As naturalist John Muir once said, everyone needs a place “where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
Irvine has many such places, with a vast park system that once again has been ranked among the nation’s top 10 – for the seventh consecutive year.
The Trust for Public Land’s annual ParkScore index ranks Irvine parks No. 8 in the U.S. and No. 1 in Southern California.
“I’m not surprised at all,” says mountain biker John Jocson of Northpark Square. “I ride every week. I love that I can ride from my house to so many local trails.”
Irvine’s Master Plan has created one of the greenest cities in America, with more than one-third of the city dedicated to parks, trails and open space.
According to the Trust for Public Land, Irvine’s parks encompass 37% of the city – more than twice the national median of 15% – providing exceptional park access.
In fact, Irvine residents live, on average, just 172 steps from a park, compared to the Orange County average of 645 steps, helping to make Irvine one of the healthiest cities in America.
“It’s clear that Irvine is promoting health and well‐being in the community.” – Sadiya Muqueeth, Trust for Public Land
“Sunlight, fresh air, exercise and access to nature all have a positive effect on our physical health and emotional well-being,” says Sadiya Muqueeth, director of community health at the Trust for Public Land. “It’s clear that Irvine is promoting health and well-being in the community.”
The world’s first public parks appeared in England in the 1840s. The trend quickly spread to London, Paris and New York, where, in 1858, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed Central Park.
Before the end of that century, Irvine Company donated 160 acres of oak woodland on The Irvine Ranch to create Irvine Regional Park – California’s first regional park.