New Website: 50 Great Public Lands Destinations – Santa Barbara and Beyond

The City of Goleta is proud to share a new Public Lands website created by one of our very own Parks and Recreation Commissioners, Deborah Williams. The 50 public lands featured on the website include numerous Goleta parks and open spaces. 

There has never been a more important and positive time to get out and explore our remarkable federal, state, county and city public lands. The website: “50 Great Public Lands Destinations – Santa Barbara and Beyond” recently launched to help everyone discover new and wonderful places and adventures, all within 300 miles of Santa Barbara,

The website can be accessed at:

Easy to navigate, and filled with succinct and informative descriptions, links and photos, the website is designed for all to use: including newcomers, students, visitors and people who have lived in the area a long time.

“While teaching the Public Lands class at UCSB, I learned that a lot of my students from throughout the state and nation did not know about the tremendous public land opportunities all around us,” notes Deborah Williams, the author of the website. “I wanted to create a resource for my students and other students; for newcomers to the Santa Barbara area; for visitors; for health care professionals; for parents; and even for people who have lived here for years.”

Each public land destination has numerous useful links, a short description of the location, interesting facts, a location map and photos. Many destination pages also include very brief descriptions and links to “Nearby Public Lands Worth Visiting.” While the new website highlights public land destinations within 300 miles of UCSB, it emphasizes closer ones within and adjacent to Santa Barbara, Goleta and Isla Vista.

“Exploring our public lands is so rewarding,” continues Deborah, noting: “We are the owners of our public parks, beaches, forests and open spaces. Enjoying these extraordinary areas is very important to our physical and mental health, our sense of community, and our happiness.” Especially now, being outdoors during the pandemic — while social distancing and engaging in other safe practices — is a great way to stay fit, connected and proactive.

“I hope this website will help people discover new and special public land areas to explore all around us,” concludes Ms. Williams. Notes Santa Barbara resident, Cathy Newman: “This is incredible! What an amazing resource for everyone. We will be using this website extensively and it will become our Go To for looking for new places to explore in this wonderful place.”

Deborah Williams is a Lecturer in the Environmental Studies Department at UCSB, and specializes in Public Lands. Among other past positions, Deborah served as an Attorney for the National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and as a Presidential Appointee with the Department of Interior. Currently, in addition to teaching at UCSB, Deborah is a Commissioner on the Goleta Parks and Recreation Commission and a member of the Community Environmental Council’s Partnership Council. Deborah’s grandparents lived in Santa Barbara, and some of her earliest memories are associated with playing in the beautiful public sand and waves at Carpinteria State Beach. 

Pictured: Website screenshot (above); Deborah Williams at Lake Los Carneros (top right)