New Santa Clara River Preserve Unveils Hidden Natural Treasures in Ventura County

Visitors at the new Santa Clara River Preserve.
Santa Clara River Environmental education on the Santa Clara River Preserve. © TNC

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The Nature Conservancy in California is announcing the public opening of the new Santa Clara River Preserve, a new sanctuary for nature enthusiasts and a haven for threatened and endangered species. Nestled near Santa Paula in Ventura County, California, the Santa Clara River Preserve promises a unique opportunity for the public to explore and connect with pristine natural areas that were once inaccessible.

The Santa Clara River Preserve spans 250 acres and offers a diverse range of flora and fauna like bobcats, badgers, desert horned lizards, willows and cottonwoods, and is also home to several threatened and endangered species. Thanks to the State Coastal Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Board, and the California Natural Resources Agency,  the habitat at the preserve has been restored from a former gravel mine site to provide a safe haven for these vulnerable species while granting the public access to previously locked-away natural areas.

"We are excited to open the doors of the Santa Clara River Preserve to the public and share the beauty and importance of this unique natural habitat," said Kat Selm, Project Manager for the Santa Clara River Preserve. "By respecting the rules in place, visitors can contribute to the preservation of the delicate ecosystem and enjoy the wonders of this hidden gem in Ventura County."

To ensure the well-being of the preserve's delicate ecosystem and the safety of its inhabitants, there are a few rules for visitation:

  • Service animals specifically trained to aid a person with a disability are welcome, but must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered. 
  • No dogs or other pets, including emotional support animals.
  • No horses, bikes, or motorized vehicles.
  • Wheelchairs are permitted in areas open to pedestrian use as are electric Power-Driven Mobility Devices. Please visit for more details.
  • No tobacco or alcohol.
  • No camping.
  • No collection of wildlife or plants, and no fishing.
  • The preserve will be open free to the public 7 days a week, from dawn to dusk. 

The Preserve is subject to closure after rain events for safety reasons or inaccessible paths due to water levels. Please check or the preserve website for real-time updates on preserve closures.

The opening on January 29, 2024, marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Santa Clara River Preserve, inviting the community to explore, learn, and appreciate the rich biodiversity that thrives within its boundaries.

For more information, please visit or visit

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.