FIGUEROA MOUNTAIN GRAN FONDO

“So what is a Gran Fondo?”  Good question…  Originating in 1970 in Italy, a gran fondo is a long-distance (at least 75 miles) road cycling event in which a large number of riders are racing the distance against the clock.  Think of it like a marathon for cyclists.  Cool, right?  Anyway, this year Carmichael Training Systems and Figueroa Mountain Brewing are partnering to present the inaugural Figueora Mountain Gran Fondo on November 11.  They’ve asked the LPFA to help support the race and we’ll be organizing an aid station at the very top of the race at Ranger Peak along Figueroa Mountain Road.  Should be great!

If you’re a cyclist interested in doing the ride, have at it, sign up.  If you’re not but would like to volunteer to help at the LPFA aid station, we’d love the support!  You can sign up by emailing INFO@LPForest.org.  All volunteers will get a free shirt and lunch/beer at the after party in Santa Ynez.  Come one, come all……

We’re still sorting out the details but imagine we’ll be meeting at Ranger Peak around 8am and heading off the mountain in time for lunch.

INFO@LPForest.org

Figueroa Mountain Gran Fondo

 

 

THE SUPER LOS PADRES

Aaron, before and after, sizing up a complex oak on Cold Spring Trail
TRAIL REPORTING

Hi Everyone – we hope you’re having a great Good Friday and an even better Good Friday evening,

We’ve got a lot to share today – this is probably the most jam-packed email we’ve ever sent.  So, slip into something more comfortable, pour yourself an ice-cold lemonade and enjoy the read.
If you read nothing else, please check out the massive list of upcoming events and trail projects at the bottom – thanks!

There is no shortage of activities and events going on right now in and around the Los Padres.  We’re right in the middle of what is typically the busiest time of year for the Los Padres.  The flowers are doing their thing (more on that below), the water is plentiful and the trailheads are crammed with hikers, riders and backpackers enjoying the forest.  While the trail-users are busy enjoying the trails, the trail crews and trail volunteers are doing their best to fix any damage sustained from this winters storms.  At the bottom of this email (way down there) is a list of upcoming trail projects.  Giving back to the trails and volunteering time to cut brush from the trail or remove a rock slide can be so rewarding.  We encourage all of you to find a trail event this Spring that inspires you and sign up to volunteer for a day or a weekend or even a 10-day Working Vacation.  You’ll love it!  There are plenty of options out there for everyone, we hope you can find some time to make it happen…….

In the meantime, there is something all of us can do while we’re out on the trails that will directly benefit the trails: TRAIL REPORTS.  Trail crews can’t fix a trail if they don’t know that the trail needs fixing, right?  So while you’re out for a ride or hike and if come across a section of trail with a downed tree or a slide or is buried in brush; take a picture and share it with your local trail group, Forest Service staff or post it to HikeLosPadres.com and we’ll make sure it gets into the right hands.  When taking the picture, it helps to position a friend or a hiking pole or your dog or something in the photo to give the feature some perspective so that we can tell exactly how big that downed tree is.  If you can include GPS coordinates that helps a lot as well.  HikeLosPadres has an easy user-interface that allows you to post pictures and include information like GPS and size estimates along with the photo.  It works great to share as much information as you can so that the trail crews can get out there and do what they love to do fixing these trail problems and issues.  Thank you all for the help and we hope you’re finding plenty of time on the trails this Spring……

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A nice bouquet somewhere between Greenfield and the Pacific

WILDFLOWER SUPER BLOOM 2017

Look out at that hill, it’s a balloon, it’s a tie-dye, no it’s SUPER BLOOM!  You’ve probably seen the words ‘super bloom’ a lot over the past couple of weeks.  That’s the word being used to describe an exceptional eruption of wildflowers and after all our winter rains, California 2017 is certainly qualifying as a super bloom.  Social media is overflowing with pictures of pilgrimages to Death Valley, Joshua Tree and the Carrizo Plain.  In fact there are even pictures from outer space showing the 2017 super bloom.  While we can’t all be so lucky to join in these epic trips to the desert, never fear, chances are there are super blooms right outside your door.  Find some time in the next couple of weeks to revisit your favorite flower haunt or try to find a new one!  Helen Tarbet of the Santa Lucia Ranger District here in the Los Padres puts together a wildflower update for those people headed to Figueroa Mountain to see the wildflowers.  Her latest report from April 12 is attached with this email.  Check it out and remember to tread lightly so the next people can see the flowers just as you saw them.  Enjoy…….

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The soon-to-be new Pfeiffer Gulch Bridge, CalTrans

FOREST ACCESS UPDATE

While the flowers are certainly out this year, the Los Padres hasn’t completely reopened after the winter storms.  Most of the dirt roads across the Forest remain closed and behind locked gates.  Some of the roads (such as Sierra Madre) have reopened but most of them will stay closed for at least a few more weeks.  The traditional gate opening ceremony usually occurs on May 1 but this year that might not be the case as some of the roads did sustain quite a bit of damage and are not passable yet.  The Forest Service is working on it.  If you’re heading out to the forest, it’s a good idea to call your local Ranger Station to check if the roads are open.  More details below:

  • The Soberanes Fire Closure remains in effect up in the Big Sur and Ventana Wilderness portions of the Los Padres.  No date has been established for when the fire closure will be lifted.
  • The Big Sur Coast remains somewhat isolated as CalTrans works to reopen Hwy 1.  Google search if confused.
    • Nacimiento Ferguson Road has reopened creating a connection to the coast but Hwy 1 is closed in both directions from there.
    • The Pfeifer Gulch Bridge in Big Sur is being rebuilt with an end of September estimated date of completion.
  • In Santa Barbara, First Crossing and Romero Camuesa Rd at Divide Peak remain closed due to storm flooding and debris flows related to the Rey Fire.
  • Highway 33 will start to see traffic delays as CalTrans continues to work on stabilizing slopes damaged by the storms (see attached).

— • — • — • —

The aforementioned Carrizo Super Bloom, photo Andy Quinn

FOREST 411

  • There is a lot of trail restoration activity going on at the moment in the San Rafael Wilderness.  The LPFA has been working on the Manzana Trail and is currently in the middle of a 10-day Working Vacation based at Happy Hunting Ground.  We’ll have additional crews based at Manzana Narrows starting next weekend through the middle of May.  In addition, the CREW is working on the Sisquoc Trail based out of South Fork working up towards Heath Camp.  These trails will be beautiful after all this work.  If you’re out there, be sure to thank the crews!
  • This is kind of cool, there was an officer in Solvang who got a video of a mountain lion chasing after a deer.
  • With all the recent fires and storms, there have become quite a few hazard trees hanging over campsites around the Los Padres.  Some of the trees have been documented, others have not.  It’s always a good idea to check the area for dead trees or leaners before setting up your camp and obviously camp elsewhere if there is a nearby hazard tree.  Take photos of any hazard trees and share with the Forest Service once you get home.
  • The Wheeler Gorge Open House will be Saturday April 22 from 10am – 2pm.  This years Open House will feature booths from local organizations, a Used Camping Gear Sale, BBQ and a visit from Smokey Bear.  If you have kids and like the forest, this is the place for you!  Come on out.  We’ve also released the summer program of talks at Wheeler.
  • The Big Sur International Marathon is April 30.  There is only one way in and out of Big Sur at the moment.  Unless you are running in the marathon, you might want to stay away from Big Sur that weekend.
  • Some personnel news in the Los Padres, more to come later, LP Supervisor Bob Baird has accepted a position as California Regional Fire Director for the USFS.  He will unfortunately be leaving the Los Padres next month.  While we say goodbye to Supervisor Baird, we also say hello to Ranger Brad Turberville who is taking on the Ranger duties at Mount Pinos Ranger District on a 120-day detail.  Welcome Ranger Turberville!
  • The Santa Barbara Trails Council is currently running a photo contest featuring the Gaviota Coast.  There are some really amazing photos being shared, including some from the Los Padres.  Proceeds from the contest will be used to complete the Baron Trail, which is a new trail being built along the Gaviota Coast.

