Los Padres 2017 Storm Update

Raging Big Sur River at Pfeiffer Big Sur, photo California State Parks

Hello Everyone,

We’ve had quite a start to 2017 with lots of weather, snow and rain across the Los Padres.  Seems like the meteorologists got their years confused between last years El Niño (aka El Noshow) and what was predicted to be a warm, dry winter this year.  Whatever, we need it and we’ll take it!  As I am sure you all have been witnessing, these storms didn’t just bring weather but in some cases destruction along with the rain.  We’ve had flooding, landslides, snow closures, evacuations, wildfire area debris flows and even a tornado warning.  The Los Padres is well ahead of our annual average rainfall totals and as a result some of the reservoirs are starting to fill up, including Gibraltar Reservoir in Santa Barbara County, which overflowed last week for the first time in 6 years!  While that is great news, there is still more water needed before we can call off the drought.  For example, Twitchell Reservoir above Santa Maria is still only 7% filled even though that part of the Forest has received almost 20 inches of rain already this season.  It’s still early in the season and we have two full rainy months in front of us with another series of storms headed our way by the middle of next week.  It’s already been an exciting winter, who knows what else is in store.  Travel safe and be careful…….
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San Rafael Mountain Summit, January 20, photo Kevin Cody
WEATHER CLOSURES
As a result of the storms, most of the roads around the Los Padres remain closed.  These closures are fluid, so please be sure to check with the Forest Service or CalTrans before heading out on your next adventure:

  • Just about all non-paved Los Padres roads are closed.  There may be a few exceptions but again be sure to check ahead of time before assuming a road or gate will be open.
  • Hwy 1 along the Big Sur Coast has been closed for most of the past month and remains closed between Big Sur and Ragged Point due to landslides.
  • Hwy 33 in Ventura County was closed this past weekend due to landslides and snow but was just reopened.  There are snow chain warnings still in effect.
  • Hwy 41 between Morro Bay and Cerro Alto in SLO County is closed due to a landslide.
  • Paradise Rd in Santa Barbara is closed at First Crossing Day Use Area.  No time-frame has been set as to when First Crossing will reopen but it probably won’t be anytime soon.
  • Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur remains closed due to road undercutting.
  • Mt Pinos is closed this week due to icy conditions.
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 HARD HAT STICKERS

Perhaps you’ve seen this, especially if you follow college football…… Some college football teams give their players ‘helmet stickers’ as a way of recognizing either individual or team achievement. Each player has his personal football helmet and if their team wins or that player does something excellent in that game, the team rewards the player with a sticker that he then puts on his helmet. More stickers = more recognition. It’s a cool tradition and in some cases you can hardly see the helmet as it’s covered in stickers, indicating that player is a superstar.

We liked this concept and decided to try something similar with LPFA trail maintenance projects. All LPFA volunteers have to wear hard hats (helmets) during trail projects and many of our regular volunteers come with their personal hard hats. Starting this year we are going to give out helmet stickers to each volunteer after a successful trail project. Hopefully the volunteers will be proud to place those stickers on their personal hard hats and maybe if we’re lucky within a few years there will be a herd of decorated hard hats out there working the trails showing how spectacular all the volunteers are. We’ll see how it works. Look for them soon……  Hut, Hut, LOP!
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First Crossing, 6 Feet Under, photo Beeman
THIS & THAT

– On January 17 the Los Padres Forest lifted fire restrictions across the forest.

– The Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club is once again offering their Wilderness Basics Course designed to teach backpacking skills to hikers of all skill levels.  The classes are offered in Ventura County and start February 8.

– Remember that the Soberanes Fire Closure remains in effect within the Monterey Ranger District.

– We’re getting lots of reports of damaged trails across the Los Padres – thank you everyone!  Remember that HikeLosPadres.com is a great resource for sharing that information and getting those damaged sections of trail onto the inventory of trails to fix.  Check it out!

