Accessing UCSB’s Campus Point got a whole lot easier — and safer — as the university and its supporters held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week for the recently completed stairway that now leads up the bluffs.
The Campus Point Stairway, a $90,000 project paid for by grants from the California Coastal Conservancy and UCSB’s Associated Students Coastal Fund and coordinated by the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER), allows walkers, joggers, and bikers to reach the top of the bluffs safely. The trip up the bluffs has been made more enjoyable by the stairs, too, with benches on all three levels and views of the lagoon, ocean, and mountains from each.
“It’s fantastic,” said Marc Fisher, UCSB’s senior associate vice chancellor, adding that he and his family ride their bikes on campus every weekend. “This is one of those resources that makes so much sense.”
The new stairway was built with not only safety in mind but also sustainability. With a deck made of recycled plastic wood, beams that are pressure-treated, and redwood features that were harvested with the environment in mind, the stairs “will be here for the next 10-20 years,” said Scott Bull, the grants manager for the AS Coastal Fund. “This is a huge dedication to all of the students.”
UCSB alum Rachel Couch, now with the Coastal Conservancy, shared her experiences from visiting Campus Point as a student and visiting it now, saying that she was “quite aware of the problem” that getting up to Campus Point posed. The stairs, though, are great in that they make it so “that people have a better experience getting out and enjoying the coast,” she said.
In addition to the stairs, the surrounding area is also new and improved, said Darwin Richardson, the Natural Areas steward for CCBER. Although not completely finished yet, the new landscaping will include about 20 different species of plants, he said, which will help slow down the erosion process.
Although she noted that the project was “a long time coming,” CCBER director Jennifer Thorsch seemed to think it was well worth the wait, not just for UCSB students and staff but for all of the greater community that loves to experience Campus Point. “What a contribution,” she said.