LP Trail Talk Series & Wildflowers

JamesTalkFlier LPFA TRAIL TALK SERIES
    Got plans for April 19?  You do now……  Headed up by Super Volunteer Scott Kipp, the LPFA has been working on lining up a series of talks, films and presentations focused on the Los Padres Forest and all the great recreational activities we enjoy in the Los Padres.  Our first event is Tuesday April 19 at the Veterans Memorial Hall in downtown Santa Barbara.

Headlining the event will be a presentation by James Wapotich on backpacking the trails within the SB wilderness areas.  If you haven’t heard/seen James talk, you gotta make it.  Not only are his stories a lot of fun but the photos will make you want to get out on the trail – they are fantastic!

In addition to James, we’ll have complimentary malty/hoppy/fermented beverages to quench your thirst and enough social time bookending the presentation to pick peoples brains about the best locations across the forest.  We’ll also have a few smaller presentations mixed in to provide volunteer opportunity updates and other fun forest stuff.

The event is FREE for LPFA members or $10 for non-members.  All proceeds from the event will go to the LPFA Trail Care program, which is used to purchase food and trail tools for our volunteer projects.  Space is limited so get your tickets while you can!  Click here for tickets or email INFO@LPForest.org for more information or questions.   See you there…..!


Loma Pelona, not so bald at the moment, April 2016 – photo Humphrey
LomasFlowers
WILDFLOWERS
Spring 2016 has shaped up to be one of the most spectacular wildflower seasons in recent memory.  The hills across the Los Padres are dotted with purples, golds, oranges, pinks, reds, whites and just about every other color you can imagine.  Quite spectacular this year.  Figueroa Mountain continues to hold the top billing with a poppy display you can see for dozens of miles in all directions.  We heard reports last weekend of literal traffic jams of people making the pilgrimage up to Fig Mtn.  While the poppies/lupines on that side of the SY Valley are terrific, there are many many other lesser known locations across the forest that are bursting with colors as well.  Get out there and explore!

Colorful Zaca Lake Flanks, look at Bald Mtn! – photo John Wiley
ZacaLakeWiley
We do have rain in the forecast for the next week so it’s possible the flowers might stick around a little longer this year as well.  If you haven’t gone to see the flowers, make a point of doing it this year.  No matter if you drive hours to that secret western facing slope or simply hit your favorite trail, no doubt you’ll be in for a fantastic wildflower display.  Go get it!
PurpleReeds Purple Reeds – photo Humphrey

LPFA Transverse – First Week of September

WestBigPine
WBP View, photo Masticator

Good Afternoon.  I thought we’d start right off with the eye candy.  Great shot taken a few weeks back looking west from the top of West Big Pine (WBP) in the San Rafael Wilderness.  You can barely see the tip of the Hurricane Deck if you know where to look.  There was water at Big Pine Camp but the best time to visit WBP is fall through early summer when the nights are cold and there is a chance of snow.  Lets get to it…….

F I R E   R E S T R I C T I O N S

As mentioned last week, the fire restriction order has been amended to allow persons with valid California Campfire Permits to use portable camping stoves in the forest.  The official orders are attached.  There are still no campfires allowed in the forest but you can bring a portable camping stove or lantern.  I do want to apologize for any mixed messages that might have been received with the order and subsequent amendment.  At the end of the day, this is a great gesture by the Forest Service in trusting that the forest users will be responsible with our camping stoves.  It’s dry out there, be careful everyone.  One last note, the State Parks along the Big Sur Coast are also not allowing campfires.  The nights are still warm, enjoy the stars………

W I L D E R N E S S   A N N I V E S A R Y

Earlier this week, September 3 to be exact, marked the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act.  Congratulations to all of us.  Really, the whole world should celebrate this day.  There have been quite a few events planned In recognition of the Wilderness Act turning 50 and there will be a bunch more through the Fall and into 2015.  We’ll keep everyone posted as the events come up, which segues nicely into the SCAPE Wilderness art event on the weekend of September 19-20 – see attached.  Come on out and see some beautiful art pieces highlighting the Los Padres Forest Wilderness areas.  The Forest Service and LPFA will have booths setup at the Friday night event.  Hope to see you there……….

