Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve represent approximately 1,000 acres of open space. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve surrounds the Ecological Reserve. The park includes the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center. Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve totals approximately 135 acres. The Nature Preserve is made up of the bluffs surrounding the Bay. Three sensitive species use the bluffs: The California Gnatcatcher, San Diego Cactus Wren, and Burrowing Owl. Two important plant communities are found on the bluffs - grasslands and coastal sage scrub. Upper Newport Ecological Reserve totals 752 acres. This coastal wetland, one of the largest in southern California , is renowned as one of the finest bird watching sites in North America. During winter migration up to 35,000 birds may be using the Bay at one time. It is home to six rare or endangered species: Light Footed Clapper Rail, Brown Pelican, Belding's Savannah Sparrow, Black Rail, Peregrine Falcon and California Least Tern. The Bay is home to one endangered plant species - Saltmarsh Bird's Beak. Considered a "critical estuary" habitat - Upper Newport Bay is one of the most pristine remaining estuaries in Southern California.
Of all county facilities, Upper Newport Bay is one of the best in Orange County for recreation and wildlife viewing. Upper Newport Bay is a Mecca for birders, joggers, bicyclists, hikers, horseback riders, educators...and more! The availability of camping at Newport Dunes Resort makes Upper Newport Bay a desirable destination for families, as well as individuals.
Come visit Upper Newport Bay's Muth Interpretive Center. Located in the County's premier nature preserve, Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach features the area's natural beauty within a state-of-the-art facility.
Easter is one of the busiest days of the year at regional parks. Parking lots fill very early in the morning and additional vehicles may not be brought into parks that have reached parking capacity. Parking fees for some regional parks will increase to $7 for Easter Sunday, April 5.
OC Parks is pleased to introduce new parking passes that will allow visitors to use a single card to park at all County regional and wilderness parks and/or beaches.
The new “smart cards” replace the entry cards and stickers that were previously used for annual parking. Unlike the previous OC Parks passes, which were fixed to a calendar year (January through December), these smart cards are valid for 12 months from issue date and can be renewed annually. Moreover, for wilderness and beach locations which previously required a sticker affixed to a visitor’s windshield, these passes can be used with any vehicle. The price for the new cards remains the same as 2014.
The clocks fall back early Nov. 2, marking the end of daylight saving time and OC Parks’ spring-summer operating schedule. Wilderness parks close at sunset and most regional parks close at 6 p.m. for the fall and winter.
Making Orange County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost-effective regional public services.
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