Donation Closes Gap to Preserve Ellwood Mesa (CA)

SANTA BARBARA, CA, 1/4/2005: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that it has received a $307,000 gift from a private donor who wanted to ensure the success of the Ellwood Mesa acquisition. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has lived in the Santa Barbara area for over ten years and has visited Ellwood Mesa on numerous occasions.

In giving the final $307,000, the donor said, “The Ellwood Mesa property is one of the brightest jewels of the Central Coast. It’s the winter home for thousands of Monarch butterflies and a wonderful place for people to take a walk and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. There’s no question that such a unique part of our coast should be saved. Now, the public can enjoy its beauty for generations to come.”

This donation follows the recent approval of $400,000 by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors which brought the total needed down to $350,000. Additional contributions of $43,000 left the balance at $307,000 at the time the Campaign to Save Ellwood Mesa was contacted by the donor.

“I am extremely excited about this incredibly generous contribution,” stated Jean Schuyler, a member of the TPL-CA Advisory Board and the Ellwood Mesa fundraising committee. “It is wonderful that there are people in our area that believe so strongly in saving open space that they are willing to make a major personal commitment such as this to reach that goal.”

“If pennies are from heaven, then donations for the acquisition of Ellwood Mesa come from earthbound angels. Friends of the Ellwood Coast is extremely grateful for this timely gift. FOTEC can now look forward to its next task – looking at all the details of well-funded management that will preserve the “Ellwood Experience” that this donor, like us so enjoys,” said Chris Lange, president of Friends of the Ellwood Coast.

While this latest contribution ensures that the Mesa will be preserved in perpetuity, TPL will continue to accept new donations and collect pledges from anyone wanting to participate in the acquisition until January 31, 2005. Gifts of $1,000 or more received by the January 31, 2005 will be listed on a central donor recognition marker.

In the event that the Campaign to Save Ellwood Mesa raises more than the amount of funds needed to acquire and convey Ellwood Mesa to the City of Goleta, additional funds will be used to develop signage on the site and potentially seed an endowment for the long term stewardship of the mesa. The City of Goleta will ultimately own and manage the property in conjunction with the remainder of the existing Santa Barbara Shores Park.

“On behalf of everyone working to save Ellwood, I want to thank the remarkably generous donor who has ‘closed the gap’ and ensured that the natural beauty of the mesa will be enjoyed generations to come,” said Reed Holderman, Executive Director of TPL-CA. “The untiring dedication and commitment of our volunteers and the entire community show just how deeply people care about preserving this magnificent coastal resource.”

Ellwood Mesa is located at the eastern gateway to the Gaviota Coast, one of the most significant biological transition zones in the world. This property maintains numerous environmentally sensitive coastal resources onsite, including monarch butterfly habitat, vernal pools and native grasslands. In addition, it is a cherished community asset and is used by local residents to walk, jog, bike, horseback ride, bird watch and to gain access to the beach.

With an initial challenge grant from the Goleta Valley Land Trust, TPL and its local partner, Friends of the Ellwood Coast (FOTEC) launched a private fundraising drive in January of 2003. Over the past two years, more than 3800 contributions were received, including $1 million from the Goleta Valley Land Trust, $1 million from Wendy McCaw, and $5 million from Peter and Stephanie Sperling.

All gifts to the Campaign to Save Ellwood Mesa will be used specifically on this project, and are fully tax-deductible. Anyone wishing to make a contribution can contact Carla Frisk at (805) 350-3811 or send checks to the Trust for Public Land, Ellwood Mesa Campaign, P. O. Box 1244, Goleta, CA 93116.

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 1.9 million acres nationwide. The public can find more information about TPL and the Ellwood Mesa property and campaign on-line, at

Posted 1/2005