RIP Madulce and D13 Kick Off

Madulce Cabin, circa 1983, photo Eldon Walker

Hello Friends,

20 years ago today (Oct 11, 1999) the Madulce Cabin was tragically burned to the ground as a result of either an accidental burning or arson (click here for more of the history).  The historic Madulce Cabin site is located in the heart of the Santa Barbara Backcountry, within the Dick Smith Wilderness and has a rich history dating back long before the Los Padres was known as the Los Padres. Before going up in flames, the much beloved Madulce Cabin was open to the public for shelter during bad weather or to briefly relive times long gone when forest rangers lived in cabins, stations and lookout towers across the Los Padres. It’s hard to imagine how different the forest must have been back then. Phone lines stretching across the mountains, connecting stations with fire lookouts and horse mounted rangers regularly patrolling the backcountry. Allow yourself to dream of how immaculate the trails must have been back then? Insert dream……. Times have changed, for better or worse, and the idea of phones across the mountains might not sound so good these days but back then it must have been a sight to behold. The Madulce Cabin site remains on the National Register of Historic Places but without the cabin it’s hard to recreate the feeling of what this site must have felt like during its heyday. There was some talk a few years back of trying to rebuild the Madulce Cabin. Local backcountry historians drafted a blueprint of the cabin and had secured private funding to rebuild an exact replica of the Madulce Cabin. Yet the story goes that due to modern Wilderness regulations the Forest Service was not able to permit the rebuilding of the Madulce Cabin. Pros and cons…..

In recent years, Madulce has been the location of quite a few LPFA trail projects and Working Vacations and remains a fantastic place to visit for backpackers or horse/mule packers. The area was mostly burned in the 2007 Zaca Fire but a few mature cedars and pines are still standing next to the cabin site. The horse corral remains along with some other remnants of the cabin era. Times change and perhaps one day a replica of the cabin can be rebuilt at Madulce to once again aid backcountry travelers. Maybe people will again seek refuge from snow storms inside the cabin and wait out the weather next to the wood burning stove. Then again, maybe not. Either way, today we look back at 20 years ago when the Madulce Cabin burned to the ground and along with it a treasured part of Los Padres history.  Lets hope that even without the cabin the memory and history will live on at least another 20 years too…..

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Doe a Deer D13, Summer 2019

D13 DEER SEASON

The general deer hunting season in Zone D13 starts this weekend October 12 and lasts through November 10. Within the Los Padres, D13 covers the Mt Pinos Ranger District east of Hwy 33 and the Ojai District north and east of Sespe Creek. Expect to see a lot more activity within D13 over the next month and in particular this long holiday weekend. If you aren’t planning on hunting, you may want to choose a different location for your LP adventures this weekend and over the coming few weeks.  Be safe, tread lightly, remember fire restrictions and good luck……

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National Public Lands Day Volunteers on Lion Canyon, photo Josephine Liu

FOREST 411

• While wildfire season is now a 12 month endeavor, we’ve got some “fire weather” headed our way over the coming days that include red flag warnings and potential preemptive power outages.  Be safe.

• There have been a few smaller wildfires within the Los Padres over the past month including the October 1 Ranch Fire (55 acres) near Pozo and the September 21 Lopez Fire (220 acres) outside of Arroyo Grande. The Lopez Fire was started by an improperly extinguished campfire.  Please, even if you are in a designated campfire use site, always remember to properly extinguish your campfire, it’s not worth doing it half ash. Like that?  It’s an original.  Royalties?

• Lastly, regarding wildfires, there were a couple articles recently written and a podcast related to the Los Padres and wildfires.  Check out History of Wildfires in Big Sur, an Outside Magazine Podcast about defending your home from wildfire and a LA Times piece discussing fuel breaks as related to the Thomas Fire. 

• Last month SLO based super meteorologist John Lindsey scientifically prophesied that “we could see lower than average amounts of rainfall in California this winter“.  And so the prediction game begins.  In the past we’ve heard weather predictions ranging from acorn droppings to ant activity but Mr. Lindsey is a living legend and a genius when it comes to weather.  We’ll see what happens…..  What do you predict?

