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

LOS PADRES: Fall in Love, Lovin the Fall

Golden Fall Colors of the Upper Sespe, For the Taking

Hello Friends,

While most of the country is preparing for a long winter’s nap, here in the LP we’re just waking up! Our long summer is fading and the weather is finally cooling down. We’re dreaming about our next trip into the forest and busy planning a season’s worth of Los Padres adventures. We’re certainly loving the fall more than ever, filled with anticipation, excitement and stoke. That being said, autumn isn’t all waterfalls and rainbows, it’s also harvest time for marijuana growers. A report was released a few weeks ago indicating that over 100,000 marijuana plants were eradicated in the Los Padres over the past year. Regardless of your views on marijuana, no one should be excited about discovering an active grow site during their LP adventures. While the odds of stumbling across one of these sites are slim, be aware of your surroundings and watch for signs of grow activity. These signs might include irrigation lines, discarded seedling trays, human trails where human trails shouldn’t be, makeshift camps and loads of trash. If you happen to find yourself in an active grow site you should leave quickly the same way you came in and once clear of the site report your findings to your local LP Ranger Station. Again, chances are you won’t find yourself in an active grow site but it’s always good to stay aware of your surroundings. Another hazard we’re seeing of late is oak trees falling up and down the Los Padres. Even healthy looking oak trees can topple over or drop their limbs without any indication or immediate cause. We’ve seen green oaks fall without a gust of wind. Be mindful and pay attention where you park, camp, picnic or rest. That’s all for Debbie Downer, get out and enjoy your forest, pile of the trail miles, takes tons of photos and have a great time – after all, our season is just beginning…….

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It’s not called a Working VACATION for nothing. Toejam Soaking in the WBP views, photo CWatson

POPLAR TRAIL UPDATE
The LPFA just completed a very successful Working Vacation along the Poplar Trail in the upper Indian Creek watershed, Dick Smith Wilderness. Thanks to the help of 34 volunteers we cleared and restored over 3 miles of some of the most overgrown trail the Los Padres can dish out. The trail progress (Working) was terrific and everyone had a great time (Vacation) in the process. In fact, we had such a great time that we’re going to be heading back! In case you missed this past Working Vacation you have another chance on November 9-12 to continue the good fight against the downed trees and encroaching brush. We’ll be once again car-camping at Bluff Cabin and working down the Poplar Trail towards Pens Camp. We’d love to have you come along. To sign up or learn more please email: INFO@LPForest.org

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Gimme Five, Santa Paula Canyon Style

USED GEAR SALE: 11/4 @ 11am
The 4th Annual LPFA Used Gear Sale is on for this weekend, Sunday November 4, 11am at Tucker’s Grove Site #2 in Goleta. We’ll once again have a gigantic selection of gently used backpacks, sleeping bags, stoves, tents, camping knick-knacks, books/maps, ultralite & car-camping gear and much more…. all at super discounted prices. Our super-volunteers Rik Christensen and Paul Cronshaw have worked their ‘bee’hinds off getting the gear cleaned, organized and ready for this weekend. The sale is headlined by Gossamer Gear who generously donate many of their returned backpacks for the sale. We love them! All proceeds go towards the LPFA Trail Care program and this is a great way for Gossamer to give back to the trails. Very cool! We’re also looking for any used gear you have that might be in need of a new home. If you have any used packs, boots, gear or anything else camping related we’d love to play match-maker and help find it a new home. Email us at INFO@LPForest.org if you’d like to donate or bring it early to the sale on Sunday. It will be a great time, everyone leaves happy and we hope to see you there……..

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The freshly cut Tinta Motorcycle Trail, Looking Good thanks to a LPFA NFWF Trails Grant!

FOREST 411
• The LPFA will once again be printing a Los Padres Calendar for 2019. If you have any great photos of the Los Padres that you’d be willing to share, we’d love to include them in the 2019 calendar and will trade you a calendar for using your photo. Email INFO@LPForest.org to share photos or ask questions.

