Santa Inés Mission Mills

In late 2008, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation (SBTHP) sold the Santa Inés Mission Mills complex to California State Parks, taking the first step towards creating a new State Park in Solvang, California. The 39 acres of land, adjacent to Old Mission Santa Inés, is part of the Mission Santa Inés National Historic Landmark District and includes historic grist and fulling mills and two associated reservoirs. SBTHP has agreed to continue planning and managing the property on behalf of State Parks.

In 2008 SBTHP was awarded a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Program to help facilitate partnership building, organizational development, and conceptual planning for the proposed park. With RTCA’s help, California State Parks and SBTHP made initial contacts for a future partnership group that will help orchestrate efforts to open the Santa Inés Mission Mills property to public use.

Neighboring Old Mission Santa Inés has been an active partner in shaping the future park by granting trail easements to reconnect the Mills with the Mission. SBTHP planted 2,800 olive trees in order to reintroduce early Mission-era agriculture to the site. The currently envisioned system of walking trails through the olive grove will link the Mission complex to the Mills and provide interpretive opportunities for a significant era in California history. In October 2018, SBTHP presented a draft of the Initial Use Guidelines (IUG) for the Mills property to California State Parks’ Planning Policy and Programming Committee (PPPC). In early 2019 PPPC approved the final draft of the IUG.

The next step in park planning is for the California State Parks’ Commission to approve the proposed naming and classification of the park unit. SBTHP continues to plan for future public access as well as the interpretation of the cultural and natural resources within the park and within the National Historic Landmark District. SBTHP is actively seeking community partners to participate in the planning process to develop equitable access and a sustainable plan for the long-term operation of the property for the benefit of the community.

Fulling Mill at the Santa Inés Mission Mills.

Grist Mill at Santa Inés Mission Mills.

An overview of the Santa Inés Mission Mills looking towards Old Mission Santa Inés.