February 4, 2023
You are here:  Home  >  Columns  >  Current Article

Camper input sought even as campgrounds stay closed


The San Luis Obispo Parks department hopes to assess visitors’ experience through a new survey it’s conducting, while several campgrounds within Ventura and Santa Barbara remained closed through the July 4th weekend.

After ascertaining where they stayed and their favorite aspect of the location, the survey queries visitors on how they heard about the parks, the method they used to make reservations and their satisfaction with the reservation system. Campers can also make recommendations on amenities and rate the degree to which they appreciate Wi-Fi access during their outdoor adventures.

The survey is open until noon on July 11 and the department is offering a prize drawing of two free nights of camping at its five locations for three winners.

There were no mandatory evacuations in Ventura County due to the ongoing Pine fire but the Reyes Creek Campground, several trailheads and the Grade Valley area including Thorne Meadow and Fish Bowls were closed to the public.

The Los Padres National Forest Service estimates that El Capitan State Beach will be closed at least through July 15 following the destruction of the water treatment plant on its property. Two sheds and two outbuildings were also destroyed on private land within the forest.

Attendance at the Santa Barbara Solstice parade  was estimated at 100,000 people, said Kathy Schultz, temporary communications manager for Visit Santa Barbara, “a good indicator Sherpa did not dampen tourism too much.”

A few people expressed concern about smoke but county parks had minimal impact, said Parks Operations Manager Jeff Lindgren.

The Ventura County parks system was at capacity for its beach parks and saw normal fill rates over the holiday weekend for its inland parks, said Ron Van Dyck, deputy director of the Parks Department. No county parks were closed and, though some inquiries were made, the fire didn’t cause any cancellations, he said.

Bacara opens Angel Oak restaurant

The Bacara Resort and Spa opened its new steakhouse and seafood restaurant Angel Oak after a $3.5 million renovation.

With 162 indoor and terrace seats and interior design by Hatch Design Group, Angel Oak will incorporate seasonal local ingredients, certified Kobe beef and an exclusive dry age program. Bacara Resort Executive Chef Vincent Lesage will oversee a culinary team including pastry chef Brooke Martin, mixologist Cassie Hesse, and general manager and certified sommelier Branden Bidwell.

“We wanted to build a restaurant that would stand the test of time and become the iconic destination for Bacara and for Santa Barbara,” Nate Tanner, vice president of food and beverage for the restaurant’s parent company Pacific Hospitality Group said in a statement. “Vincent has done an amazing job curating a menu that inspires and excites the steak and seafood lover in all of us.”

The menu incorporates “twists on classics,” from its mix of steak and seafood favorites to its Baked Alaska with toasted coconut ice cream and Manhattan’s Angel cocktail.

Marketing Ventura County

The Ventura County Lodging Association partnered with San Luis Obispo’s Verdin Marketing to emphasize the area’s natural resources, cuisine and cultural offerings.

The firm plans to start by upgrading the organization’s website and debuted two new logo ideas at the county’s Tourism Impact Summit June 15.

“This is exciting for us,” Verdin President Mary Verdin said in a statement. “Tourism is one of our four key industries and we’re building on our experience marketing for a range of tourism clients in SLO County. Our footprint is now also incorporating the counties north and south of us, from Santa Cruz to Port Hueneme.”

VCLA, with a budget of $2.1 million, funds marketing and advertising for the tourism district that includes Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo and Port Hueneme.

Verdin Marketing was established in 2003 and works with businesses, nonprofits and government agencies.

• Contact Marissa Nall at mnall@pacbiztimes.com.