It’s been a memorable year for the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, partly for the wrong reasons.
Less revenue and a budget shortfall were its initial worries, but severe damage from the Jesusita Fire added grief. Now the popular tourist attraction in the hills above Santa Barbara faces new struggles — yet it also sees new opportunities.
Despite destruction or damage of nearly 10,000 plants, the gardens are open, and visitors can’t even see the fire’s warpath from the entrance. The installation of six fire hydrants in 2005 on the grounds made it possible for firefighters to form a barrier to protect some of the Botanic Garden’s most valuable assets. However, it didn’t stop the fire from tearing through 60 of its 78 acres.