By Tom Berg for the Irvine Standard

One of Orange County’s most iconic spots for weddings, reunions and private events is getting $6 million in improvements while maintaining its historic character.

Construction is underway to replace several old buildings and improve amenities at Bommer Canyon’s Cattle Camp – a throwback to the days when cowboys rustled up cattle on The Irvine Ranch.

Built in 1967, the camp sits at the head of Bommer Canyon, a stunning expanse of native meadows, woodlands and ridgelines with trails that lead all the way to Crystal Cove.

The Cattle Camp’s Old West setting, under a canopy of 100-year-old sycamore trees, has long been a popular spot for private parties, picnics and campouts. Residents, however, expressed a desire for improvements to modernize the amenities.

The city is making $6 million in improvements to Bommer Canyon’s Cattle Camp, a popular spot for weddings and private events set among a grove of old sycamores.

After seeking public input through workshops and online surveys, the city is now constructing a new “chuckwagon” dining building, a fully equipped stage and public restrooms – all with improved water, sewer and electrical utilities. Other improvements include new picnic tables, lighting and walking paths throughout the park.

While asking for improvements, community members also expressed “overwhelming support for maintaining the character and history of this unique open space park,” according to City of Irvine Public Information Officer Kristina Perrigoue.

“The Cattle Camp is a beloved place in the City of Irvine,” Perrigoue says. “Residents requested that facilities be rebuilt to mirror the ranch aesthetic of the original Cattle Camp.”

Asked to describe what the restored Cattle Camp should look like, residents responded: “woodsy,” “natural,” “sustainable,” “rustic,” “historic,” “peaceful” and “green.”

The Bommer Canyon Cattle Camp served as a working cattle camp from the 1800s to the 1970s.

“Bommer Canyon should remain rustic and have that cattle ranch feel,” one respondent wrote. “It should be a step back in time to when the cattle and horses roamed.”

The revamped Cattle Camp is expected to reopen in early 2022, and the city may begin accepting private-event reservations as soon as August. For more information, visit cityofirvine.org and search for “Bommer Cattle Camp.”