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The Trust for Public Land recently purchased the Ocean Meadows Golf Club, a 63-acre property in Goleta with plans to restore the area to its natural state of wetlands and eventually donate it to UCSB.
In 1965, the Ocean Meadows Golf Club was filled with nearly one million cubic yards of soil to create a golf course. The soil was taken from surrounding areas, significantly damaging the existing natural resources. Now, UCSB is working alongside TPL to acquire the property for reasons of preservation.
According to Carla Frisk, the Santa Barbara County program manager for the Trust, TPL plans to donate and transfer some of the property to UCSB within the next few weeks. The land would belong to the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration.
The Trust for Public Land plans to involve the community in developing a plan to transfer the land to the ownership UCSB, according to Frisk.
“In the process of working with UCSB for the various permits and environmental reviews, TPL will be doing a community-based planning process to discuss the community goals for public access in the land,” Frisk said.
Currently, the golf course has been officially closed down, and restoration will begin once planning is complete, as funds are raised and permits are approved, Frisk said.
“It is a massive undertaking to dig up the dirt,” Frisk said. “It can take close to a year for all that to happen.”
Last June, TPL was $900,000 away from meeting the $7 million purchase price of the course and was expecting restoration to begin in 2013.
According to Frisk, although there are various reasons that the restoration planning began, the most important reasoning behind the land purchase are biological and environmental.
Stephanie Ruiz, a second-year environmental science major, said the idea to restore the course to its natural setting would be beneficial to the local ecosystem.
“Nowadays, so much land is being altered to benefit mankind that if we change it back to its natural state, it’s going to be benefitting the ecology,” Ruiz said. “It’s important to not only think about the benefits the restoration could bring to us, but the help that we can provide for the land and the organisms located there.”
Frisk said TPL chose to invest into the Ocean Meadows property because such an investment could potentially improve the ecological conditions of the community.
“The reason why this purchase was so important was because the chance and opportunity to restore wellness to historic conditions is very rare,” Frisk said. “More often, there are natural lands that turn into industrialized innovations. In this particular situation, we had the opportunity to make something come back to life.”
The Trust for Public Land has been conserving land for about 40 years, allowing the community to freely enjoy well-preserved local parks, gardens and other natural sanctuaries.