Our mission:

Gaviota Coast Conservancy is dedicated to protecting the rural character and environmental integrity of the Gaviota Coast for present and future generations


Gaviota beach image by Reeve Woolpert

The Three Pillars

Gaviota Coast Conservancy's actions are guided by what we call the Three Pillars of the Gaviota Coast, each one an integral and interconnected support that together fulfill our mission. Each can have separate application to specific lands. They are:

rural character

Preserve the rural character of the Gaviota Coast and where appropriate, encourage regenerative agriculture. Agriculture is the bedrock of our coastal heritage. We encourage agricultural practices that build soil, manage water wisely, avoid toxic chemicals and support biological resources. 

ecological integrity

Restore and enhance the ecological integrity of the Gaviota Coast, its whole and undivided natural character. Support policies and practices that promote and revitalize biological diversity.

and public access

 Encourage appropriate and respectful public use and access. Recreation and rejuvenation are personal and community benefits. People that experience their environment become more active stewards of their homeland. 


Rancho Tajiguas, 1970s, photo by Mehosh, used with permission

  • Upcoming events

    Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 08:30 AM · 7 rsvps
    Haskell's Beach in Goleta, CA

    Paradiso Hike


    WHAT: Mother’s Day Weekend Hike across the eastern Gaviota Coast

    WHERE: Start at Haskell’s Beach Public coastal access parking lot

    WHEN: Saturday, May 11 starting promptly at 8:30am and ending around noon

    HOW: Register below or by contacting Janet Koed, 805-683-6631, janet@gaviotacoastconservancy.org. We are asking for $20 (sliding scale) for expenses

    WHY: A unique opportunity to see and learn about some special places on the eastern Gaviota Coast

    WHO: Anyone who is curious about this area and able to hike a moderate three-mile distance. Children must be accompanied by adults and should be 8 years old and above, and good hikers. This is a one-way trip, and there's no way to exit once we get started. There's no shorter alternate route back to your car. You'll be required to sign a waiver of liability. Sorry, but we can’t take pets or young children. There are no restrooms or facilities once we leave the parking lot. 


    Gaviota Coast Conservancy has worked for years to protect the lands at the eastern Gaviota Coast from development. While development has been mostly stopped so far, most of these lands are not open for public use. Through legal agreements and supportive landowners, GCC has arranged for an exclusive hike through private lands and along a remote and biologically sensitive stretch of the beach during low tides on the morning of May 11.

    You must pre-register (below or by phone or email) to go on this adventure. The experience will start at Haskell’s Beach public parking lot at 8:15 am, where we will board a shuttle bus that will drop us next to the highway to start the hike. You will walk back to Haskell's and your car. 

    Leaving at 8:30am sharp, we’ll have Jump on the Bus take us to the trailhead of the historic Seals Trail. Guides will meet us there to show the way to the bluff top and down the trail to the beach through the endangered Paradiso parcels. Taking advantage of the low tide, we will hike carefully east, past the seal haul-out and beyond to Driftwoods and Eagle Canyon.

    Gaviota Coast Conservancy has secured one-time use of the lands east of Eagle Creek to hike out from the beach past the creek and across private lands to the end of Hollister Avenue, where you can hike on the steep but scenic bluff-top Coastal Trail by the Bacara or along Hollister Avenue to the Haskell’s parking lot and your cars. 

    This moderate hike is about 2.5 miles, and will take about 2.5 to 3 hours. Most of the trail is relatively flat, except for steep sections by the road and dropping onto the beach. You will need to stoop to go through a fence, cross active railroad tracks and pass through patches of poison oak. The trail to the beach is rustic with some tricky maneuvering. There are no restrooms or facilities once we leave the parking lot. The beach is mostly sandy but has some slick rocky spots and cobbles. The trail back up to Hollister Avenue is a bit steep on an unimproved road. It’s all an adventure on Gaviota coastal property. Your guides will talk about the history of this place and answer questions.

    Since we’ll be on private property, hikers must stay on trails, stay with the group and respect the lands we are crossing. You must pre-register, sign a waiver releasing all landowners and trip organizers from liability, and consider a $20 suggested donation (pay what you can) to offset our expenses and to help GCC protect these lands. 

    Sunday, May 12, 2019 at 11:00 AM · 2 rsvps
    Haskell's Beach in Goleta, CA

    Mother's Day Beach Cleanup


    Love your Mother Earth!

    Join the Gaviota Coast volunteers as we show our Mother love by cleaning up a heavily used Gaviota Coast beach. We'll also get to enjoy one of the last weekend low tides of the year! Bring your mom, wear sturdy shoes, and bring gloves - we'll provide reusable bags!
    Meet at Haskell's Beach
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  • Latest from the blog

    Welcome to our first Executive Director

    Doug Kern Named First Executive Director of Gaviota Coast Conservancy

    Doug Kern
    Gaviota Coast Conservancy (GCC) has hired environmentalist Doug Kern (seen here in a recent photo) to serve as the organization’s first executive director. He will begin his post on May 1.

    The GCC Board of Directors completed an extensive search to find the right leader to help grow the organization’s capacity and advance its mission of protecting and preserving the unique and precious Gaviota Coast in Santa Barbara County.

    As director of conservation for the Mendocino Land Trust, Doug Kern successfully completed more than a dozen endangered coho salmon recovery projects.

    He helped conserve old-growth redwoods and agricultural lands through conservation easements and managed Land Trust properties to improve public access.

    Kern's work on climate change includes establishing the first public electric vehicle-charging station network in Mendocino County.

    Prior to his five years at the Mendocino Land Trust, Kern served as executive director of the Urban Watershed Project in the Presidio of San Francisco for 16 years.

    He also led the Presidio Restoration Advisory Board, where he organized community input and restored natural stream ecosystems from contaminated lands.

    Kern received his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in geophysics and later returned to school to earn an MBA from Cornell University. He is a trained mediator with experience resolving complex, multi-party land use issues.

    “Doug brings extensive skills, experience and knowledge to our organization that will allow Gaviota Coast Conservancy to strategically pursue the preservation opportunities that are developing on the coast." said Steve Forsell, Gaviota Coast Conservancy president.

    "He is collaborative and energetic. We are thrilled to have engaged his service,” Forsell said.

    “I look forward to working with all of the GCC’s many partners and the community to protect our coastal heritage for the benefit of the plants, the critters, the local residents and future generations,” Kern said.

    Founded in 1996, Gaviota Coast Conservancy is devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing the rural character and ecological integrity of the Gaviota Coast for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

    Here's this media release as published in the Santa Barbara Independent and Noozhawk. Thanks to these outlets for sharing our great news. 

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