The first public meeting for the Crystal Cove State Park Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) took place on Thursday, December 14th from 6:30PM to 9PM at El Moro Elementary School in Laguna Beach. To see presentation slides from the land-use history portion of the presentation, click here. To see presentation slides from the natural resources portion of the presentation, click here.
A total of 15 people attended the meeting, not including the three presenters. The meeting began with a brief introduction by Eric Dymmel, Central Sector Superintendent of the Orange Coast District, followed by an overview of land-use history in Crystal Cove by State Park’s Assistant District Superintendent Jim Newland. Jim also addressed the need for and purpose of the NRMP as well as outlined the planning process and expected timeline. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Riley Pratt, next provided a summary of existing natural and recreational resources in the Park and summarized results from several sensitive plant and wildlife surveys that took place this past spring and summer. The final hour of the meeting was spent addressing comments and questions from audience members. Links to the presentation slides can be found in the previous paragraph.
Two main issues were raised by participants during the comment period of the meeting. The first was the concern that the Plan does (or will) not address natural resources on the beach. Protections for shore birds were of particular interest to two representatives of a local Audubon chapter. It was also suggested that winter-time bird surveys be conducted (in addition to the spring and summer surveys already completed) to document the abundance and diversity of wintering migrants.
The second issue raised was trail connectivity. One participant representing Orange County’s Share Mountain Bike Club expressed their desire for the plan to help integrate trail closure and re-opening policies among adjacent landowners, including Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Coast Wilderness (OC Parks), and the City of Irvine Open Space Preserve. They also expressed interest in having certain unauthorized/unrecognized trail connections officially authorized. The plan management team agreed that the Plan should address these issues and will consider whether authorizing certain trail connections is in the best interest of both natural resources and Park users.
A second public meeting will take place this summer once a draft Plan is completed. The draft plan will be made available through the website at least one month prior to the meeting date so the public has a chance to review it. We look forward to seeing you there and hearing your thoughts!