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Piedra Blanca & Montañas Blancas, Sespe, photo Humphrey

Rain Rain Stay Awhile – Lower Manzana Trail Project

Lower Manzana Sandwich, NIRA on Top and Potrero at Bottom

Hi Everyone – Hope you’re staying dry!

We’ve had some nice storms the past few days and a bunch more stacking up over the coming week thanks to the old Pineapple Express.  We’ve been hearing estimated rain totals as high as 18inches up in Big Sur and well over 4inches for most of the forest.  We’re certainly overdue for a larger scale rain event.  Based on all the rain in the forecast, it’s probably a good time to stay out of the forest and most of the seasonal gate closures will be closed this coming weekend.  But if you must get into the forest, if you get the LP itch (not poison oak), please be careful.  Hwy 1 south of Big Sur has been closed for the past day or two due to slides and there have been warnings issued for Hwy 33 as well.  Take it slow…..
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LOWER MANZANA TRAIL PROJECT
JANUARY 14-16

Long range forecasts are starting to show a break in the storms for the three-day Martin Luther King Day weekend, Jan 14-16.  If the weather cooperates, we’re planning a 3 day trail project that weekend based at NIRA Campground and working downstream along the Manzana Trail.  Our focus will be clearing the trail down to at least Coldwater Camp with most of the work being brushing and slough removal along the trail.  Mike Smith will be the project leader and we’re still sorting out logistics but the LPFA will be providing at least dinner and breakfast for volunteers.  We’re hoping people would like to participate all three days but if you can come for even one day that would be great!  For more information or to sign up, email Mike Smith at TrailSmith@LPForest.org.  Hope to see you there……..
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Sunset Wave, Before the Storm, Mission Pine Basin
TID BITS


Due to printing issues with the 2017 passes, 2016 ADVENTURE PASSES will remain valid through the end of February 2017.

• The Los Padres remains in Level II FIRE RESTRICTIONS, although that will probably be changing here really soon!

Fire Openings Across the Los Padres

FIRE OPENINGS & RESTRICTIONS

Hello Los Padres & Happy Holidays – It’s been a monumental day in the LP with quite a few shakeups that most of you will be happy to hear about.  Lets get to it!

Earlier today the Forest Service lifted the fire closures on the REY FIRE, SHERPA FIRE and PINE FIRE.  All regular recreational activities are now permitted within these fire perimeters.  This includes hiking, camping, riding and biking & OHV where applicable and legal.

In addition, the Forest Service reduced the closure of the Soberanes Fire and opened up most of the southern portion of the Monterey Ranger District.  The heart of the Soberanes burn area remains closed and will most likely stay closed through next spring.  For more information on all the fire openings and adjusted closures, check this link here and see the attached map showing the current Soberanes Fire closure.

Want more?  On November 29 the Forest Service downgraded the fire restrictions from Level IV to Level II.  Level II allows portable stoves across the forest, campfires at Designated Campfire Use Sites and target shooting at designated locations.  Check the links for more details.

The changing of these closures is somewhat unexpected but it is good news, at least for most of us.  Please remember that the hillsides and trails within the burn areas are still settling.  Be careful, tread lightly, avoid during rain, listen to your internal ‘common sense meter’ and have a backup plan in case the trail you’d like to explore is impassable.  Otherwise, have at it!

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2017 LOS PADRES CALENDAR
The 2017 LPFA wall calendars are done, they’ve been sent to the printers and we should have them in-hand and ready to distribute by December 15!  Thank you to everyone who contributed photos for the calendar.  We had over 125 photos submitted by almost 30 different photographers.  It was hard work paring down the photos and selecting the final pictures that would appear in the calendar but we think the calendar turned out really nice.  We’ve got a good collection of photos from across the forest and covering themes from wildlife to wildfire, flowers to trailwork and sea level to almost 9,000ft.  If you like the Los Padres, we think you’ll love the calendar.  If you’d like to purchase a calendar, pre-sale is still available at the following link.  Thanks so much again to everyone who helped out and have a great 2017!
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Cottonwood Fallburst, photo Heidi Anderson
UPCOMING EVENTS

We spent some time this past week scheduling the 2017 LPFA volunteer trail projects.  2017 will hopefully be highlighted by a Working Vacation based at Manzana Schoolhouse in April and a second Working Vacation at Madulce in May – we’ll keep you updated.  In the meantime, our next backcountry trail project is December 16-18 working down the Judell Trail in the San Rafael Wilderness.  We’ll be car-camping at the trailhead and working down from the top removing fallen trees and brush from the trail corridor.  We’re also working on some sort of holiday theme for the weekend, so you might want to get your ugly Xmas sweaters out of the closet and primed for action.  If you’re interested in helping that weekend, email us at INFO@LPForest.org or email project leader Mike Smith at TrailSmith@LPForest.org.

And lastly, if you enjoy these email updates and appreciate the information we provide, become a LPFA member and support the cause.  We’ll send you a sticker and perhaps a few other goodies but more than anything else your membership helps drive the ship and keep us doing what we do best – working the trails, educating the public and helping the forest along the way.  You can click here for the membership page and thank you for reading this far along – perhaps we should become members of you……

Los Padres Thanksgiving & New Years Calendars

  Wild Turkey in Paradise; Paradise Rd, Los Padres – photo Humphrey
turkey

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving weekend is literally hours away and there is lots to be thankful for here in the Los Padres.  It might not seem like it at times with wildfires, closures, drought, etc but you gotta look past that and focus on the positives.  Positives like ocean fog through redwoods, finding new trails, freezing mornings sipping coffee, that final cut with the crosscut saw or driving to the trailhead.  We’re not going to get too sappy but wanted to thank you all for your support and help over the years.  Be sure to take some time this weekend in between eating, football, family and cooking to think about what you are thankful for and try to do something to show your gratitude.  Sounds easy enough but sometimes time gets in the way.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Now go eat, be merry and spend time with loved ones…….

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2017 LOS PADRES CALENDARS
Back again by popular demand, the LPFA will be producing a 2017 wall calendar featuring spectacular sights from across the Los Padres Forest.  And just like last year, WE COULD USE YOUR HELP!  If you have a great photo or two that are worthy of being included within the calendar, we’d love to see them!  If we use your photo in the calendar, we’ll credit you and send you a complimentary calendar.  We’re looking for anything Los Padres related.  If could be an epic sunset, a shot of local LP wildlife, a trail work project, a view from your favorite trail, your favorite creek or waterfall – anything LP’centric and awesome.  Please send to INFO@LPForest.org.  We won’t disclose locations, so don’t worry about spoiling your favorite spots.  All photos need to be submitted by the end of the month, we are hoping to send the calendar to the printers on December 1.  We won’t use your photos for anything other than the calendar without your permission.

And if you’d like to pre-order a 2017 calendar, you can order online here.  Thanks everyone, looking forward to seeing your photos and I’m already looking forward to National Lemon Meringue Pie Day – which of course is August 15, 2017!


One of 25+ Downed Trees on Lower Manzana, photo Curt Cragg
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LOWER MANZANA TREE CLEARING
REI started a really cool program last year called ‘Opt Outside’ where they are closing their doors on perhaps the busiest shopping day of the year (Black Friday) and instead encouraging their employees to get outside and enjoy nature.  While Opt Outside might have started as a publicity campaign, it’s turned into a movement with other retailers following suit or donating sales revenue from Black Friday to non-profits or environmental organizations.  Good stuff for sure – well done REI.

Anyway, the LPFA tried hard to get on board and lead an Opt Outside Black Friday event this year but for one reason or another we just couldn’t get it to work.  BUT, instead of Friday, we’ll be leading a Sunday 11/27 one-day trail maintenance project working to remove fallen trees along the Lower Manzana Trail downstream from NIRA Campground.  Curt Cragg will be the trail leader and has reported over 25 downed trees of varying complexity and size.  If you’re looking for an excuse to get out and work off that tryptophan, this is a great trip for you!  For more information check out the link here and we hope to see you on Sunday 11/27 along the Lower Manzana.  And maybe you’ll even get a photo to contribute to the calendar…….!!??!!

