Just after the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara during January, 2018, I was looking at the KCLU community calendar online and noticed a photographer had scheduled an event where he would instruct interested people how to photograph sand dunes at the Guadalupe Dunes, west of Santa Maria on the coast. I had never heard of them and wrote down the date in my day timer. Sadly, rains and mud/debris slides shortly after the fires closed Hwy 101 for a couple weeks, causing me to miss the event. I emailed the photographer who explained how to get there and a bit about the area. Fortunately, I visited the dunes twice before the annual March 1 to September 1 off season occurs, to protect two birds, the Snowy Plover and Least Tern.
I can’t wait to return and hope you enjoy these photographs of this little known gem of an ecosystem. The area is owned by the Santa Barbara County Parks and leased to the Center for Natural Lands Management. These are the highest dunes on the entire western coastline of the United States, rising over 500 feet in elevation.