• Remember that even with the cooler weather there are fire restrictions across the Los Padres National Forest. No campfires. And stoves are only permitted at designated campfire use sites. More information here.

• The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians have recently unveiled plans for a Tribal Museum and Cultural Center in the Santa Ynez Valley. Check the link above for more information. In case you didn’t know, there is already a really cool Chumash Museum in Thousand Oaks – check it out!

• November is going to be a super busy month for LPFA volunteer help! We’ve got projects ranging from deep backcountry trail work to encouraging cyclists along Fig Mtn Road and everything in between. Check here or look at the Upcoming Events below.

• The Los Padres Forest was found to have 15 toilets that no longer comply with EPA cesspool standards. The older style pit toilets have been closed and plans are being made to replace most of them with a vault style toilet by the end of 2020. Ventura County Star wrote an article covering the story and you can see the specific camps here.

• Quick update on the proposed removal of the Matilija Dam: Prop 3 on the November 6 ballot could authorize $80 million for the removal of the dam. Check the above link for more information and remember to VOTE on 11/6!

• The Mt Pinos Ranger District is looking for volunteers to assist with painting trailhead signs and some light road work along Alamo Mountain. Date and time of the work will be dependent on the volunteers availability. To learn more please email Caroline at: cquintanilla@fs.fed.us

• Carpinteria loves the Franklin Trail and thanks to some fantastic volunteers they will once again be organizing a ‘Turkey Trot’ to raise money to help restore and maintain the Franklin Trail. The 4th Annual Franklin Trail Turkey Trot started today and lasts all November. Check it out, participate and three cheers to Carp for all the trail love.

• CalTrans has plans to proactively close Hwy 1 at Paul’s Slide and Mud Creek this winter in advance of larger storms. Both slide areas were closed most of 2017-2018 and CalTrans is hoping to keep people off the road in case of another future slide event. Hopefully you won’t be driving the Big Sur coast in a large storm but just in case you are, there might be some delays.

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Finishing Touches on a Poplar Trail Crosscut Session, photo CWatson

Get Your Los Padres Forest Update

Romero Trail Thomas Fire Damage, Before & After, Compliments of Multi-Use Trails Coalition

Hello Friends,

We were fortunate last week to have an early season storm roll across the Los Padres bringing with it precipitation ranging from around a tenth of an inch in the inland areas to over an inch along the coastal mountains.  That’s a great start for the season and if nothing else should bring some green color to some of our hills soon.  Depending on what happens from here on out we could enjoy a nice long green season, which we haven’t had very much of over the past decade.  Fingers crossed for a nice series of slow and steady storms ahead…….

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Poplar Trail, in Need of a Shave,  photo Aaron Songer, October 2018
BLUFF – POPLAR WORKING VACATION
The LPFA will be hosting our next Working Vacation starting next week from October 19-28.  We’ll be base-camping at the Bluff Administrative Cabin and working down the Poplar Trail in the Dick Smith Wilderness along the upper Indian Creek drainage.  Due to fire related road closures and poor access, the Poplar Trail has become extremely overgrow in recent years with some people calling it the “worst trail in the Santa Barbara Backcountry”.  Our focus over the Working Vacation will be to clear downed trees, remove choked brush and attempt to push the “worst trail” moniker to someplace else.  If you have some free time between the 19th and 28th and are interested in volunteering on the trail we’d love to have your help.  We are asking that people volunteer for at least 4 days.  This is a car-camping style project since we have the luxory of driving the 90-min dirt road in to Bluff Camp.  If you don’t have a dirt road worthy vehicle, don’t worry, we should have plenty of space in other trucks for you to carpool along.  As usual, all food, tools and PPE will be provided for the volunteers.  For more information or to sign up please email project leader Mike Smith at TrailSmith@LPForest.org.  Hope to see you out there…..
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Morning Moment of Truth, How Hot is it Gonna be? photo AQuinn
FOREST 411
• The LPFA will be putting on our 4th Annual Used Gear Sale on Sunday November 4 at Tucker’s Grove in Goleta.  As usual, we’ll have literally hundreds of gently used camping gear supplies, tents and other odds and ends highlighted by dozens of Gossamer Gear backpacks.  If you have any used camping gear you’d like to donate, we’d be happy to take it off your hands in exchange for a donation receipt and a high five.  Proceeds from the sale go to the LPFA Trail Care program.  For more information or to donate your camping gear email: INFO@LPForest.org.

