Restoration and Recreational Areas
By partnering with several local, state, and federal agencies, as well as non-profit organizations, the RRWMD has created and expanded recreational areas for the public to enjoy and has established restoration areas in many sensitive habitats in our community.
Baron Ranch Trail and Nature Area
Located in a coastal valley along the Gaviota Coast, approximately 25 miles west of Santa Barbara, Baron Ranch (Ranch) is comprised of 1,083 acres and is managed by the County Public Works Department, Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division. Portions of the Ranch have historically been developed with avocado orchards, however, due to the age of the orchards and their declining productivity, agricultural activities were recently suspended. The Ranch contains a six-mile loop with a trailhead at the Calle Real frontage road that parallels the north side of Highway 101. The Baron Ranch Trail (Trail) is generally located west of Arroyo Quemado Creek (Creek) and extends to the West Camino Cielo jeepway at the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains. It is currently open only to hikers Saturday through Monday of each week, from 8:00 a.m. to dusk. Trail user groups have submitted a proposal to connect this trail to the Camino Cielo area at the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains on U.S. Forest Service land.
To expand the recreational use of the Trail, the Public Works Department, in consultation with the County Parks Division and trail user groups, is working to move the lower/southern portion of the trail to the western side of the Creek. This trail realignment will separate the recreational uses from potential future agricultural operations and enhance the recreational experience by routing trail users through areas recently restored with native plant communities, as part of the Baron Ranch Restoration. With the cessation of the agricultural operations, the County will be exploring options on the future use of that portion of Baron Ranch during FY 2017-8.
Foothill Natural Area
The Foothill Open Space Area, once a regional landfill, is located between the cities of Santa Barbara and Goleta. It served the South Coast of Santa Barbara County before the Tajiguas Landfill opened in 1967. The site now houses two non-profit organizations:
- HEARTS, a therapeutic riding program for children and adults with disabilities
- Growing Solutions Restoration Education Institute (Growing Solutions), a non-profit nursery specializing in native plant propagation
Also, a biofuel innovator, Russell Teall, uses an area at Growing Solutions to grow jatropha plants, whose seeds hold great potential as a viable alternative fuel source.
In addition, using two grants, RRWMD sponsored over 30 community planting days to have neighbors and other community members help improve the trails and restore the site with native plants.
Carpinteria Bluff Natural Area
The RRWMD cleaned and planted new vegetation at an abandoned burn dump near the City of Carpinteria in 2005. Used for decades by local residents and nearby oil extraction facilities as a place to burn garbage, this seaside property is now successfully restored and contributes aesthetically and biologically to the City of Carpinteria's bluff open space and trails, thereby providing access to community beaches and offering panoramic views of the Santa Barbara Channel.