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 Winds of Winter, NPLD & Trail Trainings

Winds of Winter Revealing Early Fall Colors, San Rafael Mountain

Hi Everyone,

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

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NPLD Across the Forest

NPLD VOLUNTEER CENTRAL

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

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

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

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

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

UPCOMING TRAIL TRAININGS

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

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

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

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The Itsy-Bitsy Spider Climbed Up the Dry Waterfall

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

National Trails Day in the Los Padres

Madulce, site of the recently completed 10-day Working Vacation    
NATIONAL TRAILS DAY 2017
The first Saturday of June is now observed across the country as National Trails Day (NTD).  Chances are if you are reading this email then you probably think everyday is NTD but for those who don’t frequent the trails, NTD is a great reminder that trails aren’t born, they’re made.  We need to make the time to get out and help the trails so that we can also get out and enjoy the trails.  NTD is this coming Saturday June 3 and there are a variety of trail projects across the Los Padres you can sign up for.  It’s great to see that so many volunteers and trail organizations are using NTD as a platform to help our LP trails – very cool!  We’ve listed most of the Los Padres NTD trail projects below and hope you can find the time this Saturday to get out and volunteer for the trails!
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Santa Cruz Trail, Rey Fried & Water Drenched

One project in particular we’re trying to focus our energy on for NTD is the restoration of the Santa Cruz Trail within the Santa Barbara Backcountry.  If you spend any time exploring the Los Padres, eventually you’ll find your tracks along the Santa Cruz Trail.  It’s one of only two designated National Recreation Trails in the Los Padres and provides access for trail-users to Little Pine Mountain and the backcountry beyond.  The Santa Cruz Trail is popular for just about all non-motorized trail-user groups including mountain bikers, hikers, equestrians and backpackers.  It’s an epic mountain bike ride, a challenging day hike to summit Little Pine, a perfect first-time backpacker trail to 19 Oaks and the start or finish of backcountry adventures to Santa Cruz Station and the San Rafael Wilderness.

Sadly, the Santa Cruz Trail was hammered in the 2016 Rey Fire, destroying much of the upper cribwall structures and just about all the brush along the south-facing portion of the trail.  While the upper portions of the trail need substantial evaluation before we can even get started working the trail, we’re going to start fixing the lower section of the trail specifically the single track up to 19 Oaks Camp – and that work will start this coming Saturday.

If you’re interested in helping, the Santa Cruz Trail can use your help!  We’ll be meeting Saturday June 3 at 8am at First Crossing Dayuse Area along Paradise Rd (all parking is FREE).  From there we’ll caravan to Upper Oso Campground for a safety briefing then start the 1 mile hike to the singletrack and get started restoring the trail.  We’ll work until the early afternoon or until it gets too hot then retreat to nearby Rancho Oso for a BBQ dinner and evening celebration under the stars.  Camping is FREE at Rancho Oso for trail volunteers and dinner/entertainment is provided at no cost.  You just need to invest a little sweat equity in the trail and we’ll make sure you get to bed with a full belly and smile on your face.


19 Oaks View, November 2016

For more details or to sign up please email INFO@LPForest.org.  Please RSVP if you plan on camping with us at Rancho Oso.  Rancho Oso has generously provided us with FREE camping as well as access to their amenities, including pool and miniature golf (not a typo).  We’re also going to be treated to some fun and games by REI who will setup their famous ‘Chill Zone’ at Rancho Oso for trail volunteers to relax after a hard day under the sun.  We also want to send thanks to the Los Padres Sierra Club for helping sponsor the trail project as well as Hollister Brewing Company for supplying the evening refreshments – THANK YOU!

We hope you can make it to one of these projects this weekend and thank you all for the help!

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Mud Creek Slide
April 4, 2015   –   May 22, 2017
FOREST 411

• In case you missed it, the Los Padres made national news this past week when the Mud Creek landslide in southern Monterey County let loose covering Hwy 1 in 40 feet of mud and literally creating a new point of land in the Pacific Ocean.  Experts are predicting the slide will keep Hwy 1 closed between Ragged Point and Gorda for at least another year while they attempt to excavate what’s left of the Hwy.

• First Crossing along the Santa Ynez River in Santa Barbara was opened this past weekend for the first time since the January storms forced its closure.  River Road (aka Paradise) is now open in its entirety to Red Rock as well as Upper Oso Trailhead.  While dayuse is open along River Road, Upper Oso Campground will remain closed for a little while longer until the campsites can be cleared of flood debris.

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has also reopened some of its campsites for the first time since the July 2016 Soberanes Fire started.  Not all campsites are open for campers but they’ll hopefully be opening the remainder of the sites throughout the summer as cleanup efforts are completed.

Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center is now in full swing with our weekly Summer Interpretive Programs.  While we’re taking June 3rd off, the programs resume on June 10 with a talk by Dr. James Caballero about how to be prepared for hiking.  Check out the full summer program here.

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Valle Vista Campground, one of the most aptly named camps in the Los Padres.  Can you think of others?

MAY the FOREST be with you

Hi Everyone – Good Afternoon,

Quite a week for celebrations we’ve had…… 

  • Monday was May Day: a celebration of Spring and the giving of flowers.
  • Tuesday was Teachers Day: even to this day we all have teachers, it’s never a bad idea to say thank you!
  • Wednesday we caught our breath.
  • Thursday was Star Wars Day: May the fourth be with you!
  • And today is Cinco de Mayo: you can read about the history of May 5 but generally associated with Mexican heritage, margaritas and family.

All special days of course, but here in the Los Padres we celebrated yet another event this week as well…….

LOS PADRES GATE OPENING DAY: May 1

Generally speaking, the seasonal road closure gates across the forest close December 1 for the winter and then reopen May 1 after most of the rains have passed.  This is a relatively new holiday as many of the seasonal gates have not always been closed but none the less May 1 now provides reason for many of us here in the LP to celebrate.  We won’t get into MVUM or budgets or politics or any of the other reasons the gates are closed, instead lets focus on the good news that once again road access to more of the forest is open.  Here’s the latest and greatest from each of the five ranger districts:

Ojai Ranger District:
– Three seasonal roads have reopened including Reyes Peak Road (Pine Mountain), Dough Flat Road and Nordhoff Ridge Road (permit required).
– Cherry Creek Road remains closed.
– All campgrounds and trails are open!Mt. Pinos Ranger District:
– All roads, camps and trails have been reopened except for Snowy Trail, Cerro Noroeste, Dry Canyon Rd and Tinta / Rancho Nuevo Trailhead Gate at the Cuyama River / Hwy 33 junction.
– This includes Grade Valley, Alamo and Santa Barbara Canyon.
The new Romero Saddle gate at East Camino and Romero-Camuesa Rd, photo USFS
Santa Barbara Ranger District:
– The news is not so good in the SBRD……
– The Romero Camuesa Rd, which connects East Camino Cielo with the Upper Santa Ynez Recreation area sustained major structural damage this winter and remains closed to all vehicles.  A cribwall section of the road was severely undercut near the junction with the North Romero Trail and will require engineering before the road can be reopened.  As a result, the Forest Service has installed a new gate at the junction of East Camino and Romero-Camuesa at Romero Saddle where the pavement turns to dirt.  Divide Peak OHV remains open, so appropriate OHV vehicles (<50″) can pass around the new gate and continue to access Divide Peak but there is no vehicle travel down to Juncal, Pendola, the Calientes, etc…….  Staging for OHV is now at Romero Saddle.  This is major news, we’ll keep you posted as progress develops and timeframes established.
– First Crossing along Paradise Rd remains closed due to storm damage resulting from the Rey Fire.  The Forest Service expects First Crossing to reopen in the next few weeks.  Currently Upper Oso and the day use areas off River Road are closed.
– No news on when or if Buckhorn Rd / Camuesa will be reopened for OHV use.  The Buckhorn was hit hard by the Rey Fire and with most of the road resources going towards public access roads, it sounds like the Buckhorn will have to wait its turn.  We’ll keep you all posted on this as well.
– Happy Canyon has been cleared and is open for 2wd passenger car travel.Santa Lucia Ranger District:
– Santa Lucia is a bit more fluid than the other districts.  We suggest contacting the District before heading out to a trailhead or location.  Here’s the latest:
– All paved roads are open including Fig Mtn Rd, Sunset Valley.
– The dirt roads in the Fig Mtn Recreation Area are closed, including Fig Mtn Lookout, East Pinery, Catway and Old Catway.
– Sierra Madre is open from Rock Front east to McPherson Gate.
– Miranda Pine is closed at the junction with Sierra Madre.
– Bates is closed.
– Rock Front is open.
– Hi Mtn Rd remains closed at both Arroyo Grande and Salinas River sides.
– Pozo is open.
– Colson Canyon is open to Colson Camp but remains locked at the Rattlesnake Saddle gate (more on that below, see La Brea!)Monterey Ranger District:
– The Soberanes Fire Closure continues to impact the Monterey district with most of the Ventana Wilderness remaining closed.
– Hwy 1 is still closed at Ragged Point (south) and Big Sur Station (north).
– Nacimiento Ferguson is open as well as Prewitt and South Coast Ridge Roads.
– All Forest Service Camps along Hwy 1 are open but access is only via Nacimiento Ferguson.
– Palo Colorado is closed.
– Pfeiffer Beach is closed.
– Pfeiffer Big Sur and Andrew Molera State Parks are closed but should open in the coming weeks.Whew, that’s a lot, are you still with us?  It doesn’t feel like much of a celebration when you see all the closures that remain in effect.  We had quite a winter (rain) following quite a summer (fire).  Maybe we should start a band and call it Fire, Rain & Earth.  The FS is working hard to reopen the roads.  It’ll happen.  Remain optimistic we must…….

