The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County has protected nearly 23,000 acres of rolling hills, working ranches and farms, watersheds, oak woodlands and coastal bluffs in Santa Barbara County.
The following properties are open to the public. Click on each preserve name to learn more about visiting, hiking and school and community group opportunities. For additional images please visit our image gallery.
Arroyo Hondo Preserve, Gaviota (782 acres)
Called the “Jewel of the Gaviota Coast,” the 782-acre Arroyo Hondo Preserve is a magnificent canyon located west of Santa Barbara between Refugio State Beach and Gaviota State Park. The old ranch is rich in early California history and has an abundance of outstanding natural features.
Because it is a property that we continue to own and manage, we have an entire section of our website dedicated to this beautiful community resource.
For all the details about the history, how to visit and more, please visit here
Midland School Ranch, Santa Ynez (2,727 acres)
Founded in 1932, Midland School is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for grades 9-12. The mission of Midland is to teach the value of a lifetime of learning, self-reliance, simplicity, responsibility to community and the environment, and love for the outdoors.The modest campus sits on a magnificent 2,860-acre property bordered by the 5,896-acre Sedgwick Reserve (a Land Trust project that is now part of the University of California Natural Reserve System), the Los Padres National Forest and two private cattle ranches.The mouth of Birabent Canyon on the property was site of Soxtonokmu, the largest Chumash village in the Santa Ynez Valley. The school was built around an early 20th century ranch, and the original farmhouse is on the National Register of Historic Places. Midland School generously shares its tremendous natural and cultural resources with the community, hosting scientific, educational and recreational activities. The property rises from Alamo Pintado Creek to Grass Mountain and Lookout Peak in the San Rafael Mountains. With only one paved road in the area, it provides wildlife habitat that supports black bear, mountain lions, bobcats, coyotes and many raptors. While historic Valley oak woodland is in decline throughout central California, Midland supports a rich Valley oak woodland where teachers and students have an active reforestation program underway. The property features 130 acres of undisturbed Blue oak woodland, which formerly covered millions of acres of Central California but is now largely lost. The property also is home to the Santa Barbara Jewelflower, one of the rarest annual plants in North America that grows only in Serpentine rock outcrops like those found in the Figueroa Mountain area.The future of this land, with its rare and unique plant communities and its location adjacent to the Sedgwick Reserve and Figueroa Mountain, has been secured by a conservation easement by the national Trust for Public Land and held by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.
The school’s operation, including a cattle grazing lease and school farm, will not be affected by the easement. If Midland ever leaves the property, the easement will limit use of the land to ranching and farming. The community will know that, between the Sedgwick Ranch and Midland School, these rare oak woodlands, creeks and grand gateway to the Santa Barbara backcountry will remain for future generations to enjoy.
Visiting Midland School
For more information about visiting Midland, contact them directly at (805)-688-5114.
Burton Mesa Chaparral/Mackie Mountain, Lompoc (17 acres)
In the 1980s, when the land around Mackie Mountain (locals also call it “Muffin Hill”) was proposed for development of the Vandenberg Village homes, the county planning commission required that the 17 acre Mackie Mountain site be set aside as open space. The developer offered a permanent conservation easement to the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. Surrounded entirely by homes now, the Mackie Mountain preserve protects regionally unique Burton Mesa Chaparral vegetation, and provides local residents walking trails around and to the hilltop, offering a panoramic view of the Lompoc Valley and the nearby 5,000 acre Burton Mesa Chaparral Preserve owned by the State of California.
Visiting Mackie Mountain
You can visit Mackie Mountain during daylight hours. Park near one of the four access trails on Galaxy Way in Vandenberg Village.
Burton Ranch Chapparal Preserve, Lompoc (95 acres)
In June the Land Trust completed a conservation agreement to protect 95 acres of land featuring unique Burton Mesa Chaparral, coastal scrub and oak savannah habitat near Vandenberg Village. Burton Mesa Chaparral is a unique form of maritime chaparral that is only found in the sandy soils north of Lompoc. Over 300 native plant species are found in the area.
