Opening Soberanes – Get Your 2018 Calendar!

Mid-Fall Colors, Mono Jungle, November 2017
Hello Friends,

It is fall and the weather is changing.  These past few weeks we’ve seen our Los Padres autumn colors coming in, temps are cooling quickly and we’ve even had a few early season storms knock back the summer dust and in some places ash from the 2017 wildfire season.  While we haven’t seen a whole lot of rain up and down the forest, most of the Northern Los Padres has received over an inch of rain with select locations closing in on 2 inches.  Many of the creeks are starting to flow again as the riparian trees settle into their winter dormancy cycle and the trails are ripe for exploring.  Hope you get out there soon and be sure to check the latest conditions of your favorite trail or camp at HikeLosPadres and share your experiences after you get back.

— • — • — • —


Highway 1 at Carmel River, Sign Slightly Modified

BIG SUR & MONTEREY OPENING UP
In case you’ve missed the last few episodes, there have been some recent developments in the never-ending epic saga: The Sometimes Island of Big Sur.  As you should know, access to Big Sur and the Monterey Backcountry has been severely limited over the past 17 months due to the 2016 Soberanes Fire followed by 2017 winter storm damage.  After many months of being isolated and/or closed, the area is slowly opening back up:


THE ROADS

• The first domino to fall was the October reopening of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, which amazingly reopened after only 7 months of being closed (BIG round of applause to all involved).  The reopening of the Pfeiffer Bridge once again allowed vehicles to travel between Big Sur and Monterey along Hwy 1.
• Unfortunately, Hwy 1 still doesn’t connect with San Luis Obispo due to the Mud Creek slide in Southern Monterey County.  Mud Creek remains closed between Gorda and the Salmon Creek Guard Station.  Crews continue to work on the slide but Hwy 1 at Mud Creek is expected to remain closed throughout the winter and most likely until summer 2018.
• Access to Bottcher’s Gap Campground and trailhead remains closed as work continues along Palo Colorado Road.
• All other normal public forest access roads should be open across the Monterey Ranger District.  This includes Nacimiento Fergusson, Tassajara, Sycamore Canyon and South Coast Ridge Road.  That being said, this time of year storm closures should be expected so be sure to contact the FS if you have any questions or need clarification.

Western Pine Ridge Trail Remains Closed

THE FOREST

• Effective November 9, the Soberanes Fire closure was adjusted re-opening most of the Monterey Ranger District and Ventana Wilderness areas.  This is good news!
• That being said, it’s not all rainbows and moonbeams just yet.  There was substantial fire damage along the very popular Pine Ridge Trail and as a result the Pine Ridge Trail between Big Sur Station and Redwood Camp remains closed indefinitely.  This includes Sykes, Barlow Flat, Terrace Creek, Ventana Camp, Redwood Camp, Ventana Camp Trail and the Terrace Creek Trail.  There is no established timeframe as to when these camps/trails will reopen.  Patience is the word of the day and hopefully more information on a reopening date will surface in the coming weeks.
• You can view the closer order here and a map of the closure here.
• There are likely quite a few trails within the Soberanes Fire perimeter that have not been properly surveyed.  Be careful if you’re out there and please take photos of any trail slides or downed trees and share them with either the Forest Service, Ventana Wilderness Alliance or post on HikeLosPadres.com.  The more information that is shared, the sooner the trail issues can be resolved.  Thanks…..

— • — • — • —
2018 LOS PADRES WALL CALENDAR
For the 3rd year in a row the LPFA will be putting together a Los Padres themed wall calendar!  They’ve been a huge hit and we’re excited to work again this year to collect and compile great photos from across the LP featuring vistas, favorite trails, waterfalls, wildlife, camps and more……  And we can use your help!

Once again, if you have a great LP photo you’d like to share that you think would make a good addition to the calendar, please send it our way and if we use it we’ll send you a free calendar.  All photos will only be used for the calendar and your name will be credited on the month that the photo is used.  We’ve done this the past two years and it’s been a lot of fun seeing the great photos submitted by you and incorporating them into the themed calendar.

Photos should be sent to INFO@LPForest.org and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have. 

You can also pre-order the calendar for $15.00 at the following link: http://lpforest.org/2018-los-padres-calendar/  We plan on having the calendar printed and shipped by mid-December, just in time to stuff the stocking of your favorite Los Padres adventurer!  Happy Holidays…….