• General hunting season ended a few weeks ago for most of the Los Padres (A Zone South) but general deer season opens this weekend for Zone D13, which covers most of the Mt Pinos Ranger District and a large portion of the Ojai District.  Click here for a map of D13.  D13 opens October 13 and lasts through November 11.

• A coalition of local Southern Los Padres trail organizations, including the LPFA, have combined forces to raise needed funds to restore the trails impacted by the Thomas Fire.  You’ll be hearing A LOT more about the Thomas Fire Trail Fund in the coming weeks/months but we have released a PDF update on the Thomas Fire trail restoration efforts, check it out here.

• Two California Condors have been found dead in recent months as a result of gunshot wounds.  One condor was found near Porterville and the other in Kern County, just outside the Los Padres.  Currently there is a $15,000 reward for any information that leads to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for these tragic deaths.

• The LPFA will once again be printing 2019 Los Padres calendars just in time for the holidays.  We’re looking for any great photos you might have of the Los Padres that we could include in the calendar.  Email us (INFO@LPForest.org) for more information.

• The Ogilvy Fire was declared 100% contained.  The fire chewed up 172 acres and burned from September 1-4 in the Mono drainage in the Santa Barbara Backcountry.

Sycamore Canyon Road, which is used to access Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, is closed to the public Monday – Friday lasting through November 30.  The road is currently being repaired after sustaining major damage in the 2016-2017 atmospheric river storms.

• Don’t forget to check HikeLosPadres.com before your next adventure into the Los Padres.  Great place to read about water and trail conditions.  And don’t forget to share your findings when you get back…..

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The Wander-Full Southern Views Across the Chumash

Working Gear Big Beer Karma Sur Sale Vacation

Western Start (not end) of the Mission Pine Trail
Greetings Everyone – Hello,

It’s finally October!  The nights are getting cooler, the days shorter, fall is setting in, the creeks are flowing a bit better and it is officially time to ride/walk/run/skip/worm the trails!  The LPFA is setting up a busy fall schedule of trail maintenance projects, forest-related events, camp cleanups and trail surveys.  We’d love to have you come along as your schedule permits.  Excuse the shameless self promotion:

MISSION PINE SPRING W.V.

In addition to the regularly scheduled weekend/day trail projects, we try to lead three larger week-long volunteer projects each year that we call Working Vacations.  Generally we schedule one in the fall and then two each spring.  This year our fall project will be along the Mission Pine Trail based at beautiful Mission Pine Spring Camp (MPS).  The project kicks off on Friday 10/20 as the pack stock move in to help support the trail work.  The volunteer crews arrive Saturday 10/21 and we’ll be spending the next week at MPS working the trail out towards Mission Pine Basin and back up towards San Rafael Mtn.  Most of the work will be lopping back manzanita and ceonothus that has been encroaching on the trail but there will also be some crosscut saw work and tread restoration as well.  While the project lasts parts of 10 days (10/20 – 10/29), there are options for shorter hitches if your work/life schedule won’t allow a week in the woods.  We’re able to drive in 8 miles to McKinley Saddle and from there it’s a quick 4 miles to MPS Camp.  If you can break away for 3+ days to help the trails, we’ll do our best to get you rides in & out and feed you while you’re in camp.  Backcountry chef extraordinaire Rich Scholl has signed on to be the camp cook once again – YES!  If interested or to sign up please email us at: INFO@LPForest.org.
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Gear Gurus Rik & Paul, photo Sue Green

