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

La Brea Decision, Volunteer Projects and is Fall Here?

Not safe to come out just yet, A-Zone South ends September 22, photo Humphrey

Howdy Friends,

It may not feel like it, especially right now with our recent stack of hot days but there is a subtle change occurring in the forest right now indicating that FALL IS COMING.  The days are certainly shorter, the nights a little cooler and we’re even seeing some colors changing in select plants and locations.  It’s a little early still but even the first hint of Fall is an exciting time here in the Los Padres.  For many, Fall means the start of the Los Padres backcountry season.  Time to say goodbye to the Sierras and hello to planning your next LP adventure.  For the LPFA, Fall also means ramping up our volunteer trail maintenance projects.  As usual, we’ve got a full forest-wide list of upcoming trail projects listed at the bottom of this email highlighted by an October Working Vacation at Bluff Cabin maintaining the Grapevine Trail.  We’re also partnering with REI and the Thomas Fire Trail Fund to work the Lion Canyon Trail as part of National Public Lands Day.  We’ll be kicking off another season of Ojai First Saturday projects in October and for those of you who might be free sooner we’ll be doing trail work on the upper reaches of the Sisquoc Trail this coming weekend.  The end of 2019 will also see some trail projects in the SLO backcountry and we are laying the groundwork for another Working Vacation on the Piedra Blanca Trail in the Sespe.  Lots of great projects lined up across the Los Padres!  We’d love to have you come out this Fall and volunteer on any (or all) of the upcoming trail projects.  For more details check the list at the bottom or email us directly: Volunteer@LPForest.org

LA BREA RESTORATION PROJECT DECISION

The Maps will be Changing, La Brea Decision

Ten years ago the La Brea Fire burned almost 90,000 acres in and around the northwest portion of the San Rafael Wilderness.  We all know the equation: (fire scarred land) + (lots of rain) = BAD and the big winter storms of 2011 destroyed most of the La Brea Canyon Road, which was a popular dirt road used to connect Colson and Miranda Pine.  As a result of the fire and flood damage, the Forest Service closed La Brea Canyon to vehicle use while undertaking a lengthy process of analyzing and determining how to best manage the La Brea area for future use.  It became known as the La Brea Restoration Project.  Over the past few years the FS formulated a series of four different action alternatives for how they might manage the La Brea area.  These actions were repeatedly shared with the public through FS hosted open house meetings as well as multiple rounds of public comment. As expected, there were many different public opinions on how the FS should manage the future of La Brea and after taking all the different sides into consideration the FS indicated that they were going with proposed action alternative 1. Alternative 1 included converting the creek portions of La Brea Canyon Road to non-motorized trail, decommissioning 5 campgrounds, converting 1 campground, creating 2 new trailheads and converting Kerry Canyon Trail to non-motorized.  On August 16 the FS released their final decision on the La Brea Restoration Project.  It matched with what was listed above with one large change, the new decision is calling for the complete decommission of the Kerry Canyon Trail.  Among other things, the Kerry Canyon Trail is a key 8-mile section of the Condor Trail and if Kerry was to be decommissioned that would prevent any future trail maintenance along Kerry Canyon.  Please click the above links for more information.  There is one final 45-day objection period which started August 16. Details and instructions for the objections can be found here on page 10.

FOREST 411

Lions are the king of the jungle.  Are they also the king of the Forest?Rugged Lion Canyon, roaring before the September 28th National Public Lands Day project

Wildfire Updates: Quick update on the larger LP wildfires
MILL FIRE (Monterey): 100% contained, 310 acres and closures remain in effect. – SNAIL FIRE (Mt Pinos): 100% contained, 279 acres

• Speaking of Snail Canyon, the famous bar and grill near Reyes Creek Campground has once again changed management and is now called Camp Scheideck Lodge Bar & Grill.  They are now open for business!

• And speaking of potential wildfires, here’s a link to a story about a Big Sur man who is on a mission to stop illegal campfires along the Big Sur Coast.  It’s certainly a good mission, lets hope for the best.