This easement was granted by Martin Farrell Homes and The Towbes Group to mitigate impacts associated with a housing development they are building nearby. The new Land Trust preserve is largely surrounded by the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve that is managed by the Department of Fish & Wildlife. Popular walking trails connect this site to the state reserve. The Land Trust will monitor the property and work with the owners and Fish & Wildlife to protect and enhance the ecological resources of this special habitat. You can find out more about the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve here
Carpinteria Bluffs, Carpinteria (52 acres)
Driving north or south on Highway 101, you’re sure to have noticed the scenic ocean vista, swaying Eucalyptus lined paths, and fields of coastal sage and wildflowers known as Carpinteria Bluffs, which offers spectacular views of Anacapa, Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands. The property also overlooks a low tide beach and one of the four harbor seal rookeries remaining along the southern California coast. Among this stunning scenery passersby walk their dogs along the tree lined paths, peak at the harbor seals, ride bikes, paint landscapes and stop to capture yet another of the magnificent sunsets melting into the Pacific.
History of the Bluffs
For over 20 years, the citizens in Carpinteria fought against development of the Bluffs. Developers with proposals for hotels, housing tracts, business parks and oil refineries came and went without success. Weary of fighting against projects, local conservationists formed the Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs in 1996 to raise money and build support for a permanent solution. In 1997, the Land Trust began meeting with the Citizens, and in 1998 we jointly convinced the newest owner/developer, Shea Homes, to discuss selling 52 acres. Finally, in August 1998, Shea Homes agreed to sell the property to the Land Trust for $3,950,000 – well below the appraised value. The developer would only agree to sell if we could raise the entire purchase price by December 31. Setting aside all fear of failure, the Land Trust and Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs agreed to team up and try to make this deal by raising $35,000 per day! With a lead grant from the Wallis Foundation, a $1 million grant and $1 million loan from the State Coastal Conservancy and a non-stop grassroots campaign, our two groups succeeded in raising not only the purchase cost, but an extra $500,000 to fund an endowment to maintain the property after its purchase. Over 3,000 people, many local businesses, 15 foundations and four government grants made this campaign one of the largest conservation land purchases in county history. In October 2000, the Land Trust and Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs completed negotiation to turn the property over to the City of Carpinteria to own and manage it as an open space preserve. The Land Trust holds a conservation easement on the property, limiting development on the Bluffs to walking trails, a bikeway and a six-acre area for soccer and baseball fields.
Visiting the Carpinteria Bluffs
The Bluffs are open every day sun up to sundown for walking, hiking, painting and bike trail rides. Approximately once a year, the Land Trust organizes special docent-led hikes and lunches. The Citizens for the Bluffs often sponsor sunrise hikes and other events. For volunteer opportunities or upcoming events, please contact Betty Stein at (805) 684-3712. To find out more about the ball fields and other public improvements underway at the Bluffs, call the City of Carpinteria Parks Department at (805) 684-5405.
Carpinteria Salt Marsh, Carpinteria (35 acres)
The Carpinteria Salt Marsh is one of the largest and most ecologically important coastal estuaries in California. In 2008 the Land Trust completed a four year restoration project to provide better wildlife habitat, opportunities for scientific research, and ways for the people to visit and learn about the coastal environment. A new pedestrian bridge connecting the Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park and the Land Trust public trail and habitat restoration area was opened in March 2008.Work was funded in part by more than $100,000 in community donations while the following agencies provided over $1,950,000 in grants to the Land Trust for ecological restoration: State Coastal Conservancy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, County of Santa Barbara and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.History of the Marsh
Deciding to preserve part of the marsh, 11 families living in the adjacent Sandyland Cove sold their part of the marsh to the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) in 1977. Later, when faced with proposed development, a partnership including the Land Trust, State Coastal Conservancy, City of Carpinteria, UC Natural Reserve System, County Flood Control District and adjacent homeowner associations purchased the remaining portion of this valuable coastal wetland.
The marsh is now a busy, healthy ecosystem filled with rare birds, fish, snails, sharks and plants. Nestled between homes, agriculture, nurseries, the railroad and freeway, the marsh is one of the last remaining coastal estuaries in California. Less than 10% of the historic wetland habitat exists in California, and this 230-acre reserve is one of the only places left where the land meets the ocean, providing an essential environment for numerous plants and wildlife.
Visiting the Carpinteria Salt Marsh
The Nature Park is open during daylight hours every day, and docent tours of the nature park are available. Call the City of Carpinteria Parks and Recreation Department at (805) 684-5405 for a schedule of docent led tours.From Hwy 101 southbound, take the Linden Ave. exit 86B. Turn right onto Linden and continue toward the beach. Make a right turn at 3rd St. and continue until the street ends, turn onto Ash Ave. and park. The Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park lies along Ash Avenue. Following the trail toward the mountains and to the west will take you to the Land Trust pedestrian bridge, public trail and restoration area.From Hwy 101 northbound, take the Casitas Pass exit 86. Turn left onto Casitas Pass and turn right on Carpinteria Avenue. Go about a quarter mile and turn left onto Linden Ave. continue toward the beach. Make a right turn at 3rd St. and continue until the street ends, turn onto Ash Ave. and park. The Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park lies along Ash Avenue. Following the trail to the west will take you to the Land Trust pedestrian bridge, public trail and restoration area.
Coronado Butterfly Preserve, Goleta (9 acres)
Perhaps best known as the gateway to the Goleta Butterfly Grove, one of the largest Monarch butterfly over-wintering groves in California, the Coronado Butterfly Preserve is home to native coastal sage scrub habitat, eucalyptus groves and numerous birds and wildlife that thrive in this urban community treasure.Visit our page
for more detailed information, including about Monarch Butterflies and the Coronado Butterfly Preserve.
El Capitan Ranch and Horse Ranch, Gaviota (650 acres)
The national conservation group The Trust for Public Land (TPL) recently completed fundraising to acquire 2,500 acres on the El Capitan Ranch, to become part of the El Capitan State Park. In a related transaction, our local Land Trust now holds conservation easements on the remaining 650 acres of El Capitan Ranch. These easements provide for continued operation of the private El Capitan Campground and the existing equestrian training ranch. Outside of these already developed areas, only two new homes may be built, and the land is otherwise restricted for agricultural use.
Fairview Gardens, Goleta (12 acres)
Fairview Gardens is home to the popular organic farm on Fairview Avenue next door to the Goleta public library. It is one of the few remaining farms not lost to the urbanization of Goleta. Thousands of people visit Fairview Gardens each year to shop at its farm stand, to take the self-guided farm tour, or to join in various fun and educational events sponsored by the Center for Urban Agriculture. The Land Trust helped the Center purchase the land at a discounted price by placing an agricultural easement on the farm. Grant funds awarded by the County Board of Supervisors, along with private and foundation gifts, helped complete the land purchase.Our 1997 agricultural easement requires that 88% of the land be used for agricultural production, with farm support, employee housing and educational uses allowed on the remaining land. This easement is unique in that it requires that Fairview Gardens use organic or biodynamic farming methods only. Conservation easements don’t typically specify agricultural methods, but the Center for Urban Agriculture is strongly committed to organic farming, and wanted the easement to reflect that commitment.
Visiting Fairview Gardens
You can visit the farm any day between 10am and sunset and follow the self-guided tour. No reservations necessary. Bring a picnic to enjoy at one of thepicnic tables around the farm. Visit Fairview Gardens’ web site for more info.
