Wild and Beautiful is a celebration of Orange County’s wild lands. This book contains descriptions of those areas that are accessible to hikers, bikers, equestrians, birders, and nature-lovers. Loaded with photographs and descriptive text, it also features a natural history of Orange County’s animals, plants, and plant communities. Allan Schoenherr taught biology, ecology, and natural history courses as a professor at Fullerton College for many years. He also taught as an adjunct professor at the University of California, Irvine, and California State University, Fullerton. He has lived in Orange County most of his life and has been a resident of Laguna Beach since 1973. A noted authority on California, he is the author of A Natural History of California, the lead author of Natural History of the Islands of California, and an editor for Terrestrial Vegetation of California. He is a hiker and photographer who has traveled extensively in Orange County’s wild lands.
FROM THE PREFACE
The first part of this book is about public land, or land for which the emphasis is on preservation of the natural order of things and for which access is provided for the general public. It is a respected truth that, unless they have experienced it, people find it difficult to understand why land should be preserved in a natural state. Various parcels of public land will be described with an emphasis on what makes each one valuable or important.
This book will refer primarily to the coastal or cismontane side of the Santa Ana Mountains and the adjacent coastal plain that lies in Orange County. For the purpose of continuity, however, regions south of the county line, particularly the San Mateo drainage and its wilderness, will be included. Natural landscapes are to be celebrated and appreciated. Features such as notable habitats, bird-watching opportunities, hiking trails campgrounds, and picnic spots will be emphasized, but public places devoted entirely to recreation such as ball fields will not be discussed.
The remainder of this book is about the natural history of Orange County – about plants, animals, rocks, weather, and climate. It is not a field guide. While it may be useful for identifying various plants, animals, and rocks, it is more than mere descriptions of things. There will be an emphasis on things that are common, interesting, or significant and on the way organisms interact with the environment and each other. Beyond just learning the names f things, readers will learn how things fit together in the great scheme of life and life processes.