Peters Canyon Regional Park
Peters Canyon Regional Park is a park in California that is part of the Orange County Regional Parks System. The park comprises 354 acres of southern California wildlife, including coastal sage shrub, riparian, freshwater marsh, and grasslands, and is located in both Orange and Tustin, California. The Irvine Company donated Peters Canyon to the city in 1992 after it had previously been utilized for cow grazing. The canyon is bordered on one side by a residential area and on the other by open hills. Hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians frequent this canyon because of the paths that round the 50-acre man-made lake built on the plot’s interior by the Irvine Company in 1931. The regional park is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to sunset, except when there is a danger of rain or hazardous weather, in which case the park will be closed for three days following the event.
The park has gained appeal among locals due to its convenient location (the canyon is located in a suburban neighborhood), as well as its cleanliness and several path alternatives. The park’s administration urges that visitors regard animal protection, as well as any building or park improvement efforts, as a shared responsibility.
Peters Canyon Regional Park was originally part of the Rancho Lomas de Santiago, a 47,000-acre (19,000 ha) parcel of land awarded to Teodosio Yorba by governor Pico Pico in 1846. The part that would become Peter’s Canyon was called as “Canon de Las Ranas,” or “Canyon of the Frogs.” The name was derived from the fact that it drained into the “Cienega de Las Ranas,” which translates as “Marsh of the Frogs” and is today known as Upper Newport Bay. James Irvine bought the land from Yorba in 1897 and leased it to many farmers, one of which being James Peters. Peters erected a ranch house and planted a eucalyptus grove at Little Peter Lake, which was located in the Canyon of the Frogs’ lower section.
Golf was invented in 1899 by some Orange and Santa Ana sportsmen. The Santiago Golf Club was developed on land leased from the Irvine Company in Peters Canyon. The greens were composed of oil-soaked sand, while the fairways were made of local dirt. On the ridge that currently stretches into Upper Peters Canyon reservoir, a crimson club house was built. To conserve water, the Upper Peters Canyon reservoir was established in 1931, while the lower reservoir (Little Peters Canyon Lake, which is now a flood control basin) was built in 1940. With so much water available, agriculture flourished in the canyon, including orange trees. Peters Canyon Wash is the name given to the reservoirs today. The wash is part of San Diego Creek, a 26-mile-long stream that feeds into Upper Newport Bay.
During WWII, the United States Army erected Camp Commander in the eucalyptus forest near Little Peters Lake as a training facility. The men stationed here would engage in pretend battles with soldiers from Camp Rathke, an Army post located about two miles distant in Irvine Regional Park. The Boy Scouts managed Camp Myford for weekend scouting events from 1952 through 1988. While Tustin Ranch Estates occupies a portion of the historic Camp Myford site, the Irvine Company donated 354 acres (143 ha) to the County of Orange on March 3, 1992 to be used as a regional park. This is presently conserved as a public open space.
Next Point of Interest: Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange