Carr Lake | Salinas

Click here or on the image below for an interactive experience of Carr Lake’s complex history and our park project’s progress.


Big Sur Land Trust owns 73 acres within the area known as Carr Lake in Salinas, California. The Carr Lake Basin is an approximately 480-acre seasonally dry lakebed in the heart of the city. For decades, the community has envisioned transforming Carr Lake into a "central park." Our acquisition of this 73-acre property at Carr Lake in 2017, was the initial step towards transforming a portion of Carr Lake into an asset for the community that will help address the lack of parks and open space. We are especially excited that since our first community engagement meeting in 2018, over 4,700 residents, members of community groups, and city leaders have advocated to co-create a multi-benefit central park that reflects the heart and soul of Salinas.

In addition to addressing community needs for open space and parklands, the Land Trust's Carr Lake project provides multiple environmental benefits including ecological restoration, and water quality improvements.

The park will be built in two phases:

  • a 6-acre neighborhood park that will include a traditional playground, a skate spot, a basketball court, barbecues, picnic areas and more.
  • a 67-acre restoration area featuring seasonal wetlands, habitat for wildlife, and trails.

After construction of each phase is complete, plans include transferring the land to the city for park operations, with the Land Trust continuing to support habitat management in the restoration area.

We are deeply grateful and so excited about the Salinas City Council’s unanimous decision in November 2022 to authorize the contribution of $1,000,000 as an initial step toward closing our Carr Lake Park project’s funding gap! The money will be coming from the City’s available fund balance. We’re sending our sincerest thanks to Mayor Kimbley Craig, Council members Tony Barrera, Christie Cromeenes, Carla Viviana González, Steve McShane, Orlando Osornio, and Anthony Rocha, along with City Manager Steve Carrigan, Assistant City Manager Jim Pia, City Attorney Chris Callihan, Finance Director Mark Roberts, Libraries and Community Services Director Kristan Lundquist, and other amazing City staff for their work with us on this multi-benefit project. We appreciate the City’s commitment as a powerful, early step toward helping us keep our collective promise to the community and create a park at Carr Lake in the heart of Salinas that they have dreamed of for decades.

Salinas is a very special place, and we are fortunate and honored that the community has put their trust in us! The opportunity to work with Center for Community Advocacy along with other partners and residents to plan this park has been an incredibly inspiring learning process for Big Sur Land Trust. This park project is the first of its kind for the Land Trust — a large, ambitious urban greening project that requires a significant amount of funding. With the City’s generosity, and the generosity of many others, we now have a $1.4 million funding gap. Please consider donating to help make the dream of this park become a reality!

Watch our videos below to learn more! Click on the arrows below to watch all seven.