Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 8:07 am | Overcast 65º


Captain’s Log: Visit Local Creeks for a Faraway Feeling

With few people and even fewer rules, our community creeks are an ideal recreation destination

Among our most precious recreational opportunities for getting that faraway vacation/adventure feeling is visiting the creeks meandering through our neighborhoods.

Capt. David Bacon
Capt. David Bacon (Ramona Lisa McFadyen photo)

Most of us live less than a mile from creek beds, yet they are surprisingly underutilized.

The best part about our local creeks is that they belong to the community, and there aren’t any signs listing a litany of rules to follow.

This is a big issue with me. I strongly dislike finding signs -— surrounding recreational areas — giving me a long list of things I can’t do. There is no wilderness permit to pay. Our local creeks are ours to roam, with only the rules of common sense and courtesy to follow.

Common sense can keep you and your children or grandchildren safe and alive — especially now, when streams are running high from storm runoff. The rushing waters have cleansed the creek beds and made everything relatively clean. The mud is deep in spots, so watch your footing and step where there is something solid to support your weight and balance.

I recall once during a busy weekend, I wanted to take the family someplace to enjoy some outdoors recreation. We drove by three parks and found them crammed with people. The local beaches were the same.

We drove back home, parked the car, grabbed daypacks for snacks and drinks, and walked down to our nearest creek bed. We had the place to ourselves. It was gorgeous — tall trees and a variety of bushes, grasses and weeds, and a surprising number of wildflowers. We made a game out of spotting and counting the many types of birds as they roamed the nature zone. There was some rock hopping and helping each other through tough spots, so hiking felt like a real adventure. Looking back, that day was one of our absolute best family outings.

Wherever you live in this community, there is a creek bed nearby. The necessities of stormwater management require adequate drainage throughout the area. Not all creeks are equal. Some have much more of a natural environment, and others are more like a plain drainage ditch.

My personal favorite is San Jose Creek, which runs near Kellogg Avenue in Goleta. It is a wild zone where I can feel like I have escaped the confines of the city, yet I’m only a stone’s throw away from homes. (Please don’t throw stones at the homes!)

Glen Annie Creek also has areas where there is wonderful natural environment. Other creeks with nice areas include San Antonio, Maria Ignacio, Arroyo Burro, Mission and Cold Springs. Some have well-defined trails along most of their length, while others are wilder and require some serious hiking and rock-hopping abilities.

Collectively, they represent one of our best local outdoor recreation opportunities — without a mess of regulations.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help.

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