MONTECITO, Calif. - Many Montecito trails have a new look after the 2018 mudflow disaster following weeks of work by several agencies and an infusion of government funding.
"We've seen what's possible and what is possible is what we can dream and partner to accomplish," said Abe Powell with the Bucket Brigade all volunteer group. Members have collaborated with workforce projects to make the trails improvements possible.
The comeback of Montecito from the tons of mud, rocks and debris involved clearing and cleaning on many streets. The newly restored pathways have level surfaces and ground cover chips.
Powell recalled how the plan came into focus while he was standing in the disaster zone. "And Josiah (Hamilton) said you know what, what would be cool is if people who lost their jobs could go and clear all this debris and put a path down and make it safe for kids to walk to school and get paid to do it. That would be a genius. And we said 'impossible'. To be here here 15 months later with all these people doing exactly that - that we thought was completely impossible and would never ever happen in Montecito is nothing short of a little resiliency miracle."
A group of government and community supporters worked on the ways to make that idea a reality and today they dug their shovels in one more time to celebrate.
"So this is the kind of project that just fits right in our wheel house and it is an improvement to the community and is one that so many people will enjoy, " said Steve Hicks with the Montecito Community Foundation.
The North Jameson lane trail also connects with San Ysidro Road and that goes to the upper village shopping and residential areas. There are also other smaller trails in between, and more are planned.
Ashlee Mayfield with the Montecito Trails Association says, "to go from losing our trails to actually gaining more trails mileage and easements is amazing. Connecting the community in a meaningful way and having kids get to school having people out in the afternoon walking their dogs, it means people have a place to meet and connect. I think that is something that was missing without places to walk."