The Reserve at
Rancho Mission Viejo
Starting with the 1938 sale of nearly 10,000 acres which ultimately became Starr Ranch Audubon Sanctuary and portions of Caspers Wilderness Park, the original land under O’Neill/Avery/Moiso family ownership and management has remained primarily undeveloped as wilderness areas, habitat conservancies, trails, parks and play fields, as well as the training grounds for the men and women of United States Marine Corps Base Camp Joseph H. Pendleton.
The goal of the Rancho Mission Viejo Land Trust is to preserve and enhance The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo for ecological, scientific, open space, conservation, education and even charitable use. Today, The Ranch family’s legacy of conservation and open space preservation continues with The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo.
In 1990, the Rancho Mission Viejo family voluntarily entered into an agreement with key wildlife and resource agencies for the preparation of a comprehensive conservation plan for the remaining 27,000 acres of Ranch land. What followed was years of unprecedented public input and scientific study conducted in partnership with those agencies. What ultimately resulted from this effort was a promise to establish and manage The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo.
The Rancho Mission Viejo Land Trust is a charitable foundation which serves as the steward of a vast habitat reserve called The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo.
Today, The Reserve includes all 1,200 acres of the Richard and Donna O’Neill Conservancy, the lands of the Ladera Ranch Open Space and its more than 10 miles of hiking, biking and riding trails, key areas of the Arroyo Trabuco, and pre-existing conservancies and conservation easements. As the community of Rancho Mission Viejo evolves, phased assemblages of ranchlands, agricultural fields and habitat are added to The Reserve to bring it to 20,868 acres. Ultimately, an additional 11,950 acres owned by the County of Orange will be added to The Reserve, increasing its size to 32,818 acres, and making it one of California’s largest and most diverse habitat reserves, offering a rich mosaic of wetlands, woodlands, native grasslands, and chaparral as well as working ranchlands and agricultural fields.
The goal of the Land Trust is to preserve and enhance The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo for ecological, recreational, scientific, open space, conservation, education and even charitable use. As a result, The Reserve hosts a wide range of field studies by noted biologists as well as nature walks and other events for school children and the general public. To learn about the docent-led hikes, tours, astronomy nights, animal awareness lectures, bird safaris, and native plant discoveries conducted at The Reserve, go to www.rmvreserve.org