— • — • — • —

“Has anyone seen the bridge?” – Newly re-built Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge

Working Vacation Update and National Trails Day

Hello Los Padres – hope this finds you well,

The big news this past week was that most of the seasonal gate closures in the Ventura backcountry were opened as of May 1.  This includes Dough Flat, Grade Valley, Santa Barbara Canyon (SBCo), Alamo and Pine Mtn amongst others.  These gates are closed November 1 and reopened May 1 as part of seasonal gate closures.  Unfortunately the closures happen to coincide with the best time for people to recreate behind most of these gates.  It would be nice to see the gates opened and closed on a case by case basis based on storm events, conditions and elevation rather than a blanket closure.  Hopefully this is something we can work on over the next 6 months so that next years closures won’t be so drastic.  For now, the gates are open and now is a great time to get out and enjoy the Forest.  Have at it………


 

PackSupport

Dream Team of Otis, Susie and team……….

WORKING VACATION
– UPPER SISQUOC –

The LPFA just wrapped up a 10-day Working Vacation along the Upper Sisquoc in the San Rafael Wilderness.  We had 16 volunteers over that time working the trail and helping supply the project with stock support.  Working Vacations are designed to entice volunteers to spend time working the trails in exchange for cooked meals and cold beverages at the end of each hard days work.  Led by VWR super hero Mike Smith, we were able to log out over 100 downed trees from the Judell and Sisquoc Trails.  By the end of the 10-days, the entire Judell Trail and from Mansfield to Lower Bear was passable to stock.  It was a great project and huge accomplishment.  Special thanks to the Forest Service for helping support the project, in particular Joe Duran, Pancho Smith and Nate Rezeau.  Also Susie and Otis for their expert pack support and Rich Scholl for being a dutch oven magician as our designated cook.

Now that the trail work is done, it’s time to head out and see for yourself.  There was plenty of water in the Sisquoc and the trails are in great shape.  We’re starting to plan an early summer followup project to log the section of trail from Alamar Saddle down to Lower Bear.  We’ll keep you posted and hope to see you next time around……

MansfieldOak

Crosscut Logging near Mansfield, photo Beckstrand

TombstoneTree

The Tombstone Oak, you know it’s taken some time when a tree gets a name, photo Burtness 

SisquocTread

Tread Looking Nice!

HeathCamp

Benefits of stock support, photo Burtness

HeathFood

Eat like Kings and Queens

JudellTrail

Spectacular Judell Trail, looking better than normal!

 

 

NATIONAL TRAILS DAY

Give back to your trails by celebrating National Trails Day with the LPFA.  This year we are hosting a 1-2 day project along the Cold Spring Trail in Santa Barbara County.  With the help of a grant from the Los Padres Trails Riders, we’ll be base camping at Mono Campground and working the Cold Spring Trail through the Mono Jungle and up to the infamous North Cold Spring Slide.  The Slide has been choking the trail for the past 10+ years and preventing most trail users from making it along the trail.  We are going to spend our time reestablishing this section of trail and logging downed trees in the Mono Jungle.  Here is a quick breakdown on the project logistics:

Friday June 5
– Arrive at Mono Campground in the afternoon or evening
– Setup camp, relax, nearby hot springs

Saturday June 6
– Arrive at Mono Campground
– Trail work will start at 0800
– We’ll break into groups and hike the 2miles to the slide section
– Work the trail……
– Stop work at 1500 and head back to Mono Campground
– BBQ and post-work cold beverages provided by the LPFA and TBA local brewing company
– Relax around camp, enjoy nearby hot springs

Sunday June 7
– Breakfast provided by the LPFA
– 0900, optional continued work on the Slide for those interested
– 1400 stop work and head back to Mono Campground
– Pack up and head home

If you are interested in helping either with trail work or as a camp cook, please email INFO@LPForest.org.  For more information check here:

http://www.nationaltrailsday.org/events/north-cold-spring-trail-project/

The Slide, looks better than it actually is…….
SlideOne
SlideTwo
OverviewMapColdSpring

List of more upcoming events……….
———————————————————————————–
May 19-27: Santa Cruz Trail Project
May: Buckhorn Trail Project
June 3-11: Mono Alamar Trail Project
June 5-7: National Trails Day, Mono Campground Trail Weekend
June 27: Big Sur Wilderness Celebration
June: Bear Sisquoc Crosscut
July 10-12: Santa Barbara 100 Endurance Run Support
July: Madulce Trail Crosscut
———————————————————————————–