Among the many things Santa Barbara County residents are proud of, the Gaviota Coast is high on the list. Approximately 75 miles of the undeveloped coastline runs from near Goleta all the way beyond Point Conception.
Today, nonprofit Gaviota Coast Conservancy celebrates an advancement in the struggle to keep the Gaviota Coast undeveloped: the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve. The nonprofit group holds its first public fundraiser event 2 to 5 p.m. today at the Music Academy of the West, and the fundraiser will honor the Dangermonds’ role in preserving the Gaviota Coast.
Two years ago, the Dangermonds donated more than $165 million to protect 38 square miles of the Gaviota Coast. This property was formerly known as the private Bixby Ranch.
“It was under development threat,” conservancy Executive Director Douglas R. Kern told the News-Press. Mr. Kern added that the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve has been described as “the last perfect place in California.”
Indeed, it has been recognized for its scenery. The portion of Highway 101 that runs through the Gaviota Coast is a State Scenic Highway.
With the Dangermonds’ donation, the 38-square-mile property is “permanently protected,” according to Mr. Kern.
The husband-wife duo co-founded the Environmental Systems Research Institute — an international organization known for its mapping capabilities — about 50 years ago.
“I think Jack and Laura Dangermond made a huge investment in this property and they want people of means to copy them, to come along and make other purchases because there’s other land acquisition to have to completely conserve this coast line,” said Mr. Kern.
Currently, the 38 square miles are managed by the Nature Conservancy, The Virginia-based organization that protects land and rivers from development.
At today’s fundraiser, Michael Bell, the director of the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve, will accept an award in the Dangermonds’ place, though Mr. Kern hinted that one of the Dangermonds may be videoing in for the fundraiser.
At the event, wine and beer will flow with hors d’oeuvres. Live music will serenade the crowd as they mingle, and in this crowd, any fans of the Doors and Jack Johnson may be interested in what the auctions have in store.
“John Desmore, he was the drummer for the Doors has donated for our live auction a set of vinyl albums that he has signed and then a drum head from his days as the Doors that he has signed,” said Mr. Kern excitedly.
Singer-songwriter Jack Johnson, a UCSB alum, has also contributed to the auction.
“He has signed a ukulele that will be available at the live auction,” said Mr. Kern.
Other items in the silent and live auctions include getaway packages for places like Naples ranch in Santa Barbara County.Tickets for the fundraiser, called Coast Legacy 2019, can be bought online at www.gaviotacoastconservancy.org/2019legacy or at the door for $125 each.