IRVINE — Tucked between rolling green hills on the Bommer Canyon trail, there's nothing to listen to except tall grass tussling with the wind and your feet crunching the soil beneath you.
It's like an oasis of nature in the middle a county of 3 million people. But like so much of Irvine, it was planned that way.
In honor of Earth Day next week, Irvine's 40th year as a city and recognizing its environmental priorities overall, Mayor Sukhee Kang cut the ceremonial ribbon –— actually it was a vine grown in Bommer Canyon — and opened up the city's latest hiking trail.
The Bommer Canyon trailhead is the public's latest entryway into Orange County's scenic footpaths that lead to the Pacific, and is part of a citywide initiative approved in 1988 that creates 16,000 acres of parks and wildlands.
"All the voters and residents of Irvine created this," Kang said to a crowd of eager, outdoorsy families ready to trek the hills Saturday morning. "It's another part of the great quality of life for Irvine."
The Bommer Canyon trail connects to paths in Laguna Beach and Crystal Cove State Park, and offers miles of walking and scenery that looks like it came straight out of a Disney movie.
Irvine Company Senior Vice President Mike Leblanc said five years ago Irvine officials approached his company asking for help in preserving open space for residents. Five years and $1.6 million later, residents had what they wanted.
"It's important because the environment we live in is all city, we're surrounded by city," said Ross Masud, an Irvine father who was hiking the trail with his wife and two kids. "It's nice to get out with the family because you don't get the chance that often…they'll still bring their iPhones, but that can go in the backpack."