We are the Community Association for the Modoc Preserve -CAMP, a grassroots group of nature-loving people who love the 25-acre Modoc Preserve.

We have hired an environmental law firm specializing in CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) law, to mount a legal challenge to the construction of a multi-use path (MUP) project through the Modoc Preserve. The only remedy to enforce CEQA law is through the court, CAMP is suing Santa Barbara County, and SB County Board of Supervisors, for violating California state laws governing environmental review under the provisions of CEQA.

Our lead attorney, Sabrina Venskus, is also very experienced in CEQA law and is a fierce litigator that has prevailed in a number of high-stakes environmental lawsuits.

CAMP challenges the county’s failure to conduct a complete and accurate environmental review, prepare an Environmental Impact Report, as well as other procedural and substantive violations of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in approving the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND).

We are fighting to impeach their insufficient environmental document that has discrepancies and deficiencies...omissions and obfuscations...but, funds MUST be raised to pay for the filed lawsuit challenging the revised MND document and ongoing environmental legal counsel to help navigate this difficult battle with Santa Barbara County. This case has huge implications for other open spaces and nature preserves in Santa Barbara County. Fortunately, a group of Santa Ynez Valley equestrians recently established a legal precedent when they sued Santa Barbara County with a case that has many similarities and prevailed!

The Modoc Preserve is a bio-diverse oasis between Santa Barbara and Goleta that supports rich plant life, from wetlands and grasslands with various shrubs to 100 plus year-old stately Canary Island Date palms planted by Harold Chase, the brother of the "First Lady of Santa Barbara" Civic leader, Pearl Chase. There are also gorgeous eucalyptus, and California live oaks.
At least 133 different plant species, native and non-native, have been identified.
Together, they provide habitat and shade canopy to a wildlife community that includes coyotes, foxes, hawks, great horned owls, migrating orioles, 71 bird species, Monarch butterflies and bees to name but a few.
This greenbelt oasis at the edge of the increasing urban sprawl that is overtaking the Santa Barbara area is also important for reducing heat absorption, air pollution, and offsetting carbon emissions.
It is open to all and enjoyed daily by pedestrians and equestrians who enjoy the preserve's quality of life benefits that are also important in tackling the current climate emergency.

A Conservation Easement signed in 1999 for the Modoc Preserve states that the land is protected from development "forever" and "in perpetuity" for future generations.
Our goal with this legal fund is to save this protected nature preserve, again, from a destructive and unnecessary multi-use bike path project proposed by Santa Barbara County.

The County of Santa Barbara has proposed to build a 1317-yard long (.74 mile) multi-use bike (MUP) path through the Preserve at a cost of $8MM. The path would be 14' wide and use 2300 tons of road-building materials, along with 2000' of concrete retaining walls. Destructive and non-supporting for plant life.
Both of the County’s recommended alignments (A & B) would result in substantial earth moving, grading, soil compaction due to heavy construction equipment, and the removal of up to 48 mature trees (Alignment A) including 29 iconic heritage Canary Island Date palm trees.
These trees live along Modoc Road and/or within the Preserve, many Eucalyptus trees, Oaks and “Other” trees would also be destroyed. Some of these are big, majestic heritage trees, well over 100 years old - are historic survivors of the Painted Cave Fire.

Many people are outraged by this proposed massive destruction of trees and wildlife in what is supposed to be a protected nature preserve.
Please go out and see for's absolutely heartbreaking!
Both the owner of the land, La Cumbre Mutual Water Company, and the manager, Land Trust for Santa Barbara County have submitted legal comment letters stating the revised MND is "Incomplete and inaccurate"...
Over 5700 supporters have signed our petition to SAVE THE MODOC ROAD TREES...

With your help we have managed to save 34 trees slated for destruction...however, 29 majestic and iconic Canary Island Date palm trees are still on the chopping block...along with at least 6 oaks trees and 13 eucalyptus trees...48 TOTAL!

Please help us protect the Modoc Preserve and its inhabitants.
Time is running out…help save these trees and this nature preserve before it's too late!
PLEASE donate to our legal defense fund…everything helps!

CONTACT US for other ways to donate.

Please visit the Modoc Preserve BLOG for the latest info.

You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter:

Fundraising team (2)

Eva Inbar
Raised $600 from 1 donation
Santa Barbara, CA
Deb Thomas
Team member
Raised $972 from 14 donations

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