Los Padres Forest: Springing into Summer

Why did the bear cross the road?
Well, obviously to scratch his/her back against the tree.

photo Humphrey
ScratchingBear
While we are technically still in Spring, it sure feels a lot like Summer doesn’t it?  Over the past week we had triple digit heat across much of the Los Padres, we’re getting the typical summer ritual of creeks starting to dry up and unfortunately we’re seeing some wildfires around the forest as well.  The Coleman Fire is currently the largest wildfire in California and is located on the Los Padres just southwest of King City on the outskirts of the Ventana Wilderness.  Coleman started last Saturday during the height of the heat-spell and has burned around 2,500 acres while being just over 40% contained.  The fire crews have been taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and are making good progress on the fire.  They expect containment next Monday June 13.  In the meantime there are currently no fire restrictions across the Los Padres but we expect some sort of restrictions to be implemented within the next week or two.  Stay tuned and we’ll share any updates both with Coleman and fire restrictions as soon as we hear anything……..
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CalienteSnakeRATTLESNAKE SEASON
While the coming of summer can mean warmer nights, backcountry swimming holes or one step closer to hunting season, it also means that we’re squarely within rattlesnake season.  We’ve had quite a few reports from across the forest of rattler sightings and while fortunately most of them have resulted in happy endings for both snake and human, it’s never a bad idea to learn how to avoid or deal with a bite in the chance that one were to happen.  Here’s a few resources and articles for what to do when dealing with a rattler or bite.  Be careful, stay alert and remember that having a cell phone, SPOT or other form of communication is never a bad idea…….
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The Madulce Village, during May 2016 Working Vacation
MadulceVillageFOREST FOUR ONE ONE

An assortment of this and that from across the forest, click the links for more information.

FIRST AID / CPR TRAINING

The LPFA will be hosting a First Aid / CPR class at some point this Summer or early Fall.  Super volunteer Susie Thielmann will be the instructor and the class will either be in Santa Barbara or Ventura County.  It is open to the first 15 people who sign up.  We’ll figure out dates around the availability of interested persons.  If you need first aid for a sawyer certification, in order to be a trail leader or want to do it just because it’s a good thing to have, let us know and we’ll put you on the list.  INFO@LPForest.org

 


ROBERT STONE HIKING GUIDES PHOTOGRAPHY

Robert Stone is a local author who writes trail guide books.  He will be publishing an updated version of his Ventura County and Santa Barbara County guide books.  He’s looking for some great photographs that can be used as a cover photo or along the back of the book.  If you have any photos of the area that might make a good cover, let us know and we’ll put you in contact with Robert.  Compensation will be provided for selected photographs.  INFO@LPForest.org

ROCKFRONT OHV CLOSURE, SLRD

NATIONAL TRAILS DAY – FRANKLIN TRAIL, SBRD

NIGHT FIRE FLYING EXERCISE – CHUCHUPATE, MPRD


MISSING PERSON IN BIG SUR, MRD

Forest Gates Opening & Late Spring Trail Projects

Otis Calef, One of the Countless Ways he Supports the Trail Cause, Mono Canyon
OtisMono

Good Day Everyone,

Busy times across the forest right now.  Trail projects up and down the LP, some flowers are wilting while others are just blooming, most creeks are still flowing, temps are rising, flash floods around Cuyama, rain here but certainly not there and did we mention trail projects?  We’ll spend some time soon helping to document all the trail work accomplishments around the forest but for today we’re going to focus on access and promoting a few upcoming trail projects.  Lets get to it…..


RainbowGates
OPEN THE GATES
With the winter and rains now clearly behind us, the FS started opening the gates that were closed due to mandated seasonal closures.  Most of the gates across the forest are now open.  There are a few here or there that remain closed due to slides (Dry Cyn, MPRD) or other closure policies (Cherry Creek, ORD) but chances are you shouldn’t be stymied by a surprise closed gate for whatever adventure you might be planning.  It’s never a bad idea to check before you head out to make sure the road to your trailhead is open.  Best thing to do is call the Ranger District you plan on visiting.  Other very reliable sources are the Alerts & Notices section of the FS website as well as the gates section on HikeLosPadres.com.  Which reminds me, if there are any gates to be added to HikeLosPadres, please let us know at Support@HikeLosPadres.com.


Down the Jackson Trail to Sycamore Camp, San Rafael Wilderness
SycamoreWorkingVacation MIDDLE SISQUOC WORKING VACATION
May 20-30, Sycamore Camp

The LPFA will be hosting a Working Vacation later this month along the Sisquoc Trail in the San Rafael Wilderness.  We’ll be basecamping at Sycamore Camp and working the Sisquoc Trail from Sycamore downstream to Abel Camp.  The work will be primarily brushing and reestablishing trail tread with some crosscut mixed in for good measure.  The project lasts 10 days but has smaller time chunks available for people who can only make 3-4 days at a time.  We’ll work around your schedule.  The LPFA is arranging stock support for the project as well as a camp cook and all the food for volunteers.  This is a great way to visit this remote and wild portion of the forest and is open to volunteers of all skill and experience levels.  Come one, come all.  John Franklin and Steve Cypher will be leading the project, email INFO@LPForest.org for more information or to sign up.  See you out there……..

