Wildfire, Chaparral, and Trails Meeting

Trails Council Presents Environmental Award and Information March 16

Long time trail advocate Chris Orr to receive Environmental Award at Annual Trails Council meeting.
Ray Ford
Slideshow will depict impacts of the Tea Fire on local trails.
Ray Ford

The Santa Barbara Trails Council’s annual meeting on March 16 will consider possible new trail opportunities in the Goleta front country area that may have been opened up as a result of the Gap Fire. It will also focus on the impacts of the Tea and Gap res on the ecosystem and as well as plans for rehabilitating local trails throughout the South Coast.

The meeting is open to the public at 7 p.m., Monday, March 16, in the Santa Barbara Public Library. The evening’s program will build upon last year’s successful discussion of the Zaca Fire recovery and trails reconstruction.

Ray Ford

Each year, the Trails Council annual meeting is kicked off by the presentation of its Environmental Award to a noted trails advocate. This year’s award goes to Chris Orr, longtime leader of the Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers (SBMTV). Orr will be honored for his years of commitment to trail maintenance efforts, user conflict issues, and trail education programs.

The keynote speaker for the evening is Rick Halsey of San Diego’s Chaparral Institute, who will discuss re ecology and recovery of chaparral habitats. “Of all the distinct, natural communities in California, it is the only one found throughout the state,” Halsey says, “yet it remains unknown to most.”

Rick Halsey with Huell Howser during filming of a program on the chaparral.

Halsey will share with us the chaparral’s unique natural history, reveals the truth concerning its many myths (especially relating to wildfire) and surprising mysteries, and why it represents such a vital link to nature for all Californians.

I will be presenting a slideshow at the end of the evening and talk briefly on the impacts of the recent Gap and Tea fires on trails, new trail opportunities that are in the process of being developed, and take a peek at Trails Council plans in 2009.

Learn more about long range trail planning efforts and use of GIS maps by SBTC to create maps such as this.

Parma Park, the new San Marcos Foothills Preserve, Goleta Valley open spaces, the Baron Ranch in Gaviota, and Franklin Trail in Carpinteria are among the locations that will be featured.

“We anticipate that this program will be of great interest to those who hope to see damaged trails rehabilitated as well as new trails opened up,” said Otis Calef, council president. “For those who’ve long waited for trails to develop in the Goleta Valley portion of the Santa Ynez Mountains, there may be exciting new possibilities here as well.”

Open spaces such as the San Marcos Foothills Preserve will be featured at the presentation
Ray Ford

The Trails Council is a broad-based advocacy group consisting of hikers, equestrians, and mountain bikers originally formed in 1969. The council advocates for long-range trails planning, construction of new trails, and helps organize work parties to maintain existing trails.

“This is an exciting and challenging time for trails in the county,” said Calef, “while we have one of the best trail systems to be found anywhere in Southern California, we’ll always need to help to care for them – and especially if we are going to improve access to trails in areas like the Goleta Valley or Carpinteria.

To keep apprised of the council’s work and issues, become a member, or obtain more information about our local trails go to: www.sbtrails.org or email sbtc@sbtrails.org.


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