South Coast Gets New Open-Space Park; Work Underway To Restore Habitat

May 2, 2019

The South Coast’s newest park is a hidden gem, featuring rolling hills and a creek, but this property almost became a residential neighborhood.

The preservation of the 20-acre-plus open space area just west of Elings Park in Santa Barbara is the result of years of work.

Cameron Benson is Santa Barbara’s City Creeks Division Manager. Benson says the land has been used for a lot of things over the years. Some of it became the focus of controversy a few years ago, when homes were proposed for part of it. Now, it’s being preserved forever.

With the city already owning six acres of the land, it collaborated with the Trust for Public Land to acquire the other 15 acres. A combination of state, county, and city funding made the four million dollar purchase possible.

The City used another $1.5 million dollars in grant, and tax revenue to return the hills, and creek to their natural state, with an effort which included removing invasive plants, and planting some 7500 native ones. Benson says additional restoration work is planned, as well as efforts to make the open space more accessible for the public.

The Arroyo Burro Open Space is north of Arroyo Burro Beach. access is at the dead end of Alan Road. There’s a sign, and a small parking area, as well as some street parking.