30 Interesting Facts

  1. The City’s population in 1991 was 54,752. Today, Lake Forest is home to an estimated 87,345 residents.
  2. The Etnies Skatepark of Lake Forest is the largest staffed public skateboard park in North America.
  3. The City named a street after Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies Third Baseman and El Toro High School graduate, during a February 2020 ceremony. 
  4. Lake Forest became a debt-free city in 2018 becoming one of the few debt-free cities in California.
  5. The planning for the City’s Civic Center began in 1999 and was completed 20 years later.
  6. Both the Lake Forest Sports Park and Civic Center were built without accruing long-term debt.
  7. The City established Heritage Hill Historic Park to preserve the area’s history. The Park features 4 restored buildings which were built from 1863-1908.
  8. Lake Forest was incorporated as Orange County’s 31st city on December 20, 1991.
  9. The Etnies Skatepark of Lake Forest hosts 60,000 visitors each year, or roughly sell-out Angel Stadium and a full house for the Ducks at Honda Center.
  10. Lake Forest has 31 parks with Portola Park recently opening in November 2020.
  11. Up until 2020, the City had held a Fourth of July Parade every year since incorporation.
  12. The Marine Corps Air Station El Toro was decommissioned in 1999. The land was developed into the Orange County Great Park.
  13. The City has its budget and financial statements displayed as an interactive infographic-based dashboard. It can be found here: www.lakeforestca.gov/554/Budgets-and-Financial-Statements
  14. The City has three ADA accessible parks throughout the City (Portola Park, Cherry Park, and Pittsford Park).
  15. The City completed its transition to District Elections during the 2020 General Election.
  16. The City held community forums with the public to gather feedback on the future designs of the Sports Park and Civic Center.
  17. The new City Hall is the City’s fourth City Hall. The previous three were located at 23778 Mercury Road, 23161 Lake Center Drive, and 25550 Commercentre Drive.
  18. The City has a dedicated Homeless Liaison Officer contracted with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
  19. The City’s Ask Lake Forest (ALF) system allows residents to effortlessly report issues to City staff.
  20. Lake Forest is a contract city as it contracts municipal services to public or private organizations.
  21.  The Orange County Sheriff’s Department has a senior citizen volunteer program called the Sheriff’s Team of Active Retired Seniors (STARS). Founded in 1997, STARS assist the City and Lake Forest Police Services.
  22. Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills were not part of the City’s incorporation in 1991. The City voted to expand city limits to include Foothill Ranch and Portola Hills in 2000.
  23. Throughout Lake Forest’s 30-year history, the City has only had three permanent City Managers. Gaylord Knapp, Robert Dunek, and Debra Rose. 
  24.  Both lakes in Lake Forest are man-made.
  25.  The top employer in Lake Forest is Panasonic Avionics Corporation with 1,703 employees.
  26. Kaitlin Sandeno, Olympic swimming champion, is an El Toro High School graduate.
  27. There are three OCFA Fire Stations across the City.
  28. The City has a total area of 17.9 square miles. 
  29.  Before incorporation, mentions of “El Toro” in the press referred to the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.
  30.  During Richard Nixon’s presidency, Marine Corps Air Station El Toro was used for flight to and from his “Western White House” at San Clemente, California.