Western view of the Gaviota Coast with Arroyo Hondo Preserve in the bottom right
Gaviota Coast west of Arroyo Hondo Preserve. Photo: Bill Dewey

GAVIOTA COAST, CA—The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County launched a community fundraising campaign on Valentine’s Day to raise $750,000 to add 48 acres of rolling hills with views along the Gaviota shoreline to the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, expanding public access for the first time in twenty years. At the end of February, an anonymous gift for $500,000 arrived earmarked for the 48-acre property known as Gaviota Overlook. “This gift shows how compelling protecting the Gaviota Coast is—it’s the  wild, special places where the public can go to get outside, hike, learn, and explore,” said Meredith Hendricks Executive Director at the Land Trust.

For the Land Trust, the surprise arrival of the generous gift signals a vote of confidence. As Donor Engagement Manager Hilary Doubleday said, “a gift like this creates incredible momentum to get this deal done. We are beyond grateful. It’s exciting to be so close to our goal. We hope the community will be inspired to keep this momentum going and help us finish our $750,000 goal.”

The purchase of Gaviota Overlook is the first new piece of Gaviota Coast conservation in fifteen years and comes at a time when community needs for access to nature are overlapping with growing support for conservation as a practical approach to stronger local economies, food supply chains, climate resilience, and a slew of other public benefits.

The rolling grassland of the Gaviota Overlook property will add a new, unique habitat to Arroyo Hondo, benefiting local plants and animals, and, importantly, extending connectivity as a wildlife corridor. It will also provide more space and trails to explore and will enhance outdoor programs for over 26,000 local kids from Santa Barbara County schools and 16,000 adults who have visited Arroyo Hondo since 2001. Executive Director Hendricks adds, “with conservation management of the property, the climate benefits are enhanced, and the community will experience firsthand why conserving the Gaviota Coast matters. This kind of approach to land management is a working example of the nature-based solutions conservation offers.”

With the strong vote of confidence the recent anonymous gift offers, and only $210,000 more of the community funding portion of the goal to go, the widespread benefits this new property offers feel within reach. “Gaviota Overlook poses a lot of opportunity for our community and our region. We know people and wildlife need more room to breathe and thrive. Securing the rest of the funding needed to incorporate Gaviota Overlook is a big step towards making these dreams a reality and the Land Trust is hoping for a swift upswell in community support in the wake of this amazing gift,” said Hendricks.

About the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.

Since 1985, The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County has worked with community groups, willing landowners, and other partners to conserve, restore, and manage open space, wildlife habitat, and family farms and ranches throughout the county, including the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, Sedgwick Reserve, and the Rincon Bluffs Preserve in Carpinteria. To help the Land Trust raise $210,000 needed to protect Gaviota Overlook forever as part of Arroyo Hondo Preserve, please go to: https://www.sblandtrust.org/ 

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