Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux title=
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux
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By Lucky777

A beautiful sunny day and a triumvirate of riders took the opportunity to explore the recent changes to the terrain around the University of California at Santa Barbara campus.
We rode for 2 hours and covered 5.5 miles, glad to be out in the fresh air.

Every ride starts with the tacking up. The animals ride naked to the meeting point, and then patiently wait while they get saddled and bridled and readied.

Tobe takes longer, mules have significantly more gear, so I appreciate that my riding companions are patient with us.

And Tobe, in turn, is patient with me.
I genuinely think he enjoys exploring around, and also my mentors assure me that he forgets nothing. So he remembers this trail quite as clearly as I do.

But oh my gosh,
last time I rode out from here this was a big open field leading up to a golf course.
Now it is crammed full with cheap clapboard housing.
A distressing loss of open space.

And almost immediately we start seeing the signs.
This was a beautiful trail meandering through the eucalyptus grove, connecting to the Monarch Butterfly Preserve. Now it has been deemed too dangerous to travel through. The years of drought have taken their toll on the trees, and rather than selectively thin and trim them the Government has chosen to forbid public access.

And the massive Venoco oil and gas storage tanks are still here, even though it was my understanding that they had withdrawn from processing oil here and were paying for the restoration of the damaged wetlands.

Piles of materials tarped off and left as rubbish still hold puddles from Wednesday's rainfall,
in an area that was actively being replanted with native perennials when last I was here.

And oh my gosh, the golf course has been utterly stripped.  No grass, no trees, no brightly dressed men zipping around in electric carts.

It is now a desolate wasteland.
The trunks of the eucalyptus that used to shade the periphery are lined up alongside the road, and the only signs of life within are the tracks of machinery moving through the dirt.

On the ocean side of the road there are signs forbidding and limiting entry, but I see little evidence of the reintroduction of native plants that was so in progress just a few years ago.

And this CAUTIOn BEES sign is beyond pathetic.

Like the old joke sign "PLAN AHEAd". 

Presumably a college educated person scrawled this.

We saw no bees. Nor do I fear them.

See more of the trail ride here.
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a-1539711144 Oct 16, 2018 10:32 AM
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

This mule rider should get off his/her nostalgia trip and google "NCOS" (North Campus Open Space): the former golf course is being restored as a wetland. This is the first pre-rainy season that the acreage has been planted, thus the barren look.
Local residents know that despite some new housing development (not "clapboard" but lots of stone) much of this area is regaining its past glory within a vastly more urbanized setting.

kane kena Oct 16, 2018 11:16 AM
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

Was this article written by an idiot, or just somebody impersonating one? They ought to do a little research as to why things are being done there the way they are, before casting a wide wet blanket over the whole endeavor.

kane kena Oct 16, 2018 12:13 PM
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

Sorry about the name calling, I shouldn't have done that. I just had one WTF reaction after another as I read the article.

SoapBox Oct 16, 2018 01:48 PM
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

Nice pictures and perspective from a stubborn old mule, who knows these trails as well as any person, yet doesn't seem to have the tools required to comprehend or research what is really going on. I expect that Tobe had a better sense of the positive changes taking place without just whinnying on about them.

Flicka Oct 16, 2018 02:06 PM
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

I think Tobe's rider did a creditable job simply mentioning what they noticed. Merely described/explained what was seen and didn't need all the critical judgement. Thanks for the pictures. As usual, wish I'd been out there riding with you (whoever you are).

a-1539755908 Oct 16, 2018 10:58 PM
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

Walk out there and you can see why the rider thought things weren't progressing all that well. I walk those bluffs and am amazed that, in this time of drought, anyone thought it was a good idea to start any kind of "restoration" project. A lot of the planting done appears to have been "done in" by lack of rain. That said, I would like to take this opportunity to help divest the writer of his notion that trees on the property, especially trees anywhere near the Butterfly area, are in need of "selective" thinning or pruning: That area is attractive to Monarch butterflies because of the tall Eucalyptus trees and the small creek, a combination which creates a desirable overwintering site for Monarchs. From "Death of a Million Trees" ( read the following and learn why those Eucalyptus trees need to be left alone as much as possible:------------------------- "Most of the approximately 250 roosting sites (for CA Monarch butterflies) are within 2.4 kilometers of the ocean, so wind protection is important for them while they are roosting. All of these factors predict the ideal conditions provided by eucalyptus trees:

Monarchs need tall trees (of at least 60 feet) because they roost in the intermediate level of the canopy where wind protection is greatest (3)
The forest must be dense enough to provide wind protection,
The tree canopy must be open so that the roosting monarchs receive filtered sunlight to keep their bodies warm enough.
The monarchs need enough moisture for hydration, but not so much that they are soaked and lose their body heat. So, dew and/or fog provide the ideal amount of moisture."----------- Add to this the fact that the Eucalyptus at the Coronado Preserve are in bloom in December, providing nectar for the butterflies------and you can see why anyone who enjoys and respects Monarch butterflies would object to Goleta officials removing or cutting back of any of the Eucalyptus at that site.

Red Creek Oct 17, 2018 09:57 AM
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

While the lush green golf course, locally referred to as "Ocean Ghettos" due to the weeds, marsh land grass and pooping ducks and geese has been recently restored into the upper Devereaux slough, this area is hardly the devastated over developed mess the mule observed. The "clapboard" structures which is now on or contiguous to the former golf course driving range is UCSB student and faculty housing, and not clapboard. The "distressing loss of open space" is now the largest openly contiguous area of public trails and beach access on the South Coast, 800 acres of UCSB preserves and Ellwood bluffs, trails open space and public beaches. The warning signs for falling trees reflect a concern for public safety, not some errant bureaucrat. A tree fell over an Ellwood trail just this weekend. Venoco tank removal? The company went bankrupt, leaving the removal to taxpayers via the local government and State lands to clean up, extending but not eliminating removal. "Piles of rubbish" by the UCSB landcape yard are sand bags and tarps for "solar composting" when tarps are placed on weedy areas to kill weed seedlings and seeds without using chemicals or manual labor. The "desolate wasteland" is the first year (last weekend) that the new North Campus Open Space could open due to the fragility of recently planted seedlings for the $23 million dollar wetland restoration. In a few years a wetland will emerge with native trees and plants. The signs at Coal Oil Point Reserve entrance off of Venoco Road describe the pond trail which goes through to the beach and indicate that dogs are now allowed, but do not forbid or limit entry. BTW, one of the reasons that dogs are not allowed in the area is the effort to protect native wildlife. This has resulted in 82 snowy plover hatchlings this year, as astounding success considering that the birds were not even nesting there a new years ago .
Truly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Bug Girl Oct 17, 2018 11:37 AM
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

Thank you for this wealth of information. I wouldn't have known where to look this info up, even if I had known what to search for. I'm inspired by the return to wetlands, monarch grove preservation, and plover nesting protection. Healthier nature nearby makes me happy.

Flicka Oct 17, 2018 12:19 PM
Mule Ride Along Ellwood and Deveraux

I stated the Tobe's rider did a credible job of describing what she saw and got downvoted for it? Only critics allowed here? Really!!

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