LPFA USED CAMPING GEAR SALE

Yeah – baby!  This Sunday 10/8 is the 3rd Annual Used Camping Gear Sale at Tucker’s Grove Site #2 in Goleta.  Our hero Rik, whose forest resume is too long to list here, is the master of ceremonies for the event and is also an Ambassador for Gossamer Gear.  Rik spends literally hundreds of hours each year compiling, cleaning and arranging gear for this sale.  It’s great that this sale helps the LPFA Trail Care program but more than anything else Rik does this to share his stoke of the trails with anyone interested in getting off the pavement.  It’s amazing how much great stuff is available.  We’ve got over 40 backpacks, a dozen tents, hiking poles, cook sets, stoves, clothes, camp gadgets and gizmos – we even have a tent space heater!  While most of our gear is lightweight or UL, we’ve got car-camping covered as well.  Come on out this Sunday and check it for yourself.  And in case you want to clean out your garage a little, there is still time to donate your used gear as well.  You can bring it to the sale on Sunday (arrive early please) or shoot us an email and we’ll arrange a pickup today or tomorrow (INFO@LPForest.org).  Thanks to EVERYONE who has already graciously donated their used gear – so cool!  We’ll see you Sunday and if you don’t know Rik, Paul, Valerie, John, Ron, Jasonn and all the other volunteers who will be helping, introduce yourself and say hello.  They can help with just about any questions you’ll have as well…..
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Beer, Karma & Trails – DRAUGHTSMEN ALEWORKS

LPFA KARMA BEER

Goleta based brewery Draughtsmen Aleworks has dedicated October to the LPFA and will be contributing $1 for each Karma Tap beer they sell from October 1 through Halloween.  BE SURE TO ORDER THE KARMA BEER!  We’ll be putting all the money raised towards the restoration of the Santa Cruz Trail, which was totaled in the 2016 Rey Fire.  Bring a friend, bring your office, bring an army and help us bring Santa Cruz back one beer at a time.

PLUS Draughtsmen is allowing us to host an event on Wednesday 10/18 at the brewery.  After bouncing ideas around about what sort of event we should host, we decided to throw a TRIVIA PARTY.  Put it on your calendar:

WEDNESDAY 10/18 – 6pm
Los Padres Themed Trivia Night at Draughtsmen Aleworks
We’ll be following the typical trivia night format used at breweries around the world but the questions will be Los Padres themed and each round of questions will be hosted by a different LP character.  We’ll share those names soon, but you’ll love it, something for everyone and again it all goes to help the Santa Cruz Trail.
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Pfeiffer Canyon (Gulch) Bridge w/ Mt. Manuel Trail, Mid-September, photo Kyle Evans

BIG SUR MOVIN & SHAKIN
Most of the Big Sur Coast and the northern Los Padres would just assume forget about 2016 and most of 2017.  Between the Soberanes Fire (July – Sept, 2016) and the 2016-17 torrential winter rains (causing slides and bridge failures) access to Big Sur and the forest has been disrupted (to put it nicely).  We can’t go into the full extent of the disruption here (see the coffee table book that I am sure someone is working on) but giant steps have been made to restore access.  Here’s a quick rundown and update……
PFEIFFER BRIDGE: After 8 months of being closed, Pfeiffer Bridge is scheduled to reopen a week from today on Friday October 13.  While CalTrans may want to wait a day due to superstition, their efforts to rebuild the bridge in a quick 8 months needs to be applauded.  Once opened this will restore access along Hwy 1 from Monterey down to the Mud Creek Slide, which is 10 miles north of Ragged Point.

• MUD CREEK SLIDE: Speaking of, the Mud Creek Slide remains closed between Salmon Creek Trailhead and the closure north of the slide.  CalTrans is estimating that the slide will be cleared and Hwy 1 reopened sometime in summer 2018.

