Trail Advocacy

Actions That Affect Where You Can Ride  

Live Oak Trail Is Open To Hikers
Live Oak Trail was opened to hikers as of Wednesday, April 15, 2021. 


What Can You do NOW?



To the Live Oak Equestrian Trails Fund

(Through our Partner the Santa Barbara Trails Council)


Take Action


Send the letter below:


Please take a moment (By Monday, May 17th at 5:00PM would be ideal to make the Board of Supervisors deadline), 


1. Open and copy the letter below to the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors,  and paste into an email. 


2. Then, add the DATE, YOUR NAME and NAME AND CONTACT INFO to the letter where indicated.


3. Send your letter to the Board of Supervisors via the Santa Barbara Clerk of the Board at and the CC's at the end of the letter (email addresses are provided).

What's this about???


The Live Oak Trail was opened to hikers on April 15, 2021.


The County said they would collect trail user data over the next 18-months and decide what to do next.  The "iron ranger" method does not count Annual Pass holders, the bulk of which are equestrians. 


Equestrians are not being counted and the numbers will look like we do not use Live Oak Trail - The County must come up with a method that accurately counts us ALL! 


Thanks to everyone for your support to SAVE Live Oak Equestrian Trail!



Remember to join our Facebook Group: SAVE Santa Barbara County Equestrian Trails has been created for all information on Live Oak and our efforts.  Please SHARE this link with your Friends and Family and other riding groups.

County-Wide Recreational Master Plan


Our continued push for equestrian trails will be particularly important over the next 18-months as the County-Wide Recreational Master Plan goes forward.


It is important to take the Survey.  

If you manage emails for a riding group in Santa Barbara County, we ask you to please cut and paste the information below and email to your membership.

If you have family, friends, acquaintances that you ride with, please forward this email to them. 

Dear Trail Riders:

Please take a moment to take this survey. YOUR RESPONSE is even more important since our last email blast (more to come about that) and only takes a few minutes. Thank you to those who have already responded, and in advance to you who will take the time to respond.

We that live and/or ride in Santa Barbara County are presented right now with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to express our ideas on recreation, when, where and how we recreate, and what we think our needs will be in the future. We are spreading the word and invite all interested trail riders to participate in the survey described below to ensure equestrian riding trails are included in the planning, funding and construction of recreational trails in the future. 

Santa Barbara County Parks Department is preparing a Countywide Recreation Master Plan (Master Plan) and as a first step, to gather our in-put, has commissioned a Recreation Needs Survey.  This is a unique chance to let our County officials know of our trail needs as equestrians and to speak to the decision-makers of the future.  If we don't tell them, how will they know that we want and need more, safe trails for our riders???   Your survey responses will be used to develop the County-wide Master Plan.

Trails and open space are a major component of the Master Plan, and we hope that trail riders will take just a few minutes to make their voices heard, and in huge numbers!  We are hoping to generate 1000 responses!

PLEASE take the Survey and emphasize that there is a need for: 

  • New and expanded trails for equestrian use.

  • Adequate trailhead parking and staging areas.

  • The ability to ride safely (such as at Live Oak Camp). 

Here is the link to the online Recreation Needs Survey:

Also, there is a brief Kids Survey with just 4 questions so the little ones can get involved too (


Both are available in English and Spanish.


**If you want to respond, but need a bit of assistance responding via your computer or phone, please send an email to along with your phone number and Kathy or David will give you a call and can talk you through it. Your response is that important!!!**

Please pass this on to those you ride with.  Let’s get everyone to turn out!

More information can be found at:

A Brief History of the Live Oak Trail
(aka Cachuma Equestrian Trail)

The Santa Ynez Valley Riders (SYVR) is the oldest equestrian riding group in the Santa Ynez Valley. SYVR was, at one time, part of Equestrian Trails International (established in 1944), but split from that group in the 1960’s, although SYVR still shares the mission: “Dedicated to Equine Legislation, Good Horsemanship, and the Acquisition and Preservation of Trails, Open Space and Public Lands”

Our member Mr. Bob Crowe, who has since passed away, was instrumental in securing the Live Oak trails for equestrian riders in the 1980’s. Recently, his widow, Donna Crowe, gave all the documentation of that process and the original maps of the trail system to SYVR. Our history with the Live Oak Trail (or Cachuma Equestrian Trail, as it was named back then), goes back over 30 years. 


Bob became President of the Santa Barbara Trails Council and worked tirelessly with the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) - the Federal agency that manages the land around Cachuma Lake and in particular, the Lake’s water management) and County of Santa Barbara (the local agency that leases the land from the USBR for recreational purposes) to accomplish all relevant environmental studies, develop a Management Plan and fund and install the gates and a kiosk at the trailhead.  Through Bob’s work the Live Oak Trail was established by the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors as Cachuma Equestrian Trail in 1988.


Just over a year ago, the kiosk at the Live Oak Trailhead, which served to alert riders of potential trail hazards, provided a map of the trail system, and even had a brass plate identifying that the SYVR had donated the kiosk, had gone missing. The SYVR followed up with the staff at Cachuma Lake with the intent of replacing the kiosk this winter. The staff said they had removed the kiosk because it was old but are amenable to replacing the kiosk, BUT at that time County staff also informed us of the proposed changes in users on Live Oak Trail via a “Pilot Program” to open the trail to hikers, then later bikes.


SYVR and indeed, no one, knew of the “Pilot Program” (Pilot), but to develop or change users on trails (or any recreational use for that matter), the County must develop plans, and public review and comment provided for.


In February 2021, the SYVR and SYVEA joined up to work with the County Team to consider equestrians concerns and suggestions to improve and maintain equestrian safety and provide an enjoyable recreational experience for trail riders at Live Oka Trail.  The suggestion of a horse camp at Live Oak Camp is also now on the table and is part of the discussions.