Los Padres Hunting & Wildfire Season

We certainly won’t be winning any lumberjack world championship crosscut speed competitions, but we got it done!  Sisquoc Trail, August 2019

HELLO FRIENDS – Tomorrow (August 10) kicks off the most popular hunting season here in the Los Padres, the Zone A South General Deer Season.  Zone A South encompasses most of the Los Padres from Monterey down through Ventura County except for Zone D13 which covers the Ventura/Kern Highcountry, click to see map here.  There will be a lot of hunter activity across the forest over the coming A Zone weeks, especially during the early weekends of the Season.  If you’re out and about you should expect to see hunters at most of the trailheads and along many of the access roads.  If you have plans to visit the forest this weekend, be aware of the extra activity and depending on your interests and where you plan on going, you may want to adjust your plans or at the very least wear bright colored clothing.  Good idea to leave the antler helmet at home this time around.

Remember that we are in fire restrictions and campfires are only permitted in designated campfire use sites.  Be safe!

Wildfire Season is Here!  Mill Fire overview, photo Nic Elmquist

WILDFIRE UPDATE & CLOSURES

The Los Padres had two wildfire scares over the past couple weeks with the Mill Fire (310 acres) along the southern edge of the Ventana Wilderness and the Range Fire (100 acres) off of Happy Canyon in the Santa Ynez Valley.  Thankfully both fires didn’t blow up and are near 100% containment.  The cause of the fires have not been shared.  There is a current forest closure as a result of the Mill Fire that includes Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, Mill Creek Trail, Kirk Creek Trail, South Coast and Cone Peak Roads.  Thanks to everyone involved in fighting the fires and lets hope for no more wildfire scares.

Bow wow wow!  Poodle dog flooding Dry Lakes Ridge, photo Perry Van Houton

FOREST 411

• There have been quite a few trails maintained over the past month or so across the Los Padres by the FS and your local volunteer organizations.  Here’s a quick list, remember you can visit HikeLosPadres.com for more information about these wonderful trails: Cold Spring, Marble Peak, Franklin, Matilija Falls, Poplar, Reyes Peak, Rattlesnake Canyon, Romero, Baron, Sisquoc, Terrace Creek, Jesusita

• Earlier this week the Los Padres made the news as a result of a car chase that ended up, then down, along the Sierra Madre Road.  The footage of the LP portion of the chase was released a few days ago and is absolutely crazy.  Please don’t try this!

• The LP also made the news this week thanks to a two-day search operation for a missing backpacker.  The solo backpacker and his faithful dog were attempting the 50-mile Lower Sisquoc Loop in the San Rafael Wilderness when he came down with a sickness on day 1 of his 3 day trip.  His family grew concerned when he didn’t make it home at the end of day 3 and contacted Santa Barbara Search and Rescue.  The extensive search began at sunrise on day 4 and thankfully the backpacker turned up mid-morning on day 5.  The backpacker was dehydrated but otherwise in good health.  Thankfully the backpacker had left an itinerary with his family and had taken the time to enter his name into the various trail registers along the route.  The combination of register entries and knowing his itinerary aided immensely in developing a search strategy for the lost backpack.  Remember that.  Alls well that ends well, great work by SAR and yes, the dog came back in one piece as well – probably had the time of his life!

• The trails above Montecito were hit extremely hard due to the Thomas Fire and subsequent January 2018 debris flows.  Many groups and volunteers have assisted in the reconstruction of the trails but we wanted to mention one specific group effort working on the lower Cold Spring Trail, specifically building a wall that is now affectionately known as the Don Wall.  The Cold Spring Trail was wiped clean after the debris flows and along with it the trailhead on the east side of Mountain Drive.  This section of trail had turned into a lumpy cliff face with a 20ft drop into the creek below.  It seemed impossible to repair but thanks to nearly two-months of hard work the trail has been fixed and is looking terrific!  Many people assisted in this process including: Los Padres National Forest, City of Santa Barbara, SB County, Montecito Trails Foundation, Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers, Multi-Use Trails Coalition, Thomas Fire Trail Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, SLO County Trails, SB County Trails Council, Ventana Wilderness Alliance, the LPFA ans especially Donn & Don.  It was really inspiring and fun working with so many people and completing our goal.  Thanks everyone…….

