LATE Notice: Santa Barbara County Park Commission Meeting is This Thursday, June 23, 2022, 9:30 AM
This is the first IN PERSON meeting at the Cachuma Lake Clubhouse, 2225 Hwy 154. Go to the Cachuma Lake Campground entrance and the Rangers will direct you.
If you can, please attend! If not, please copy the letter below and paste the following into an email to email@example.com with the Subject Line:
For Santa Barbara County Park Commission Meeting, Thursday, June 23, 2022
Please forward the following letter to the Park Commissioners for Agenda Item #5 Public Comment.
June 22, 2022
RE: Policy: Countywide Recreation Master Plan Update and Live Oak Camp/Trail Master Plan
Dear Honorable Commissioners:
I support the County-wide Recreation Management Plan (Plan) currently being developed for Santa Barbara County and have concerns about the future of the Live Oak Trail. 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, I respectfully ask that your Commission consider as policy matters to:
1. Maintain and prioritize safe recreation opportunities at the Live Oak Equestrian trail at Live Oak Camp, Cachuma Lake Recreation Area 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. Focusing the proposed Live Oak Master Plan 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 web site.)
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 is necessary to develop the policy. This is critical. 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. Establish a sales or bed tax to fund trail management (these two taxes specifically because everyone pays sales tax or tourists, those that use and abuse our trails the most, pay as they visit) and
6. To establish an Adopt-a-Trail Program to partner with organizations with historical ties or interest in maintaining a certain trail such as Live Oak.
7. Listen to and learn from EQUESTRIANS about what riders have to deal with and have control over when confronted with other trail uses. Trail conflict is REAL and must be addressed. 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 horses, what we wish to see in a trail system, or our priorities; their information is incorrect. Talk with equestrians directly!
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.