Our Mission and Vision

Preserving our canyon since 1989

Mission

We are the stewards of Laguna Canyon, advocating for our open space as the leading organization for education, public outreach, habitat restoration and trailwork in the canyons. We are the bridge between the open space and the surrounding world.

Laguna Canyon Foundation is dedicated to preserving, protecting, enhancing and promoting the 22,000-acre South Coast Wilderness.

About the South Coast Wilderness

The South Coast Wilderness comprises 22,000 contiguous acres of open space, including Laguna Coast and Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Parks, Crystal Cove State Park, and open space in the cities of Irvine, Laguna Woods and Laguna Beach. Managed and supported by various government and nonprofit entities, these areas link to form almost 30 square miles of critical wildlife habitat.

Surrounded by Orange County’s busy network of freeways and cities, the South Coast Wilderness provides an increasingly rare and valuable refuge for urban dwellers seeking natural beauty and solitude. Visitors can discover the county’s only remaining natural lakes, a thriving wildlife community, nature centers and interpretive programs, volunteer opportunities, and recreational activities from hiking and birding to mountain biking.

History

Following the historic November 1989 March to Save Laguna Canyon and the passage of the twenty-million-dollar bond measure by Laguna Beach voters in November 1990, Laguna Canyon Foundation was formed to facilitate the acquisition of open space.

We had one mission: to negotiate with the Irvine Company to purchase the open space they had agreed to sell.  We partnered with OC Parks and the City of Laguna Beach to make sure these lands would remain in public hands, leading to the creation of Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park in 1990 and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park in 1993. This land acquisition work continues today.

In 2007, we began transitioning our mission from one of land acquisition to one of conservation and education, beginning our Title I school program, our volunteer program that connects over 130 dedicated individuals with OC Parks, and our stewardship program that improves the land in which we work. Our trail program launched in 2014, and we began partnering with the City of Laguna Beach on fuel modification work in 2015.

Laguna Canyon Foundation Wilderness Center
massen greenE house at laguna canyon foundation wilderness center

In 1994, the City of Laguna Beach purchased 100 acres of open space in Laguna Canyon known as the DeWitt property.

In 2010, the City took on an intense cleanup of the small canyon that runs along the property. In 2015, LCF signed a long-term lease with the City for the 1940s house located on the property and the three acres immediately surrounding. We began a complete renovation of the building, completed in 2019.

The Laguna Canyon Foundation Wilderness Center is the nexus of our work for the open space. The building itself, known as the Massen Greene House, is the center of the Laguna Canyon Foundation Wilderness Center. These grounds will include interpretive trails and signs, native plant gardens, and a restoration center that is the hub of our field work.

None of this would have been possible without the support of the Massen Greene Foundation and the City of Laguna Beach.