Hot Springs Canyon, the last undeveloped, privately-owned canyon in the Santa Barbara front country, has been purchased by The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County for protection and public enjoyment. The local, non-profit conservation group announced that it closed escrow on the 462-acre property this week.
“This is great news for hikers and for everyone who treasures access to the lovely mountains behind Santa Barbara and Montecito,” said Santa Barbara View Outdoor Editor John McKinney. “Congratulations to the The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County for raising the big bucks and working tirelessly to put together a very complex preservation effort with lots of moving parts.”
As part of a popular network of trails between Cold Springs and San Ysidro Canyons, the magnificent views and trails of Hot Springs Canyon have been enjoyed by recreational users for decades—even though it was privately owned and hikers were actually trespassing. The property also features the ruins of the former Hot Springs Resort, which existed there for more than 130 years before it burned in 1964.
When long-time owners, the McCaslin family, placed the property on the market in 2009, The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County recognized an opportunity to protect the property and make it available for public enjoyment forever. Over a two-year period, the Land Trust studied the property, completed its own real estate appraisal and negotiated a price below the appraised value. The property, which includes six legal land parcels zoned for residential development, was purchased for $7,600,000.