• The gate at Cherry Creek Road along upper Highway 33 is now open.  Cherry Creek provides access to the upper Matilija Trailhead as well as the upper Ortega Motorcycle Trail.

• Get your party hats on…..  Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday is today.  Woot woot!  Wonder if he will have candles on his cake….???  Happy Birthday Smokey Bear.

• Highway 1 along northern SLO County will have overnight closures at Ragged Point for 4 weeks starting on 8/12.

The before and after Don Wall, Cold Spring Trailhead

Late Spring Volunteer Projects

Here Pollywog Pollywog, photo Humphrey

LATE SPRING 2018 TRAIL PROJECTS

Hi Everyone,

Here’s a list of some upcoming LPFA and non-LPFA trail projects and specific contacts in case you’d like to volunteer.  Hope to see you out there……..

May 16 – White Rock Trail Work: The LPFA continues work clearing brush along the Figueroa Mtn network of trails.  Up next is White Rock Trail.  Led by Bryan Conant, we’ll be focused on brushing a middle 1/2 mile section of the trail.  Please RSVP via email: INFO@LPForest.org

May 18-21 – Bluff Camp Sawyer Trip: Led by Mickey McTigue, we’ll be driving in to Bluff Cabin via the Buckhorn Rd and Upper Oso.  From Bluff we’ll be day-tripping up to both the Mission Pine and Sisquoc Trails (part of the Condor Trail) to cut out fallen trees across the trail.  Work will be primarily crosscut with some brushing intermixed.  This work is within Santa Barbara County within the San Rafael Wilderness.  For information or to sign up please contact Mickey at: mickey.joecache@gmail.com

May 19 – Santa Barbara Canyon Crosscut: Join Mark Subbotin as he leads a project to cut out two large oak trees along the Santa Barbara Canyon Trail (along the Condor Trail).  The first tree is 3.2 miles from the trailhead while the second is 4.1 miles.  To sign up please email Mark at: msubbotin76@gmail.com

May 20 – Tumamait Trail Crosscut: Mark will be at it again, this time working the Tumamait Trail high atop the Chumash Wilderness.  They’ll be cutting out three downed trees about 2.5 miles out from the trailhead.  Mark can be reached at: msubbotin76@gmail.com

May 26 – Sulphur Spring Sawyer Project: Bob Burtness has been caring for the Sulphur Spring Trail since the 1970’s.  It’s become impassable due to fallen downed trees.  Bob will be leading a project on May 26 to help cut out the downed trees along the trail.  The work will either be using chain saws or crosscut, depending on PAL fire levels.  Sulphur Spring Trail is located off of Figueroa Mtn Rd near the San Rafael Wilderness.  For more information please contact: INFO@LPForest.org

June 2 – Chorro Grande Trail: The LPFA will once again celebrate National Trails Day by hosting a much overdue trail projects.  This year we’ll be working the Chorro Grande Trail within the Ojai Ranger District.  Chorro Grande is a lovely trail nestled between Hwy 33 and Pine Mtn ranging in elevation from 4,000ft to over 6,000ft.  We’ll be primarily brushing the middle portion of the trail.  Jasonn Beckstrand will be leading the efforts.  For more information email: INFO@LPForest.org

June 2 – Boulder Canyon Trail: Mark Subbotin will be leading a chain saw or crosscut project down the Boulder Canyon Trail (Condor Trail) focused on clearing an estimated 20+ trees.  This will also be part of the National Trails Day celebration.  For more information or to sign up, please email Mark: msubbotin76@gmail.com

June 8-10 – Alamar Trail Sawyer & Tread: The LPFA will be hosting one last project this year focused on clearing the Alamar Trail (part of the Condor Trail) within the Dick Smith Wilderness.  Led by Bryan Conant, we’ll be driving to Alamar Saddle and working from the Saddle down 3 miles into the canyon.  The majority of the work will be crosscut with some brushing and tread work mixed in for good measure.  INFO@LPForest.org to sign up or learn more.