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An Apple a Day, photo Aanjelae
FOREST 411

First Saturday Trail Project Ojai: May 6 on the upper Pratt Trail.  Meet at 8:30am at the Ojai Ranger Station to carpool to the Nordhoff Ridge trailhead.

La Brea Restoration Plan: The SLRD is hosting an Open House to discuss the proposed restoration project for the La Brea Fire closure that dates back to 2010.  Public is welcome, the Open House is May 8 from 4-7pm at the SLRD Ranger Station on Carlotti Drive in Santa Maria.

• Final LPFA Working Vacation of the season is May 20-29 at Madulce Camp in the Dick Smith Wilderness.  To learn more or to sign up, email INFO@LPForest.org or check here.

• Latest Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Update from our Forest Service wildflower expert Helen Tarbet, see attached.

Wood cutting permits are available later this month at the Chuchupate Ranger Station.  Dates are May 10, 24 and 31 from 10am – 2pm.  Call Chuchupate for more information: 661.245.3731

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Stay Thirsty my Friends, photo Humphrey

Marching Towards April Working Vacations

Los Padres Greenery!

SAINT PATRICK’S DAY

Happy St. Patricks’s Day everyone!  While March 17 was originally set aside as a religious celebration of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland, the date has morphed a little over the years into a more general celebration of Ireland.  In addition to the religious aspects of St. Patrick’s day, other time honored traditions have developed including wearing green, pinching those who do not wear green, drinking Irish adult beverages, an overall celebration of Irish descent and a celebration of the color green. Good times for sure!  Feel free to celebrate or enjoy as your beliefs and preferences allow.

Here is the Los Padres, St. Patrick’s Day couldn’t come at a more appropriate time of year.  While most of the country is still thawing out from winter, we’re in the prime of spring with GREEN all around.  Take some time this weekend (after your St. Patty’s celebrations of course) and go find some green in the forest.  It’s not hard to do right now.  It should be a beautiful weekend and you never know, you might just find that leprechaun hiding his gold in that patch of miners lettuce…..

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Upper Sisquoc Views from the Manzana Trail
APRIL WORKING VACATIONS

The LPFA has two Working Vacation trail projects scheduled in April along the Manzana Trail in the San Rafael Wilderness.  The first WV will be from April 1-9 and will be based either at Manzana Camp (6 miles from NIRA) or Fish Camp (3 miles from NIRA).  The second WV will be from April 15-23 based at Happy Hunting Ground Camp (11 miles from NIRA).  While the trail projects last an entire week, you are welcome to come for as long or short as your schedule allows.  Both Working Vacation locations are upstream from the NIRA Trailhead and will take the better part of a day to travel to and from the base-camps.  We do ask that you commit to a day or two of trail work, which means you’ll need to set aside at least 3-4 days for the Working Vacations.  Better yet, come for the entire week, it’ll be beautiful out there!

For those of you who have been on LPFA Working Vacations, you know what to expect.  For those who have not, the Working Vacations are stock supported volunteer trail projects with designated cooks and all meals provided.  You can learn more here.  Basically, you show up and commit to volunteering on the trail and we’ll make sure you have tasty food to eat, hot coffee in the morning and cold drinks in the evening.  It’s great fun!  Mike Smith will be leading both of these Working Vacations and can answer any specific questions you might have or sign you up!  You can reach him at:  TrailSmith@LPForest.org

More than anything else, the Working Vacations are a fun way to get out in the backcountry, give back to the trails we love and hang out with like-minded fun people.  It’s great fun and very rewarding.  We hope to see you out there……