Franklin Trail, Carpinteria
When something of natural beauty and community value is lost it can be hard, even impossible, to bring back. Understanding that reality, many people in Carpinteria have worked with passion and persistence to see that long-valued natural and public resources were protected, even as the city doubled in population since 1970 and saw agricultural and commercial and governmental development expand. The people power of Carpinteria’s residents, government leaders and agencies, and non-profit partners has done so much: Rallying to buy the Carpinteria Bluffs. Forming Carpinteria Seal Watch
to protect the harbor seal rookery and manage public viewing with volunteers; Securing major portions of the Carpinteria Salt Marsh to restore damaged wetlands, improve water quality and offer educational public access. Collaborating to bring back Steelhead salmon to Carpinteria Creek. Building a great system of community parks and trails.
One local resource lost over the years was a trail near Franklin Creek that historically linked the valley floor to the Los Padres National Forest network of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Access to the backcountry was lost a number of years ago when permissive use over private properties ceased to exist due to the changing character of land ownership and the intensification of agriculture in the valley.
The volunteer committee Friends of the Franklin Trail
stepped up to lead a community partnership to get the Franklin Trail rebuilt and reopened. The Land Trust is the non-profit project sponsor, partnering with “Friends” to help with planning, permitting and construction management. In 2011, Friends co-chairs Jane Murray and Bud Girard and a talented volunteer team spearheaded public outreach and fundraising that brought in $295,000 in community donations and foundation grants for the design, permitting and construction of the Franklin Trail. In 2012, the County Board of Supervisors approved a grant of $75,000 from development mitigation fees, and the Land Trust secured a $200,000 state environmental enhancement grant. All of the funds needed for the project have been raised.
While not impossible, it is tricky and expensive to bring back a trail that runs along or through existing neighborhoods, a public high school campus, creek banks and flood control berms, private avocado orchards, and up a mountain featuring plants and animals protected by the law. Friends and County Parks tackled the challenge of negotiating new or relocated legal agreements for the trail from three ranch owners and the Carpinteria School District.
One might think that with volunteers, money and legal access it was time to grab the hand tools and start building the trail! Not so fast! Completing the trail through town to the base of the foothills requires retaining walls, a new 65-foot creek crossing bridge, new storm drains, erosion control plans and security fencing and gates along the high school campus and to avoid conflict with ranch and farm operations. Add to that engineer drawings, soil tests, surveying, an environmental study, sign plans, insurance, construction bids, and contracts. With help from Jane and Bud and county staff, the Land Trust has agreed to manage the planning, permitting and construction of the first phase of the new Franklin Trail. The planning is well underway. Our goal is to have the first phase of the Franklin Trail, beginning near Carpinteria High School and extending through the Persoon and Horton family ranches and an initial stretch of the Rancho Monte Alegre property in construction in Spring 2013 and open by summer. The majority of the trail, running through Rancho Monte Alegre and into the National Forest along the historic trail route, will be a second phase that depends on more people power to get additional landowner and government approvals.
Hot Springs Canyon, Santa Barbara (462 acres)
One of the last undeveloped, private properties in the Santa Barbara foothills was protected in 2012, a culmination of four years of work on the most complex and expensive land acquisition the Land Trust has ever done. The 462-acre Hot Springs Canyon has always been privately owned, since the 1960’s by the McCaslin family, yet the public has hiked and ridden on this undeveloped land for decades. The McCaslin’s approached the Land Trust in 2008 when they decided to sell but the world economic collapse made for a difficult time to raise charitable contributions. In 2011, we revisited this opportunity and after much research and community outreach, decided to enter into a purchase option. In a fast-moving campaign lasting from March 2011 to March 2012, the Land Trust succeeded in raising $7.8 million dollars – all of it from generous local individuals, families and foundations with no government money going into this land purchase. From the beginning, the Land Trust made clear its plan to convey the land to Los Padres National Forest for long-term stewardship as we do not have the capacity to manage this property. The canyon is entirely within the National Forest boundary and is largely surrounded by public land. As of this writing, the Land Trust continues to own Hot Springs Canyon while we work out complex legal and title issues related to private road access, a groundwater agreement with the Montecito Water District, potentially hazardous electric utility materials left on the site, and historic use of mineral spring water by a private water company.After the land is transferred to the Forest Service, the Land Trust will remain engaged with the Service and with the local community to ensure that the Canyon is managed in a way that protects its environmental resources and public trails. The Montecito Trails Foundation has agreed to be a partner in maintaining the trails, and the Pearl Chase Society would like to find a way to recognize the historical assets of the canyon, which includes a long history of Chumash use and the remnant foundation of the Hot Springs Resort and Spa that operated there for more than 130 years until being destroyed in the 1964 Coyote Fire. At this time, the Land Trust allows public use of the existing trails. Look for our signs on the trails with the “rules of the road” and enjoy the land responsibly.
