by Janet Koed
On February 12, Steve and I headed out for a low tide hike at Naples with a good-sized group of folks. After years of hiking on Naples, we no longer expect to be sent away, and the pattern of access to the coast is established. We cherish the ongoing opportunity to see this special place, free from development. This was one of those unseasonably warm green winter days and we felt exhilarated to be on this precious coastline.
Stunning blue skies and an exceptionally low tide accentuated the many geological textures of the ancient cliffs. Shale, sandstone, and silt held secrets of thousands of years. I could imagine a Chumash Tomol launching through the small surf. Due to community opposition, this place has escaped the fate of development, so far. Certainly, some of that preservation can be credited to indigenous People who understood the value of this land’s natural resources. Spanish and Mexican invaders benefitted from ranching operations. Modern ranching and farming on the Gaviota Coast come with increasing challenges. Land speculators stand to make much more money if they can secure development permits for the land.
The previous night, I had received an email from the new owners of Dos Pueblos Ranch, Roger and Robin Himovitz. Dos Pueblos Ranch is adjacent to Naples and we frequently hike from Naples to Dos Pueblos. Roger invited us to stop by his property above the beach and say “hello”. This was certainly a new turn of events as the previous owners had strictly enforced their NO TRESPASSING policy. I was looking forward to discovering what this encounter would present. We were met by Roger and Robin who offered a shady retreat and chocolate chip cookies, honey, cherimoyas, and water. Roger then spoke about the history of Dos Pueblos Ranch and how they became involved and came to own the property. Very interesting talk. He then spoke about their vision for the property. They have created the Dos Pueblos Institute. Information can be found at dospueblosinstitute.org. As their Mission Statement says, “To protect and preserve Dos Pueblos Ranch in a manner guided by the principles of public access and environmental justice and agricultural sustainability and to promote these principles through experience-based education and charitable programs and research.” Sounds good to us. A good time was had by all.
Find out more about future intentions for Dos Pueblos Ranch at www.dospueblosinstitute.org
You might be interested in viewing this short film, Losing Ground, made by students in the Blue Horizons program at UCSB which features local Gaviota farmers and threatening urbanization. https://vimeo.com/179544631