June 15-18 – Upper Sisquoc Trail Project: Mike Smith is leading another assault on the Upper Sisquoc.  The exact location of this project is TBD but it will be somewhere between Alamar Saddle and Heath Camp.  For more information or to sign up please email Mike at: TrailSmith@LPForest.org

Alamar Downed Tree, Snow No Longer Included

 

 

 

Santa Barbara Canyon Oak Clearing

The LPFA scouted Santa Barbara Canyon Trail in March and found this rather large and complicated oak tree blocking the trail.  There was a passable reroute around the tree that both hikers and equestrians were using but it wasn’t right so we scheduled a weekend to get out there and clear the tree.

Using a five foot felling crosscut saw it took two sawyers over 5 hours, spanning parts of two days in order to clear the trail.  The tree required 24 cuts and some crafty levering and rolling to maneuver the heavy cut rounds off the trail.

The end result is a cleared trail and some great satisfaction for a job well done.  Lets just hope that rootball doesn’t fall anytime soon.

If any of you come across large downed trees in your travels across the Los Padres, let us know and we’ll see if we can lineup a sawyer team to help out.

How Bout Them Noodles?

Lost Valley Trail Maintenance Working Vacation

Lost Valley Trail Maint. Working Vacation

Los Padres Forest Association        

April 8th – April 17th 2016

 

Trip Purpose – The main purpose of this trip was to perform brushing and tread-work in the areas heavily covered in brush. Remove debris slides and cut out and remove the estimated 10 downed trees blocking the Lost Valley Trail from the lower trailhead starting at the Lost Valley/Manzana trail intersection and ending at the Hurricane Deck trail intersection. This trail took heavy debris damage during the August 2015 thunderstorms.

Water Conditions – Water conditions were about as expected considering 5 years of drought. The creek bed had some wet areas in the lower 2 miles. The dependable wet area, ¾ miles below twin oaks, was wet and vulture springs was trickling. Packers brought us water for camp every other day or so.

Weather Conditions – We experienced rain the first 3 days of the project and stayed at NIRA, then moved camp to Twin Oaks and finished the project from there. The remaining 7 days were mostly clear with highs in the high 70’s and low 80’s.

Description of Work/Surveys Accomplished

Project Overview

  1. Bucked out 10 fallen trees along the entire Lost Valley Trail.
  2. With the total length of the Lost Valley Trail being about 8 miles, we cleared the first 5 miles to Vulture Springs to full LPFA standard. We also completely cleared the remaining 3 miles from Vulture Springs to hurricane deck of all trees and heavy brushing and worked on tread areas in problem spots.

Trip Overview – This 10-day working vacation was originally planned for the Madulce Trail. However, rainy weather during the first few days, caused concern for getting pack animals safely in and out of camp and up the infamous heartbreak hill.

So we moved the project to the Lost Valley Trail, which sustained heavy damage during the August 2015 thunderstorms. That particular weather event brought down trees and debris slides, making the trail nearly impassable to hikers.

We car-camped the first 3 days of the project at NIRA while working on the first few miles of the Lost Valley Trail. After the weather cleared, and the remaining work was farther up the trail, we moved to Twin Oaks Camp to continue our efforts.

The trip was very successful overall, especially as an alternate to the original plan. Each day we broke into several teams, performing brushing, tread-work and/or tree removal as needed.

Future Projects for the area – The remaining 3 miles, from Vulture springs to hurricane deck, need to be completed to Full LPFA standard. A multi-day trip, with workers staying at cowboy camp and packers bringing water to camp, will make working this section feasible. This will allow us to work on the East Hurricane deck section simultaneously.

Backcountry users observed in the area – We observed several groups of day-hikers and backpackers in the Manzana trail and NIRA camp areas. On the final day of the project, a couple of backpackers who hiked the middle-deck loop mentioned that they were very pleased to hike a freshly worked Lost Valley Trail.

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……..