Some of the very best hiking in Southern California is along trails through the mountain canyons right behind Santa Barbara and Montecito.

Most of these trails and most of these canyons—Rattlesnake, San Ysidro, Mission and more—are securely in the public domain and have been for many years.

But one canyon is not. Hot Spring Canyon. In fact, the family that’s owned it for 50 years is selling it. The 462- acre property encompasses all of the canyon as well as local landmark Montecito Peak.

While private property, hiker have used the trails in the canyon for a hundred years. The attractions for hikers are the antiquarian oaks and natural beauty of the canyon, the ruins of a turn-of-the-20th century hot springs resort, still-active hot springs, and grand vistas of the Santa Barbara coastline and Channel Islands from the high points.

The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County is committed to raising the $8.5 million for the land, which could be purchased by a developer who could put in a half dozen mega-haciendas and a day spa.

The idea of closing Hot Springs Canyon to hikers has The Trailmaster hot under the collar. I’ve been speaking out in public and in a just-completed video. Check out the Save Hot Springs Canyon Video and I’ll be updating this important conservation campaign in the coming months.