First Official Black Star Wilderness Access Day is October 20

Bimonthly event will provide hiking, biking and equestrian access to unique local wilderness areas in Black Star and Baker canyons.

As rich in history as it is in beauty, the Black Star Canyon area is full of discoveries waiting to be made. On Saturday, October 20, visitors will have the chance to explore both Black Star and Baker canyons during the first official Black Star Wilderness Access Day.

Wilderness Access Days are held regularly in Limestone Canyon and Bommer Canyon, and now the Black Star Canyon wilderness area in Silverado will be open bimonthly for self-guided hiking, biking and equestrian use. Two new trails were recently opened in the area, and were introduced to the public during the OC Parks Wilderness Celebration event in July.

Black Star Canyon is part of 20,000 acres of open space given to the County of Orange in 2010, and the land is part of nearly 40,000 acres of the former Irvine Ranch that have been designated as both a National and California Natural Landmark for its rare biological and geological features. OC Parks partners with Irvine Ranch Conservancy to manage these open space areas and to provide public access through Wilderness Access Days and docent-led programs.

The first Black Star Wilderness Access Day is 9:00 am to 3:00 pm October 20, with the last trail entry at 2:00 pm. Participants can choose their own outdoor adventure, with Conservancy volunteers stationed throughout the trail system to provide information and assistance. From an easy nature walk for families to a more challenging climb up to a new trail in Baker Canyon, opportunities for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts are available. There is also a docent-led hike along the spectacular Red Rocks of Black Star Canyon. During an easy hike, participants will learn about the history of this rare geologic formation and the flora and fauna that live in its shadow. The "Exploring the Red Rocks" hike begins at 10 am.

Pre-registration for the Black Star Wilderness Access Day is encouraged, and since parking is limited in the area, carpooling is also encouraged. More information about the event is available at www.irlandmarks.org/activities

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