The Irvine Connection: James Irvine and the Redwoods

Learn how James II’s tree-hugging efforts in the 1940s were rewarded

Among the network of paths at Prairie Creek is the James Irvine Trail, named for the founder of The Irvine Company. After the 1906 San Francisco quake, James Irvine II (1867-1947) relocated to the family ranch in Orange County, but kept his ties with Northern California. He joined the Save the Redwoods League in 1921 and remained a $2-a-year member for 23 years. A $15,000 donation to the league established a grove of redwoods that bears his name, and he provided an additional $85,000 to help the league purchase more of the ancient forest from timber companies.

Irvine stands on the trunk in this photo provided by the league, accompanied by Newton Drury, executive director of the league and the fourth director of the National Park Service. The trail is a relatively easy 9-mile round-trip hike through the Irvine Grove to the beach at Fern Canyon.

Link to the trail:

From our May 2014 cover story on National Parks, click here for park info.

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