Shady Waterfull Alder Creek
FranklinTrail NATIONAL TRAILS DAY: Franklin Trail, Alder Creek
June 3-5, Middle Santa Ynez Camp
June 4 is National Trails Day, yippee!  There will be a bunch of projects across the forest that we will share in the next few weeks.  This is the third year the LPFA will be participating in NTD.  Last year we worked the North Cold Spring Slide and this year we’ll be moving a little to the east to work the North Franklin Trail along Alder Creek in the Carpinteria backcountry.  We’ll be basecamping at Middle Santa Ynez Campground and then driving to the trailhead near Jameson Lake to work the trail.  Food will be provided for all volunteers and we’ll be sure to mix in enough fun around the trail work to make it a good time for everyone.  Bring the family, enjoy the nearby hot springs, help clear the historic trail, sign songs around the campfire, laugh with friends and we hope to see you there.  Sign up at INFO@LPForest.org.
Old Man Sunrise, May 2016
LPSunset

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



 

Thunderstorms, Thru-Hikers and National Trails Day

Old Man Thundercloud
OldManThunderhead

Hello Everyone!

What a crazy weather week we enjoyed last week, especially in the Santa Barbara and Ventura backcountry areas.  It started with a tropical storm last Tuesday that dropped significant rain across the forest.  Most of the Forest got rain with the highest concentration (one inch) occurring on the frontcountry above Santa Barbara.  The weather changed on Wednesday and brought in some incredible thunderstorms that blanketed the backcountry through the weekend.  There were reports of flooding along the Cuyama River and Santa Barbara Potrero recorded an inch of rain in just over an hour – that’s a lot!  We had some of the more impressive storms that we get to see around here.  We even heard comparisons to thunderstorms in New Mexico and the south west.  Pretty cool stuff and we’ll certainly take every bit of rain we can get.  The weather has settled back down and most of the interior is HOT with coastal regions displaying the typical June gloom.  Always nice to see some exciting weather………
NATIONAL TRAILS DAY
NationalTrailsDayGroup
There were three trail projects across the Los Padres on Saturday June 6 for National Trails Day.  The LPFA hosted an event along the North Cold Spring Trail.  Our focus was to fix a particularly nasty slide section of the trail that has been causing problems for hikers for most of the past two decades.  We had a great time and did a fantastic job cleaning up the slide.  Big thanks to REI, Figueroa Mountain Brewing, Los Padres Trail Riders, Jack’s Bagels and the Forest Service for their support of the project.  They say a picture tells a thousand words, check the movie below:
CONDOR TRAIL
CondorTrailBanner
Most of you have probably heard about the Condor Trail.  For those who have not, it’s a route of connected trails that cross the Los Padres Forest from the Ventura/Los Angeles County line in the south up to Bottcher’s Gap in Monterey County.  The total length of the trail is 411 miles long.  The concept of the trail has been around for nearly 20 years, headed up by the Condor Trail Association.  Over the years we’ve had a few people attempt to hike large sections of the trail but no one ever attempted to hike the entire thing….. until now.   In mid-May a solo female hiker name Brittany started on the trail from Lake Piru.  She has now been on the trail for nearly 5 weeks and is on pace to complete the trail later this week and become the first Condor Trail finisher.  It’s been a roller coaster journey for Brittany.  She’s had to endure snow, heat and lost trails but along the trail has met new friends and had some amazing experiences.  We’ll keep you posted as the she gets close to finishing.  I’m sure she’ll have some great stories to share.  Most amazing in my opinion is that before she started this hike, she had never set foot in the Los Padres.  Good luck Brittany on her last 60miles of trail.
ROAD UPDATES
GraderBanner

Some quick updates on access issues across the Forest:

ROMERO CAMUESA ROAD
The gate to the Romero Camuesa Rd at Divide Peak is scheduled to reopen Wednesday of this week.  A combination of rain and a crew working on the road has led to the closure.

DOUGH FLAT / SQUAW FLAT
The retaining wall construction continues along the Dough/Squaw Flat Rd in Ojai.  The road is scheduled to reopen June 19 but until then the road will be closed from 8am – 12pm and again from 1pm – 5pm.  Call the Forest Service for more information.

HIGHWAY 1 / NORTHERN SLO / SOUTHERN MONTEREY
There is continued retaining wall construction along Highway 1 near the Monterey/SLO County line.  There seems to be weekly changes as to when the road will be closed or open.  Currently the road is closed at night time for construction and open during the day.  If heading along Highway 1 either to or from Big Sur, you’ll want to contact CalTrans to get the most up-to-date information on closures.  http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist05/road_information.htm

That’s it for now.  Enjoy the week………..

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