Visiting Hot Springs Canyon
Under the Land Trust’s interim ownership, the existing trails in Hot Springs Canyon will remain open to the public during daylight hours. The following activities are prohibited:
• Use of motorized vehicles.
• Setting of any fire and smoking.
• Use of firearms and hunting.
• Trail building and brush cutting without permission of the Land Trust.
Directions to the trailhead: From U.S. 101 in Montecito, exit Olive Mill Road, which, after intersecting Alston Drive, continues as Hot Springs Road. Three miles from U.S. 101, you’ll reach Mountain Drive. Turn left and proceed 1/4 of a mile to the trailhead, which is on the right side of the road and is marked by a Montecito Trails Foundation sign. Park in a safe manner alongside the road.
Modoc Preserve, Santa Barbara (25 acres)
The Modoc Preserve along Modoc Road is owned by the La Cumbre Mutual Water Company, which serves Hope Ranch and nearby neighborhoods. After reviewing various options for this land and seeking the approval of its shareholders, the Water Company in 1999 granted a conservation easement to the Land Trust, to keep this land open and undeveloped for community benefit.The Water Company retains the right to build facilities like water wells, pipelines and access roads, and otherwise the land will remain as open space. Supporters for the Modoc Preserve are raising money to provide an endowment for maintenance, and also to build a network of pedestrian and equestrian trails through the oak woodland and around a small natural wetland within the preserve.
Visiting the Modoc Preserve
Located in Santa Barbara, the Preserve is accessed from Modoc Road or Vieja Drive, south of Highway 101.
More Mesa, Santa Barbara (36 acres)
The 300-acre More Mesa just west of Hope Ranch has been one of the preservation community’s highest priorities for decades. While most of More Mesa is owned by an out-of-state investor who does not seem interested in selling it for preservation, the Land Trust did succeed in buying one property on the northwestern edge of More Mesa in 1991. The former “Austin/Andrews Property” was purchased with Proposition 70 bond funds, and transferred to the County. With a Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund grant, the Land Trust prepared a 1992 management plan for this property. In recent years, the County Flood Control District has begun planting native riparian plants there, as part of its mitigation program for flood control maintenance along Atascadero Creek.
Visiting More Mesa
The More Mesa open space includes oak woodland and riparian habitat, and has nice trails that are popular with local birdwatchers, bikers and horseback riders. You can get to the property by driving south on Patterson Avenue, and then east on Shoreline Drive to a trailhead near Orchid Drive.
Point Sal, Santa Maria area (130 acres)
The dramatic, windswept coastline near Point Sal near Guadalupe is home to some of the Central Coasts more unique geological, botanical, wildlife and archaeological treasures. Point Sal’s coastal dunes, steep oceanside bluffs and wetland habitats support over 300 native plant species, many at the northern or southern extent of their California range. The mingling of two major ocean currents offshore results in an ecologically rich interface of northern and southern marine species (Steller sea lion, northern fur seal, Guadalupe fur seal, northern elephant seal). The eleven different types of habitat found at Point Sal sustain a rich array of breeding and overwintering birds and other wildlife.This area is quite spectacular, but quite remote – today the one public road to the area remains washed out by a storm, so no vehicle access is available. In 2003, the County Parks released an updated management plan for 863 acres of Point Sal land under county, state and federal ownership. This plan addresses management of the area’s sensitive resources, and make recommendations for future public access improvements. For information, contact the County Parks Department.The Land Trust purchased these 130 acres adjacent to Point Sal State Park from private owners in 1989-90 using Proposition 70 state bond and county Coastal Resource Enhancement Fund grants. We then prepared a management plan for this and other public land at Point Sal before transferring the property to the County Parks Department. The county purchased another 320 acre private holding at Point Sal in 1998.
