As a wildlife sanctuary, Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park is home to an abundant number of native plants and animal life. Old groves of Western Sycamores and Coast Live Oaks border the park's two seasonally flowing creeks. The remaining land features rolling hills and canyons of Coastal Sage Scrub and grasslands.
This 544 acre wilderness park has five miles of multi-use and single track trails offering outdoor enjoyment for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. Ranger-led programs as well as self-guided hikes provide opportunities for the visitor to learn about the richness of this sanctuary. The park's outdoor "classroom" atmosphere offers students of all ages, scouts and other youth oriented organizations, a place to experience firsthand, the intricate relationships between the park's wildlife and habitat, offering an opportunity to work on outdoor projects and fulfill classroom requirements.
Parking is available for 50 vehicles including horse trailers. For equestrians, there are 4 pipe corrals and a watering fountain. Other amenities available are picnic tables, portable restrooms, drinking fountains and handicap access to the visitor center.
The Ranger Station houses a hands-on classroom and a variety of interpretive displays which highlight the park's wildlife and history. Surrounding the station is a one acre native plant butterfly garden, a large deck for picnicking and enjoying the views, and informational bulletin boards.
OC Parks serves as the steward of 60,000 acres of County parks, beaches and open space. This stewardship involves the protection and preservation of sustainable, healthy habitat both for generations of future visitors and also the local wildlife that live in it.
The County’s regional and wilderness parks and open space offer hundreds of miles of existing trails for pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian uses. Building and use of unauthorized trails, however, remains an ongoing issue.
These unauthorized trails cut through preserved habitat and jeopardize public access, native habitat and wildlife. In many parks, OC Parks does not even have the discretion to allow or disregard unauthorized trails; it is bound by state and federal agencies to preserve the land.
Here are some of the top reasons to stay off unauthorized, unmarked trails.
UPDATED 7/06/20: In an effort to minimize the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) on park patrons, staff, and the Orange County community at large, and consistent with the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Governor’s office, the Orange County Board of Supervisors and the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA), OC Parks are operating in the following manner as of 7/06/20.
(Orange County, Calif.) – In 2018 OC Parks received multiple achievement awards from the City-County Communications & Marketing Association (3CMA), National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials (NACPRO), and the Los Angeles Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
The clocks spring forward early March 8, marking the beginning of daylight-saving time and OC Parks’ spring-summer operating schedule. Most regional parks will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wilderness parks and selected regional parks are open at 7 a.m. and close at sunset year round.
For the past 20 years, Orange County Codified Ordinance OCCO 2-5-29(n) prohibited the use of all motorized conveyances, including electric bicycles (eBikes) on all County bikeways and trails.
On July 17, 2018, the Board of Supervisors passed a revision to the ordinance, making the following exception: “Class 1 and Class 2 electric bicycles, as defined by the California Vehicle Code, on those regional paved, off-road bikeways designated for such use by the Director of OC Parks.”
Currently, this means that Class 1 and 2 eBikes are now permitted on more than 75 miles of paved Orange County regional bikeways. Due to safety concerns, all classes of eBikes continue to be prohibited on unpaved trails within regional and wilderness parks.
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
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