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Randall Preserve/Banning Ranch

The largest remaining coastal open space in Orange County was recently saved and purchased for you! OC’s last undeveloped coastal treasure of lush green grass lands, natural bluffs, and pristine coastal views along Pacific Coast Highway is located at the mouth of the Santa Ana River Bed; between Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, and Newport Beach. This 387-acre parcel was privately owned for more than 100 years. Have you heard of the Banning Ranch? Most OC residents haven’t, but thanks to the multi-million-dollar gift by the Randall Family to purchase the immense parcel, Banning Ranch has great big plans. The exciting news starts with a brand-new name from Banning Ranch to the Randall Preserve. The Randall Preserve has amazing environmental preserve plans, community involvement, and educational opportunities in store for this last remaining untouched coastal area.

Banning Ranch Randall Preserve

Randall Preserve/Banning Ranch Details

Phone: 949-216-0880
Address: No known physical address. Access pointe include: Intersection of Balboa Blvd. and W. 19th Street; 17th Street at Whittier Ave.; 16th St. & Hampton Drive; Sunset Ridge Park at 4850 West Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, CA.

History Of Banning Ranch/Randall Preserve

For more than 23 years, local conservationists have been trying to preserve Banning Ranch. It was privately owned and operated as an oilfield since the 1940s.The California Coastal Commission wisely denied the plans by developers to build resorts, retail, and housing on the property; saying it would violate the Coastal Act. It is now protected for all residents of Orange County, surrounding communities, and visitors. The land was once part of a native village site known as Gengaa (also spelled Geŋa or Genga) and part of the ancestral homeland of the Acjachemen and Tongva People.

How Is The Randall Preserve Being Protected?

The Banning Ranch Conservancy was founded to protect the 401-acre Banning Ranch property. Now the Randall Preserve, the 387-acre property is forever protected from future development with the remaining 14 acres to be owned by West Newport Oil Company. The Banning Ranch Conservancy will continue to be stewards of this rich land with a broad vision for a coastal nature preserve with recreational facilities open to the public. Despite 70 years of oil and gas production on the land, the property has a rich ecosystem with an abundant source of natural biodiversity.

How Will The Banning Ranch Conservancy Stay Engaged On The Property?

The Banning Ranch Conservancy’s core mission is to preserve, acquire, conserve and manage the entire Banning Ranch. It will be a permanent public open space, park, and coastal nature preserve. Rich in history, Randall Preserve offers vast opportunities for education, exploration, recreation, and numerous visitor amenities. This land belongs to all of us and the BRC is committed to hearing all voices and potential impacts as to what the future of the Preserve is.

BRC will continue to raise funds for the planned restoration and encourage all local communities, tribes, and aligned business partners. The Conservancy also continues to work closely with the Sierra club and other local environmental groups.

The Banning Ranch Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit land conservancy that was incorporated in 2008. Its goal at the time was to coordinate with the public, the owners of Banning Ranch, the City of Newport Beach, and other public and private entities to achieve the Newport Beach General Plan’s priority for Banning Ranch. Since its incorporation, the Conservancy has led numerous community-based efforts to save Banning Ranch.

The BRC successfully litigated against the City of Newport Beach’s approval of the Banning Ranch development proposal in 2012 having the California Supreme Court decide in the Conservancy’s favor on March 30, 2017. The Banning Ranch Conservancy received a $50 million donation from Newport Beach couple Frank and Joann Randall to help purchase the property and setting it aside for conservation. State agencies, including the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Wildlife Conservation Board, chipped in the rest.

Why Is This Land Important?

The priorities for the newly acquired land are plentiful including protecting biodiversity, providing public access, potential future campgrounds, and tribal access to the area. Heidi Lucero, CEO of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation, said, “We are also excited to see what the future holds and in regaining an area for us to hold ceremony. Geŋa hold a special place in our hearts.”

In 2006, the citizens of Newport Beach voted to amend their General Plan to…“Prioritize the acquisition of Banning Ranch as an open space amenity for the community and region, consolidating oil operations, enhancing wetland and other habitats, and providing parkland amenities to serve nearby neighborhoods.”

