October 24th Presentation: California Coastal Trail

The Ellwood and Gaviota Coast

© William B. Dewey

Join us on Wednesday October 24th from 7pm to 8:30pm for a presentation and panel discussion on the California Coast Trail (CCT) in Santa Barbara County. The future of public access to and along the Ellwood-Gaviota Coast will be discussed by local experts from the Santa Barbara Trails Council, The Gaviota Coast Conservancy and the County Riding and Hiking Trails Advisory Committee.


REI Santa Barbara
321 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

The Agenda

© John Wiley | http://www.flickr.com/photos/jw4pix

Mike Lunsford, with the Gaviota Coast Conservancy, will lead off with an assessment of the threats and opportunities posed by pending development and long range planning for the coastal trail and access on the Ellwood-Gaviota Coast. Mr. Lundsford will round out the opening comments with a statewide view noting California Coastal Trail successes and the challenges ahead.

Ray Ford, noted trail author and Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Trails Council, will display images and detailed maps showing opportunities for and threats to completion of the CCT and improved coastal access along Ellwood-Gaviota Coast. Ray will conclude his presentation highlighting a public/private collaboration to plan the construction of a segment of the CCT through Ellwood Mesa in Goleta.

Noting the value to the whole community, Dan Gira, with the County Riding and Hiking Trails Advisory Committee, will share why the Ellwood Mesa Coastal Trail Project is a blueprint for the development of the CCT along the Gaviota Coast, shine a spotlight CCT access points along the Gaviota Coast and wrap-up with a vision statement for a world-class coastal trail completed in our lifetime.

Reserve a space. Seating is limited.

Over a dozen local civic groups, with interests in recreational activities along the coast, are in support of the proper alignment of the CCT and improved coastal access. Attend and learn more about how you can access one of the most pristine segments of coastline in Southern California and help insure that environmentally sensitive access is there for future generations.

Background Information

© John Wiley | http://www.flickr.com/photos/jw4pix

Stretching for over 30 miles of Santa Barbara County’s South Coast, the Gaviota Coast is one of the most pristine segments of coastline in Southern California. The Gaviota Coast supports three State Park Beach Campgrounds: El Capitan, Refugio and Gaviota, thousands of acres of state park wilderness and over 15,000 acres of Los Padres National Forest. Tens of thousands of acres of privately owned land zoned for agricultural use surround and separate these state and federal lands. Because of its natural beauty and variety of coastal recreational opportunities, Santa Barbara County’s Local Coastal Plan (LCP) identifies the Gaviota Coast as a recreational resource of statewide importance. A key proposal contained in this local coastal plan is the completion of the California Coastal Trail (CCT) along 36 miles of shoreline.

Pending development proposals for large areas of the east end of the coastal terrace between the City of Goleta and El Capitan State Beach present a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a scenic world class coastal bluff-top location for the CCT. The County is also preparing an updated Gaviota Plan to guide future use and development of the Gaviota Coast, including a trail system. The convergence of pending developments and long-range planning offers an unprecedented opportunity for the development of one of the most scenic segments of the CCT in the state and improved vertical coastal access points. However, missteps and a lack of leadership from the County along with resistance from some developers threaten some of the most important segments of the CCT and may lead to inadequate or inappropriate coastal access.