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Volunteers hike with tools for trail restoration

Large-Scale Volunteer Event Aims to Improve Region’s Highly Used Trails

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The City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department is looking to recruit up to 100 volunteers on Saturday, September 16, for its third large-scale trail restoration event of 2023. Previous events, held in April and June, brought hundreds of volunteers together to restore over 7 miles of trails in Santa Barbara’s front country after heavy winter storms caused severe damage and dangerous conditions. The upcoming event will focus on improving trail conditions and addressing the heavy growth of vegetation after an exceptionally wet year.

“Some years, new growth is a small nuisance on the trails, but with so much rain this year, it’s a big project,” said Steve Biddle, Parks Supervisor, who is coordinating the volunteer event.

The large-scale events are hosted multiple times each year by the Parks and Recreation Department, but collaboration with other local agencies and nonprofit partners is key to making them a success. The upcoming event is being held in partnership with Santa Barbara County Parks, the US Forest Service, Montecito Trails Foundation, Los Padres Forest Association, and SAGE Trail Alliance.

“Working with all of our trail partners to bring so many volunteers together at once allows us to accomplish so much more than any of us could do on our own,” said Biddle.

The upcoming trail volunteer day is scheduled for Saturday, September 16, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers will gather at Montecito Union School for a safety orientation and instruction before tackling work on Hot Springs Trail, Tunnel Trail, and San Ysidro Trail. The event will wrap up with a group lunch for volunteers from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

No special experience is required to volunteer. Tools and instructions will be provided, and tasks will be assigned based on experience. Work will include clearing overgrown brush and branches and repairing water diversion features to ensure trails are safe and accessible for all users. Volunteering is also an excellent way for members of the public to learn more about what it takes to maintain a trail and how to help keep them in good condition.

RSVPs are required to attend the volunteer event. To sign up, contact Steve Biddle at SBiddle@SantaBarbaraCA.gov or (805) 564-5439.

Local companies interested in donating snacks, drinks, giveaways, or raffle prizes for volunteers are invited to contact Steve Biddle to coordinate.

Learn more about this event at SantaBarbaraCA.gov/TrailWork