• And still speaking of fire potential, the National Science Foundation recently funded an extensive study of the Santa Barbara wind event known as sundowners.  Sundowners combined with wildfire is a nasty mix.  It will be interesting to follow this study over the coming years.

• The LPFA will once again host a Used Camping Gear Sale on November 3 at Tucker’s Grove Park in Goleta.  This is a great opportunity for our members to get super good discounted deals on gently used backpacks (Gossamer Gear is hooking us up again!), tents and other car-camping and backpacking supplies.  We are taking donations as well in case you have an old backpack, tent of camping accessory that hasn’t recently seen the light of day.  All proceeds go towards our Trail Care Fund and back into the trails you love!  For more information about the event or where to donate, email: INFO@LPForest.org

BLACK BEAR EATING CONDOR!??!  That was the headline last week when a Ventana Wildlife Society camera captured a video of a black bear in Big Sur feeding on a calf carcass that was set aside for condors to eat.  It was big news since the Big Sur area doesn’t have much of a bear population but the headline claiming that a black bear was eating a condor certainly grabbed a lot of attention.

• The Federal Government filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison for allegedly allowing the Rey Fire to ignite in August 2016.  Read details here.

• According to Ventura County law enforcement officials, 2018 illegal backcountry pot grow operations were down over two-thirds in comparison to 2017.  This could be a result of marijuana legalization.

Electric Bikes (E-Bikes) have grown in popularity over the past decade.  The current Forest Service regulations on E-Bikes is that they can be ridden on 1) Roads Open to All Vehicles 2) Trails Open to All Vehicles 3) Trails Open to Vehicles 50″ of Less in Width and 4) Trails Open to Motorcycles Only.  So basically E-Bikes can be ridden on public OHV/Moto trails and public FS roads, places where other motorized vehicles can ride only.  There are rumblings that the FS stance on E-Bikes might be changing.  Last week, the Department of the Interior took a big step towards allowing pedal assist E-Bikes on traditional mountain bike trails within National Parks.  This is bound to be a hot topic over the coming years as the FS figures out how to squeeze E-Bikes into an existing user-group or decides to create a new user-group altogether.  Stay tuned…..

• We’re in the dog days of summer heat but there were still a few LP trails worked on over the past month or so: Pine Ridge, Sisquoc, Romero, Jesusita, Terrace, Tunnel, Arroyo Burro, Cold Spring, Franklin, Deal, Buena Vista, Reyes Peak, Mission Pine

Big thanks to Goleta based Scout Troop 26 and Logan Beckstrand who worked with the LPFA to complete his Eagle Project installing 21 interpretive markers and a trailhead sign for the Aliso Canyon Interpretive Trail.
The previous trail markers and signs were destroyed in the White (2013) and Rey (2016) Fires.  Go check it out!

National Public Lands Day! NOT TOO LATE…..

Getting Pumped for National Public Lands Day!
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY
TOMORROW – SATURDAY – SEPT 22
It’s not too late!  Last reminder!  2018 marks the 25th anniversary of National Public Lands Day! NPLD is a nation-wide day dedicated to bringing volunteers into public lands and helping restore, maintain, clean and/or improve those public lands. The LPFA has been hosting NPLD projects for the past 6 years and NPLD has been a great avenue for bringing together volunteers to help the Los Padres Forest and having a great time while doing it!  This year there are four Los Padres based NPLD events spread out between Santa Barbara and Mt Pinos:

WHEELER GORGE RESTORATION & CLEANUP
SEPTEMBER 22, OJAI

See attached PDF for more information.

SB THOMAS FIRE TRAIL RESTORATION
SEPTEMBER 22, SANTA BARBARA

See attached PDF for more information.

SEPTEMBER 22, SANTA BARBARA

MT PINOS RANGER DISTRICT CLEANUP
SEPTEMBER 29, FRAZIER PARK
Scheduled for September 29, call 661-245-3731 for more information.

Or you can visit the NPLD website and search for another volunteer project near you, there are no shortages of projects around the country!  Go find yours and VOLUNTEER:
https://www.neefusa.org/event-locator

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LOS PADRES FOR $500 ALEX
For those of you in the Greater Goleta area, don’t forget to come out to Draughtsmen Aleworks Tuesday night September 25 for a special outdoors themed trivia night hosted by LPFA and DA.  It’s being MC’d by Trivia Whizz William and should be a lot of fun.  Hope to see you there and remember to order Mas Machos!


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DON’T FORGET, BLUFF CABIN WORKING VACATION OCTOBER 19-28
LOTS OF OPTIONS FOR DRIVE IN AND DRIVE OUT TIMES
INDIAN CREEK, TRAIL WORK, LOTS OF FRIENDS, AWESOME!
EMAIL: INFO@LPFOREST.ORG TO SIGN UP!

Oh So Nice, Oso Nice

Los Padres Winds of Winter, NPLD & Trail Trainings

Winds of Winter Revealing Early Fall Colors, San Rafael Mountain

Hi Everyone,

This past week (Autumnal Equinox on 9/22) we officially said goodbye to summer and hello to fall!  People complain about the lack of seasons here in the Los Padres but chances are you’ve felt some chillier mornings this last week and have probably put on a jacket for the first time in a few months as well.  Fall is here and with it the start of our real trail season – hallelujah!  That being said, this past summer was a memorable one and left in a blaze of glory with some crazy September weather.  According to some sources “they” say this summer was the hottest recorded summer in California history.  We saw a late season extreme heat wave that included record temps across much of the forest.  But don’t complain too much about our heat as Death Valley suffered through a record 94 straight days of temperatures over 100˚, which ended earlier this month.  Speaking of this month, September brought lots of monsoonal rains and spectacular weather including thunderstorms, microbursts, flash floods and even our first freeze of the season.  Rain totals across the forest were generally in the 0.25″ – 0.5″ range but select areas received over an inch highlighted by the Sierra Madres which received 1.3″ at Bates Canyon.  There is already some greenery sprouting as a result of the rain which hopefully means a long green season to come.  Summer rarely leaves without a fight and temps are expected to be hot again this week but winter is coming……

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NPLD Across the Forest

NPLD VOLUNTEER CENTRAL

This coming Saturday September 30 is National Public Lands Day (NPLD).  NPLD is the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort on public lands with events and volunteer opportunities setup across the country.  If you’re looking to participate in NPLD we’ve got you covered here in the Los Padres with three scheduled projects to choose from:

SALMON CREEK, SOUTH BIG SUR COAST
Join volunteers from Ventana Wilderness Alliance and the LPFA as we will be camping near Salmon Creek Trailhead and spending the weekend maintaining nearby trails and helping to educate trail-users on Leave No Trace and responsible forest use.  If you’d like to sign up please email us (INFO@LPForest.org) or check this link for more information.  RSVP is required as space is limited……

TUNNEL TRAIL, SANTA BARBARA FRONTCOUNTRY
A local who’s who of SB trail restoration workers are going to descend on Tunnel Trail this Saturday to do what they do best.  Tunnel Trail is in need of some love and when better to share that love than NPLD.  Project begins at the trailhead at 8am, lunch will be provided, more information here and attached PDF.

PRATT TRAIL, OJAI FRONTCOUNTRY
This NPLD project was scheduled a week later on October 7 in order to avoid conflicts.  We’ll be meeting at the Ojai Ranger District at 8:30am on 10/7 and then carpooling up to the top of the Pratt Trail.  From there we’ll be clearing brush and fixing trail, all with great views of the Ojai Valley and the eastern Santa Ynez Mtns.  Come join us!

