Big Bend Restoration

Creating a community nature trail and wildlife corridor in the heart of the Canyon.


Current Status: Completed | Start Date: May 2011 | Expected Completion: Fall 2017 | Project Lead: Derek Ostensen

This 3.7-acre City-owned property has been transformed from a dirt lot with derelict buildings into a vibrant natural community and recreational resource in the heart of Laguna Canyon. The property is being restored with native oaks, sycamores, and coastal sage scrub species, as well as trails that will provide improved access to natural spaces for those who live and work in the Canyon.

“Though it was difficult to say goodbye to the cottages,” says Derek Ostensen, Laguna Canyon Foundation Board Member, “their removal has allowed the property to be restored to a wonderful new community asset and wildlife corridor.”

With a limited grant allocation to complete the project, Laguna Canyon Foundation is grateful that several local companies and organizations have provided generous donations. Waste Management donated much of the cost of debris disposal.

“Waste Management has collaborated on a number of green projects with the Laguna Beach community, including several e-waste recycling and beach cleanup events,” notes Michelle Clark, Community Relations Director for Waste Management. “We were pleased to provide a donation to help this important park and wildlife project become a reality.”

Generous donations from the Orange County Conservation Corps and Gregg Abel Design and Construction, Inc. allowed partial deconstruction of the cottages rather than outright demolition. This has allowed large portions of the Big Bend cottages to be re-used in other Laguna Beach cottages, allowing their unique history to live on in a different form.

“This property is truly a community treasure,” noted Max Borella, former Executive Director of Laguna Canyon Foundation. “Its spectacular cliffs, abundant wildlife and close proximity to miles of wilderness trails make it an incredible public resource. Laguna Canyon Foundation deeply appreciates the contributions of the companies and organizations who have generously donated to the project, as well as the City Council, which deserves a lot of credit for their vision in stewarding this project forward.”

This project was the first OCTA habitat mitigation project to achieve sign-off on its success criteria. Laguna Canyon Foundation will continue to care for the property until all of the administrative requirements are met as well.