A Hidden Gem

Yesterday OCRegister.com published a terrific piece about the Niguel Botanical Preserve calling it, “Laguna Niguel’s hidden gem atop a hill”. Complete with photographs and quotes from city officials and residents, the article brings into the light how special The Preserve is to its residents, community and the environment which it is designated to preserve.

Below is an excerpt from the article written by Kelly Zhou with photos by Sam Gangwer.

— On a late Thursday afternoon, the parking lot at Crown Valley Community Park is packed.

Minivans are pulling into the crowded lot to drop off soccer players and swimmers lugging huge backpacks, kids are busy trekking up the hill to the upper field, and the loud shouts of invested parents can be heard on the sidelines of multiple simultaneous games.

Walk up a few extra steps from the upper soccer field to a nearby concrete path though and you’ll find yourself, strangely enough, in tranquil silence.

There are birds chirping, butterflies flitting by and the occasional lizard making an appearance. A sign warns against rattlesnakes in the area, and tall trees fill the trail with refreshing shade.

It’s the park’s best kept secret: the Niguel Botanical Preserve.

The 18-acre area at the top of the hill (just past the amphitheater, currently under construction) is open from dawn to dusk, every single day of the year and free of charge. There’s a rose garden, children’s section, groves of trees, a formal labyrinth with a clear view of Saddleback Mountain and hundreds of plants.

“It connects people with nature and the plants and the flora around here,” Mayor Jerry McCloskey said. “Most people don’t know what most plants are.” —

To read the entire article click here.

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