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“Trail? I Don’t See No Stinkin Trail!” – Aliso Trail Hole

UPCOMING TRAIL TRAININGS

Most of us have probably volunteered at some point to help support the trails you love.  If you haven’t, you really should!  It’s great exercise, you feel good about yourself, spending time in nature, you feel good about yourself, meeting new friends, you feel good about yourself, always learning new things and you feel good about yourself.  And some of us have probably volunteered A LOT, thank you for your help!  For those of us looking to add skills to the trail work we love, there are two upcoming trail building trainings that you might want to look into:

OCTOBER 7-9: GRIPHOIST / RIGGING CLASS
Rigging is an advanced trail building technique designed to safely move large heavy objects into place while building or restoring trails.  Think of rigging like a zip-line for objects such as boulders, supplies or wood where those objects are moved into place along the trail using a tool called a griphoist.  I’m sure you’ve seen giant 400lb rock steps placed on trails, most likely those steps were built using a griphoist and rigging.  If you’re interested in learning more about the art of moving large objects, United Trail Maintainers of California (UTMC) has graciously scheduled a free 3-day training Oct 7-9 in Tehachapi.  The class will be taught by OBP Trailworks, for more information check this link or contact UTMC to sign up.  We’re expecting lots of beautiful step works and rockwalls across the LP in the coming years!

NOVEMBER 4-5: SUSTAINABLE TRAIL BUILDING WORKSHOP
What good is working a trail if it’s not sustainable?  Of course the brush always comes back and gravity takes down trees but if you’re interested in learning how to build and maintain a sustainable trail come on out to this 2-day training being offered by Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers (CCCMB) at Montaña de Oro State Park.  The class costs $100 and should be a great weekend of practical trail learning and instruction.  For more information check the link right here.

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The Itsy-Bitsy Spider Climbed Up the Dry Waterfall

There’s a lot of volunteer projects and events upcoming that we want to highlight including the Upper Ojai SAR fundraiser this weekend, the October Working Vacation at Mission Pine Spring, LPFA Karma Tap at Draughtsmen Aleworks where you can contribute to the LPFA literally by drinking beer – all OCTOBER LONG! and the Fig Mtn Gran Fondo.  So much going on, we’ll plan on sending another email soon…..  In the meantime here’s a quick teaser…..

Autumn Backpacking is Here

VWR Greg Jenkins came upon this stubborn bear literally in the middle of the Madulce Trail, Summer 2015
JenkinsBear

Season’s Greetings Everyone!

Today is the autumnal equinox here in the northern hemisphere.  This happens once a year when the sun is positioned directly over the equator on it’s journey north and marks the official end of Summer and the start of Fall.  For many LP locals this is a time to rejoice and start preparing for the start of our backcountry season.  Soon the temperatures will start to drop, water will flow and before we know it the land will be turning green once again.  It’s always strange seeing most of the rest of the country turning brown right when we are turning green.  Anyway, right now is a good time to start prepping for your dream week-long LP backpack trip, bagging that peak on your list or getting ready for that ride you’ve always wanted to do.  Enjoy the equinox……..


Davy Brown Trail Project, National Public Lands Day, 2014
NPLD_DavyBrown
 NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY
This Saturday, September 26, is the 22nd annual National Public Lands Day.  NPLD is the single largest day of volunteerism across the United States.  The Los Padres is very fortunate to have a series of volunteer events organized across the forest.  In the chance that you are free on Saturday and feel like giving back, check out the list below and sign up to help.  Thank you everyone!

Alamar Trail: LPFA, Santa Barbara Back Country
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/alamar-trail-sawyer-and-maintenance-santa-barbara-county-los-padres-national-forest
http://www.meetup.com/Santa-Barbara-Trail-Volunteers/events/224909222/?a=ra1_vl&_af=event&_af_eid=224909222

Cold Spring Trail: Santa Barbara Front Country
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/los-padres-national-forest-upper-cold-spring-trail

Carrizo Plain: Friends of Carrizo Plain
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/carrizo-plain-national-monument

Gridley Trail: Ojai Forest Service, Ojai Front Country
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/gridley-trail

Ventana Wilderness Trail Project: VWA, Monterey County
http://www.publiclandsday.org/npld-sites/ventana-wilderness-los-padres-national-forest


Learn to safely backpack, photo Honest Mike

HonestMikeMadulce
INTRODUCTION TO BACKPACKING
Over the past few years there have been some great programs designed at teaching adults the basics of backpacking.  While it’s never too late to learn how to backpack, it can be intimidating and scary to learn without proper instruction.  For those of you interested in learning from some of the best, we are fortunate to have programs across most of the Los Padres that offer an introduction to backpacking.