• Coming from SLO, you can only get as far as Salmon Creek.  Once Pfeiffer Bridge is reopened you cannot connect Hwy 1 out to SLO.  The main exit along Hwy 1 will be along Nacimiento-Fergusson Road which connects Kirk Creek with Fort Hunter Liggett.  Nacimiento Rd is a windy 1.75 lane road that crosses over the Los Padres.  We expect the road will be quite busy between next week and when Mud Creek reopens.  In addition to the coffee table book, some entrepreneur might want to set up a lemonade stand.

PFEIFFER BEACH: So many Pfeiffers….  Did you know that the Los Padres Forest touches the sand at Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur?  It’s been closed for most of the past year due to the bridge failure and winter storms but is scheduled to reopen shortly after the bridge is opened a week from today.

SOBERANES CLOSURE: The Soberanes Fire closure remains in effect but there are whispers that the closure will be reduced in the coming weeks.  We’ll see what that entails and share it with you as soon as it is released.

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Los Padres Harvest Full Moon

Los Padres Fire Related Closures

LP FOREST CLOSURES
lpclosure

Hi Everyone,

We hope you’ve been enjoying the unseasonably cool weather of late.  Fall is certainly in the air, at least for now.  The major headlines across the LP remain Fires and Fire Related Closures.  The Soberanes Fire is nearing two months old and continues to chug across the Ventana Wilderness.  It’s burned over 107,000 acres and is about to crack the list of top 20 largest wildfires in California history.  As a result of Soberanes, the entire Monterey Ranger District remains closed.  Further south, the Rey Fire is just about wrapped up and listed at 96% contained.  While the flames have subsided, there remains a closure across most of Santa Barbara County.  The FS is hopeful the closure will be reduced in the coming days and we’ll be sure to share with you as soon as any new information is received.  Further south still was the Sherpa Fire, which burned for a few days in mid June (remember that?).  There remains a closure in effect within the Sherpa fire scar which includes West Camino Cielo OHV.  And finally to the east is the Pine Fire, which burned 2,300 acres back in early July.  The Gene Marshall Piedra Blanca Trail remains closed between Upper Reyes Camp and Pine Mtn Lodge as does the Reyes Peak Trail from the trailhead down to Haddock Camp.  We don’t know when these closures will be lifted but we’ll provide updates via email and on Facebook / Twitter as soon as anything comes down the pike.  Quite a summer, stay with us……
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lookout
LOOKOUT!

What are you doing next Tuesday night 9/20?  The answer should be “going to Santa Barbara to learn about the History of the Los Padres lookout towers”!  If that was not your answer, you still have time to change it.  We invite you to join us on Tuesday night at the Balboa Building in SB to hear Craig Carey talk about the LP lookout towers.  This is the third event in the LPFA Trail Talk Series and is sure to be a good time.  We’ll have a raffle, some beverages, trail updates, listen to Craig amaze us with his knowledge and have some fun chatting with friends and fellow-forest-lovers.  FREE for LPFA members and just $10 for guests.  Hope to see you there……..  Get your tickets here or see here for more information.

gearup
USED CAMPING GEAR SALE – OCT. 1

LPFA Friends and Supporters – Fall is in the air, that means local camping season is right around the corner.  We’ll be hosting our 2nd annual used camping gear sale on October 1 at Tucker’s Grove in Goleta.  Super volunteer Rik Christensen has been working day and night over the past 12 months gathering, cleaning and preparing used camping gear for this one special day.  There will be plenty of gear to check out but we’re also looking for gear donations.  If you have any used camping gear you aren’t using anymore, we’ll gladly take it off your hands and see if we can find a new home for it.  Tax write-offs will be provided but more than that you’ll be helping raise funds for the LPFA and ensuring your gear makes it back into the forest, where it belongs.  INFO@LPForest.org with questions.