2017 Los Padres Calendar

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2017 – The LPFA is once again producing a Los Padres wall calendar featuring spectacular sights from around the Los Padres Forest.  We’ve got themes for each month ranging from the Ventana to Mt. Pinos and Sespe to the San Luis backcountry.  The calendar will feature waterfalls, mountain ranges, trail vistas, LP wildlife and much more…..

OctoberCalendar

Each calendar is printed on high quality stock with full color photos and special date information within the calendar dates.  It’s great as a gift for the LP lover in your life or for yourself to help inspire your next Los Padres adventure.

AprilCalendar

The Los Padres Calendar will be printed in mid-December and shipped as soon as they are available.  Each calendar is $15.00 + tax, shipping is included.  Any proceeds will go to the LPFA Trail Care Program.  You can purchase the calendars one of three ways:

1) online at the PayPal link below

2) send a check to the address mentioned below

3) they will be available at Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers across the Los Padres.

Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays!

 

Los Padres Forest Association – 6750 Navigator Way #150 – Goleta, CA 93117

2017calendarcover

LOS PADRES Concessionaire Changes & More……

Chuchupate Camp, Showing Signs of Changechuchupatecamp
LOS PADRES CONCESSIONAIRE CHANGES

Big changes within the Los Padres are upon us, perhaps you’ve heard, if not, then brace yourself… For the past three decades the Los Padres National Forest has relied on as many as six different privately run concessionaires to help manage some of the campgrounds, day use areas and trailheads around the forest. You’ve seen these concessionaires at the campgrounds along Paradise Road, at Wheeler Gorge Campground, McGill, Bottcher’s Gap, Cerro Alto, Kirk Creek, etc, the list goes on and on. In an effort to consolidate these concessionaires, the Forest Service has selected Parks Management Company to become the sole concessionaire across the Los Padres. This went into effect November 1.

Yet, in addition to taking over the existing concessionaire operations and as part of their new agreement with the Los Padres, Parks Management will be adding quite a few new recreation sites to their list of concessionaire sites. This is where it gets a little painful, as some of the sites you’ve been using for free or as part of the Adventure Pass program are now going to be managed by Parks Management and will cost quite a bit more to use than in the past. Campgrounds like NIRA, Pine Mtn and Chuchupate, that used to accept a $5 Adventure Pass, are now going to charge $20/night. And certain trailheads like Upper Oso and NIRA, which also used to either require a $5 Adventure Pass or were free, are now going to cost $10/day to park. Ouch.

We’ve met with the FS and Parks Management multiple times expressing our concerns and hearing their sides of the concessionaire triangle. We all know how rundown some of the campgrounds are and we hear about how the Forest Service budget has been cut by 50% over the past decade. Like it or not, the FS doesn’t have the capacity to adequately manage all the recreation sites across the forest. As it was explained to us: with the current budget, it’s either accept a broader concessionaire program or run the risk of losing those recreation sites altogether. It’s a depressing situation and we’re not sure anyone knows a perfect solution.

While these price increases are going to be a tough blow for those of us who regularly use the forest, we’re already starting to see improvements at many of the campgrounds across the forest. These improvements include freshly painted bathrooms, new campfire rings, brush removal around campgrounds, new tables, etc…. For only being two weeks into their new agreement, it appears Park Management is headed in the right direction. Lets hope they keep it up.

One of the downsides of the new concessionaire plan is that it’s caused quite a bit of confusion trying to figure out which campsites require which permit. In order to help, we’ve created a GoogleDoc spreadsheet listing all the recreation sites mentioned in the concessionaire change documentation. We’ve listed all the sites, what the previous regulations were, previous costs and then what the current regulations/costs are:

Click here and you can sort through and check out the sites that most interest you.

