Save the Foothills

Santa Barbara was arguably the birthplace of environmentalism. In response to the 1969 oil spill, Santa Barbarians helped usher in a new era of environmentalism. Fifty-two years after the oil spill, we have a new call to action. Currently, development of the San Marcos Foothills Preserve is beginning. Twenty-five acres of this undeveloped indigenous land is going to be destroyed in order to build mansions. The San Marcos Foothills Preserve is one of the last remaining native grassland in Santa Barbara. Telling you the construction plans is not the point of this letter. The point is: you should be outraged.

You should be outraged by the environmental impacts of the proposed construction. The San Marcos Foothills is one of the only native grasslands left in California and is home to some of Santa Barbara’s most treasured flora and fauna. Anyone who has spent time in the San Marcos Foothills can attest to the diversity of wildlife.

Construction will invariably have a ripple effect throughout the ecosystem. Construction not only destroys the physical habitat but will create automobile traffic, noise pollution, and light pollution, which will impact the wildlife. It will displace smaller prey animals, such as rabbits, which will cause predator species, such as white-tailed kites, to leave the area in search of a more plentiful food source. Construction will also block wildlife from using migratory routes that their species have relied on for centuries. And with all this, I have not even touched on the fact that this is indigenous land. For thousands of years, this was the home of the Chumash.

As a population that has prided ourselves on our progressive history of environmentalism, we should be ashamed that we are allowing this crime against nature to occur.

Join the effort to buy and conserve the land. Visit


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