[Update on August 16, 2019]
Finally grand re-opening on August 17, 2019! But shoreline fishing only. No boating or floating. http://www.ocparks.com/parks/irvinelake
Lakes are one of my favorite places to visit. Small or big, natural or man-made reservoir.
Most of them I visited have their own charms. But unfortunately, some don’t.
Irvine Lake is one of the unfortunate ones, not because of nature and landscape, mostly because of its story.
For those who don’t know what is going on with Irvine Lake, the lake has been closed since March 2016 due to political and safety reasons.
In January 2019, I visited the Irvine Lake, formal Santiago Creek Lake to see how it looks nearly after 3 years of closing. Here are some note for you if you planning to visit.
- No public parking: all parking areas are closed by chains and some open spaces where cars could park has “No Parking Any Time” sign.
- No lake access, legitimately: accessible routes are all either blocked or show “Private Property” signs. You probably can go on Lake View Sce Rd, north of the lake, hike down there. I am not sure access to the shore is prohibited or not.
- No recreational activities are allowed such as fishing. Boating was banned anyway a long time ago.
Once this lake was filled with exciting recreational activities. But now all recreational activities are not allowed including fishing. I am not even sure that getting close to the shore is even allowed even if there are open trails.
This lake has an interesting and mostly sad history.
- It was created by the Santiago dam in 1931.
- A series of drowning accidents followed by boating ban.
- A dispute between two government agencies over profit
- According to California Data Exchange Center, the water level is one of lowest due to the drought
According to the EnjoyOC site, the Irvine Lake Park has been closed due to “disagreement between two government agencies who can’t agree on how to split profits from the lake businesses including RV & boat storage, gate fees, fishing, and camping.”
This lake would have been a great getaway place for citizens and visitors of Orange County without driving long hours. But for now, it is CLOSED and UNWELCOMING.