As you will see, there is a lot of change. Most of it translates to more cost for the forest-user but hidden in the new program are some good changes as well. Some additional tidbits:

  • Parks Management will sell a $50 annual day use pass that is good across the forest.
  • The Adventure Pass remains in effect at select sites, see GoogleDoc.
  • Parks Management will provide 50% campground discounts with the America the Beautiful annual passes.
  • Many of the Parks Management campgrounds will be available for online reservation but they will keep some first-come-first-serve sites within the campgrounds as well.

As mentioned, this change went into effect November 1 and Parks Management expects it to take a few months in order to get all the iron rangers installed and signage changed across the forest. It’s going to be a tough pill to swallow, especially as we all learn what exactly this means and what the long-term ramifications are of this program. Lets hope that this is a positive in the long run.

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Autumn Super Moon, photo Humphreysupermoon

CURRENT CONDITIONS

It’s been a minute since we sent out a forest update.  Amazingly, quite a few of you missed the update and checked in asking if everyone was going okay.  The answer is YES, things are great, just a little too busy the past month to put one of these emails together.  Since it has been a while, we wanted to send out an update on the current conditions, closures and restrictions across the LP.

LEVEL IV FIRE RESTRICTIONS
The forest remains in Level IV fire restrictions, which means no campfires, no target shooting and no stoves outside of designated campfire use sites.  You can see the restriction order here.  While the forest has received some substantial rain this season, the fire restrictions are generally not lifted until the entire forest receives at least two inches of rain.  Last year the restrictions were not lifted until early January.  There are rumors that the restrictions may be downgraded to allow portable camp stoves in the backcountry, if anything changes we’ll let everyone know.

SOBERANES FIRE CLOSURE
The Soberanes Fire burned over 130,000 acres across Monterey County from July 22 until October 22.  Soberanes ended costing more to fight than any fire in US history.  In response to the fire, the Forest Service closed the Monterey Ranger District on September 2 and that closure remains in effect.  While the Soberanes Fire is 100% contained, it continues to burn and smolder within the fire perimeter.  No news on when the closure will be modified but we expect the fire perimeter to remain closed at least until the end of next spring.  We’ll keep you posted……  In the meantime some of the campgrounds along the Big Sur Coast have reopened.  The Forest Campgrounds off Hwy 1 are open as well as Andrew Molera State Park.  If you’re planning a trip through Big Sur, be sure to check on campground availability before you hit the road.

SANTA LUCIA RANGER DISTRICT
Many of the roads and recreation sites around Figueroa Mountain remain closed due to hazard trees.  Fig was hit perhaps harder than anywhere else in the Los Padres by the drought and subsequent beetle infestation.  Take a look at Figuera Mountain next time you’re in the Santa Ynez Valley and you can clearly see the swath of brown dead trees.  The closure includes Catway Road, Figueroa Lookout, Pino Alto, Cumbre and East Pinery Road.  You can read more here.

SANTA BARBARA RANGER DISTRICT
The Rey Fire perimeter remains closed within the SBRD.  This includes all trails up the Buckhorn Rd above Upper Oso Campground as well as the burn areas accessed from the Indian-Mono Trailhead near Mono Campground.  While there might be some minor adjustments in the closure order, we do expect the Buckhorn Road and trails to remain closed to hikers, OHV and mountain bikers at least through the winter.  Stay tuned.

Also in the SBRD we have remaining closures as a result of the June Sherpa Fire.  The closure mostly affects West Camino Cielo.

OJAI & MT PINOS RANGER DISTRICTS
Recurring theme, the Pine Fire closure from earlier this summer remains in effect.  The closure specifically affects the Reyes Peak Trail and the Piedra Blanca Trail between Upper Reyes Creek and Pine Mtn Lodge.  The Forest Service has been busy installing warning signs where the trails enter the burn area.  While warning signs might indicate that people will soon be allowed into the burn area, no dates have been announced when the closure will be lifted.  Hang tight……

The Ojai Ranger District announced their seasonal road closure schedule.  This year the gates to Dough Flat (at Tar Creek), Reyes Peak (Pine Mtn), Cherry Creek and Nordhoff Ridge will close on December 16.  The Pines Campground above Ojai remains closed due to hazard trees.