Over the past few years the Los Padres Chapter of the Sierra Club has been offering a course called Backpacking Basics.  The course is held each Spring and is based in Ventura.  Earlier this year the LPFA hosted a program called Backpacking Fundamentals.  We had a lot of fun organizing the class and made some great friends along the way.  It was cool to see some of the students backpacking together even after the class ended.  James Wapotich and Sierra Butler also taught a course called Backpacking Made Easy, based out of Santa Barbara.  And of course there are plenty of classes hosted by REI from Monterey to Ventura that also teach backpacking basics.

FALL 2015 CLASSES OPEN NOW
• The LPFA is proud to announce that we’ll be hosting our second Backpacking Fundamentals Course starting this October.  The class will be hosted in Santa Maria and we’re hoping to get some of the North SB County and South SLO County backpackers to attend.  If you are interested in signing up or hearing more, check the Meetup Link here.

• James Wapotich and Sierra Butler will also be teaching a second Backpacking Made Easy class this Fall in Santa Barbara.  Check the link here for more details.

it’s never too late to take up backpacking and we’ve found that even the seasoned backpackers can learn a lot by attending the classes.  Check it out and hope to see you on the trail, or in the classroom!

Along the recently burned Chorro Grande Trail, photo Bardley of Ojai
ChorroBardley
WHAT’S GOING ON?
Actually quite a bit going on at the moment.  Here’s a taste!

TASSAJARA FIRE
Earlier this week a fire broke out just north of the Los Padres in Monterey County near the town of Jamesburg.  Named the Tassajara Fire, it moved quickly and grew to over 1,000 acres in just a few hours.  Fire crews got on it quickly and have been able to hold the fire at bay.  It currently stands at 81% contained with 1,086 acres burned.  Sadly 22 structures including 10 homes were destroyed.

SUPER MOON LUNAR ECLIPSE
Nope, not a new character from Incredibles 2 but this Sunday we’ll be able to experience a rare phenomenon called a super moon lunar eclipse.  A super moon occurs when the moons closest orbit around the Earth happens to coincide with being a full moon.  This happens often enough but the twist this time around is that there is a lunar eclipse at the same time.  We’ve not had a super moon lunar eclipse since 1982 and the next one won’t occur until 2033.  So literally, this could be a once in a lifetime experience.  The eclipse should last 72 minutes and is visible for us on the west coast of North America.  For more information search the World Wide Web, there is no shortage of hype.  If you get a great photo, we’d love to see it!

RAIN, RAIN
Most of the Forest got a little taste of rain last week.  It’s been an interesting Summer with now three tropical storms making it far enough north to drop rain around the Los Padres.  While most of the rain totals from the latest storm were less than half an inch, we have reason to celebrate!  For the first time in a long time we have above normal rain totals.  YIPPEE!  Santa Barbara is currently at 133% of normal for the rain season. Of course, don’t get too excited, the rain season goes from September 1 – August 30.

Some of Ranger Rik’s Quiver, available soon!
RikBackpacks
BACKPACK GEAR SALE, ADOPT-A-TRAIL, VWR EVENT
The LPFA will be hosting a backpack gear sale on Saturday November 7 in Santa Barbara.  We’re still working on specifics but put it on your calendar.  If you are a backpacker or lover of the Los Padres, this will be a really cool event!  SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7.  More to come………

UPCOMING EVENTS
Quite a few events upcoming.  Here are a few:

September 25-27: LPFA NPLD Alamar Trail Crosscut Sawyer Project

September 26-27: VWA Pico Blanco NPLD Trail Project
September 26: NPLD Santa Barbara, Upper Cold Spring
September 26: NPLD Ojai Gridley Trail
October 3: Wild and Scenic Film Festival, Monterey in support of the VWA

October 7: Chuck Graham, Ventura Library
October 8: Exploring the Sespe Wilderness Slideshow, James Wapotich, Santa Barbara
October 13: LPFA Backpacking Fundamentals Class, North Santa Barbara and SLO Counties

