Friday, July 2, 2010

The Andree Clark Bird Refuge

The Andree Clark Bird Refuge of Santa Barbara is a 42-acre saltwater marsh that hosts a 29-acre freshwater/ brackish water lake. It is home to one of the largest wildlife refuges in the area. Surrounded by the Santa Barbara Zoo and East Cabrillo Boulevard, the Bird Sanctuary, as it is often called, is a brilliant place to observe ducks, geese and other wild birds that are migrating through the area or stacking a permanent residency.

The large water lake that we see across the way was once dominated by water from Sycamore Creek that would drain over into it. After the construction of the railroad in the 1880s, most of that inflow was blocked to the pond. It was in 1928 when the owner of the Clark Estate, which sits atop a hill across from the refuge, decided she wanted to excavate the pond and create an artificial freshwater lake. Huguette Clark donated $50, 000 for this project and continued to donate until it was complete in 1930. The lake got its name after Huguette Clark’s sister who had passed at an young age.

Today the Andree Clark Bird Refuge is a home and meeting grounds for more than just birds and wildlife. It is a daily walk and path for many locals by bike and foot, a landscape for artists, and a beautiful backdrop for photographs taken by both our guests and other visitors.

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