Mt Pinos District is doing something a little different this year and will be locking gates along their seasonal roads based on rain events rather than specific dates.  The gates will close after the first large rain.  This is a great approach and I’m sure most of us reading this are happy to hear about the change in policy.  For more details or to check on gates, give MPRD a call at 661.245.0521.

Whew, that’s a lot of information.  Let us know if you have any questions or if we messed anything up.  Thanks everyone for the updates……

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McKinley Mtn View, October 2016 Mission Pine Working Vacationmckinleypano

UPCOMING EVENTS
A few upcoming dates, events, projects, presentations or things you might want to know.
If you have any forest-related events to add to this list, let us know and we’re more than happy to pimp your event!

November 20: SBMTV San Ysidro Trail Work & Ride
November 27: LPFA Manzana Trail Tree Clearing

December 3-4: LPFA VWR Headquarters Cabin Cleanup
December 18-20: LPFA Judell Trail Maintenance Project, details upcoming

January 21-22: UTMC Crosscut Certification, Chuchupate Ranger Station

 

MISSION: Mission Pine

Mission Pine View, September 2016
missionpineoverview
MISSION PINE WORKING VACATION
October 21-30
    The LPFA will be hosting our next Working Vacation along the Mission Pine Trail in the San Rafael Wilderness from October 21-30.  We’ll be driving up from Cachuma Saddle to McKinley Saddle and backpacking 8 miles from there to our basecamp at Mission Pine Basin.  While the project will cover 10 days, we’ll have multiple entry-exit windows to choose from that will allow volunteers to participate for shorter periods of time.  The project will be supported with pack stock and all food will be provided.
The ‘WORK’ will consist of crosscutting any downed trees off the trail and clearing brush from the trails that radiate out from Mission Pine Basin.  These include the uppermost part of the Santa Cruz Trail and our primary objective of brushing the Mission Pine Trail east from the Basin towards West Big Pine.  There is plenty of work to be done.
The ‘VACATION’ portion of the trip will be spending time outdoors, with friends while enjoying this incredible slice of pine-studded Santa Barbara Backcountry awesomeness.  Mission Pine Basin is over 5,000 ft in elevation and has tremendous views of the Channel Islands to the South, Big Pine to the East and the Sisquoc Valley to the North.  It really is a great spot to hunker down and work the trails.
    We are looking for volunteers to help with the trail work as well as someone (or team of someone’s) to help with the cooking.  If you like backcountry cooking, I can assure you there will be plenty of hungry volunteers happy to have you there.
Space is limited, you must be able to backpack 8 miles, if you are interested in volunteering/cooking or would like to learn more, email us (INFO@LPForest.org) and hope to see you out there in late October.  More photos are on the LPFA Facebook page here.


Top of the Forest, photo Beemanpinosbeeman

SOBERANES UPDATE & MORE

• The Soberanes Fire continues to make history within the Monterey District of the Los Padres.  We’ll get into more details when it’s officially snuffed but for now it’s racking up some pretty horrifying statistics:

  • 132,069 acres, 94,875 of those are within the Los Padres Forest.  That’s the 16th largest wildfire in California history.
  • 92% containment with estimated 100% containment being October 15.
  • Today marks the start of the 11th week Soberanes has been burning.  71 days!
  • Soberanes is the most expensive fire to fight in history!  Well over $200,000,000 has been spent fighting the fire.  That does not include damages.
  • Good news is that both Church Ranch and the famous Jack English Cabin in Pine Valley survived!  Both were wrapped in fire-resistant foil and cleared before the fire came through.
  • Most evacuation orders have been lifted and life is starting to return to normal for some people affected by the fire.
  • That being said, life around Soberanes is certainly not back to normal for everyone.  The LP within Monterey County remains closed, this includes all campgrounds other than the few along Hwy 1.  All California State Park campgrounds remain closed as well.
  • We remain optimistic that portions of the forest will reopen once Soberanes reaches 100% containment and we’ll certainly keep you posted as things unfold.

