Fire Restrictions Lifted & Trail Project Schedule 2016

Lucky Pooch Recharging by the CampfireJackson


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

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

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


LPFA Transverse – Thanksgiving, Gates and More

Los Padres from 14,505ft, it’s out there…….LP_Whitney

Lots to be thankful for around the Forest this Thanksgiving time.  Thankful that a new Dick Smith Wilderness sign that we installed was covered in bear scratches after only two weeks in the ground.  Happy that our Forest has ocean views and happy that you can see our Forest from Mt. Whitney.  Thankful that the number of LP Forest volunteers who are certified sawyers has pentupled this past year!  Thankful that so many people are out enjoying the Forest.  The list goes on and on and on……..  Take some time this weekend and think about what you are thankful for.  It’s always a good thing to do.  If the LPFA comes to mind and you’re thankful for what we do, we’d love to have you thank us by joining the LPFA and becoming a member.  Happy Thanksgiving!


The FS is starting to close many of the gates across the Forest. Most of these closures are based on established seasonal closure dates and/or threat of incoming storms. You can see a list of each closed road at the following link and some highlights called out below:

– Mount Pinos has been pretty regular with their seasonal closures over the past few years. Of note this year is that Santa Barbara Canyon is closed at the first gate next to Reyes Ranch. This will add an extra 4+ miles each way for those who are wanting to hike either Santa Barbara Canyon Trail, Cuyama Peak via Dry Canyon or venture up the Buckhorn Rd to the Sierra Madre and beyond.
– Also note that Grade Valley Rd is closed to Mutau, Fishbowls and Cedar Creek amongst others.
– Rancho Nuevo / Tinta Rd was closed at the Cuyama River crossing but will be reopening soon, if not already.

– Dough Flat will close on December 1
– Nordhoff, Pine Mtn and Cherry Creek will all close December 16.
– Potrero Seco is permanently closed.

– We’ve heard rumors that the Divide Peak gate along East Camino Cielo might already be closed and will certainly close this Friday through the first week of December. Rule of thumb, if rain is in the forecast, that road will be closed.

– Nothing of note, but Bates will close if we get any significant rain, we’ll keep you posted.

– North Coast Ridge Rd above Big Sur and Escondido Rd on the east side are both closed.

If you have any additional information to share, please let us know.

L P   C L A S S I F I E D S

Some odds and ends from across the Forest:

– Even though the Los Padres National Forest hasn’t lifted its fire restrictions, some of the State Park managed car campgrounds have.
– Andrew Molera, Pfeiffer Big Sur and Julia Pfeiffer Burns have lifted their restrictions and are now allowing campfires in the campgrounds.

– Ventura based Webelos Den #3179 spent a weekend last month cleaning up trash from Nordhoff Peak above Ojai.
– We’re only showing one photo here, but you should see all the trash they were able to pull out.
– It’s always nice to see the youngsters helping the Forest, certainly another reason to be thankful!

Webelos, To The Hills, photo Craig Carey

Happy Holidays and enjoy the long weekend!

Los Padres Forest Association