Surfers, students and local residents gathered in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park on Saturday for a concert to save More Mesa.
The Isla Vista chapter of the Surfrider Foundation organized the fourth annual Concert for the Coast, sponsored by the Shoreline Preservation Fund, to benefit the More Mesa Preservation Coalition. The land, located on the coast west of Hope Ranch and approximately two miles east of UCSB and Goleta Beach, is a wildlife habitat and recreational spot. The coalition is an organization dedicated to preserving the mesa from potential development.
The concert lasted from noon to 5 p.m. and featured four bands and information from the coalition. Between 200 and 300 people attended throughout the day.
Aside from raising funds for the coalition, the organizers said they hoped the event would convince the audience that More Mesa and other beaches are in danger.
“If we can get the point across to people that they can really make a difference just by picking up their own trash, cleaning up after their parties and picking up some trash at the beach, then that can make a huge, huge difference,” Paul Colbert, the event’s organizer, said. “But when it comes down to it, we’re all just here to have a good time anyway.”
A raffle was held to raise money for the coalition, with tickets being sold for $1 each and prizes including clothing from Rip Curl and Hurley – both sponsors of the event – and CDs by White Buffalo, the concert’s headliner, from Orange County. San Francisco-based bluegrass band Poor Man’s Whiskey and local groups the Overtones and Iration also played. The coalition received $444 from the proceeds of the event, which will go toward its protection of More Mesa, Colbert said.
The area includes grassland, wetlands and coastal and creekside wooded areas; it is also a roosting site for the white-tailed kite, a predatory bird given protection under state and federal laws. Six other sensitive bird species, foxes and coyotes also live on the land.
Valerie Olson, coalition board president, had a table of information about More Mesa on display and spoke to students on their way to the concert. She said More Mesa is an environmentally sensitive habitat.
“There’s a plant community, wetland areas and very special birds. It’s a beautiful open space and it should be preserved forever,” she said.
The area has historically been a site that environmentalists have fought to protect, Olson said.
“For the last 40 years, different groups have been working to preserve More Mesa; More Mesa Preservation Fund is just the latest,” Olson said.
The coalition has worked with the Surfrider Foundation for the past three years, and held a symposium on the topic in March 2003. Oil businessman Robert Earl Holding of Salt Lake City, Utah, currently owns the land. According to the coalition’s website, Holding has pending litigation for the rezoning of the land, which may enable further development currently prohibited by Santa Barbara County.
Olson also said that one of the coalition’s goals is to purchase the land from Holding to prevent him from developing it.
Sophomore environmental studies major and Surfrider member Alex Kane said he enjoyed the concert.
“I’m having a great time; it’s a good time in general,” Kane said. “There is a lot of information for people to learn about. I think this is the perfect opportunity for people to have fun, and hang out with their friends … [and have] respect for the environment.”
Bob Ellis, a UCSB alumnus, said he came to the event specifically because of the environmental message it sent out.
“I’m excited about this whole thing because of the fact that the community can come together for the express purpose of highlighting a certain place and the efforts to save it,” Ellis said. “It’s great to sit around and listen to music, but the money you’re giving here will help a specific group of people with a specific cause.”