October 16-18: LPFA Madulce Trail Crosscut Sawyer Project (NOTE NEW DATE)
October 17: Backpacking Made Easy, Santa Barbara, James Wapotich
October 21: Lanny Kaufer, Ventura Library
October 24: Wilderness Symposium, Ojai, Los Padres Chapter Sierra Club
October 28: Craig Carey, Ventura Library
November 7: AAT Launch, Backpacking Gear Sale & VWR Appreciation, Santa Barbara
December 4-6: LPFA Lower Mono-Alamar Trail Project

Sunny Days & Meteor Nights

SUN

Howdy Everyone,

SUN is the word of the week as some of us are bracing for what is looking like a hot weekend across the Los Padres.  By Saturday most of the LP should be seeing temps in the low to mid 90’s with some places creeping into triple digits.  Even coastal areas will be seeing hotter than usual temperatures.  While the nights have been feeling a tad bit ‘fallish’ over the past few days, most of the forest will see warm evenings to match the hot days.  This is the second weekend of A-Zone South hunting, if you are heading into the forest be sure to bring lots of water and drink it.  For those needing their NDD (Nature Deficit Disorder) fix, your best bet might be along the Big Sur coastal trails in Monterey County.  Be safe and be sure to share what you find on HikeLosPadres.com when you get back.



Not that hard to get away from lights in the Los Padres
Lights
PERSEID METEOR SHOWER

Each August the night skies above the Los Padres come to life with the Perseid meteor shower.  While the meteor shower happens annually, this year is especially vivid due to the lack of a moon this week.  Below is a link which helps explain all the details, rules, this/that and the other…… BUT your best bet is to get outside, away from the lights, take some time, lay back and enjoy the show……





San Luis based VWR Bill Obermeyer, escorting Smokey during the Fiesta Parade
Horse
FOREST  NEWS
CHORRO FIRE CONTAINED
The Chorro Fire, which started August 2 along Hwy 33 above Ojai, is now 100% contained.  Great work to the fire crews and Forest Service for knocking it back as quickly as they did.  The fire burned 282 acres and the closure of trails within and around the fire area has been lifted as of today.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  Remember that the Los Padres is in level III fire restrictions, more information here and here.

DON VICTOR DOWNED PLANE
A small Cessna plane crashed in the Los Padres near Don Victor Valley on the night of August 6.  The plane had taken off from Lompoc and was headed to Carlsbad when the pilot called out reporting engine failure.  Sadly when the SAR crews arrived both the pilot and passenger were found dead.




LPFA_Sawyer
NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY: September 26
More information to come but the LPFA will be hosting a trail project on the weekend of September 25-27 along the Alamar Trail in the Dick Smith Wilderness.  The last report we had from the trail was from summer 2014 when Forest Service interns reported at least 300 downed trees within the first mile and a half of the trail.  YIKES!  The Alamar Trail was burned in the Zaca Fire and the thick forest of coulter pines were utterly destroyed.  While the burned skeletons stood for a few years after the fire, almost all of them have now fallen leaving the trail tread buried under hundreds and hundreds of fallen pines.  The great news is that a new thick blanket of sapling coulters are now clawing up to replace the old forest.  The babies are now in the 6-8ft range and extremely healthy.  Nature taketh and nature giveth back, or something like that.  Anyway, back to the trail work: almost all the work will be crosscut sawyer cutting out trees from the trail corridor.  If you are a sawyer or would like to learn more about the sweet science of sawyering, this is a great trip for you.  More information can be found here or email to sign up: INFO@LPForest.org.

National Public Lands Day 2015: Alamar Trail

Alamar Canyon Overview

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The LPFA is proud to announce that we’ll be hosting our third consecutive National Public Lands Day (NPLD) project during the weekend of September 25-27.  NPLD is officially Saturday September 26.  NPLD is the nation’s number 1 day for volunteerism.  You can learn more about NPLD here.  In 2013 we hosted a project in the Mt Pinos Ranger District along the Boulder Canyon Trail and in 2014 we worked the Davy Brown Trail in the Santa Lucia Ranger District.  This year we’ll be doing sawyer work and trail maintenance on the Alamar Trail in the Santa Barbara Ranger District.