Visiting Point Sal
The Point Sal trail is located at the end of Brown Road which is located South of Guadalupe California on Highway 1. Turn West onto Brown Rd. and follow the road to the locked gate at the roads end.
The trail is moderately strenuous in intensity with an elevation gain of approximately 1,200 feet from the top of the ridge down to the beach and is approximately 12 miles round trip to the beach and back.Please observe the following trail rules and regulations:
Trail use is from sunrise to sunset only. Please time your hike to be back to this starting point before sunset. No overnight camping.
This trail is for PEDESTRIAN USE ONLY. No bicycles, horses or other mechanized vehicles are allowed.
Stay on the designated trail. Public access to the beach follows the road and goes through private property and Vandenberg Air Force Base property. Do not trespass and obey posted signs.
No firearms or hunting allowed.
The trail may be temporarily closed from time to time due to military operations. Please observe closures and stay off the trail.
Please park vehicles off the road and DO NOT BLOCK GATE.
San Ysidro Oak Woodland or Ennisbrook, Montecito (44 acres)
When the Ennisbrook subdivision was proposed in Montecito, the community and the county insisted that the oak woodland and Monarch butterfly eucalyptus grove along San Ysidro Creek be preserved and protected in their natural state. In 1997, the Land Trust accepted a conservation easement on the property, providing that the Ennisbrook Owners Association maintain the area under the guidance of a biologist.
Visiting the San Ysidro Oak Woodland
A hiking trail easement between San Leandro Lane and East Valley Road provides a lovely walk through the woodland. To get to the trail, find N. Jameson Lane which travels parallel to the 101 Freeway just to the east of town. Go north on Hixon Rd then turn right onto San Leandro Lane, or go north to Sheffield Dr. and turn left onto San Leandro Lane. Along the north side of San Leandro Lane you will eventually see a small green building with a white picket fence in front of it. Go through the gate in the picket fence as this is the entrance to the trail.
Sedgwick Reserve, Santa Ynez Valley (5,896 acres)
Set in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, the Sedgwick Reserve stands not only as a historical tribute to the Valley’s agricultural heritage, but offers a breathtaking picture of what California was like for centuries before Western man brought “progress” to this part of the globe. The Sedgwick Reserve contains much of the watershed of Figueroa Creek, from rolling oak savannah, to grassland harboring many native grasses, to the gray pine forest extending into the Los Padres National Forest to the north. The Sedgwick Reserve lies between what were once the two largest Chumash villages in the Santa Ynez Valley: Soxtonokmu and Kalawashaq’. According to artifacts found on the property, the Reserve appears to have been both a residence and path frequented between the two villages up until 1822. After this time, the Chumash in the Santa Ynez Valley were removed from their villages and baptized into missions. For the next 150 years the Sedgwick Reserve was used primarily for ranching and dry farming. The original Rancho La Laguna ranch headquarters, bunkhouses, barns and vintage farm implements speak to the ranching history of Santa Barbara County dating to the Mexican rancho days. Archaeologists have cataloged Chumash burial sites over 2,000 years old. Francis “Duke” Sedgwick and his wife, Alice de Forest Sedgwick bought the Ranch in 1952. Duke began working out of the artist loft and invited other artists to come and take part the beauty of Sedgwick, which started a legacy of arts and education that remains today. In 1967, Mr. Sedgwick donated a controlling interest in 5,114 acres in the ranch to UC Santa Barbara, with the intent that the entire property go to the UCSB when he and his wife were gone. However, in 1988 after Mr. Sedgwick’s death, Mrs. Sedgwick decided to leave her remaining interest in 782 acres to her five children. At the same time, she authorized the University to sell the rest of the ranch, contrary to Mr. Sedgwick’s gift of the land. Mrs. Sedgwick passed away a few months later and in the late 1980′s, UCSB proposed to sell their portion. The Sedgwick children were also debating sale of their interest, in part to pay estate taxes.In the early 1990′s, motivated by research scientists, artists and preservationists, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County agreed to lead a “Save the Sedgwick” campaign to acquire the 782 acres from the heirs to the Sedgwick estate. In a complex, several year effort, the Land Trust succeeded in raising $3.2 million from local, state and foundation grants, and a great many individual donations, our first large land purchase. We then agreed that the land would be placed under a conservation easement to permanently protect it from development and that it would become part of the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS), who has managed the Reserve since 1997.
