ake Forest is a city in Orange County, California. The population was 77,264 at the 2010 census.
Lake Forest incorporated as a city on December 20, 1991. Prior to a vote of the residents in that year, the community had formerly been known as El Toro since the 1880s. Since being incorporated, Lake Forest has expanded its limits to include the communities of Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills. Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills are master planned developments that brought new homes and commercial centers to the Eastern boundary of Lake Forest throughout the 1990s. Lake Forest (along with its neighboring cities Mission Viejo and Irvine) is ranked as one of the safest cities in the country. The private research firm Morgan Quitno ranked Lake Forest as the 15th safest city and another firm later ranked Lake Forest 10th in 2007 in the United States.
The city has two "lakes" from which the city gets its name. The lakes are man-made, and condominiums and custom homes ranging from large to small line their shores. The Lake Forest Beach and Tennis Club and Sun and Sail Club feature tennis courts, gyms, basketball courts, barbecue pits, volleyball courts, multiple swimming pools, saunas, hot tubs and club houses for social events. The "forest" for which the city is also named lies in the area between Ridge Route, Jeronimo, Lake Forest and Serrano roads and consists mostly of Eucalyptus trees. It was born in the first decade of the 1900s when a local landowner, Dwight Whiting, planted 400 acres (1.6 km2) of Eucalyptus groves in the vicinity of Serrano Creek as part of a lumber operation. In the late 1960s, the Occidental Petroleum company developed a residential community in and around the Eucalyptus groves, which had long since expanded and grown much more dense.
From 1863, the community had been known as El Toro. In 1874 Jos%uFFFD Serrano and his family occupied eleven thousand hectares of ranch that had been granted to them by the Government of Mexico, and that eventually reached the hands of Dwight Whiting. The Rancho Niguel was granted to Juan B. Alvarado, Juan Avila and his sister Conception, the widow of one Pedro S%uFFFDnchez. From them it passed to other owners and was divided into plots, including Yorba. In 1874 most of it was owned by Cyrus B. Rawson. Jonathan E. Bacon also owned 1600 acres. In addition to the Serranos, established in Aliso Canyon, there was a group of pioneers who lived in the foothills and several miles above El Toro, many of whom were among the first settlers of this neighborhood.
El Toro Road at the I-5 Freeway was the epicenter of the Saddleback Valley from the late 19th century to the end of the 20th century. However, the area gradually deteriorated, and most of the shops closed or moved to other cities. After years of planning, the city has worked with the property owners of some ageing strip malls and developed the "Arbor at Lake Forest" commercial district. The new center can now compete with large shopping centers in cities that surround Lake Forest.
Notable businesses and organizations
The city is home to the headquarters of eyewear manufacturer Oakley, Inc.; metals company Kaiser Aluminum, in-flight entertainment provider Panasonic Avionics; Karem Aircraft an aircraft company developing UAV's with major aircraft companies; telecommunications software developer Greenlight Wireless Corp.; barbecue retailer Barbeques Galore; restaurant chains Johnny Rockets and Del Taco; medical equipment maker Apria Healthcare; and skateboarding companies Sole Technology, Inc., Etnies, and Tilly's; among others. It is also the home of the corporate headquarters for Eagle Community Credit Union, a credit union focused on serving postal and federal employees who live or work in Orange County.
However, along with Oakley, the city is probably best known as the home of Rick Warren's famed megachurch, Saddleback Church, currently the eighth-largest church in the United States.
According to the City's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
Parks and education
Lake Forest Sports Park and Recreation Center opened on November 1, 2014, across the street from Saddleback Church. The 86.2-acre Sports Park, built with fees collected from developers for a "study" that led to the rezoning of surrounding areas, is one of the largest sports parks in Orange County. The Recreation Center houses classrooms/activities rooms and a gymnasium, hosting many education and recreation programs that have previously been hosted at the rented City Hall facility.
Lake Forest is also home to two county parks. Whiting Ranch in the eastern part of the city was the site of an infamous mountain lion mauling in 2004 that captured the attention of the West Coast news media.
Heritage Hill historical park is home to some of the oldest buildings in the county, including the Serrano Adobe, the old El Toro School House, and St. Georges Episcopal Church.
Lake Forest has one high school, El Toro High School. The high school was opened in 1973. It has established itself as one of the top schools in Southern California, along with the other three comprehensive high schools in the Saddleback Valley Unified School DistrictThe mascot is a bull and its teams are known as the Chargers. School colors are blue and gold.
Lake Forest is served by two branches of the Orange County Public Library system known as OC Public Libraries: the El Toro branch and the Foothill Ranch branch.
Lake Forest also has etnies Skatepark, which is the largest public skatepark with over 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.9 square miles (46 km2). 17.8 square miles (46 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.48%) is water.
Lake Forest is bordered by Irvine on the west, Laguna Hills on the southwest, Mission Viejo on the southeast, Trabuco Canyon on the east, and Limestone Canyon Regional Park on the north.
El Toro/Lake Forest/Portola is located in the heart of the Saddleback Valley. It is also in the northern section of South Orange County.
It has two man-made lakes identified by the clubhouses on the lakes %uFFFD the Beach and Tennis Club (Hidden Lakes, formerly Lake I) and the Sun and Sail Club (Lake II).