Santa Barbara Talks Podcast: Modoc Tree Removal Project Backlash Explained | Local News

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The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will decide the fate of dozens of trees on Modoc Road, but before the big vote, activist Warren Thomas has something to say.

Thomas is the co-founder of CAMP, Community Association of the Modoc Reserveand led efforts to stop the county from cutting down 21 to 46 trees along Modoc Road to build a segregated bike path.

“We need to save the trees that line the Modoc reserve,” Thomas said. “It’s shady canopies, wildlife habitats and historic heritage trees that have really helped define the bucolic nature of Santa Barbara.”

Thomas speaks with journalist Josh Molina in the latest episode of the Santa Barbara Talks podcast.

Watch Thomas explain the controversy in the video link below.

He was among about 30 people who recently gathered on Modoc Road to protest the removal of trees to build a bike path between Santa Barbara and Obern Trail.

A county proposal would remove 46 trees, including 29 mature Canary Islands palms, under an option called “Alignment A”. A second option, “Alignment B”, would involve the removal of 21 trees.

Most of the protesters said they didn’t want either of the alignments and thought all the trees should be preserved.

“It’s probably one of Santa Barbara’s most iconic bucolic roads or paths,” Thomas said. “It’s just beautifully shaded.”

Many date palms in the Canary Islands are over 100 years old and home to a variety of species including monarch butterflies, hawks, owls and other birds and raptors.

“There are a few owl boxes out there, but why live in a box when you can live in a tree,” Thomas said.

Some of the trees, including eucalyptus, survived the Painted Cave fire of 1990.

“They actually acted as a firewall to keep the flames from crossing Hope Ranch and burning up the Mesa,” Thomas said.

County planners said the bike path will fill the last major gap in this regional network identified in the East Goleta Valley Community Plan and the Santa County Association of Governments Regional Active Transportation Plan. Barbara.

Thomas in the podcast also talks about what he describes as a “lack of transparency” in the process. The original vote was scheduled for July, but activists said they were unaware of the project and the county recirculated the environmental document.

“We really hope we can get supervisors, policy makers, at a minimum, to read the three legally backed challenges to the mixed negative statement,” Thomas said. “At a minimum, we’re hoping they can at least put the brakes on all of this and request an EIR.”

Watch this podcast by click here on the video link above and find more podcasts with individuals in the community by visiting Josh Molina’s YouTube channel. Molina uses her two decades of journalism experience to create dynamic and engaging conversations with a variety of individuals on the topics of housing, education, transportation and culture.

Visit her Santa Barbara Talks website and consider contributing to his independent podcast.

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