Effective immediately, the Edison-Viejo Trail that starts at the tunnel going out from the Whiting Ranch Glenn Ranch Parking Lot is now privately owned and cannot be used by anyone, including hikers and bikers. This trail ultimately goes down to the Aliso Creek bike trail — all of this trail is now privately owned except for a very small portion that is still owned by the Edison Company near the power lines. Any area on the trail that is beyond the 241 Toll Road is now off-limits. The Aliso Creek Trail (below the power lines near Saddleback Church) is still open and can be used by hikers and bikers. There are now NO TRESPASSING signs at many spots on the trail — these signs replaced the OC Parks signs that used to be there.
Many hikers and bikers use this trail to go through the tunnel to go into and out of Whiting Ranch. These trail users will now have to go out to Glenn Ranch Road (via El Toro Road or the Aliso Creek Bike Trail) and then access Whiting Ranch via the Glenn Ranch Parking Lot.
Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park Ranger Josh Goldsmith wanted us to pass along a little background information:
The Edison Trail was owned by the Edison Company and the OC Parks had a license agreement to help them maintain the trail in return for allowing access to the trail. The land was recently sold to a private investor — this investor is using this land as a “mitigation” agreement in which it will preserve the land as an ecological habitat in return for being allowed to build the houses that now surround Whiting Ranch and the areas nearby. So the bad news is that there is no longer accessibility to this trail, but the good news is that the land will be left “wild” instead of being developed.
Josh said there was no discussion with OC Parks regarding the change in trail status. The OC Parks staff just saw their OC Parks signs laying on the ground and saw that the NO TRESPASSING signs were put in the same place where the OC Parks once were.
Josh also wanted me to ask that we communicate the fact that any person who violates the NO TRESPASSING sign is subject to the consequences of the violation (i.e., whatever is deemed appropriate by the private owner).