Sedgwick Today and Into the Future
Today the Sedgwick Reserve is being used extensively for research, arts and education programs. Over 38 visitors per day, and up to 6,400 a year visit Sedgwick Reserve. One of the most successful research and restoration projects is Kids in Nature which brings in over 100 children from regional schools to do habitat restoration and to learn about nature from the Reserve’s volunteer docents.
Scientists from UCSB and other institutions around the world now participate in ecological and agricultural research and projects include the study of oak tree regeneration, native grass competition with invasive plant species, the ecological role of pocket gophers, and many other studies related to the rich populations of native plants, lichen, insects, reptiles and vertebrate animals that call the Sedgwick Reserve home. In addition the conservation easement negotiated by the Land Trust requires that a minimum of 200 acres of the “heirs parcel” land be used for agriculture.
Visiting Sedgwick Reserve
For information on how you can go to experience one of Santa Barbara County’s most special places and learn about the Sedgwick Reserve’s research, art, educational and public access programs, contact the Sedgwick at (805) 686-1941 or more information available on their site.
South Parcel Nature Park UCSB, Goleta (68 acres)
To the west, eucalyptus woodlands welcome migrating monarch butterflies while intact coastal dunes to the south provide nesting grounds for the threatened snowy plover. Riparian habitat and willow woodlands spring up to the north and east. The UCSB South Parcel hasn’t always been so welcoming, it was subject first to oil development in the early 1900s, and then to topsoil removal in the mid-1900s when the nearby golf course was created. Invasive species, such as Pampas grass, have invaded since then. Even so, the untouched portions persevered and the 68-acre property still has much to offer. In 2007, as part of an application to the California Coastal Commission to build new faculty and staff housing, the University agreed to permanently protect the South Parcel as natural open space. In 2010, the Land Trust and the University negotiated a conservation easement allowing only the property to be used and improved only for natural resource management, restoration and passive recreational use.
Plans for the South Parcel Nature Park include restoration of native wetland and riparian grassland, coastal scrub habitat, plus improved public trails and interpretive signs.Because the South Parcel is bordered by the Coal Oil Point Reserve, Devereux Slough, and Ellwood Mesa, it serves as a local conservation keystone, connecting various open space areas under different ownership and jurisdictions. By linking all of these properties, protection of the South Parcel will create a continuous open space totaling over 650 acres. The UCSB Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER) is making plans to revive the natural habitat of degraded areas of the South Parcel. With mitigation funds and other grants, CCBER and the Land Trust will work together to remove invasive species, enhance the existing wetlands, and collaborate with neighboring properties on a long-term management plan. If you are interested in maps and “before” photos of the South Parcel, you can take a look at a PDF
of our baseline report.
Visiting the South Parcel
The site is located north of Coal Oil Point Reserve and southwest of Ocean Meadows Golf Course and is best accessed by trail from adjacent public open spaces.