CALIFORNIA’S NO. 1 PARK SYSTEM might not have been. In the late 1950s, L.A. County’s unbridled growth was headed for The Irvine Ranch. Instead of subdividing the land for piecemeal development, the Master Plan ensured that Irvine would become known for its preserved environment as much as its built environment. Irvine’s park space now totals 25 square miles – a full one-third of the city.
This makes Irvine’s parks and open space the No. 1 system in California, according to The Trust for Public Land. These parks are part of The Irvine Ranch’s broader network of 57,500 acres of permanently preserved open space and wildlands that stretch from the Santa Ana Mountains to the Pacific Ocean – creating the largest urban open space network in the United States.