$5 Million to Protect El Capitan Ranch (CA)

SACRAMENTO, 7/31/01 – Gray Davis and the State Legislature today approved $5 million to protect El Capitan Ranch along Santa Barbara’s Gaviota Coast as part of the state’s 2001-2002 fiscal year budget. The El Capitan Ranch funds were added to the budget at the request of Senator Jack O’Connell and Assembly Member Hannah-Beth Jackson. These funds will be used to create a park in Southern California’s last stretch of undeveloped coastline.

“We are fortunate to have state leaders with a such an incredible vision and who truly care about our magnificant coast and our recreational areas,” said Rachel Dinno, Government Relations Director for the Trust for Public Land. “We commend Governor Davis for approving these funds and Senator O’Connell (D-San Luis Obispo) and Assembly Member Jackson (Santa Barbara) for championing the preservation of Santa Barbara’s coast.”

The funding will be available to acquire El Capitan Beach State Park and expand it from 100 acres to 2,600 acres, substantially increasing recreational opportunities in the region. Funding for the El Capitan Ranch is especially significant as the Gaviota Coast comprises about half of the remaining rural coastline in Southern California. This state resource is renowned for its natural beauty and rich wildlife habitat.

As one of the six budget conference members, Senator O’Connell worked to ensure these funds would be included in the budget bill that was sent to Governor Davis. “Senator O’Connell has been a true champion for the three E’s, Education, Economy and the Environment,” said Dinno. “His leadership consistently reflects his dedication to preserving California’s natural heritage.

The budget signed by Governor Davis includes funding to preserve coastal lands, conserve threatened wildlife habitat and create additional recreational opportunities for Californians by expanding state parks.

Parks, outdoor recreation and open space enhance property values and stimulate the economy. California’s dramatic landscapes draw visitors from throughout the world. According to the California Trade and Commerce Agency, tourism and travel generates more than $75 billion in economic activity annually and supports over 1 million jobs in California. With over 55 million out-of-state visitors touring California each year, tourism is one of our state’s top industries.

“The Governor has made land conservation a priority for our state, our economy, and our quality of life,” said Dinno.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit 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 1.2 million acres nationwide including the Douglas Family Preserve in Santa Barbara.