F I G U E R O A   S I G N S

Super volunteer Mike Smith, he of goat fame, continues to chip away at new signs along the Figueroa Mtn network of trails.  The signs are hand cut out of steel and designed to match the style of signs that have frequented these trails for the past 70 years.  Very cool!  There are 5 new signs installed to date.  If anyone would like to donate to the sign cause, please let us know: info@LPForest.org

FigSulphurSpringSign
R E F U G I O   F I R E ,   1 9 5 5

A friend of the LPFA forwarded us an interesting video showing the Refugio Fire of 1955.  It’s a classic old news-clip showing why fire prevention is necessary, what methods were used to fight the fire and how post-fire prevention was handled nearly 60 years ago.  If you are in Fire or like to see old video of the Santa Ynez Mountains, you’ll like this.  Some of you will even notice Los Prietos from back in its glory days:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0n-_lP9iGs&feature=player_embedded#

And of course, Ray Ford has a writeup of the Refugio Fire for those who want to dive a little deeper:
http://www.independent.com/news/2007/jun/28/refugio-fire-1955/

SCAPE_Poster

LPFA Transverse – End of August 2014

Hello Everyone, It’s been a busy week in the Los Padres. Tragically, the two week search for missing backpacker Arvin Nelson is wrapping up in the Ventana Wilderness. We’re overdue for some good news, lets hope it arrives soon….. http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/blogs/news_blog/officials-wrapping-up-the-search-for-missing-hiker-arvin-nelson/article_d974a4c6-2982-11e4-b790-001a4bcf6878.html

F I R E  R E S T R I C T I O N S

 NoFireIcon

The fire restrictions across the forest have been elevated to Level IV. See attached announcement from the Forest Service. Level IV essentially means no campfires anywhere in the forest and no open flames in the backcountry. So don’t bring a stove on your next backpacking trip. While it might suck to drink cold coffee, look at the bright side, you’ll save that additional weight by not having to carry a stove. Stoves are permitted at most designated car-camping and glamping sites across the forest (see link below for list of those sites). The fire restrictions should remain at Level IV until we get a few inches of rain, usually November or December. While it might seem unfathomable to backpack without a fire or heaven forbid s’mores, give it a shot. A dark night under the stars might be an eye opening experience. Please be extra careful. http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5429958.pdf     LittlePine

V O L U N T E E R   T I M E

ARE YOU READY! Hope so because there are quite a few volunteer opportunities lining up across the forest in September. WE WANT TO SEE YOU OUT THERE! September will be highlighted by National Public Lands Day on the 27th. Outlined below are a few of the projects and if I am missing any, please let me know and I’ll get them in the next email. LITTLE PINE TRAIL EVENT – September 20 The LPFA is helping to support a hiking event that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is hosting on September 20 along the Santa Cruz Trail over Little Pine. We could use some volunteers to help along the hiking route or to be staged at the top of Little Pine or at Santa Cruz Station. We’ll provide truck access where available. This is a great cause for a great organization and a nice excuse to get into the mountains. If you are interested in helping lead a hike or support, let me know……… NPLD – FIGUEROA MOUNTAIN Santa Barbara County – September 27, 28 LPFA event to work the trails along Figueroa Mountain. Camping is available at Davy Brown. We’re going to have a great time. http://www.meetup.com/Santa-Barbara-Trail-Volunteers/events/203673382/ http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/los-padres-national-forest-figueroa-mountain-davy-brown NPLD – CAMP PICO BLANCO Ventana Wilderness – September 27,28 Ventana Wilderness Alliance project to work the Little Sur Trail. Camping is available. Awesomeness! http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/los-padres-national-forest-camp-pico-blancoventana-wilderness NPLD – CERRO ALTO CAMPGROUND San Luis Obispo County – September 27 Santa Lucia Ranger District is hosting a project September 27 at Cerro Alto Campground. Fun in the sun! http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/cerro-alto-campground-los-padres-national-forest NPLD – WHEELER GORGE Ventura County – September 28 The LPFA is hosting a project at Wheeler Gorge to work the nearby trails and maintain the Visitor Center. What could be better! http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/wheeler-gorge-visitor-center-los-padres-national-forest