• Over the past month sections of the following Los Padres trails have been maintained by your friendly neighborhood trail groups and the Forest Service: Lion Canyon Trail, Sisquoc Trail, Tunnel Trail, Jesusita Trail, West Fork Cold Spring Trail, Romero Trail, San Ysidro Trail, Franklin Trail, Pine Ridge Trail, Potrero John Trail, Reyes Peak Trail

• Big thanks to volunteers from Southern California Edison who showed up at toasty Dough Flat on a late July Saturday to help clean up the trailhead, paint the bathrooms, install signs and spend a little time clearing the trail up to the Condor Observation Point.  Thanks also to United Trail Maintainers of California for providing the trailhead sign and the Forest Service for the support!

What’s the opposite of a power outage? SCE volunteers bringing it!

Two more steel debris flow nets are being installed above Montecito on San Ysidro and Buena Vista creeks.  These two new nets will bring the total nets installed to sixNote that the information on the link is out of date.

• Here’s an feel-good story about some stranded hikers along the Arroyo Seco who were unable to reach the Police and cleverly used a message in bottle in order to get help.

• The Los Padres Forest and Ventana Wilderness Alliance will be moving forward with a trail reroute along the Pine Ridge Trail.  The PRT was damaged during the 2016 Soberanes Fire and subsequent 2017 storms to the extent that a reroute is needed near Barlow Camp.  No date has been set as to when the trail may reopen but hopefully sometime within the next year. Stay tuned…..

• Late last month the State Water Resources Control Board voted that more water needs to be released from Cachuma Lake in order to support the steelhead population.

• Super Volunteers, friends of the LPFA and Gossamer Gear ambassadors Rik and Paul were featured this past month in a Gossamer Gear profile series, click link above.  We know Rik and Paul really well, they are the main driving force behind so much good stuff across the forest including the LPFA Used Gear Sale, but it’s always cool seeing their influence extend beyond the Los Padres.  Great work guys!

• LPFA supporter and friend of the forest Kevin Cody has started a Facebook fundraiser on behalf of the LPFA.  We’ve known Kevin for many years and over that time he’s become somewhat famous for his dedication to keeping the forest litter free.  In particular he has a hatred of stray helium balloons.  It is not uncommon to be running or hiking with Kevin and then all of a sudden see him swimming through brush or scaling hillsides to retrieve that stray helium balloon that happened to plunge down in the Los Padres.  We’re willing to bet that no one has recovered more lost helium balloons than Kevin has.  Setting a great example Kevin and thanks for the additional support.  Happy Birthday!  If you’d like to support Kevin’s fundraiser, click here.

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Kevin Cody doing what he does, days deep in the Caliente Drainage

Hungry For National Trails Day

Santa Cruz Drainage, photo Fosters
SantaCruzView

Almost like clockwork, the June gloom has set in.  After a few weeks of abnormally cool May weather, which included some snow at the higher elevations, we appear to be settling in to the usual June gloom coastal patterns and hotter inland temps.  We’re also starting to get reports that some of the creeks and rivers are drying up.  The flow has receded to a trickle and in some cased to no water whatsoever.  There is still more water on the surface than there was at this time last year but most of the springs are at all time low flow rates and we should expect dry conditions throughout most of the backcountry within the next month or two.  If heading out on a trip, be sure to choose your destination wisely.  Check the weather forecasts, avoid the heat and check in with the various websites like www.HikeLosPadres.com or www.VentanaWild.org for the most recent water reports.

NATIONAL  TRAILS  DAY: June 6

June 6 is National Trails Day.  We mentioned this a few weeks ago but have a few more details this time around.  There are three trail projects scheduled in the Los Padres that weekend.  This is a great opportunity to get out, volunteer, meet people, learn about the Forest, get some exercise, off the couch and into the fresh air.  Not only should you try to make it to one of these events, but try to bring a friend along or someone who doesn’t frequent the Forest.  I promise they’ll be excited about the day and end up thanking you for getting them out there.  Who knows, it could make an everlasting change in their lives and it would be all thanks to you!  Hope to see you out there…….  Click the links below to learn more.


Getting hungry yet?
Jim&RobFood
JIM & ROB’S FUND RAISER
We’re really excited to announce a fund raiser for the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center at Jim & Rob’s restaurant in Ojai on Tuesday June 2.  See the attached flier for more information.  Long story short, the Visitor Center at Wheeler is in desperate need of a new AC unit.  We host weekly educational interpretive events at Wheeler and it can get dreadfully hot in the conference room.  When then AC does finally kick in, first it sounds like a large airplane is taking off in the corner and second the cooling is not what it once was.  We are beginning a fund raising campaign to raise $15,000 to replace the AC and position it outside of the conference room.  Jim and Rob’s will be donating 20% of all proceeds from dinner sales that night to help replace the AC unit.  If you are within driving distance of Ojai, we’d love to see you at Jim and Rob’s.  The food is great, atmosphere is fun and where else can you eat a burrito and raise money at the same time.  A temporary professional food eater.  Hope to see you there and again check out the attached flier.

 

FOREST 411


DOUGH FLAT ROAD CLOSURE
Dough Flat Road out of Fillmore (aka Squaw Flat Rd) is closed due to reconstruction of a retaining wall.  We got word this past weekend that the closure is 8miles before you get to Dough Flat.  So if you are planning a trip to that part of the Forest be sure to plan on an extra 8miles of road hiking/biking before you get to the trailhead.  The road is supposed to reopen May 28.  We’ll keep you posted as to when the road reopens.

GIBRALTAR ROAD OPEN
Gibraltar Road in SB County has been reopened after a few weeks of repaving.  Rumor is that the work is not done just yet but it will be open for at least the next few weeks.  Probably really good road biking up there right about now.

PARADISE ROAD MAINTENANCE
Paradise Rd, also in SB County, is getting a facelift at the moment as well.  It is not closed but there are rather long waits going up or down the canyon as a pilot car is needed to chauffeur cars along the road.  Heading up-canyon, the pilot car is leading twice an hour at 15after and 15before the hour.  Coming down-canyon, the pilot leads on the hour and on the half hour.  The closure currently starts near Paradise Campground and word was that earlier today it took almost an hour to get from Paradise Camp to First Crossing.  The work is scheduled to last until August and is on weekdays starting at 0630 and ending at approximately 1630.  Plan accordingly.

FIRST AID COURSES
The LPFA is working on scheduling a First Aid certification class this Fall in Santa Barbara County.  This is the necessary cert for any crosscut sawyers or chainsaw operators.  Dates are flexible but if you would like to attend please let us know.  The cost will be around $40 and the class will be one day.  INFO@LPForest.org for more information.

DO YOU LOVE PLANTS?
The Forest Service is looking for volunteers to help plant oak trees in the Santa Ynez Valley.  If you are interested in hearing more details, let us know.  The work has started and will be needed throughout the summer.  INFO@LPForest.org for more info.

WATER-WISE LANDSCAPING WORKSHOP
SB County is hosting a free landscaping workshop focused on drought tolerant planting.  It’s this Friday May 29 at the Faulkner Gallery off Anapamu Street.  For more information visit www.waterwisesb.org/workshops  or email Riley Hubbell at riley@loacom.com.

Lots going on, hope I didn’t lose you there.  Take care everyone and stay in touch………..
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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 5-7: National Trails Day, Mono Campground Trail Weekend
June 6: Sespe National Trails Day Project
June 6: Romero Canyon National Trails Day Project
June 27: Big Sur Wilderness Celebration
June 12-14: Bear Sisquoc Crosscut
July 10-12: Santa Barbara 100 Endurance Run Support
July: Madulce Trail Crosscut
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West Big Pine Fadeaway
WestBigPineFadeaway

Jim&RobFlier