Buckhorn Trail & 20 Years of VWR!

Upper Buckhorn Trailhead
BuckhornTrailhead
BUCKHORN TRAIL PROJECT
Hello Everyone!  We are beyond excited to announce that the LPFA is partnering with SBMTV to host a weekend trail project along the Buckhorn Trail in the Santa Barbara Backcountry.  The Buckhorn Trail has a rich history dating back over a hundred years.  It was the main means of travel between Little Pine and the Pendola area of the Upper Santa Ynez.  The Buckhorn was famous for its hunting, with hunters-camps throughout the canyon dotting the old maps.  And in more recent times, the Buckhorn was famous as an epic mountain bike ride.  In fact it was so epic that the International Mountain Bicycling Association even named it to their list of Epics.  In recent years the trail has suffered from lack of maintenance and nowadays it’s pretty epic if you can even drag yourself, let alone a bike, down the canyon.  Well, we’re going to change that and we hope you want to join in…..

March 18-20, 2016
We’ll be heading in on Friday afternoon March 18 to setup camp at nearby Happy Hollow Campground.  We’ll be camping there Friday night and then starting the trail work bright and early on Saturday March 19.  We’ll be focusing on brushing the top couple miles of the trail dropping in from the Buckhorn Rd down to the first creek crossing.  We’ll stop work in the mid-afternoon and head back to Happy Hollow for a BBQ dinner, evening festivities and camping under the stars.  After breakfast on Sunday, we’ll wrap up any work that is needed on the trail, pack up and head home.  There will be options for people who want to arrive and/or leave on Saturday as well.  If you are interested in helping or would like more information, let us know:  INFO@LPForest.org
Food will be provided for breakfast Saturday and Sunday and dinner Saturday night.  Bring your hardhat as well as your party hat, gonna be a good time……


VWR Crew, 100 Strong & Growing, photo Humphrey
VWR20th 20th ANNUAL VWR TRAINING

Contrary to popular belief, its not chainsaw-augmented deer that keep the trails of the Los Padres open but rather a group of dedicated volunteers called the Volunteer Wilderness Rangers (VWR). Similar to deer, VWR’s range across the forest from Ventura to Monterey working tirelessly on their favorite trails and camps ensuring they stay open and passable for trail users. In order to be a VWR, one must go through an annual training where volunteers are trained on Forest Service protocol, first-aid, visitor contact, safety, trail maintenance techniques and wilderness ethics. The annual VWR Training is hosted each January in the Santa Barbara Ranger District and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016.

The VWR program was started in 1996 by a group of volunteers and Forest Service staff in order to provide the necessary training for volunteers to lead forest supported projects. One of the chief organizers of the VWR program was named Dave Weaver. Dave was an avid backpacker, a retired teacher and loved ‘talking forest’ with anyone and everyone he could. If you had a backcountry question or adventure to share, Dave not only had an answer but a story of his own as well. He truly characterized the spirit of the VWR program with his commitment to the land and a fun, yet professional, approach to volunteerism. After Dave’s passing in 2013, the VWR program created a lifetime achievement award in his name called the Dave Weaver Wilderness Award. The award goes to the VWR who best exemplifies Dave’s spirit of sharing the stoke for the forest and working to keep the trails open and public educated on the proper way to recreate in the forest.

For 2016, the VWR recognized Mike Smith (the Goatman) with the Dave Weaver Wilderness Award for his contributions to the forest over the past 20+ years. Mike has led countless trail projects in the Los Padres, mostly deep within the forest along the Upper Sisquoc Trail in the San Rafael Wilderness. If you’ve spent any time along the Sisquoc Trail you’ve certainly reaped the benefits of his hard work and it’s likely that you’ve crossed paths, hint: he’s the one with five pack goats in tow. We congratulate Mike Smith on his accomplishments and celebrate 20 years of volunteerism through the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger program.

WeaverAwards Weaver Award Winners Rik Christensen, Mickey McTigue, Mike Smith
& SLRD Wilderness Trails Manager Joe Duran


Mission Pine Basin, “the trails that way”, March 2016

MissionPineSCTrail

WHAT’S HAPPENING

March 12, 2016
Ojai plant guide Lanny Kaufer is leading a nature hike at Rose Valley Falls.  For more information email Lanny: lanny@herbwalks.com

March 20, 2016
Lanny is leading another nature walk for the Spring Equinoz along the Gridley Spring trail.  More information here: lanny@herbwalks.com

April 9, 2016
Ranger Heidi is leading a trail project along the Murietta Trail in the Ojai Ranger District.  For more information shoot her an email:  handerson@fs.fed.us

April 16, 2016
Wheeler Gorge Open House.  If you are in Ojai or Ventura, this is a must!  More to come but get it on your calendar.

April 20, 2016
LPFA will be hosting a forest talk in Santa Barbara, more to come but also be sure to put this on your calendar……

LPFA Events Calendar
http://lpforest.org/events-calendar/
And if you have any events you’d like promoted or included, please let us know…..

Falls

 

Fire Restrictions Lifted & Trail Project Schedule 2016

Lucky Pooch Recharging by the CampfireJackson

FIRE RESTRICTIONS LIFTED

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year!  The big news across the forest this past week has been the change in Fire Restrictions.  Effective January 9, the fire restrictions dating back to May 5, 2015 have been lifted.  While this is exciting news for those of us who have spent freezing nights in the forest of late, please PLEASE remember to be safe with your campfires.  Only build campfires in cleared spaces, preferably in designated campground campfire-rings and most importantly be sure to completely put out your fires before you leave camp.  It may seem like a pain to spend those extra minutes soaking your fire but it’s so important – think about the alternative.  Take that extra time to run trips back and forth from the creek.  For those of you looking for an easier solution, REI sells a collapsible bucket made by Sea to Summit which carries 10 liters and can easily soak down a campfire with only a few trips to the creek.  Also be sure to get your California Campfire Permit.  Permits are available at any of the Ranger Stations or online at this link.  Just takes a few minutes and it is the law to have a permit.  Enjoy the warmth and be careful.  The change in fire restrictions also reopens shooting ranges across the forest.  Contact your local Ranger District for information on shooting ranges near you.





Happy Trail Workers Along Mono-Alamar Trail, photo Beeman
WorkersHappy VOLUNTEER TRAIL PROJECTS

The LPFA and friends have a bunch of volunteer trail projects scheduled over the coming months, a BUNCH!  We wanted to get the dates out to you now so that you can hopefully find a free weekend (or longer) to help the trails.  If you have any questions or want to sign up, please email INFO@LPForest.org:

February 7: Deal Trail, Dick Smith Wilderness

This is the 4th Annual Super Bowl Sunday trail project hosted in conjunction with UTMC along the deal Trail.  Meet at 8:30am and home in time for the second half of the game.  Lots of fun and you’ll feel great sitting on your couch that evening knowing you deserve it, Mark Subbotin is the project lead.

February 19-21: Location TBD
This is going to most likely be a 3-day car-camping project in the Santa Barbara Backcountry led by Curt Cragg.  We are finalizing the location based on weather and road access.  More to come soon……

March 4-6: Potrero Trail, San Rafael Wilderness
Led by Mike Smith, this will be a 3-day backpacking project based at Potrero Camp along Manzana Creek.  Work will be up the Potrero Trail towards Hurricane Deck.  The project will be stock supported so expect tasty meals.

March 18-20: Buckhorn Trail with SBMTV, Santa Barbara Backcountry
Led by Curt Cragg and cosponsored by LPFA and SBMTV, we’ll be working the legendary Buckhorn Trail down from the top towards the first creek crossing.  We’ll be camping at Happy Hollow Camp with opportunities for day volunteers as well.  Gonna be a fun one!

April 8-18: Madulce Working Vacation, Dick Smith Wilderness
This is the first of 3 LPFA Working Vacation scheduled for spring 2016.  We’ll be based at Madulce Camp and working the network of trails radiating from the old guard station.  Our main focus will be working the Madulce and Puerto Suelo Trails.  While we’ll be up there for 10 days, there will be opportunties for shorter stints.  Backpacking 7 miles to camp is required and there will be stock support.  April is a great time of year in this part of the forest.  Mike Smith will be the project lead.

April 29-May 1: Alamar Trail, Dick Smith Wilderness
This project will be based at Bluff Cabin and focused on completing the final mile of trail down Alamar Trail from Alamar Saddle.  Curt Cragg will be leading this project.  This was a project we started in September 2015 as part of National Public Lands Day.

May 5-8: Lost Valley Trail, San Rafael Wilderness
Mike Smith will be leading a gutsy (Mothers Day) extended weekend project along the Lost Valley Trail.  This will be a backpacking / stock-supported project based somewhere along the trail with the goal of working from the Manzana up to the Hurricane Deck.

May 20-30: Middle Sisquoc Working Vacation, San Rafael Wilderness
This is going to be a fun one as well.  We’ll be based at Sycamore Camp along the Sisquoc River and working the trail down-canyon to Abel Camp.  The Sisquoc should be epic this time of year with deep pools and green slopes.  Access will be along the Jackson Trail.  The project will be stock supported with shorter length stays possible as well.

June 3-5: National Trails Day, Location TBD
We’ll be partnering with REI to host a 3-day project in the Ventura or Santa Barbara Backcountry.  Location and specifics are in the works.  Stay tuned…….

June 11-19: Mission Pine Working Vacation, San Rafael Wilderness
There have been quite a few projects over the past few years attempting to reopen the Mission Pine Trail from McKinley Saddle to Big Pine.  Talk about epic trails, this Working Vacation will be focused on completing the work across Mission Pine and down the top mile of the Santa Cruz Trail.  There is lots of potential for this project as far as where it is based and all that.  In the works and we’ll share when we know more……..

Wheww, that is a lot, isn’t it?  We hope you can make it on at least one of these projects.  We’ll be covering many different types of trails at many fantastic locations.  There is really something for everyone on these projects.  If you haven’t been on any LPFA project, try to make it this spring, you’ll have a great time!





 

Snowy Hwy 33 Pine Mountain Winter Wonderland, photo Humphrey



 

Los Padres Fire Restrictions Announced

F I R E     R E S T R I C T I O N S
FireRestrictions

Hello Los Padres – hope you are well!

Last week the Forest Service announced that the LP is now in Level III fire restrictions.  You can read the official notice for specific details but it basically means that no campfires are allowed in the backcountry and target shooting across the Forest is also prohibited.  Cooking stoves are allowed and so are campfires within the designated car-camping campsites.  It’s somewhat ironic but it seems that each time the fire restrictions are changed there is either a hot spell when the restrictions are lifted or rain when the restrictions are enforced.  This time was no different when we saw a nice late spring storm drop 0.25-0.5″ across the Forest earlier this week.  Perhaps we need to toggle the fire restrictions on and off a bit in order to get ourselves out of the drought.  All joking aside, please adhere to the restrictions and avoid any activities that might lead to wildfires.  We’re in the fourth year of the drought and conditions across the Forest are incredibly dry.  There was a recent news report about all the drought related tree mortality that is occurring across the forest and how the dead trees are becoming a real fire concern, you can watch the video here.  Never a dull moment, is there?  Be careful and lets hope it stays as dull as possible.Some news, updates and reports……….

W I L D E R N E S S   R A N G E R   T R A I N I N G
The annual Region 5 Wilderness Ranger Training is scheduled for June 1-5 at Trinity Lake (outside of Redding, CA).  The LP has sent an assortment of Volunteer Wilderness Rangers to these trainings over the past few years.  They are great opportunities to learn new skills and meet rangers across the state who are dealing with many of the same issues we deal with here.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact INFO@LPForest.org and we’ll point you in the right direction.  Hope some of you can make it.


Cooling Off, Buckhorn Trail, photo Humphrey
BuckhornCreek
U P C O M I N G     E V E N T S
There are quite a few upcoming projects and events you can volunteer for.  We’ve listed a few below and some more details on a couple of the larger ones.  If you have any events coming up that we can help publicize, please don’t hesitate to let us know, we’d be more than happy to share.  Hope to see you on the trail or even better at an event.The feature event this week is a LPFA project that Mike Smith (he of goat fame) will be hosting along the Buckhorn Trail from May 29-31.  On Friday May 29 we’ll be driving out to the Lower Indian Creek Trailhead and working the trail up to Lower Buckhorn Camp.  We’ll focus on Saturday working from Lower Buckhorn up the Buckhorn Trail.  Most of the work will be logging downed trees and brushing.  We’ll pack up on Sunday and head back to the trucks.  The LPFA will be providing most meals and Mike’s goats will be there to provide pack support along the route.  The Buckhorn is a beautiful canyon with a fantastic multi-use trail.  This is a great opportunity to explore the canyon, get some work done and have fun while doing it.  For more information or to sign-up, please contact Mike Smith at: michael.d.smith@ulalaunch.com

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May 19-27: Santa Cruz Trail Project
May 29-31: Buckhorn Trail Project
June 2: Jim & Rob’s Ojai Fundraiser
June 3-11: Mono Alamar Trail Project
June 5-7: National Trails Day, Mono Campground Trail Weekend
June 6: Sespe National Trails Day Project
June 27: Big Sur Wilderness Celebration
June: Bear Sisquoc Crosscut
July 10-12: Santa Barbara 100 Endurance Run Support
July: Madulce Trail Crosscut
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