Los Padres Back to School Week

Imagine back to school week at the Manzana Schoolhouse, photo James Wapotich
ManzanaSchoolhouse

It’s BACK TO SCHOOL WEEK, which might be the most universally hated week of the year.  First off, for many people it means the end of summer.  That alone could be reason for the hatred.  It also means daily rituals changing for parents, traffic patterns fluctuating around the crazy kid-drop-off schedules and the dreaded H WORD (homework).  And we’re not even talking about how teachers must feel this week.  But, for the Los Padres, Back to School Week is a slight indication that our backcountry season is not too far off into the future.  It might seem impossibly far right now, with all that’s going on with the fires, but trust me, it’ll be here before you know it.  So, in honor of Back to School Week and with backcountry season coming up soon, we wanted to focus this email on a few upcoming educational opportunities that you might want to check out.  Tis the season…….

HappyBackpackers
BACKPACKING FUNDAMENTALS CLASS
If you haven’t discovered backpacking or you’re interested in improving your gear, improving your skills, or meeting some new friends to explore the trails with this Fall; this is a great class for you to check out!  Curt Cragg is the lead instructor and brings in a wide variety of local experts to discuss all topics backpacking related with an emphasis on local Los Padres backpacking.  Topics include what and how to eat along the trail or in camp, basic trail first aid, how to avoid getting lost, what you should and shouldn’t be afraid of, the latest in gear, where you should get your gear, ultralight backpacking…. it’s all covered.  This will be Curt’s 5th time teaching the class and it’s been great watching the new backpackers hit the trail after the class and keep coming back for more.  We’ve actually gotten to know quite a few of the graduates on some of our backpacking trail maintenance projects as well.  To learn more or sign up, check it out at the link HERE.  The classes will be hosted at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and all proceeds go to LPFA Trail Care.

 

 

Class in session, photo Terry Wright
WheelerTeachings
WHEELER GORGE VISITOR CENTER
If you haven’t made it out to Wheeler Gorge yet this summer, there is still time!  LPFA super-volunteer and board member Gordie Hemphill continues to organize weekly interpretive events each Saturday at Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center.  Most of the talks start around 11am and cover a wide variety of topics ranging from local critters to dinosaurs to geology to trees.  The talks are designed mainly for kids and young teenagers but I promise you that there is something for everyone.  Not to mention any excuse to drive up Highway 33 is a good excuse.  Upcoming talks include:
  • August 27 – Into the Wild (Naturalists & Forester) Programs
  • September 3 – Saving the California Condor
  • September 10 – Rescuing Ocean Animals
  • September 17 – Amazing World of Bears
  • September 24 – Chumash Storytelling with Julie Tumamait

You can learn more here, or email WHEELER@LPForest.org with any questions you might have!  We hope to see you soon up at Wheeler………

 

 

REI WILDERNESS FIRST AID CLASSES
REI is teaming up with the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) to offer a series of classes this Fall focused around wilderness first aid (WFA).  These two-day classes offer advanced teaching on how to handle medical emergencies when you can’t call for an ambulance.  Certainly skills that are worth having and could save a life.  The classes are at Camp Arnaz in Ventura.  REI and WMI are offering two classes, information below:

October 29-30: http://bit.ly/2bkg79H
November 12-13: http://bit.ly/2biQOmE

 

IndianCreekTrail
LPFA USED GEAR SALE: October 1
Now you’ve learned how to backpack, how to do wilderness first aid and how to save the Condor; the only thing left is getting some new trail gear.  The LPFA will be hosting our 2nd Annual Used Gear Sale on Saturday October 1 in Santa Barbara (location TBD).  Similar to last year, we’re collecting lightly used gear, cleaning it up and making it available for you to purchase.  Gear guru Rik Christensen is heading up the event and if it is anything like last year, you better get there early!  If you have any old gear that you’re interested in donating/selling, there is both direct sales and consignment options available.  We’d love to help take any old gear off you and make it available for someone else to use.  All sale proceeds this year will go towards the restoration of South Fork Station, Dabney Cabin and eventually the Manzana Schoolhouse.  We’ll provide more details soon.  If you have any questions, please email: INFO@LPForest.org

There’s a lot going on.  We hope to see you at some of these events and best of luck with Back to School Week!

