Elevated trail to be constructed in Santa Ynez Valley attraction 

Staff Report

The Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden Foundation (SYVBGF) is pleased to announce it has received a $25,000 grant to construct a new ‘wilderness’ trail along the south facing slope that defines the northern boundary of the garden. The grant is from the Hollis Norris Fund for Conservation, Environment, and Public Trails. The grant application review process was handled by the Santa Barbara Foundation, whose staff and advisory board reviewed and approved SYVBGF’s project proposal.

The garden’s existing paths wind through two acres on mainly level ground, whereas this new trail will take visitors through the garden’s “chaparral” area on a more challenging trail, offering great views of the Santa Ynez River valley and the Santa Ynez range. Without the proposed trail, this hillside slope is otherwise inaccessible for visitors, and it’s even difficult for the garden’s maintenance crew to navigate. 

“Thanks to the generous grant, we are now able to move forward with a project that will benefit and delight a large number of our visitors for a long time to come,” SYVBGF Board President Eva Powers said.

In the garden’s volunteer tradition, the trail was designed by Karis Clinton, a landscape architect and SYVBG board member. The grant from the Hollis Norris Fund will cover much of the project’s cost, but other co-funders include The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation as well as other private foundations and individual donors. The Botanic Garden is also seeking additional funds to extend the trail even further west along the hillside. 

Puck Erickson-Lohnas, the SYVBGF board’s vice president, explained that the new trail, once completed, will be incorporated into the garden’s many educational programs and workshops for children and adults.

“Many of these programs have been curtailed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the garden has remained open and has been more popular than ever with Valley residents and visitors seeking calming and healing natural environments,” Lohnas said.

The Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden showcases native plants of Santa Barbara County and is located at the west end of River View Park, accessible from Sycamore Drive in Buellton. The garden is open free of charge from sunrise to sunset 365 days per year. The garden, founded in 2006, has been developed and managed by The SYVBG Foundation, an educational nonprofit organization. Learn more about the garden and the foundation, making a donation, or becoming a member at www.santaynezvalleybotanicgarden.org.