“This is really one for the history books,” said Terry Welsh, board president of the Banning Ranch Conservancy.

About Randall Preserve

The land of the Randall Preserve is a robust natural habitat for thousands of species. The lush green grasslands, natural bluffs, deep arroyos and vernal pools were gravely at risk of eradications and in dire need of immediate protection. Sensitive plant and animal species along with several federally endangered species now have a forever home. With the protection of the Randall Preserve, there are now nearly 1,000 acres of protected coastal lands and waters that create a contiguous reserve system including the Huntington Beach wetlands, the Simunek slough, Talbert Regional Park, Canyon Park, Fairview Park, and the Santa Ana River. The Randall Preserve is home to ecosystems of coastal wetland, riparian woodland, coastal bluff sage scrub, shortgrass grassland, and vernal pool communities that are without parallel anywhere in Orange County.

The following rare species are found on or next to the Randall Preserve

  • California Gnatcatcher
  • Loggerhead Shrike
  • White-tailed Kite
  • Southern Tar Plant
  • California Horned Lark
  • Least Bell’s Vireo
  • San Diego Fairy Shrimp
  • Yellow Warbler
  • Yellow-breasted Chat
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Cactus Wren (last documented in 2009)
  • Belding’s Savannah Sparrow
  • Merlin
  • Sharped-shinned Hawk
  • Northern Harrier
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Osprey
  • Ashy Rufous-Crowned Sparrow
  • California Least Tern (found next to the Randall Preserve)
  • Light-footed Clapper Rail (found next to the Randall Preserve)
  • California Least Tern (found next to the Randall Preserve)
  • Light-footed Clapper Rail (found next to the Randall Preserve)

Did you know that vernal pools are one form of wetland and are found on the Randall Preserve? Vernal pools or ephemeral pools are temporary water pools of various sizes. They are usually devoid of fish, and thus allow the safe development of natal amphibian and insect species. At their peak in spring time, they are filled with life making them vital to the area’s ecology. They often look like muddy messes in the grass, but below the murky water are fairy shrimp ready to hatch and go through its reproductive cycle.

Randall Preserve Quick Facts

  • The purchase price was $97M and closed escrow on December 16, 2022.
  • The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is the titleholder.
  • The land had two owners prior to its final purchase: AERA Energy LLC and Cherokee Investment Partners.
  • It is a projected three-year plan before the public will have access to the Preserve. The next phase will include full oil remediation, biological surveys, and initial restoration work.
  • It is anticipated for the Preserve to offer walking trails, interpretive panels, cold camping, and other low impact activities (bird watching, etc.).
  • The Banning Ranch Conservancy got a $50 million donation from Newport Beach couple Frank and Joann Randall to go toward purchasing the property and setting it aside for conservation. State agencies, including the Department of Fish and Wildlife and Wildlife Conservation Board, chipped in the rest.

How To Get Involved/To Help

1. Connect With BRC
This is your gateway to all things BRC. Find out how to help, volunteer opportunities, educational content, and the latest developments.

 2. Donate to the BRC

Banning Ranch Conservancy (BRC) an IRS approved 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. All donations are tax deductible. The Federal Identification Number (EIN) is 26-2803100.

Make A Recurring or One Time Donation

Or mail checks to

Banning Ranch Conservancy
P.O. Box 15333
Newport Beach, CA 92659

Leave A Legacy/Estate Planning

Leave a family legacy by preserving the Randall Preserve for ecosystems and appropriate human uses — forever. Support the BRC in your will.

3. Volunteer, Learn, & Share

Join with your community to help restore our local habitats and open spaces. Check out our PEER program of events.

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Talbert Regional ParkUpper Newport Bay Nature Preserve
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Cindy de Assis
Cindy is an OC native fond of PCH road trips to places like Rosa Santa or Carmel. She’s a mother of three spending her free time baking apple pies, cooking green enchiladas, and listening to 80s music. She’s a beach girl at heart and Cancun is her go to paradise.