OC Parks recently evaluated and responded to public requests to officially recognize a pre-existing trial system in O’Neill Regional Park that intersects County property near Oso Parkway and Antonio Parkway within the Las Flores Open Space.
A trail system was established prior to the parcels being annexed to the O’Neill Regional Park inventory in 1995, which also pre-dates the current Park General Development Plan (1992). Although the property is enrolled in the Southern Sub-Regional Natural Communities Conservation Planning Program/Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), it was determined by OC Parks and California Department of Fish & Wildlife that it may be used for passive recreation (e.g.-hiking, bicycling, horseback riding).
Many of the existing trails (Ladera Ridge, Las Flores Ridge and Water Works) can remain. However, there are some required changes that must occur. OC Parks will be moving forward to make improvements and repairs to meet the established trail guideline standards.
The Water Works trailhead from Antonio Parkway will be realigned approximately 250 feet to the south to remove it from Santa Margarita Water District property onto County property.
Backdraft Trail must be removed, as it was constructed recently and does not meet the criteria as pre-existing the land annexation. In addition, it is routed directly through sensitive habitat areas where documented gnatcatcher nesting areas exist.
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