ceremony, the deck will be open to visitors at their own pace the next day as part of monthly Wilderness Access Day in Limestone March 12th (check the Activities & Programs schedule to sign up and for dates/times of all Wilderness Access Days).

The Sinks deck is the first viewing platform to be built in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, with others planned. The purpose of the deck – other than providing spectacular views – is to help manage visitor impact and increase safety by keeping visitors in a specific area rather than widely spread out on the rim of the canyon. This minimizes the impact on native vegetation and reduces erosion. It also helps keep visitors safe by providing a railing that greatly reduces the risk of falling into the gorge. The deck is 6 feet wide and 24 feet long on a low raised platform. It was constructed from rough-sawn lumber, recycled-composite foundations and carbon steel rails.

Limestone Canyon Wilderness is a spectacular and lush area that includes thick oak woodlands, streamside habitats, rare coastal shrub-lands and grasslands, year-round springs and the iconic geological formation "The Sinks," often compared to a miniature Grand Canyon. The rich diversity and abundance of plants and animals as well as an unusual variety of natural habitats make Limestone a favorite among hikers, mountain bikers and naturalists of all types. The area offers something for everyone. Nearly 40,000 acres of open space on the historic Irvine Ranch have been designated a Natural Landmark by both the State of California and the U.S. Department of Interior. This honor recognizes the exceptional value of these lands to California and the entire nation. The open space of the Natural Landmarks is part of the 50,000 acres of land preserved on The Irvine Ranch.

More information about the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and public access programs is available at www.irlandmarks.org and onwww.facebook.com/irlandmarks.

TheOC Parkssystem encompasses regional, wilderness and historical facilities, as well as coastal areas throughout the County of Orange in California. Featuring 60,000 acres of parkland, open space and shoreline, Orange County’s award-winning parks and programs are enjoyed by millions of residents and visitors each year, in ways as diverse as the parks themselves. OC Parks offers wilderness hikes. Campgrounds. World-class mountain biking. Nature centers. Nationally recognized historic sites. Fishing. Surfing. And the list goes on. Whether a visitor comes to jog or camp; whether a family holds a reunion at a park or meets friends at the beach, OC Parks offers everything you need to make every day a great one.

Irvine Ranch Conservancyis a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that the permanently protected open spaces of the Irvine Ranch are cared for to the highest possible standards and enjoyed for generations to come. The Conservancy assists OC Parks in managing 20,000 acres of wilderness and natural habitats including Limestone Canyon.

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