Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

42 Comments
Reads 4504

Scroll through John's photos above


By John Wiley

To celebrate the successful fundraiser to preserve the San Marcos Foothills West Mesa, we looked through some photos we like. The perspective is so different from the ground, air, and mountains!

If you haven't visited it yet, we hope you get a better idea of how beautiful this area is. If you send Edhat some photos, maybe they can add them or publish a collection.

Thanks to all who joined us in supporting this effort. Can you tell where and when each of these pix was taken?


By Charles Brewster

San Marcos Foothills captured in February of 2018.


By Sheryl S.

As a native Californian, born and raised in this state. a wildlife conservationist, an artist, and decades long resident of Santa Barbara, I always get involved when preserving open space or helping wildlife is a thing. I attended the protests, painted big colorful signs, and watched as the police blocked people from trying to get to the gate and even arrested a couple of peaceful protestors. 

I painted a wood panel painting of Santa Barbara and sold it for a good chunk to raise funds for this effort. A man in Las Vegas bought that painting from posts on my Instagram account. People from out of town even donated because we were all sharing this effort with friends and family and followers on social media. Here are some of my photos of our impassioned effort to preserve this beautiful land for wildlife, for open coastal space, for future generations and beyond. A few mansions for the wealthy would have done nothing good for our community as a whole, but this massive grass roots effort was healing, empowering, inspiring and successful. Here are some of my signs, the painting I sold, and a little video of some of the wild neighbors that we fought so hard for. 

Thank you, to every single person who raised funds, donated, raised your voices, attended the events and made the effort. WE DID IT! I'm so proud of our community. This just makes my heart sing. 

Login to add Comments

42 Comments

Show Comments
Julia Laraway Jun 15, 2021 09:15 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Gratitude is rolling out of me in waves for everyone in this community and beyond who stepped up in one way or another to make this happen. Please note that if humans can do THIS, we can in fact solve other problems that seem insurmountable. The profound beauty of this effort is that humans worked TOGETHER, each giving as we were able, toward a common goal. Thank you.

Julia Laraway Jun 15, 2021 11:16 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Santa Barbara Observer...The countless souls of indigenous people would disagree with my gratitude that their land will not be paved over for homes? Or that humans can work together to solve problems?

SantaBarbaraObserver Jun 15, 2021 09:29 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Pretty sure the countless souls of the indigenous people who lived on this land for eons would disagree with your assessment but I do understand your sentiment as I've seen both the Stanford Prison Experiment and Stockholm...

a-1623774216 Jun 15, 2021 09:23 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Ah yes, the temporary employment of a few dozen people is of course more important than permanent development and loss of open space. Of course.

PitMix Jun 14, 2021 07:39 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Killing temporary construction jobs and avoiding permanently killing wildlife. Definitely a lose-lose situation for Get Off.

Getoffmylawn Jun 13, 2021 01:16 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Open space for people to get injured, off leash dog attacks and nimby people who will always justify what they want to do on the property simply because they donated money.

pstarSR Jun 13, 2021 10:47 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Bravo to the group that put there effort and minds to work and got something they wanted. disregard the people that arent doing any work to combat the things they are randomly complaining about here. San marcos preserve gets to keep the 100 acres, thats great. stop cluttering up a post about something good with a bunch of negativity.

John Wiley Jun 12, 2021 01:48 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Is the "Cara Moore" tree the one with boulders (incl. acorn stone) w/view of Channel & island in my pix? If so, was it in the area now protected by this community effort?

John Wiley Jun 13, 2021 01:11 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

"Acorn stone" = boulder presumably once used by Native Americans to make acorn meal (incorrect assumption in this case?). "Cara Moore tree" = my memory of that creator of fabulous SB calendars pointing out her favorite tree. We haven't seen her in years, but I thought she or someone else might know if that's "her" tree. For us it's certainly a prime spot for a shaded 360 degree view, to quietly contemplate amid serene magnificence. Or, as the teen daughter of a friend once demonstrated, to leap onto a boulder and shout "Dominator!" :D It's not far from the entrance, on a side trail to the left toward 154. Anyway, thanks for the followup, Bicyclist. :)

bicyclist Jun 13, 2021 07:48 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

John, obviously two great questions, as it appears that you've stump everyone here? I wanted to offer an answer or two, but my google searching abilities ended at the "Cara Moore" tree... I'll make the assumption that the tree you're referring to is in the now protected area, the assumption being that I know that tree? BTW: what is an acorn stone? See what I mean? I know answering questions with more questions is not what you were hoping for.
& I'm enjoying the fact you've decided to post MORE pictures, Thank you.

Byzantium Jun 12, 2021 01:17 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

BUS asks is not Santa Barbara the richest county in California? ........ "With a median household income of $124,055, Santa Clara County is the wealthiest county in California and one of the wealthiest in the United States. The area covers much of the Silicon Valley region, which is home to the headquarters and operations of many of the world’s largest tech companies — many of which are also among the world’s highest paying employers. These companies include Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel......."

pstarSR Jun 13, 2021 10:45 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

the same that maintained the area BEFORE this. its being rolled into the 200 acres that was going to stay.

