Cristal's Blog


September 14, 2023

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Santa Barbara's natural beauty, with its dramatic backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains and hills, pristine coastline, and lush landscapes, is undoubtedly one of its most defining features. But have you ever wondered who plays a crucial role in preserving this paradise for generations to come? Enter The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County

A green grass covered meadow with tree-covered hills in the background
Photo credit: Andreina Diaz

A Brighter Future for Santa Barbara

At the heart of the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County's mission is a vision of a future where conserved lands throughout the county engage and nourish human, plant, and animal life. These conserved lands encompass a diverse range of environments, from productive family farms and ranches that thrive from generation to generation to healthy habitats that sustain and shelter our precious wildlife and plants. Moreover, they include beautiful trails and open spaces that provide recreational gateways accessible to all members of our community. The Land Trust is dedicated to engaging with the various communities that make up our county, adapting to changing conditions, and maintaining the capacity to address all conservation opportunities.

Protecting Santa Barbara's Natural Heritage

Since its founding in 1985, the nonprofit organization has been a stalwart guardian of Santa Barbara's natural heritage. Through a multifaceted approach, they have tirelessly worked to protect, restore, and manage open space, wildlife habitat, and agricultural land in our county.

Here's how they achieve these critical objectives:

1. Acquiring Land and Conservation Easements
The Land Trust collaborates with willing landowners, public and private grant agencies, and other community organizations to acquire land and conservation easements. These negotiations involve working closely with private property owners, charitable donations, and purchases.

The Sedgwick reserve in Santa Barbara, with rolling hills and natural vegetation
    • Featured Project: Sedgwick Reserve
      One shining example of the Land Trust's success in land conservation is the Sedgwick Reserve. With a coalition of research scientists, artists and preservationists, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County led a successful “Save the Sedgwick” campaign, raising $3.2 million from local, state and foundation grants, and donations to help purchase and protect the land forever. The reserve is now part of the University of California Natural Reserve System.

2. Creating Conservation Plans and Restoration Projects
The Land Trust develops comprehensive conservation plans and restoration projects, providing incentives for landowners to actively participate in preserving our natural landscapes.

Sand bluffs above the beach and whitecapped ocean waves at Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve in Santa Barbara.
Photo credit: Ken Lund
    • Featured Project: Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve
      The Carpinteria Bluffs Nature Preserve is a testament to the Land Trust's dedication to coastal habitat conservation. This beautiful coastal bluff was threatened by development until the Citizens for the Carpinteria Bluffs and the Land Trust joined forces. Today, it is a cherished public open space, offering breathtaking ocean views and a haven for native wildlife.

3. Preservation and Stewardship
The Land Trust is deeply committed to the preservation, stewardship, and restoration of wildlife habitat and watershed resources on the land they protect. Their efforts contribute to the health and sustainability of our ecosystems.

    • Featured Project: Arroyo Hondo Preserve
      Nestled between the Gaviota Coast and Santa Barbara, the Arroyo Hondo Preserve showcases The Land Trust's dedication to preserving vital watersheds. This 782-acre gem includes pristine coastal canyon habitat and offers a place of respite and exploration for all who visit.

4. Education and Community Engagement
The Land Trust plays a vital role in educating both children and adults about ecology, agriculture, and conservation through programs and events at their preserves. Their community engagement initiatives help foster a deeper connection between people and the environment.

    • Featured Project: Environmental Education
      The Land Trust’s school and community outreach programs engage over 1,500 participants from all areas of Santa Barbara County—stretching from Carpinteria to Guadalupe. Arroyo Hondo Preserve programs involve school-age youth in hands-on outdoor activities and natural history education that take their learning beyond the four walls of their everyday classrooms. On a typical day, students may identify native plants and learn about their value in the ecosystem as well as their historic use by Native people. They might climb trees, examine a shed snakeskin, or search for wildlife in the preserve’s beautiful riparian corridor. Moreover, as the risk for and frequency of wildfire increases, our educational programs empower young people with knowledge about nature’s resiliency, the importance of open spaces, and the urgency to address global warming.

Preserving Santa Barbara's Legacy

The Land Trust's partnership with willing landowners, habitat restoration efforts, management of signature preserves, and active engagement with the community are the cornerstones of their success. By collaborating with individuals, organizations, and government agencies, the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County is ensuring that our coastal paradise remains an enduring source of inspiration and natural wonder.

In my role as a Santa Barbara Realtor, I am deeply grateful for the work of The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. Their dedication to preserving our region's natural beauty ensures that the paradise we know and love today will be cherished by generations to come. Supporting organizations like this one is a testament to our shared commitment to preserving the unique charm and natural splendor of our beloved community. Please consider making a donation to this important cause.

Now that you know about the Land Trust’s conservation efforts that make Santa Barbara extraordinary, remember that your dream home could be nestled among these protected landscapes. As always, I'm here to help you find your perfect piece of paradise in Santa Barbara County. Just give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at Cristal@Montecito-Estate. Begin your home hunt by checking out the listings on my comprehensive website.

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Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch