Thankful Los Padres Givings

Kids + Trail + Forest + Time to Explore = Next Generation of Los Padres Lovers

Hello Friends – Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Throughout the year we hear so much negative noise circulating around the forest.  The media regularly shares articles about what is not working in the Los Padres, the latest forest-related lawsuits, illegal pot grows, destructive wildfires, closures and photos of damaged forest land.  While it’s critically important to stay aware of all these ‘negatives’ and work to prevent unwanted change, it’s just as critically important to revisit why we love the Los Padres and what ‘positives’ are happening around the forest.  It can’t all be negative.  In fact, for every negative we hear, there are dozens of positives across the forest that are most likely not being heard.  It’s easy to leave negative feedback or write a bad review, lets flip that script and instead focus on some of the really cool, helpful and inspiring people, organizations and programs that are working to benefit the forest.  What better time of the year to focus on the positives than Thanksgiving and the Holidays, right?
— • — • — • —

FRANKLIN TRAIL
A group of mainly Carpinteria based trail-lovers have been working the past decade to reopen, construct and restore the historic/new Franklin Trail in the hills above Carpinteria.  Unfortunately, here in the Los Padres we don’t hear the words ‘construct’, ‘new’ and ‘trail’ in the same sentence too often.  The idea of bringing the Franklin Trail back from the dead must have seemed farfetched but that didn’t stop the Carp trail community from making it happen.  They got organized, formed an organization called Friends of Franklin Trail, raised funds and worked with the Forest Service to get their dream off the ground.  The Santa Barbara County Trails Council with the guidance of Ray Ford took the lead on the trail design and with the help of countless volunteers and trail stewards they were successful in getting the Franklin Trail back on the map.  If you’ve not explored the Franklin Trail, put it on your list, do it this week if you can – it’s spectacular!  And even more spectacular is how the community of Carpinteria has embraced the trail.  Franklin has become a source of pride for Carpinteria and the local trail-users actively work to keep the trail maintained and improved.  A great example is the 3rd Annual Franklin Trail Turkey Trot where trail-users are sponsored and get donations for each time they use the trail in November which has raised thousands of dollars to continue work on their beloved Franklin Trail.  If you’re interested, the Turkey Trot Celebration is this Friday 12/1 at Island Brewing in Carpinteria.  This example of a community dreaming of more trails, organizing, working with the Forest Service, successfully reestablishing a trail and staying engaged to maintain that trail is an incredible accomplishment.  Big thanks to everyone involved and lets hope other communities can follow this Franklin Trail blueprint in order to build new trails in their neck of the forest as well.
— • — • — • —


Recently Restored Tinta Trail

VOLUNTEER TRAIL WORK

Trails are the main artery used by people to access and enjoy the Los Padres Forest.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a birdwatcher, a mountain biker, a hunter or a backpacker; you’ll be using some of the over 1,200 miles of Los Padres trails to get where you want to be.  Unfortunately, Los Padres trails are some of the most difficult to maintain.  Chaparral grows so fast, needing to be worked every year or two.  Trees fall across the trails and fires can alter the trail landscape for the better part of a decade.  So how are the trails kept open?  The Forest Service oversees trail maintenance but most of the boots on the ground efforts come from the numerous Los Padres non-profit trail organizations and the the volunteers who work with these groups.  If you’ve not taken a day or a weekend to volunteer on a trail project, you have to find a way to make that happen.  You’d be surprised at how much fun a day of hard work along the trails can be.  It’s a chance to meet like-minded friends, get outside in the forest and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel on your way out is what keeps people coming back for more.  The LPFA alone accounted for over 12,000 volunteer hours this past year and there are many other great trail groups up and down the Los Padres who host regular trail projects as well.  Get involved if you can, volunteer, give back to the trails you use and love, you won’t be disappointed.  Check the calendar of projects below and sign up for a project near you.

— • — • — • —

HPS Sierra Club Volunteers, photo Mark Allen – Patagonia Volunteers, photo Aanjelae Rhoads

VOLUNTEER GROUP WORK
Another great way to get out and volunteer in the Los Padres is by organizing your company, organization and/or friends to maintain or adopt a Los Padres trail.  There are fantastic examples of companies providing an option for their employees to spend a “service day” working on a trail.  Sort of like a Habitat For Humanity but instead of building homes they’re maintaining trails.  It’s a great way to get outside, often times your company will pay for your service day and trail work is a fantastic team-building exercise as well.  This format also works for groups or organizations who use the forest but aren’t trained in trail maintenance.  Student organizations from university’s and High Schools have also come together to help the forest.  A great example is the Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai which sends students out each year to help for a weekend around Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center.  The VWA has also had great success getting school groups involved with their programs.  There are great examples of groups and companies up and down the forest partnering with all the usual Los Padres volunteer organizations.  Get involved.  Sign up your company, your church group, your friends – you’ll have a great time and will be helping the forest with a smile on your face.  For more information check with your local Los Padres Ranger District of email INFO@LPForest.org.
— • — • — • —

Just Another Cuyama Peak Sunrise

SCOUT PROJECTS
There have been some really great scout projects across the Los Padres over the past year or two.  While the forest has benefited from just about all levels of scouting, the most popular service project is an Eagle Project where the scout performs a larger scale project for the benefit of the community, or in this case the Los Padres Forest.  We’ve seen scouts restore and replace forest signs, rebuild and clean damaged forest structures, maintain campsites and create educational material designed to teach forest-users how to properly recreate in the forest.  The LPFA has had the pleasure of working with a few of these scouts and it’s so refreshing seeing a teenager take a concept, formulate an idea, develop a plan and then execute on that plan.  Scouting projects are a great way to get younger people involved with the forest while at the same time providing a tangible outcome that benefits the forest.  Very cool program!  If you know any scouts who might want to tackle a forest-related project, contact your local Ranger District or email INFO@LPForest.org for ideas and assistance.

— • — • — • —

Three Concrete Crossings along Davy Brown & Munch Creeks

FOREST 411
• The Forest Service announced last week that longtime Los Padres employee Tony Martinez has been appointed the new Mt Pinos District Ranger.  Welcome and congratulations Ranger Martinez!  For more information click here.

• The Los Padres National Forest, in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, is working on a proposal to improve aquatic organism passage along Munch and Davy Brown Creeks by removing three concrete water crossings and replacing two of them with bridges.  If you’ve ever driven Sunset Valley Road to NIRA, the two main crossings are between Davy Brown Campground and the lower Manzana Trailhead.  See attached document for specifics.  The Forest Service will be hosting an open house to discuss this proposal on November 30, 4-6pm at the Santa Lucia District Office in Santa Maria.

• The LPFA 2018 Los Padres wall calendars are going to the printer later this week.  They cost only $15 but will provide you a years worth of priceless Los Padres vistas, scenery, wildlife and stoke!  Get em while you can, you can order them here.

Brookshire, La Panza and Miranda Pine Campgrounds are currently closed as older pit toilets are removed and replaced with new vault toilets.  See here for more information, they are expected to be closed for 3-4 more weeks.

Condors continue their remarkable recovery as four new juvenile condors will be released into the San Simeon flock by the end of the year.

• There was an interesting article posted in the SLO New Times earlier this month discussing recent wildlife population trends and how those trends relate to drought, agriculture and changes in hunting restrictions.  It’s a good read.

• Due to potential storm related closures, camping at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park will become first-come first-serve only starting December 1, 2017 and lasting through April 30, 2018.

— • — • — • —
The Epic Thorn Point View, and getting there is more than half the fun!

Volunteer Season & Pine Valley Legend

San Luis Obispo Backcountry, March 2016
SLOCamp

NOW is quintessential Los Padres.  Flowers are blooming, grass is green, water is flowing (mostly), days are warm (mostly) and nights are cool.  If you’re not getting out on the trail (or off-trail), you really should find some time for a ride or hike.  When you get back, send us your photos, we’d love to see some good ones and be sure to check HikeLosPadres.com for the most up-to-date trail conditions.

 

VOLUNTEER SEASON

The best time to be in the Los Padres is not limited only to riding/hiking but it’s also the best time for getting out on a trail project, giving back to the trails you love and volunteering.  There are a ridiculous amount of volunteer projects and events lined up over the coming weeks/months across the Los Padres.  We’ll note a few here but feel free to contact us directly for more information or check Facebook/Meetup for updates:
April 8-17: LPFA Madulce Working Vacation, Dick Smith Wilderness

We’re set for a 10-day Working Vacation starting this coming Friday.  There is space available on the project, in particular the second weekend.  We’ll be working the Santa Barbara Canyon, Madulce, Don Victor and Puerto Suelo Trails.  For more information let us know at INFO@LPForest.org, all food will be provided for volunteers.

April 9: ORD Murietta Trail, Matilija
Ranger Heidi of the Ojai Ranger District will be leading this project to brush and clear the Murietta Trail in Matilija Canyon.  The project starts at 0830, email Heidi for more information or to sign up: handerson@fs.fed.us

April 9: SB Trails Council, Bill Wallace Trail, El Capitan State Park

Volunteer with SBCTC as they work the Bill Wallace Trail above El Capitan State Park along the Gaviota Coast.  For more information, click Meetup here.

April 16: Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center 11th Annual Open House
The Visitor Center at Wheeler Gorge will be hosting the 11th Annual Wheeler Open House.  We’ll provide more details soon but there will be booths setup from a variety of local organizations, a guided nature hike, games, food and much MUCH more……..  A super fun event that is a must for families with kids of all ages.

April 16: ORD Chorro Grande Trail, Highway 33
Join Ranger Heidi of the Ojai Ranger District along the Chorro Grande Trail on the south side of Pine Mtn.  The project starts at 0800, email Heidi for more information or to sign up: handerson@fs.fed.us

April 16: Slide Mountain Fire Lookout, Pyramid Lake
This is a cool event focused around California Trails Day.  Slide Mountain is within the Los Padres National Forest but is administered by the Angeles National Forest.  Volunteers will be meeting at Frenchman’s Flat at 0800 and working from there up towards the fire lookout.  Email Chris Fabbro (cfabbro@fs.fed.us) for more information or to sign up.

April 16-17: VWA Santa Lucia Trail, Ventana Wilderness
Join the Ventana Wilderness Alliance as they work the Santa Lucia Trail from Memorial Park Campground.  Meetup here for more information.

April 19: LPFA Wilderness Trails Presentation, Santa Barbara Veterans Hall
The LPFA is hosting a Trails Talk on Tuesday April 19 at the Santa Barbara Veterans Hall.  James Wapotich will give a presentation about the Wilderness Trails of Santa Barbara County and there will be plenty of time to socialize and hang out talking trails – what could be better?  For more information check out Meetup here, event is free for LPFA members.

April 23: Jesusita Trail, Santa Barbara Frontcountry
Another event focused on California Trails Day will be working the Jesusita Trail above Santa Barbara.  The project starts at 0830 and will meet at the water treatment trailhead off San Roque Rd.  For more information see Meetup here.

April 23-24: VWA Pine Ridge Trail, Ventana Wilderness
The Ventana Wilderness Alliance will be hosting a 2 day project along the Pine Ridge Trail working out of China Camp (near Pine Valley, spoiler alert)Meetup here for more details.

April 29 – May 1: LPFA Alamar Trail Weekend Project, Dick Smith Wilderness
The LPFA will be hosting a 2 or 3 day project based out of Bluff Cabin and working the upper 2.4miles of the Alamar Trail.  All food will be provided and work will involve crosscut sawing, tread and brushing.  This portion of the Alamar Trail is along one of the more beautiful stretches of trail in the wilderness.  Come along…..  INFO@LPForest.org for more information or to sign up.

May 20-30: LPFA Middle Sisquoc Working Vacation, San Rafael Wilderness

The second LPFA Working Vacation of 2016 will be set at Sycamore Camp along the Sisquoc River within the San Rafael Wilderness.  We’ll be working the Sisquoc Trail downstream from Sycamore to Abel Camp.  Access will be provided to Painted Rock Camp and down the Jackson Trail to camp.  The water will be perfect in late May along the Sisquoc.  INFO@LPForest.org

LittlePineSunset

Little Pine Sunset, March 2016


THE PASSING OF A LOS PADRES LEGEND
There is no shortage of legendary Los Padres figures who helped shape the landscape, protect the environment or add character to the geography.  Study any local maps and you’ll see dozens and dozens of unique placenames dotted across the Los Padres revealing many of these characters.  Sadly, we lost one of the LP living legends last month with the passing of Jack English.  Jack was able to purchase a private inholding of land in beautiful Pine Valley surrounded by the Ventana Wilderness in the late 1970’s.  Jack and his family built a small cabin on their land, chose a simpler life and called it home.  You’ll find tons of articles about Jack with a quick Google search, a few articles are linked below.  What you might not find is all the stories from backpackers who had the pleasure of meeting Jack and his family at Pine Valley over the years.  Stories about him sharing pancakes with campers, sharing his cabin during storms and most importantly sharing his time and stories with Pine Valley visitors.  Truly a legend and gentlemen, he will be missed but his legend will live on forever……..


English Cabin 2005, Pine Valley, Monterey County
PineValley

Los Padres Volunteer Hours & Water Reports

Pine Mountain Alpenglow, October 2015
SespeSunset

Hi Everyone,

A little official business to take care of today.  The Forest Service reports volunteer hours in conjunction with their fiscal calendar, which runs from October 1 – September 30.  For those of you who regularly volunteer, you’ve most likely already been contacted by the FS requesting you to report your hours.  It might seem like a pain to track and report your volunteer hours but it’s really important for the FS to have an accurate count on the volunteer hours being spent within their districts and across the forest.  In general, the Project Leader is supposed to take care of tracking and then reporting the hours for her/his project.  If you haven’t reported your hours or have any questions about the process, please contact either your Trail Leader, the organization sponsoring your project or the FS District you worked within.  And if all else fails, feel free to contact Jasonn Beckstrand:  JasonnB@LPForest.org

Along those lines, late last year John Ziegler from www.HikeLosPadres.com was nice enough to create an online volunteer hour project tracker.  Again this should be managed by the Project Leader but after a project is complete you can report the hours of all the volunteers and the project specifics within the HLP tracker.  It only takes a few minutes and at the end of the year it’s very easy to pull spreadsheet reports which break down volunteer hours by individual, by district, by organization, by trail, etc…..  This is the first year the online project tracker has been used and it’s been a huge help for reporting and tracking hours.  BUT it’s only as good as the information that is input into the system.  If you are not using HLP to report your hours, you should probably check it out.  For more information check in with Jasonn, see email address above.




HikeLosPadres Water Table
HLP_Water
WATER IN HLP
As long as we’re at it, HikeLosPadres.com is an awesome site.  Call me biased but the information that is being shared through the site is incredible.  Probably most important right now is the sharing of water availability.  Check the Water Report link posted below.  This allows you to see all the water reports that have been posted within HLP across the forest.  You can sort by clicking on the red text at the top which allows you to see which camps have water and when it was last reported.  With water scarcity being an issue, this is a great tool for helping plan your next trip.  Check it out and be sure to post what you find when you get back.

http://www.hikelospadres.com/los-padres-forest-water-reports.html


——-

PicoBlanco
And if you’re interested in peak bagging, there’s a great discussion right now about Los Padres peaks.
Check it out on the Facebook page, click here.

LPFA Transverse – Spring Volunteer Season

Frosty Madulce, March 2015

Madulce

Hello Everyone,

Most of the Forest is experiencing cool, cloudy and hopefully rainy conditions today.  That is going to change.  By this weekend we are looking at potentially record setting heat across most of the Central Coast.  And next week….. who knows.  That’s part of the beauty of Spring.  If you don’t like the weather, wait a day and you’ll get something different.  Hope you’re finding some time on the trails and if you have any nice photos and you want to share, please send our way.

We’ve had quite a few questions of late asking for volunteer opportunities.  We’ve outlined a few below.  If you’d like us to mention any of your upcoming events, please send our way and we’d be happy to share.

Little Pine along the Santa Cruz Trail
SCMeadow
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

WEST CUESTA RIDGE TRASH CLEANUP
San Luis Obispo
March 14, 9am
The illegal shooting range off West Cuesta Ridge in SLO has become quite a mess.  A combination of LPNF, LPFA, CCCMB and LPFW forces are meeting this Saturday (3/14) at 9am to help clean up the mess.  See the attached CCCMB map and Forest Press Release for more details.  Hope to see you there……….

POTHOLE TRAIL BRUSHING PROJECT
Ventura
March 14
The Ojai Ranger District is having the last in a series of trail projects along the Pothole Trail outside of Lake Piru.  The project is most likely full but if you are dieing to work a remote backcountry trail this weekend, there might still be some room.  Contact Ranger Heidi: handerson@fs.fed.us

SANTA CRUZ TRAIL, LITTLE PINE TRAIL MAINTENANCE
Santa Barbara
March 15, 9am
The SBMTV is hosting a trail project along the Little Pine section of the Santa Cruz Trail.  The work will mostly be along the southern wall of Little Pine down towards 19 Oaks Camp.  For more information contact Chris Orr: chris.orr@sbmtv.org

MISSION PINE TRAIL SAWYER WORK
Santa Barbara
March 27 – 29
The LPFA will be continuing work along the Mission Pine Trail in the SB high country.  The project will be based out of Mission Pine Spring Camp and will be focused on logging the trees across the trail between Mission Pine Spring and Mission Pine Basin.  The project will be stock supported, which means light packs and good food.  If interested please contact Curt Cragg: Curt@LPForest.org

FOREST 411
The Los Padres Trail Riders will be presenting a free screening of Mule: Living on the Outside.  This is a documentary about Mule and his adventures while roaming the western United States.  If you haven’t been following this epic journey, it’s pretty cool stuff.  Check it out March 19 at the Santa Barbara Human Society.For those of you interested in mud runs or obstacles races, there is a super fun race coming to the Central Coast on March 28.  It’s called the Checkpoint Challenge and will be held at Santa Margarita Lake in SLO County.  If you’ve ever been curious about this, check out their website and watch the promotional video.  Looks like a lot of fun.  Registration is open now, charge on!WILDFLOWERS!  It’s wildflower season and Helen Tarbet of the Santa Lucia Ranger District has released her first Figueroa Wildflower Update of the season.  See attached.  If you’ve not taken the pilgrimage to Fig Mtn to see the flowers, you have to……  It’s incredible when timed right.

The 11th Annual Wheeler Gorge Open House is schedule for April 11.  This year promises to be the best Open House yet as we’re focusing the event on recreation as well as education.  You’ll hear much more about this in the coming weeks but be sure to put this on your calendar.  April 11 – ALL DAY!

BeartrapCreek

Piedra Blanca – Gene Marshall Trail, Mount Pinos Ranger District