CALL To ACTION- Your Letter Needed to the Board of Supervisors by 2/14/22
Again, short notice! I apologize, but it is the way the County runs. The Board of Supervisors is receiving and update to the Santa Barbara Countywide Recreation Master Plan at their meeting on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.
As part of that Plan, County staff are about to start to formulate the Trail Policy that will define uses on our trails, possibly mandate uses on our trails and set their management for the entire County trail system for the next 30-years!
Please take a moment to cut and paste the following into an email, edit as you would like, then send to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday night (2/14/22). If you wish to speak at the meeting, please indicate that in your email as well.
If you wish to attend the meeting and listen in or speak on Item A-4, Zoom directions are at https://countyofsb.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Ut6jCztNSUyOTHFxpwPJDA
February __, 2022
RE: Dept. Agenda Item A-4: Countywide Recreation Master Plan Update
Dear Honorable Supervisors:
I support the County-wide Recreation Management Plan (Plan) currently being developed for Santa Barbara County. I want to ensure safe equestrian trails are prioritized and included in the Plan and that equestrians are included as stakeholders in development of the Trail Policy (“multi use trail policy”) that is sure to be part of it.
For this Plan to be valid, and to represent all recreational users, County staff, appointed advisory committees and commissions, and elected officials must work to:
1. Maintain and prioritize the Live Oak Equestrian trail at Live Oak Camp, Cachuma Lake Recreation Area for safe recreation opportunities for equestrian trail riders.
2. Require that a Master Plan be developed for the Live Oak Camp (“Live Oak Camp Master Plan”) area of the Cachuma Recreation Area specifically to RESTORE the Horse Camp as shown in the Cachuma Recreation Master Plan.
a. Commit to developing the Live Oak Camp Area as THE County-owned Equestrian Recreation facility. Santa Barbara County is the only County along the coast of Southern California without dedicated equestrian facilities. In the Santa Ynez Valley, where our equestrian traditions run so deep, it only makes sense.
b. The proposed Live Oak Master Plan will focus on increasing equestrian recreational access and opportunities for revenue generation at the Live Oak Camp and Live Oak Equestrian Trail. For example, advertising is a low-hanging fruit but is an untapped resource to increase revenue from the equestrian community. There has NEVER been any advertising for equestrian trail riding opportunities at Live Oak Camp. Increase advertising, increase revenue. Other sports and opportunities are widely described on the Cachuma Lake website.
3. Create a Stakeholder’s Trail Policy Working Group and include equestrian leaders to develop the trail policy For the Plan.
a. We need to form a stakeholder’s group and have discussion as was done for the Agricultural Enterprise Ordinance currently in development concurrently with the Plan. Trail users and the public at large (stakeholders) need opportunity to provide input to this critical policy.
b. A community stakeholder group of interested individuals, rather than the current elected- appointed Trail Advisory Committee and Parks Commission, is necessary to develop the policy. This is critical. Past experience has shown that the current model is not working for nor does it represent the recreators in the Santa Ynez Valley.
4. Commit to a Trail Management Plan process for any trail use, or other changes, consistent with the Baron Ranch Trail Master Plan. Encourage robust public participation.
5. Listen to and learn from EQUESTRIANS about what riders have to deal with and have control over when confronted with other trail uses. Why would the County or any staff person listen to a source that does not actively participate in the sport nor understand horse behavior? Why make policy assumptions on what the loudest and most aggressive users say? They do not know; their information is incorrect. Talk with equestrians directly!
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.