Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 1:44 am | Fair 51º


Botanic Garden, Land Trust Team Up to Protect 88 Acres in Toro Canyon

Alliance will preserve Hay Hill property

Land Trust for Santa Barbara County works toward conservation.
Land Trust for Santa Barbara County works toward conservation. (Land Trust for Santa Barbara County)

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and Santa Barbara Botanic Garden have joined forces to preserve Hay Hill, 88 acres of important wildlife and plant habitat. Conserving land is sometimes the work of generations.

In 2005, longtime Botanic Garden supporter Ann Koepfli, recognizing the conservation value of her family land given increasing urban development, gave the Hay Hill property to the garden.

For the next 10 years, the garden owned and managed the property in a manner consistent with its mission and preserving the unique scenery and open space Koepfli believed was of great importance to the people of Santa Barbara County.

Earlier this year, John Gabbert, a garden supporter and trustee, motivated by a desire to support the garden and see the land permanently protected, decided to buy the property.

“It was important to the garden that we find a way to ensure that the donor’s wishes would be preserved in perpetuity even without our direct ownership," said Steve Windhager, executive director of the Botanic Garden.

"To that end, the Land Trust was the obvious partner in helping to make this happen,” he said.

Hay Hill’s conservation is just one example of the many ways the Land Trust works with willing, private landowners to preserve special places in perpetuity. In this case, the Land Trust is using a conservation easement to sever some development rights from the property.

Gabbert will renovate and expand one existing residence, but the vast majority of the property’s coastal sage scrub, live oak woodland, chaparral, and grassland will remain untouched.

“In John, we are fortunate to have a landowner willing to embrace the requirements of the deed, supportive of the mission of the Garden, and be interested in ensuring the permanent protection of the property with the Land Trust,” said Chet Work, Land Trust executive director.

Gabbert said, "This was an opportunity to participate in preserving this unique native property forever while at the same time strengthening the Garden’s long-term ability to encourage us all to participate in saving this planet we call home."

Since 1985, The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County has worked with community groups, willing landowners and others to preserve, restore, and manage open space, wildlife habitat, and family farms and ranches throughout the county.

To date, the Land Trust has helped to preserve more than 25,000 acres of natural resource and working land, including the Arroyo Hondo Preserve, Sedgwick Reserve, Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve, Coronado Butterfly Preserve, Point Sal, Carpinteria Salt Marsh, and several ranches on the Gaviota Coast.

Visit for more information. For more information about the Botanic Garden, visit

— Carrie Mullen for Land Trust for Santa Barbara County.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >