Thankful Los Padres Givings

Kids + Trail + Forest + Time to Explore = Next Generation of Los Padres Lovers

Hello Friends – Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Throughout the year we hear so much negative noise circulating around the forest.  The media regularly shares articles about what is not working in the Los Padres, the latest forest-related lawsuits, illegal pot grows, destructive wildfires, closures and photos of damaged forest land.  While it’s critically important to stay aware of all these ‘negatives’ and work to prevent unwanted change, it’s just as critically important to revisit why we love the Los Padres and what ‘positives’ are happening around the forest.  It can’t all be negative.  In fact, for every negative we hear, there are dozens of positives across the forest that are most likely not being heard.  It’s easy to leave negative feedback or write a bad review, lets flip that script and instead focus on some of the really cool, helpful and inspiring people, organizations and programs that are working to benefit the forest.  What better time of the year to focus on the positives than Thanksgiving and the Holidays, right?
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FRANKLIN TRAIL
A group of mainly Carpinteria based trail-lovers have been working the past decade to reopen, construct and restore the historic/new Franklin Trail in the hills above Carpinteria.  Unfortunately, here in the Los Padres we don’t hear the words ‘construct’, ‘new’ and ‘trail’ in the same sentence too often.  The idea of bringing the Franklin Trail back from the dead must have seemed farfetched but that didn’t stop the Carp trail community from making it happen.  They got organized, formed an organization called Friends of Franklin Trail, raised funds and worked with the Forest Service to get their dream off the ground.  The Santa Barbara County Trails Council with the guidance of Ray Ford took the lead on the trail design and with the help of countless volunteers and trail stewards they were successful in getting the Franklin Trail back on the map.  If you’ve not explored the Franklin Trail, put it on your list, do it this week if you can – it’s spectacular!  And even more spectacular is how the community of Carpinteria has embraced the trail.  Franklin has become a source of pride for Carpinteria and the local trail-users actively work to keep the trail maintained and improved.  A great example is the 3rd Annual Franklin Trail Turkey Trot where trail-users are sponsored and get donations for each time they use the trail in November which has raised thousands of dollars to continue work on their beloved Franklin Trail.  If you’re interested, the Turkey Trot Celebration is this Friday 12/1 at Island Brewing in Carpinteria.  This example of a community dreaming of more trails, organizing, working with the Forest Service, successfully reestablishing a trail and staying engaged to maintain that trail is an incredible accomplishment.  Big thanks to everyone involved and lets hope other communities can follow this Franklin Trail blueprint in order to build new trails in their neck of the forest as well.
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Recently Restored Tinta Trail

VOLUNTEER TRAIL WORK

Trails are the main artery used by people to access and enjoy the Los Padres Forest.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a birdwatcher, a mountain biker, a hunter or a backpacker; you’ll be using some of the over 1,200 miles of Los Padres trails to get where you want to be.  Unfortunately, Los Padres trails are some of the most difficult to maintain.  Chaparral grows so fast, needing to be worked every year or two.  Trees fall across the trails and fires can alter the trail landscape for the better part of a decade.  So how are the trails kept open?  The Forest Service oversees trail maintenance but most of the boots on the ground efforts come from the numerous Los Padres non-profit trail organizations and the the volunteers who work with these groups.  If you’ve not taken a day or a weekend to volunteer on a trail project, you have to find a way to make that happen.  You’d be surprised at how much fun a day of hard work along the trails can be.  It’s a chance to meet like-minded friends, get outside in the forest and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel on your way out is what keeps people coming back for more.  The LPFA alone accounted for over 12,000 volunteer hours this past year and there are many other great trail groups up and down the Los Padres who host regular trail projects as well.  Get involved if you can, volunteer, give back to the trails you use and love, you won’t be disappointed.  Check the calendar of projects below and sign up for a project near you.

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HPS Sierra Club Volunteers, photo Mark Allen – Patagonia Volunteers, photo Aanjelae Rhoads

VOLUNTEER GROUP WORK
Another great way to get out and volunteer in the Los Padres is by organizing your company, organization and/or friends to maintain or adopt a Los Padres trail.  There are fantastic examples of companies providing an option for their employees to spend a “service day” working on a trail.  Sort of like a Habitat For Humanity but instead of building homes they’re maintaining trails.  It’s a great way to get outside, often times your company will pay for your service day and trail work is a fantastic team-building exercise as well.  This format also works for groups or organizations who use the forest but aren’t trained in trail maintenance.  Student organizations from university’s and High Schools have also come together to help the forest.  A great example is the Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai which sends students out each year to help for a weekend around Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center.  The VWA has also had great success getting school groups involved with their programs.  There are great examples of groups and companies up and down the forest partnering with all the usual Los Padres volunteer organizations.  Get involved.  Sign up your company, your church group, your friends – you’ll have a great time and will be helping the forest with a smile on your face.  For more information check with your local Los Padres Ranger District of email INFO@LPForest.org.
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Just Another Cuyama Peak Sunrise

SCOUT PROJECTS
There have been some really great scout projects across the Los Padres over the past year or two.  While the forest has benefited from just about all levels of scouting, the most popular service project is an Eagle Project where the scout performs a larger scale project for the benefit of the community, or in this case the Los Padres Forest.  We’ve seen scouts restore and replace forest signs, rebuild and clean damaged forest structures, maintain campsites and create educational material designed to teach forest-users how to properly recreate in the forest.  The LPFA has had the pleasure of working with a few of these scouts and it’s so refreshing seeing a teenager take a concept, formulate an idea, develop a plan and then execute on that plan.  Scouting projects are a great way to get younger people involved with the forest while at the same time providing a tangible outcome that benefits the forest.  Very cool program!  If you know any scouts who might want to tackle a forest-related project, contact your local Ranger District or email INFO@LPForest.org for ideas and assistance.

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Three Concrete Crossings along Davy Brown & Munch Creeks

FOREST 411
• The Forest Service announced last week that longtime Los Padres employee Tony Martinez has been appointed the new Mt Pinos District Ranger.  Welcome and congratulations Ranger Martinez!  For more information click here.

• The Los Padres National Forest, in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is working on a proposal to improve aquatic organism passage along Munch and Davy Brown Creeks by removing three concrete water crossings and replacing two of them with bridges.  If you’ve ever driven Sunset Valley Road to NIRA, the two main crossings are between Davy Brown Campground and the lower Manzana Trailhead.  See attached document for specifics.  The Forest Service will be hosting an open house to discuss this proposal on November 30, 4-6pm at the Santa Lucia District Office in Santa Maria.

• The LPFA 2018 Los Padres wall calendars are going to the printer later this week.  They cost only $15 but will provide you a years worth of priceless Los Padres vistas, scenery, wildlife and stoke!  Get em while you can, you can order them here.

Brookshire, La Panza and Miranda Pine Campgrounds are currently closed as older pit toilets are removed and replaced with new vault toilets.  See here for more information, they are expected to be closed for 3-4 more weeks.

Condors continue their remarkable recovery as four new juvenile condors will be released into the San Simeon flock by the end of the year.

• There was an interesting article posted in the SLO New Times earlier this month discussing recent wildlife population trends and how those trends relate to drought, agriculture and changes in hunting restrictions.  It’s a good read.

• Due to potential storm related closures, camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park will become first-come first-serve only starting December 1, 2017 and lasting through April 30, 2018.

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The Epic Thorn Point View, and getting there is more than half the fun!

Los Padres is Totality Hot!

Brrrrr….. A Chilly Mission Pine Basin
– Hello Los Padres –
With the “excessive heat” we’re experiencing around the forest this week we thought it might be nice to share a picture and story of our Los Padres in the snow.  Maybe it will cool you down a little.  This photo was taken around dawn in early March at Mission Pine Basin (5,300′) in the San Rafael Wilderness.  I had backpacked in from Upper Oso, taking two days along the Santa Cruz Trail to get to MPB.  It rained on and off most of the second day and the final 2,000 foot climb up to Mission Pine was like taking a shower each time I rubbed against any of the 7,000,000 manzanita bushes along that 4mile climb.  I was drenched and cold when I saw the campfire at the Basin indicating that my buddy, ‘The Masticator’, had indeed upheld his end of the bargain and backpacked in from Cachuma Saddle.  He had slogged his bike up to McKinley Saddle the previous night and backpacked through mostly snow flurries to the Basin.  We were there to see it snow and knew a storm was forecast that evening.  We spent the night next to a raging fire as 8 inches of snow piled up beside our tents.  The next morning (shown above) was crisp as we explored the Basin, looking between the clouds at the blue Channel, snow curdling off the trees and….. lots of hot coffee.
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The LP Piru Neighborhood
FOREST 411
We’re hiring!  The LPFA is looking for a forest-loving go-getter to help manage our retail sales and grow the public outreach.  If interested, we’d love to hear from you.  More information at the link RIGHT HERE.

• So a bear walks into Reyes Creek Bar and says to Tony, “I’ll have a pint of beer and a……….. tri-tip sandwich”.  Tony responds, “Why the big pause?”   Wha wha wha…..  Okay, did you hear the one about the bear who stumbled out to Rincon Point on a summer Saturday afternoon…..?  Amazingly that isn’t a joke as a black bear did indeed find its way to the beach two weekends ago.  The photos are hard to believe but tragically the bear was euthanized after it was found to be unhealthy.

• Speaking of bears, this weekend at Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center is a presentation called the Amazing World of Bears by Kelley Swedlow.  It starts at 11am at the Visitor Center, which gives you enough time for a morning on the trailw beforehand or some extra time to sleep in.  It will be interesting to hear what Kelley thinks of the Rincon bear…..

• Do you Piru?  The water agency is charge of the Lake Piru Recreation Area is required to make changes to their recreation management plan for Piru.  They’ve hired an environmental consulting company to assist in the design of that recreation management plan and have released an online recreation survey designed to collect information from the public who use the Lake Piru Recreation Area.  This includes boaters, anglers, hikers, riders, hunters, Condor Trail backpackers, kayakers, campers, etc who use or pass through the Lake Piru Recreation Area.  If that’s you, please take the time and fill out this short online survey.  The surveys asks how often you use the Piru neighborhood, what you do there, what you like about it and what could be improved.  Certainly worth the time if you have an opinion, see link above.

• We’ve heard some questions about accessing the Whittier Fire burn area.  An update was released this week after an infra-red flight showed that some hot spots remain within the fire perimeter.  As a result the fire remains 87% contained and closed to public entry.  It might be a while before the area is reopened to the public.  Stay tuned….

• Last time we mentioned that Cherry Creek Road (6N01) was closed, it has since been opened.

• LPFA is excited to announce that Sunday October 8 will be our 3rd Annual Used Camping Gear Sale at Tucker’s Grove Park in Goleta.  We’ll once again be partnering with Gossamer Gear to provide some incredible deals on great backpacks and camping gear.  We hope you can make it and let us know if you have any camping gear to donate to the sale.  We’ll provide a tax donation receipt and the proceeds go right back to Trail Care.

• Sorry about the bad bear news but we’ve got some great wildlife news to share that might cheer you up.  For the first time since 1985 a wild-born pair of California condors have successfully nested and have a chick of their own.  You can read more about it here.  The nest is located in Southern Monterey County and is an important step showing just how incredible the condor re-population is progressing.  It’s probably not too far off that we’ll be seeing healthy condors on the beaches soon as well.

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Chumash cave 1677 eclipse & Madras, Oregon 2017 eclipse, photo AYoung

The eclipse was all the news this past week, you don’t need to hear about that, although some of you may still be stuck in traffic.  A little different twist on the eclipse was visiting a Chumash cave that very same day and seeing their rendition of a solar eclipse that occurred on November 24, 1677.  They didn’t have the benefit of months of advanced notice, nor did they have CNN covering the PATH OF TOTALITY.  It must have been something truly amazing back in 1677…….

Cuesta Fire Dodging Lead Bullets

Image, NASA
NasaImage

A series of fires were started last Sunday evening as a result of a northbound truck along Hwy 101 in SB and SLO Counties dragging a chain and the sparks from that chain igniting roadside vegetation.  The largest of these fires has become the Cuesta Fire and was started along the Cuesta Grade just outside of San Luis Obispo.  The fire started along the south slope of East Cuesta and has spread quickly from there.  As of now the fire has grown to 3,500 acres and is 20% contained.  Thanks to the diligence of the fire fighters and support crews, the fire heading towards containment and the evacuation order for Santa Margarita residents has been lifted.  Currently the fire is being pushed east into the Santa Lucia Wilderness.  Word on the street is that the fire will be fully contained by the middle of next week.  Good news is that the onshore marine layer appears strong over the coming days and below average temperatures are expected into early next week.  Many many thanks to everyone helping with the fire.  With all the fires raging across the West, resources are thin and the amount of work and planning that goes into fighting a fire is astounding.  For those of you in Twitter land, following fires through social media brings you the best and most up-to-date information possible.  You can follow the Cuesta Fire here.





 

Photo, Ventana Wildlife Society
CondorLead
GET THE LEAD OUT

As you might be aware, most of the Los Padres is currently in A-Zone South hunting season.  One of the hot local hunting topics over the past decade has been trying to ban lead bullets and instead use copper.  The use of lead bullets is directly related to condor mortality.  You can browse online for days and days about this topic but real quick:- Hunter shoots deer with lead bullet.
– Deer runs away before dying in bushes.
– Hunter is unable to find dead deer.
– Condors feed on dead deer.
– Condors ingest lead bullet fragments.
– Condors get lead poisoning.
– Condors get sick or die.

It is strongly encouraged for hunters within the Condor Range to switch to copper instead of lead.  For those who want to learn more or make the switch, Salinas based Ventana Wildlife Society has tons of information online and they even host a monthly free copper ammunition giveaway.  You enter your name into the drawing, fill out a few questions and each month they raffle out free copper ammunition.  It’s a great program, to say the least.  You can learn more on the Ventana Wildlife Society’s page here.

 




 

Finish Line, Santa Barbara 100 Endurance Run
RaceStartFinish
ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, GO!

Are you an athlete?  Runner?  Mountain Biker?  Just like to get out, exercise and participate?  Well, chances are you’ll be interested in one of these upcoming events:

SANTA BARBARA 100 MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE: October 3, 2015
This 100 and 50 mile ride crosses the SB Backcountry utilizing a series of dirt roads and single tracks.  This will be the 2nd annual running of the event and it got rave reviews last year.  If you are a mountain biker, be sure to check this out.  More information:
http://www.santabarbaramtbclassic.com/?q=home

BIG SUR RIVER RUN: October 24, 2015
Now in its 35th year, the Big Sur River Run offers a 5k walk and 10k run through the redwoods at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.  Proceeds from the event support the Big Sur Health Center and the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade.
http://www.bigsurriverrun.org/

PATAGONIA SALMON RUN: November 8, 2015
This year marks the 22nd year of the Patagonia Salmon Run in Ventura.  The Salmon Run is a fun spirited 5k race that follows the banks of the Ventura River.  Don’t let the fun spirit foul ya, there are some fast runners in the field as well.
http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=15737

Hope to see you at one of the upcoming races…….



Say cheese!
An all-star crew of Los Padres VWR’s took a summertime field trip to work the
Manter Meadow and Woodpecker Trails in the Southern Sierras’ Domeland Wilderness.
SawyerSierras
CALENDAR

September 25-27: LPFA NPLD Alamar Trail Crosscut Sawyer Project
September 26-27: VWA Pico Blanco NPLD Trail Project
September 26: NPLD Frontcountry Santa Barbara, Location TBD
October 9-11: LPFA Madulce Trail Crosscut Sawyer Project

More details on each event in coming e-newsletters………

Be safe everyone and don’t forget to check us out on Facebook, where right now we’re discussion best ways to wash your down sleeping bag.  Amazing the things you can learn on the internet.

Thanks for the read……..

Rain Rain, COME BACK!

Cuyama River, Two Days After Flooding, Where’d It All Go?CuyamaRiver  

Hello Everyone!

We’ve had some weather.  Hurricane Delores did her thing and sent some rain and thunder storms our way last week.  It was about as exciting as summer weather gets along the California coastal ranges.

RainMap
The rain started Saturday with much of Southern California seeing an entire day of rain, very heavy in some places.  Sunday through Wednesday was the more typical thunder storms with morning sun being replaced by fluffy thunderclouds and rain by the afternoons.  As the map shows above, the rain hit hardest in the southern Los Padres but most of the forest did see some precipitation at some point over the week.  Matilija in Ventura County saw the most rain with nearly 4 inches (in July!).  Frazier Park recorded 3.5″ which resulted in flash floods and quite a few road closures.  At one point on Saturday, all roads between Mt. Pinos and Frazier Park were closed due to floods.  There were reports of people being stranded overnight due to the road closures.  Santa Barbara didn’t see as much rain but the Sierra Madre received over 2″ at both Bates and SB Potrero.  Interestingly, SLO County got more rain than SB with most places having over 1.5″ across the forest.  Monterey up into Big Sur didn’t get much rain but did see some incredible lightning and thunder displays.  We’ve had reports coming in showing new green grass sprouting across the forest and increased flow in the creeks.  If nothing else, this most recent rain might extend the campfire season.  We’ll say a fond farewell to Delores and see what comes next.

Still Spring on Mt. Pinos
ChulaVista
AROUND THE FOREST NEWS
Some stories and links you might find interesting from across the Forest:
LOST BIG SUR HIKER
Earlier this month a hiker went missing at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.  Sadly, after nearly a week, the search was suspended.  You can read more about it through a Google search or here.
CONDORS AND TAR CREEK
There was a recent article in the High Country News about the Tar Creek (Ventura County) closure and its influence on the condors in the area.  The article highlights some of the Forest Service efforts to control the situation at Tar Creek.  Certainly worth a read if interested.
CONDOR IN SANTA BARBARA
This story made it’s way through Social Media land but in case you missed it, a wild/free condor made a rare visit to Santa Barbara late last month.  Yankee Barbareno did a good job of documenting and sharing the information on his blog.  You can read it here.  Perhaps one day the condor will be feeding along the beaches again, that would be cool to see.