The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County is thrilled to announce the successful completion of the $3 million fundraising campaign to purchase Gaviota Overlook.
Protecting Gaviota Overlook accomplishes the first new piece of land conservation on the Gaviota Coast since the early 2000s, when the Land Trust, with a vision of preserving this iconic coastline piece by piece, successfully protected three Gaviota Coast properties.
The campaign to purchase Gaviota Overlook was launched in August of 2022 with the goal of raising $3 million needed to complete the purchase. The property, 48 acres of rolling grassland that neighbors the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, presented the Land Trust with an opening to grow Arroyo Hondo’s trail network, programming, and public access.
The Land Trust hopes this acquisition sets the stage for a robust future Gaviota Coast trail network and kicks off a new series of coastal conservation. Imagine the puzzle pieces coming together along the Gaviota Coast adding up to thousands of conserved acres stretching from the Dangermond Preserve in the west through to Refugio and El Capitan State Beaches in the south—mile after mile of one of the most beautiful, unspoiled and environmentally significant stretches of California coastline protected forever.
“There are not many places left along the Central California Coast that we can still protect and few places on earth are as stunning as Gaviota,” says Meredith Hendricks, Executive Director of the Land Trust.
In addition to providing more public access along the Gaviota Coast and at the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, the property also offers important ecological benefits. Three watershed drainages recharge the water table with winter rains while the grasslands provide carbon and nitrogen capture, both important to climate resilience.
With the Land Trust’s conservation-minded approach to land management, Hendricks says, “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.”
The Land Trust hopes that Gaviota Overlook at Arroyo Hondo Preserve will be open to the public by summer 2024 but much depends on the coming winter. “This project is especially near to my heart because of the trail expansion from Arroyo Hondo that it provides. I love to get out on our amazing county trails and any expansion of hiking opportunities on the Gaviota Coast is a gift to future generations,” says Joe Weiland, President of the Board of Trustees for the Land Trust. Supporters of the campaign gathered on October 20th at the property for a golden shovel ceremony to celebrate completion of the purchase and break ground on the future trail.
To make reservations to visit Arroyo Hondo and learn more about Gaviota Overlook visit https://www.sblandtrust.org.
About the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County
Founded in 1985, The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County is a California non-profit that conserves natural resources, agricultural land, and open spaces for the benefit of present and future generations. We are a nationally-accredited member of the Land Trust Alliance and California Council of Land Trusts. For almost 40 years the Land Trust has worked to protect the spectacular landscapes we call home to ensure essential habitats, local food systems, and access to open space for all communities now and for future generations. To date, the Land Trust has worked with local landowners and community groups to conserve more than 32,000 acres of prime agricultural lands, critical wildlife corridors, and vistas of rolling hills. https://www.sblandtrust.org/