Toad the Wet Sprocket frontman Glen Phillips headlines a celebrated list of musicians who will play a benefit concert for the campaign to purchase the remaining acres of the San Marcos Foothills preserve. Phillips, Zach Gill of ALO, Bruce Goldish of parking garage fame, and Nashville’s Rich Mahan will go live, virtually, on Thursday, May 27, at 6 p.m. to help raise the $6.6 million needed before June 1 to buy the property from developer Chadmar Group, which has permits in place to build eight luxury homes.
Another down-to-the-wire fundraiser for the 101 acres of native grasslands takes place on Saturday, May 29. From 7 to 11 a.m., participants in Feet for the Foothills will take to the footpaths and dirt roads that crisscross the preserve in a walk-and-run one-miler. It’s a grassroots, no-host event, sponsor Cody Westheimer said, and runners and walkers should be prepared with supplies and ask family and friends to sponsor their mileage. The course begins at Via Gaitero, and more information is here.
The Foothills Forever campaign raised $10 million in 10 weeks toward the agreed-upon purchase price of $18 million — and about $2 million over the past weekend. The group, led by a broad constellation of Santa Barbarans, environmentalists, and foothill preservationists, was kicked off by the arrival of bulldozers at the property gates in February, prepared to cut a road toward the new home sites. Activists, many of them Chumash, put themselves in front of the heavy equipment until a deal could be brokered with Chadmar’s CEO, Chuck Lande, to hold off construction and give the group until June 1 to buy the remaining acres of the Foothills West Mesa. Donations, a handful of them large and anonymous, have moved the needle forward incrementally, but the total needed to fund the acquisition, campaign costs, and an endowment for the land is an estimated $20 million.