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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Fire Restrictions Lifted

   Snowy Thorn Point, December 2014, photo Dan
ThornPoint

Happy Holidays Los Padres!
We’ve had quite a few nice storms over the past few weeks.  Most of the Forest is well over the normal % of rain and the forecast remains strong for more rain in the coming weeks.  Fingers crossed, we need it.  We’ve been getting reports that many of the creeks have started flowing again.  We’re headed in the right direction.  Check out www.HikeLosPadres.com for more updates on trails, camps and water.

F I R E  R E S T R I C T I O N S

In response to the above normal amounts of water falling from the sky, the Forest Service and CAL FIRE announced earlier this week that fire restrictions across the forest have been lifted.  This is great news for most of us and means we can have campfires again.  Woohoo!!!  Bust out the s’mores!!  Please remember to be careful with your campfires.  Many of the fire rings have not been used in over a year, be sure to clear a safe space (5 feet) around the campfire and of course extinguish your fire before you leave camp.  Fire permits are required and can be picked up at any Ranger Station or online here.


First Crossing, Santa Ynez River
FirstCrossing
R O A D    C L O S U R E S

While green grass, flowing creeks and campfires are a nice side effect of the rain, unfortunately rain does cause some of the roads across the forest to close.  The Forest Service posts these closures on their website, check it out here.  Of note:- Divide Peak Gate remains closed but will reopen after a few days of sunshine.
– First Crossing is closed due to mud flow across the Santa Ynez River.  It should reopen in a few weeks.
– Santa Barbara Canyon is closed at Reyes Ranch and will remain closed until May 1.
– Reyes Peak Road is closed for the season.
– Cherry Creek is also closed for the season.We’ll keep you posted as gates open and close.  If you have any questions, feel free to email: info@LPForest.org


Pine Ridge Trail, photo Ventana Wilderness Alliance
PineRidgeTrail
P R O J E C T S    U P C O M I N G  
&   N E W S

PINE RIDGE TRAIL CLOSED
The Pine Ridge Trail in the Ventana Widlerness is currently closed due to this large washout.  Wowzers!  The slide is about 3miles up the trail from Big Sur Station. We’ll keep you posted on updates or check in with the VWA.

LOST VALLEY TRAIL: December 20
– LPFA volunteers will be out this weekend logging fallen trees from the Lost Valley Trail in the San Rafael Wilderness.

– We’ll post updates on HikeLosPadres.com early next week.

 

VWR HEADQUARTERS CLEANUP: December 27
– We’re looking for volunteers to come out on December 27 and help clean up the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Headquarters off Paradise Road in Santa Barbara County.
– Most of the work will be raking up leaves, removing fallen tree limbs, clearing brush and trimming trees.
– We can use all the help we can get.  If you’re free all day or only have a few hours, we’ll take it.
– Contact Curt at Curt@LPForest.org for more information and to sign up!

COZY DELL: December 21
– Ranger Heidi with the Ojai Ranger District is hosting a project along the Cozy Dell Trail in Ojai.
– Most of the work will be filling in sink holes caused by the recent rains.
– For more information, contact Heidi:  handerson@fs.fed.us

FIRST AID CERTIFICATION: February 28
– We’ve put together a First Aid / CPR certification class for February 28.
– The class will be held in Ojai.
– If you need your certification renewed, this is a great opportunity.
– The cost will be around $40-$50.
– Let us know if interested:  bryan@LPForest.org

SUPERVISORS OFFICE FLOODED
– The Forest Supervisors Office in Goleta was flooded last week.
– It will be closed for the next month or two.
– Business will continue for the Forest with much of the staff being moved to different districts or working remotely.

FIGUEROA MOUNTAIN CONTROLLED BURNS
– There will be a series of controlled burns in and around Figueroa Mountain starting this month.
– The focus is to burn some of the ladder effect fuel buildup.

Happy Holidays and wishing each of you a stocking filled with hiking and riding gear……..

 

Los Padres Cloud Formations
OjaiClouds

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