RAIN?  Yes, rain.  This past week saw almost a half inch of rain fall in some parts of the Southern Los Padres, mostly in the Mt. Pinos and Ojai Ranger Districts.

• And don’t forget the LPFA Used Camping Gear Sale tomorrow, 10am at Tucker’s Grove in Goleta!  It’s not too late to donate as well.  Just bring your used camping gear to the sale at least 30mins before the sale starts.

That’s it for now folks…..  Coming soon we’ll share an update from National Public Lands Day on the Lion Canyon Trail, some exciting news about Matilija, the year in Wheeler Gorge, hunting season, upcoming campground changes and more…..  Hang in there and have a great weekend!

Lion Canyon NPLD Project FINAL UPDATE

Hello Everybody,

We are now a day or two (depending on when you plan on arriving) away from our National Public Lands Day trail maintenance project on the beautiful Lion Canyon Trail in the magical Ventura Los Padres Backcountry.  Included here is hopefully everything you’ll need to know about the weekend but if I forgot anything, please don’t hesitate to email or call me directly (805.405.8628).  Here we go…….

WHERE THE…..?
The project will be based out of Middle Lion Campground, which is located about 40mins up Hwy 33 from Ojai.  Take Hwy 33 north, turn right on Rose Valley Rd and then follow the signs to Middle Lion Campground, which is located on the right fork end of the road.  Google Directions here and lat/long here.  There is no gas once you leave Ojai.

WHEN THE…..?
The Forest Service is reserving the campground for us starting Friday at noon.  They’ll be clearing out all the non-NPLD campers and dropping off a 250 gallon water tender.  You are free to arrive anytime tomorrow.  Camping is available for Friday and Saturday nights, both or none.  We’ll be there.

MIDDLE LION CAMPING
…..?
There are about 8 individual campsites within Middle Lion Campground.  While we have all the sites at our disposal, we’re going to put a little method to the madness and keep the scouts sequestered near the restrooms.  See the attached map ‘Middle Lion Camp Map.pdf’.  The sites in green and blue are for the scouts, yellow are reserved for the cooks and tools, feel free to grab any of the gray sites when you arrive.  It will be snug but we’re all on the same team.  Parking may be an issue, so if you can, drop your stuff off and then park along the road outside of camp and walk back.  That would work well.

FOOD…..?
We’ll be providing:

  • A light breakfast and coffee on Saturday morning.
  • An early dinner on Saturday which will be served at 3pm.
  • A light breakfast and coffee on Sunday morning.

Bring dinner for Friday night if you are camping.  Bring snacks and lunch for Saturday.  If you are camping Saturday night you might want to bring some extra food for normal dinner time or a late night snack.  We will have a camp kitchen setup with stove that you can use but it might be easier to bring your own camp stove.  No campfires are allowed at this time but stoves are fine.  PLEASE bring your personal cutlery, dishes and cups.

DRINK…..?
The Forest Service is providing us with 250 gallons of potable water.  We’ll be using this water for camp kitchen stuff, coffee, some showers and of course to drink.  Surf Brewery in Ventura was nice enough to donate a pony-keg of fantastic cold beer for the volunteers.  We’ll tap the beer on Saturday afternoon once all the work is completed and everyone is back in camp.  As mentioned, coffee will be provided each morning.  You are on your own for any other drinks or beverages that you might need/want/crave/etc…..  PLEASE bring a cup, mug, glass, etc…..

TIME SCHEDULE…..?
The trail project will start promptly at 8am on Saturday morning.  Please try to get up to Middle Lion around 7:30 in order to get signed in and coffee’ed up before the 8am safety talk.  We’re planning on all work wrapping up at 1pm on Saturday and hope to have everyone back in camp shortly after 2pm.

