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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

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The Importance of San Juan Creek

In some earlier versions of the Ranch Plan, the entire length of San Juan Creek was designated as a future regional park.  While the current and final Ranch Plan succeeds in preserving the entirety of San Juan Creek as “open space” and further provides for a bike and hiking trail running parallel to the creek and connecting San Juan Capistrano to Caspers, the creek is no long designated as part of any future regional park.  We have not been able to determine why this change was made, other than to assume that the final development plan would not have provided sufficient funding for the establishment and maintenance of a regional park along the creek.  Does this mean that the creek will suffer benign neglect and remain unintegrated into the Ranch Plan?  If true, we believe this is an unfortunate sacrifice that ought to be revisited.

A pedestrian bridge crosses a natural creek in San Luis Obispo, California

The San Juan Creek is a unique and important natural landmark for the new Rancho Mission Viejo community and one that should be both protected and embraced.  Maintaining the creek as open space is a critical first step, and protecting its role in the local ecosystem is equally important, but we’d also like to see the creek integrated into the community.  We believe the creek, running naturally and undisturbed, could serve as a beautiful backdrop to community parks, picnic areas and in certain locations, even the development itself.  Imagine a secluded picnic area within earshot of the creek’s running waters.  Imagine a jogging trail that crisscrossed the creek over pedestrian bridges like the one in the image above. Imagine a coffee house or brew pub with an outdoor patio that looked down upon the natural flow of the San Juan Creek.

We believe that the proper stewardship of San Juan Creek is critical for the character and success of the Ranch Mission Viejo development.

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