John Wiley Jun 12, 2021 11:18 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Great to see one of Charles Brewster's beautiful pix added. I hope more people will share views of this varied preserve. Every time we go (or view from afar or the air), another nourishing sense of place emerges. Though I understand why R.C. ops are no longer permitted there, that was a fun addition for me. I'm glad to still see the occasional paraglider landing there, and celebrate how useful it's been for firefighting operations. My fav of the pix I sent Ed is the grand tree sheltering boulders including an acorn stone, and framing the distant Channel & island view. What are your favorite places and experiences there?

biguglystick Jun 12, 2021 10:05 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

I'm so proud of our community! We rallied... and we did it, just like we did for the Wilcox Property! Now two of my very most favorite places to walk and hike will be preserved for good. Thank you everyone. THANK YOU. I love my town.

John Wiley Jun 12, 2021 11:30 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

YES! Our little town's outsized community spirit is one of the myriad reasons we all (including gazillionaires) want to live here. Having lived in many places, after the good luck to move here "for a year" I was most struck by how well we all get along and pitch in together. S.B. may not be paradise, but we can see it from here. :)

theaaaron Jun 12, 2021 08:42 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

This preservation success is a wonderful thing for the community. As for the comment about the 19 million being better spent on the homeless I would simply say that it is not either or but both. Even homeless people might enjoy some nature.

Stray Jun 12, 2021 09:46 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

One could spend $1,019,000,000 on homelessness in California, still have homelessness and eight more McMansions built on the current San Marcos Preserve, or one could spend $1,000,000,000 on homelessness and spend $19,000,000 to save the San Marcos Preserve for all to enjoy. The second option seems the better choice.

Lucky 777 Jun 12, 2021 07:33 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Wonderful that this land has been preserved as wild. Once it was civilized we could never have gotten it back.

John Wiley Jun 12, 2021 11:25 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Thanks MP805, for the nudge to send a different pic to Ed from our recent drive along Camino Cielo. BTW, did anyone notice which of these pix is from there?

taz Jun 11, 2021 11:49 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Beautiful photos & perspectives of the saved land, showing that the "bridge to nowhere" leads to somewhere Magnificent!

Byzantium Jun 11, 2021 09:58 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

About a million dollars in annual property taxes arenow permanently lost to the county after eliminating the few expensive homes sites on the small portion of land that had not already been dedicated by the prior for an open space preserve. Where will this property tax revenue loss show up on the county books after switching from the previous 80% open space preserve to the now 100% open space preserve?

Byzantium Jun 12, 2021 01:14 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Why did you not take a government job where your income could have met your demands? There are still plenty of affordable areas to live in the county. Not everything is Hope Ranch and Montecito. It is a myth this is a "rich" county - not by a long shot. Nor does it have sufficient property ownership turnovers to maintain budget that meets its government employee expectations. You undermine your own argument. What you are saying is you don't want to commute to the areas you can afford, after four generations of apparently failed property ownership stewardship that leaves you "houseless" by your standards.

a-1623528361 Jun 12, 2021 01:06 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Is it a loss if it was an idea, a hope or expectation of income? We're not losing revenue that was there, we're losing the *expectation* of revenue.

biguglystick Jun 12, 2021 10:01 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Oh, give me a BREAK, Byzantium! This has got to be the RICHEST county in all of California!!! The homes here are insane. The property values here are something out of a dystopian novel. I'm a native Californian, and my family goes back 4 generations on one side and three on the other, and I've never in my 50 plus years in California seen homes this pathetically expensive. I can never hope to even dream of owning a home here because I am not wealthy. Screw the taxes... let's celebrate the BEAUTY and the real reason people want to live here. Why pave it with McMansions? That's the last thing Santa Barbara needs. Unbelievable. Our caring community came together to save this important land and put wildlife and nature ahead of wealth and concrete. Money isn't everything.

Minibeast Jun 11, 2021 09:49 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Hooray. Open space preserved and animal habitat protected. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard for this and to all who donated to save this land from development.

Getoffmylawn Jun 11, 2021 05:39 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

What are we celebrating exactly? Basically 19 million dollars was spent to acquire land. Thats fantastic but personally if the same effort was guided to a more important issue, such as the homeless i would feel a lot better about it.

PitMix Jun 14, 2021 07:42 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Like you care about homelessness, Get Off! Seems like you mostly just post things you think will irritate others.

Ahchooo Jun 12, 2021 12:15 PM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

The money spent on any one thing could certainly have been spent on something else, but the people who gave this money want this thing. I bet a lot of them also give money to other causes. Go raise money for homeless people if you want to.

Byzantium Jun 12, 2021 10:32 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Seven luxury estate build on this huge piece of empty grass land does not destroy nearly as much as the ever-expanding vagrant camp takeovers of most of our downtown public spaces and city parks. Keep things in perspective.

biguglystick Jun 12, 2021 10:04 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

Getoffmylawn: Saving open space in a populous state that seems intent on destroying everything beautiful in nature IS the most important thing. If we took that money and threw it at the homeless problem we'd still have multitudes of homeless and more paved over open space lost forever for the wealthy few. It would have helped NO ONE. I'm so proud of our community. There's always a couple of cranky old "yeah, but..." comments.

Stray Jun 12, 2021 08:24 AM
Celebrating the San Marcos Foothills

To put your comment in better perspective, Homeless spending in California has climbed every year since 2018, with Gov. Gavin Newsom determined to make each subsequent budget another step toward aiding the state’s needy. He followed through in early January 2020 when he proposed another $1 billion to help slow the spike in homelessness. Subsequently, have you seen vast improvements in resolving homelessness in our fair land? Contemplate that vastly larger amount of state tax payer funding before you begrudge the $19 million out of pocket donations given to preserve some precious open space for citizens to hike and wild animals to survive locally.

Please Login or Register to comment on this.