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UPCOMING EVENTS
A few upcoming dates, events, projects, presentations or things you might want to know.
If you have any forest-related events to add to this list, let us know and we’re more than happy to pimp your event!


September 10: NPLD Jesusita Trail
September 11: Island View Trail Race
September 14: LPFA Backpacking Fundamentals Class
September 20: LPFA Trail Talk Series, History of Los Padres Lookouts by Craig Carey
September 24: National Public Lands Day Trail Project, Lion Canyon Trail, Ojai


October 1: LPFA Used Gear Sale
October 16: D-13 Hunting Season Starts
October 22-30: LPFA Working Vacation, Poplar Trail (ON HOLD)
October 29: LPFA First Aid & CPR Training
October 29-30: REI Wilderness First Aid Training

November 12-13: REI Wilderness First Aid Training

 

Freezing Gates of the Los Padres

Big Sur Coastline, Making Even the Worst Photographer Look Good
BigSurCoast

Chances are you’re reading this with a few more layers of clothes on and a few more windows closed than you had at this time last week.  The storm that just passed (or is passing) is our first winter storm of the season.  Rain totals across the forest have varied greatly with the Northern LP getting well over an inch of rain and as much as 2 inches in certain areas.  The rain totals dwindle heading south with SLO backcountry in the half inch range, SB backcountry in the quarter inch and Ventura backcountry in the tenth of an inch range.  Of course there are outliers and areas that received more rain than others.  BUT the exciting thing, if you get excited about things like this, is that this storm will mark the first time this season that much of the backcountry will experience freezing or near-freezing temperatures.  Low temps should be around freezing up through the high 30’s for most of the Los Padres over the coming two nights.  A taste of things to come.  Temps will warm up heading into what looks to be a perfect weekend for a hike or ride.  Great time of year!



Shutting of the Gates
LockedGate GATE CLOSURES

As winter arrives, along with it we usually see a few more seasonal gate closures across the forest.  Knowing the status of gate closures is tricky and it can certainly ruin your weekend outing if you come across a locked gate you expected would be open.  Some gates are opened/closed solely on established dates.  What this means is that there are rules for certain roads/gates where they are recommended to be closed or opened on certain dates regardless of weather.  The big dates across the forest are November 1, December 15 and May 1.  Other gates are opened/closed around storm systems and weather events – open during dry times and closed when rain is forecast.  It’s really hard to know for sure if and when a gate will be open/closed.  Best advice for any of you heading to the mountains is to do your homework ahead of time.  First check two online sources:

• The Forest Service has a page dedicated to road and campground closures:

• HikeLosPadres also has a page designated to the status of certain gates around the forest.  The gate list is not complete but it is updated as closures happen.  NOTE: If you have any updates or would like any gates added, please let HLP know.

Then, in addition to the online resources, I’d also recommend calling the Ranger District you plan on visiting and double checking the status of the gate closures.  There is almost nothing worse than getting shutdown by a locked gate before you even get to a trailhead.  Research ahead of time can solve most of those headaches.

GATE UPDATES

Again, check the resources mentioned above but here are a few closures to keep an eye on:

  • Dough Flat, above Fillmore, will be closing December 15 this year.
  • Middle Lion Campground, near Piedra Blanca, will be closed December 1.
  • Santa Barbara Canyon gate, at Reyes Ranch, is scheduled to be closed November 1.
  • Reyes Peak / Pine Mtn is scheduled to be closed December 15.
  • West Cuesta Rd above SLO will be closed for repairs from November 1, 2015 – October 31, 2016.

Rik’s Army of Packs, Waiting for YOU!
RikBackpacks

And don’t forget the Used Gear Sale this weekend in Santa Barbara!  Check out the link below for more information:


UPCOMING EVENTS

November 7: Used Gear Sale, Tucker’s Grove Site 5, Goleta
December 4-6: LPFA Lower Mono-Alamar Trail Project

* It’s harder to schedule events this time of year, sorry there isn’t more on the schedule.  If you want anything added, please let us know.