WEATHER…..?
The forecasts are calling for lows in the upper 40’s and highs in the upper 80’s.  This means pretty hot during the hottest part of the day and pretty cool in the evenings and mornings.  I was out at Middle Lion on Wednesday morning and it was cool up until 9am or so.  The canyon is also very well shaded by the steep mountains, so plan on it being a little chilly at times.  The winds are forecast to kick up a little this weekend as well.  That might keep things a little cooler during the day and should knock away any flies or other bugs that are out and about.  There were no flies on Wednesday.  Be sure to drink lots of water in the days leading up to trail projects.  Hydration is key and starts days before you are actually in the heat.

THE TRAIL WORK…..!
I hiked the trail yesterday to take a look at the current conditions and put together a gameplan for how to attack 3miles of trail with 100 volunteers.  The trail was looking really good but certainly brushy in sections and could use some TLC.  The trail gently climbs Lion Canyon with great views and some diverse plants along the way.  It’s going to be perfect for our crew.  You can see pictures here.  After the safety talk we’ll be breaking into 5 groups and starting work on the trail.  The scouts will be working the farthest section of trail up by the backpacking camps and then the rest of us will break into 4 teams that are assigned specific sections of trail with 1-2 designated leaders on each team.  See the attached map for the breakdown.  It should work out great and we’ll do our best to accommodate and special needs or preferences you might have.  That’s the fun part!

There are some Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items that each of us will need to bring.  These include long pants, sturdy boots, eye protection (sunglasses are fine), work gloves and head protection.  We’ll have some hard hats and gloves available but it would help a lot if you could PLEASE BRING PERSONAL WORK GLOVES AND/OR A HARD HAT/BIKE HELMET.  And if you have A FAVORITE PERSONAL TRAIL TOOL, PLEASE BRING THAT AS WELL.  We’re hoping to outfit each worker with 1 tool for the project but could always use more.

ODDS & ENDS…..?
That should just about cover it but a few other things…….

  • DOGS: While I am a huge dog lover and have two of my own, they are not good to bring on the trail project.  Feel free to bring your pooch but please keep them tied up at camp while you are on the trail project.  We’ll have someone in camp the entire time who can look after your dog but we really can’t have them up on the trail while the work is going on.  Call me if you have any questions or concerns.  And of course all the dogs will be well-behaved and perfect gentlemen/ladies.
  • POISON OAK: There is a little PO along the trail but it is avoidable.  If you are super allergic we can find places along the trail where you can work away from the PO.
  • DIETARY CONCERNS: If you have any special dietary concerns or needs, please provide your own food.  I’m sure the cooks will have something you can eat and of course you are welcome to eat what you can but we’re not designing the menu around special needs.  Cool?
  • CREEK: The creek is flowing pretty nicely above the camp and there are even some smallish pools about 1/4 mile up-canyon.

So much for the quick email, why does this always happen to me?  Thank you all in advance, we’re looking forward to hanging out this weekend, doing some great work along the Lion Canyon trail and most importantly having a good time.  Let me know if you have any questions and see you soon……
Bryan

middle-lion-camp-map lion

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LOOKOUT, Rey Fire Closure Changed

Little Pine Cribwall Panoramic, Santa Cruz Trail
littlepinecribwall

Good Afternoon Everyone,

The Rey Fire closure order which spanned most of the Santa Barbara Backcountry for the past few weeks has been rescinded.  A new closure order was issued earlier today that covers only the Rey Fire burn perimeter, see attached map for details.  This is hot off the presses so expect more information through your usual channels within the next day or so.  Note that all trails and roads within the fire perimeter are closed.

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DID YOU LOOKOUT?
For those who missed it last night, Craig Carey gave an alarmingly excellent talk last night covering the history of the LP lookout towers.  We had a lot of fun, it was a great turnout and we wanted to thank everyone who attended.  We’re already looking forward to the next one……  Stay tuned…..
craigcareylookout
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