You would have to have looked pretty hard in 1983 to find more difficult terrain to build a park on than the ravine on the eastern edge of Yorba Linda, according to Bob Kirkpatrick, associate planner. "When the park site was originally contemplated, we were looking at a gully 40 to 50 feet deep."
Travis Ranch Youth Park has been awarded the 1984 Special Award of Excellence by the California Park and Recreational Society for "taking a problematic site and turning it into a usable facility," said Jack Harrison, the society's executive director.
The six-acre park, a joint project on property owned by the Placentia Unified School District and the City of Yorba Linda, has three regulation Little League baseball fields, a 500-seat grandstand, an equestrian trail and a tot lot.
The park is adjacent to the site of the future Travis Ranch Elementary School and will be used by those students when the school is finished in 1986, said John Perry, the school district's superintendent of administrative services.
Before the park was completed, the city's Little League had one facility that was used "every hour, every minute," said Earleen Chandler, recreation supervisor. "We were going to have to turn away children because there was no place for them to play."
Chandler said the ravine provided a natural drainage area and that a 10-foot deep culvert had to be built. "When they said that was going to be the park, I thought it was impossible. I'd have to say I thought it was a natural junkyard."
The grandstand actually is steps built into a slope, Kirkpatrick said. The baseball fields, which have portable fences, become a soccer field in the fall, he said.
A 90-by-30-foot wooden piece of play equipment featuring tire swings and bridges "fits into the neighborhood aesthetically," Chandler said. Joggers use the equestrian trail, and a picnic area is planned, she said.