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Public works crews begin construction efforts on storm-damaged Guadalupe Dunes

Posted at 4:05 PM, Jun 12, 2023

Since this winter’s rains, the roadway leading up to the Rancho Guadalupe Dunes has been ravaged by miles of washed-out pavement.

Monday morning, crews with the County of Santa Barbara’s Public Works Department began their extensive efforts in clearing the area, but they say it will be months before the park reopens to the public.

“The Santa Maria River left its banks and ended up in this area, right in front of the entrance to the Guadalupe Dunes,” said Public Information Officer Lael Wageneck.

Wageneck says crews will spend the coming months re-establishing an access point for vehicles to make their way in and out of the park, adding that additional maintenance efforts in the area are still to come.

“The second section is further in, where the agricultural area meets the park, the roads were heavily damaged in that area,” Wageneck told KSBY. “We are putting that project out to bid right now, and we are hoping to start construction on that in August.”

Meanwhile, Tyke Minetti of Betteravia Farms says the extensive storm damage on the dunes also had catastrophic impacts for his nearby crops.

“Down there it was pasture ground, but it has got to be re-leveled because the river came through here and put a bunch of silt. This was all good topsoil here that just went to the ocean and it is gone. Replacing that is pretty hard,” Minetti told KSBY.

He says as a result, production on their farm has come to a halt.

“About 30 to 40 acres been out of production, we have got 69 acres over there that have been out of production since December and it has been a big loss to us, to everybody,” he added.

And though you may have been looking forward to bringing your ATV out for a day at the Guadalupe Dunes this summer, Wageneck says you will likely have to wait a bit longer.

“I want to thank the community for their patience ahead of time as we start these projects, and hopefully by next summer, we will have access to the Dunes,” he said.

Wageneck says crews will also construct culvert pipes underneath the repaved entrance to the dunes to allow low flows of water to travel beneath the road in case of another heavy storm.

He adds the first stage of construction on the project is estimated to cost $1 million, with the money coming from local funds, and that their crews are still assessing the extent of damage throughout the rest of the park.

You can find information on the status of other County of Santa Barbara parks that had closed due to storm damage by clicking here: