6 Ways To Help Protect Our Public Lands

As co-owners and stewards of our extraordinary public lands, we have lots of opportunities to protect them. Here are six meaningful ways to get involved and make a difference. Your stewardship really matters.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

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Do you think there should be more public lands or that they should be managed differently? Do you agree with proposed changes to our existing public lands?

Our public land managers and elected officials at the national, state and local levels frequently propose changes to the management of our public lands. What do YOU think?

Your voice matters. You are the “public” in public lands. There are numerous impactful ways of communicating your views, including writing comments, signing petitions, testifying at public hearings, and calling or meeting with your elected officials.

How can you find out what is being proposed? The easiest way is to join conservation groups and read their alerts. Fortunately there are many excellent local, state and national groups that focus on public lands covered in this website. They are listed below.

Join & Contribute

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Join and financially contribute to conservation groups that are working to protect our public lands.

There are so many outstanding conservation groups dedicated to protecting our public lands, which are identified by categories below:

A) Groups focusing on important public land policies. The staff and volunteers from these groups work hard to find out what agencies, outside interests, and elected officials are proposing to do to our public lands. Then they research the issues to give us needed information about the potential impacts of these proposed actions. They also send out alerts, comment links, petitions to personalize and sign, and more.

Excellent groups that address many of the public lands listed in this website are:

It really is positive, interesting and important to join their newsletter and alert lists.

B) Do you have money, land, or interest in helping to expand our public lands?

Groups helping to expand our public lands through land acquisitions and the acceptance of land and monetary donations include:

C) Groups that directly support the programs, maintenance, and funding of public lands include:

D) Groups helping us lower our carbon footprint, which reduces the resource extraction and other development pressures on public lands, such as:

E) Groups inspiring and empowering youth to get outside and involved in learning about and appreciating our public lands, such as:

F) Personal Carbon Reduction and Carbon Offsets

Minimizing our carbon footprint is crucial to the long term health of our public lands. Where possible, when visiting public lands, it is beneficial to walk, bike or use public transportation. Routes can be found on-line by typing in "travel from _____ to ______" and clicking on the bus, pedestrian or biking option. If driving is necessary, electric vehicles are the best option; and carpool where possible. When this is not available, consider making a contribution to an organization to offset your carbon emissions. Some excellent options include:

Help Plant & Maintain

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Help with planting, trail maintenance, invasive species removal or clean-up efforts on our public lands. These activities help protect and enhance the ecosystems that Santa Barbara and our surrounding communities rely on. Plantings reintroduce native flora to support native fauna and watershed health. Clean-up efforts remove harmful plastics and other debris from our public lands, waters and wildlife. And, well maintained trails help facilitate recreation while limiting impacts to the surrounding habitat.

Lots of organizations, and several government agencies, help organize community plantings, trail maintenance, invasive species removal or clean-up efforts on our public lands. These can take place on beaches, in the mountains, and in riparian areas, among other places.

Here are a few possibilities that focus on nearby lands and waters:

Vote For Bond Measures Supporting Public Lands

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Vote for bond measures that support our public lands, and, if you can, contribute land or money to expand our public lands.

Virtually all of our California state public lands, especially parks, have been acquired using public funds or donated. They need your vote!

Serve On Commissions

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Serve on a local, city, county or state Parks and Recreation Commission where you live. These are important and worthwhile positions, and you can have a meaningful impact on public land decision-making.

For the Santa Barbara/UCSB area these commissions include:

Vote For Candidates Supporting Public Lands

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Vote for candidates who are committed to protecting our public lands – at every level (national, state and local). Ask candidates questions about their positions on public lands. Talk to others about this, throughout the nation.

Who we elect significantly impacts our public land heritage.

Final Thoughts

There are so many ways to make a difference. Thanks for helping to make sure that our public lands will be enjoyed now and for generations to come.

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