$1M Pledged to Save Ellwood Mesa (CA)

SANTA BARBARA, CA, 5/12/03-The Wendy P. McCaw Foundation has pledged $1 million to the Campaign to Save Ellwood Mesa, the Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today. The gift lifts community efforts to buy and protect the 137-acre Ellwood Mesa property in Goleta. The coastal bluff-top land, currently zoned for a large residential subdivision, overlooks the Pacific Ocean and includes an internationally renowned roosting site that supports up to 60,000 monarch butterflies during their annual winter migration.

TPL and Friends of the Ellwood Coast have until June 30 to raise a minimum of $6 million from the local community to help purchase the property, which is the eastern gateway to the spectacular Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County. The Foundation’s gift boosts the campaign as the June 30 deadline rapidly approaches. The Campaign has raised $2.3 million to date.

“There are so few places like this left,” said Wendy McCaw. “This is a great opportunity to provide coastal open space for the people of the South Coast and to protect habitat for butterflies, hawks, owls and other wildlife of Ellwood Mesa.”

“We are very grateful to Mrs. McCaw for making this very generous gift to help protect the magnificent Ellwood Mesa property,” says Reed Holderman, executive director of the Trust for Public Land-California. “It is my hope that Mrs. McCaw’s generosity and commitment to community will spur others to dig deep and give generously to meet our June 30 deadline. If we are unable to meet the $6 million goal by that date, this land will be lost forever.”

A strong up-front show of local support is critical to TPL’s efforts to secure public funding for this conservation acquisition. A total of $20.4 million in private and public funding is needed to purchase and protect Ellwood Mesa. Because $20.4 million is only a portion of the estimated value of the mesa, the City of Goleta is completing the acquisition package by exchanging 38 inland acres of the adjacent Santa Barbara Shores property for the developer’s remaining interest in the mesa.

“Mrs. McCaw’s leadership and generosity are helping to bring to reality this community’s 20 year dream of protecting Ellwood Mesa. This level of philanthropic support is extraordinary and it crucial to our ability to leverage the public funding necessary to complete the purchase.”” says Suzanne Moss, campaign director for the Trust for Public Land.

“Mrs. McCaw is helping to give our children the lasting gift of open space. I can’t imagine a better investment in our children’s future,” comments Chris Corpuz, TPL California Advisory Board member as well as a partner and the CFO of Olympius Capital.

“Friends of the Ellwood Coast is elated to see our own local Wendy McCaw and her Foundation step up with a huge legacy donation to protect the Ellwood Mesa and its resources for future generations to enjoy forever,” said Kevin Barthel, President of Friends of the Ellwood Coast (FOTEC).

In July 2002, TPL entered into an agreement with the real estate development company Comstock Homes and Santa Barbara Development Partners to acquire the Ellwood Mesa property for permanent protection and public enjoyment. Once TPL’s fundraising efforts and the City’s land exchange are complete, the entire Ellwood Mesa will be transferred to the City of Goleta to be managed in conjunction with the adjacent city park.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Campaign to Save Ellwood Mesa, the public may call TPL’s Suzanne Moss at 415/495-5660 or Carla Frisk at 805/350-3811, or Kevin Barthel at FOTEC 805/685-7778, or send donations to The Trust for Public Land – Ellwood Mesa Campaign, P.O. Box 1244, Goleta, CA 93116. For more information on the web go to www.saveellwood.org or www.ellwoodcoast.org.

TPL is a national land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people as parks, greenways, wilderness areas and natural, historic, and cultural resources for future generations. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.5 million acres nationwide.