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Spotlight: Ralph B. Clark Regional Park

February 27, 1988

Address: 8800 Rosecrans Ave., Buena Park

Phone number: (714) 670-8045

Recreational facilities: Ralph B. Clark Regional Park, formerly Los Coyotes Regional Park, offers picnic areas, hiking and bicycling trails and children's playgrounds. Team sports facilities include two sand volleyball courts, three softball fields and a baseball diamond. There are four tennis courts, a stocked three-acre lake and an outdoor amphitheater. All of the current facilities are in the area of the park south of Rosecrans Avenue; new recreational areas north of Rosecrans are under construction. Due to open in mid-August is an interpretive center that will focus on the park's rich fossil legacy.

Description: Ralph B. Clark Regional Park, straddling the Buena Park-Fullerton border at the foot of Coyote Canyon, includes one of the county's richest fossil sites. Fossil beds were revealed when the California Division of Highways excavated sand and gravel from the site (then known as the Emory Borrow Pit) for use in the construction of the Santa Ana and Riverside Freeways from 1956 to 1973. The county acquired the property in 1974. Paleontologists have uncovered remains of more than 70 forms of life at the site, including prehistoric camel, whale, bison and the largest collection of fossilized pond turtles in Southern California. Most of the terrestrial fossils are from a time about 10,000 to 15,000 years ago when the area encompassed marshes and oak woodland. Marine fossils indicated the area was once part of the ocean, before an upheaval about 75,000 years ago created the Coyote Hills.

Fees: Day use is $1.50 per vehicle.

Clipboard researched by Rick VanderKnyff, Susan Greene and Henry Rivero / Los Angeles Times

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