Details will be announced as the date approaches but the plan is to drive into either Bluff Camp or Alamar Saddle on Friday September 25 and set up a basecamp.  Dinner will be provided for the volunteers.  On the morning of Saturday September 26, we’ll get to work clearing the trail of downed trees and brushing as needed.  The hope is to work approximately 2miles down the canyon to where the trail reaches the headwaters of Alamar Creek.  We’ll reconvene Saturday afternoon back at basecamp, where once again dinner will be provided for the volunteers.  Sunday morning will be set aside for exploring the area and Sunday afternoon we’ll pack up and head back home.

This years NPLD Alamar Trail Project will be a great opportunity to work on a remote trail within the Dick Smith Wilderness, meet like-minded volunteers, give back to the trails you love and get involved in the effort to help the Los Padres National Forest.  The project is open to all levels of trail volunteers and will be limited to 20 volunteers.  For more information contact the LPFA at INFO@LPForest.org.

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We’ll be working the section shown in BLUE heading down-canyon from Alamar Camp into the Dick Smith Wilderness.

LPFA Transverse – HOTEMBER

                    Whoa, has it been hot!  September is usually one of the hottest months across the Los Padres and 2014 is no different.  Most of the backcountry has been baking and taking the remaining water with it.  We’ve been getting reports of places drying up that we didn’t think was possible.  Reports of the Carmel River drying up, Upper Indian Creek dry and everything else at all-time low levels.  There was a backpacker last week in the Sespe that had to be airlifted out due to heat stroke and dehydration.  If you are heading to the mountains and are unsure if there will be water, it’s best to be on the safe side and plan on there being no water – bring every drop you might need.  And of course, before you head out, contact your local Forest Service and ask them for any recent reports.  You can always ask us as well and we’ll see if we can dig anything up.

Now all that being said, the forecast is changing and temperatures will be going down over the next few days and into next week.  And don’t look now, the northern reaches of the Los Padres even have some rain in the forecast.

NATIONAL  PUBLIC  LANDS  DAY

September 27 is National Public Lands Day (NPLD).  NPLD is the single greatest day across the United States for volunteerism and the Los Padres is no exception.  There are a series of projects scattered across the forest including trail work, invasive plant removal, sign installation, trash cleanup and Visitor Center maintenance.  We put together a webmap to help highlight all the projects.  Check it out:

Hope to see you out there somewhere and if you have a project you’d like us to include on the map, let us know.

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Devils Gateway, Agua Blanca – September 2014
W O R K I N G   V A C A T I O N

Each year the LPFA hosts a larger-than-normal trail project that we call a Working Vacation.  The Working Vacations usually involve a cook, stock support and an ideal location for volunteers to work the trail while at the same time feel a little more pampered than a usual trail project.  This year we’ve been asked to support the Ojai Ranger District by hosting a Working Vacation on the Potholes Trail outside of Lake Piru.  The Potholes Trail also happens to be a key component of the Condor Trail.  We scouted the trail a few weeks ago and the project is taking shape for sometime in November with Log Cabin Camp along the Agua Blanca being the basecamp.  Details to come in the next weeks.  If you are interested in hearing more, please let us know and we’ll get you on the list: info@LPForest.org

S A N T A    C R U Z    S C R E E

For those of you who have hiked the Santa Cruz Trail from Upper Oso up towards Little Pine, no doubt you remember the scree slides along the southern face of Little Pine.  These slides have been terrorizing trail users and frustrating trail builders since Hector was a pup.  Last week the LPFA headed out that way to install two short lengths of rope to aid hikers and bikers as they cross the infamous slides.  We’ve been hearing tales of people refusing to go through the slides out of fear.  If nothing else, the rope should provide confidence and assurance that the slides are safe to pass.  So far we’ve heard compliments from both the hiking and biking community.  In the meantime the search for a permanent solution to the scree slides goes on…….

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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

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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