The Santa Barbara Trails Council will hold its first annual barbecue benefit this Sunday at El Capitan Ranch.
The benefit represents a renewed effort by the council — which has been around for the past 40 years — to engage Santa Barbara’s hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians in local trails. For the event, the council will be sponsoring a run on the Bill Wallace Trail, which borders the El Capitan Canyon to the north of Goleta. The event kicks off Sunday at noon with a hike, trail run, horseback and bike ride, followed by a barbecue and a performance from local band Kalinka.
According to Trails Council president Otis Calef, proceeds from the $35 entrance fee will support the Trails Council’s work advocating for hiking trails in the city planning process, especially on the Gaviota coast.
“It will support various projects, but particularly we would like to draw attention to the Bill Wallace Trail,” Calef said. “It’s all about to open very soon, so we would like to gain the public’s support and awareness.”
The Bill Wallace Trail opened to the public in 2004 after the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County purchased 2,500 acres of the El Capitan Ranch land and transferred the land to state park ownership. However, a state budget deficit required all hikes on the land be led by docents, so the El Capitan Canyon land has been somewhat difficult to access for the past six years.
Specifically, Calef said, the Council plans to contribute to the construction of a new parking lot on the east side of the Bill Wallace Trail and connect the upper and lower loops of the trail.
“Recent changes in state park management have signaled a change in attitude,” Calef said in a press release. “They are very open to the idea of opening the entire ranch to public use, but both state parks and the privately-held ranch need help in doing what’s needed to sign and maintain the trails. That’s where the Trails Council can be of great help.”
Terri Bowman, El Capitan Canyon’s general manager, said the event offers a great way to introduce the area to the public.
“The Bill Wallace Trail borders the canyon, so we have an interest in making sure the public has access to that,” Bowman said. “We’re glad to do what we can to volunteer our space to help maintain the trails system.”
To join the athletic portion of the event, meet at the parking area on the west side of El Capitan Ranch at noon. Hikes and rides will leave at 12:30 p.m. and take around two hours apiece. Tickets can be purchased on-site. Interested parties are also encouraged to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.