Rich Scholl, cooking up a storm, Madulce Working Vacation 2016

MISSION: Mission Pine

Mission Pine View, September 2016
missionpineoverview
MISSION PINE WORKING VACATION
October 21-30
    The LPFA will be hosting our next Working Vacation along the Mission Pine Trail in the San Rafael Wilderness from October 21-30.  We’ll be driving up from Cachuma Saddle to McKinley Saddle and backpacking 8 miles from there to our basecamp at Mission Pine Basin.  While the project will cover 10 days, we’ll have multiple entry-exit windows to choose from that will allow volunteers to participate for shorter periods of time.  The project will be supported with pack stock and all food will be provided.
The ‘WORK’ will consist of crosscutting any downed trees off the trail and clearing brush from the trails that radiate out from Mission Pine Basin.  These include the uppermost part of the Santa Cruz Trail and our primary objective of brushing the Mission Pine Trail east from the Basin towards West Big Pine.  There is plenty of work to be done.
The ‘VACATION’ portion of the trip will be spending time outdoors, with friends while enjoying this incredible slice of pine-studded Santa Barbara Backcountry awesomeness.  Mission Pine Basin is over 5,000 ft in elevation and has tremendous views of the Channel Islands to the South, Big Pine to the East and the Sisquoc Valley to the North.  It really is a great spot to hunker down and work the trails.
    We are looking for volunteers to help with the trail work as well as someone (or team of someone’s) to help with the cooking.  If you like backcountry cooking, I can assure you there will be plenty of hungry volunteers happy to have you there.
Space is limited, you must be able to backpack 8 miles, if you are interested in volunteering/cooking or would like to learn more, email us (INFO@LPForest.org) and hope to see you out there in late October.  More photos are on the LPFA Facebook page here.


Top of the Forest, photo Beemanpinosbeeman

SOBERANES UPDATE & MORE

• The Soberanes Fire continues to make history within the Monterey District of the Los Padres.  We’ll get into more details when it’s officially snuffed but for now it’s racking up some pretty horrifying statistics:

  • 132,069 acres, 94,875 of those are within the Los Padres Forest.  That’s the 16th largest wildfire in California history.
  • 92% containment with estimated 100% containment being October 15.
  • Today marks the start of the 11th week Soberanes has been burning.  71 days!
  • Soberanes is the most expensive fire to fight in history!  Well over $200,000,000 has been spent fighting the fire.  That does not include damages.
  • Good news is that both Church Ranch and the famous Jack English Cabin in Pine Valley survived!  Both were wrapped in fire-resistant foil and cleared before the fire came through.
  • Most evacuation orders have been lifted and life is starting to return to normal for some people affected by the fire.
  • That being said, life around Soberanes is certainly not back to normal for everyone.  The LP within Monterey County remains closed, this includes all campgrounds other than the few along Hwy 1.  All California State Park campgrounds remain closed as well.
  • We remain optimistic that portions of the forest will reopen once Soberanes reaches 100% containment and we’ll certainly keep you posted as things unfold.

RAIN?  Yes, rain.  This past week saw almost a half inch of rain fall in some parts of the Southern Los Padres, mostly in the Mt. Pinos and Ojai Ranger Districts.

• And don’t forget the LPFA Used Camping Gear Sale tomorrow, 10am at Tucker’s Grove in Goleta!  It’s not too late to donate as well.  Just bring your used camping gear to the sale at least 30mins before the sale starts.

That’s it for now folks…..  Coming soon we’ll share an update from National Public Lands Day on the Lion Canyon Trail, some exciting news about Matilija, the year in Wheeler Gorge, hunting season, upcoming campground changes and more…..  Hang in there and have a great weekend!

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……..
– 
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

Lost Valley Trail Maintenance Working Vacation

Lost Valley Trail Maint. Working Vacation

Los Padres Forest Association        

April 8th – April 17th 2016

 

Trip Purpose – The main purpose of this trip was to perform brushing and tread-work in the areas heavily covered in brush. Remove debris slides and cut out and remove the estimated 10 downed trees blocking the Lost Valley Trail from the lower trailhead starting at the Lost Valley/Manzana trail intersection and ending at the Hurricane Deck trail intersection. This trail took heavy debris damage during the August 2015 thunderstorms.

Water Conditions – Water conditions were about as expected considering 5 years of drought. The creek bed had some wet areas in the lower 2 miles. The dependable wet area, ¾ miles below twin oaks, was wet and vulture springs was trickling. Packers brought us water for camp every other day or so.

Weather Conditions – We experienced rain the first 3 days of the project and stayed at NIRA, then moved camp to Twin Oaks and finished the project from there. The remaining 7 days were mostly clear with highs in the high 70’s and low 80’s.

Description of Work/Surveys Accomplished

Project Overview

  1. Bucked out 10 fallen trees along the entire Lost Valley Trail.
  2. With the total length of the Lost Valley Trail being about 8 miles, we cleared the first 5 miles to Vulture Springs to full LPFA standard. We also completely cleared the remaining 3 miles from Vulture Springs to hurricane deck of all trees and heavy brushing and worked on tread areas in problem spots.

Trip Overview – This 10-day working vacation was originally planned for the Madulce Trail. However, rainy weather during the first few days, caused concern for getting pack animals safely in and out of camp and up the infamous heartbreak hill.

So we moved the project to the Lost Valley Trail, which sustained heavy damage during the August 2015 thunderstorms. That particular weather event brought down trees and debris slides, making the trail nearly impassable to hikers.

We car-camped the first 3 days of the project at NIRA while working on the first few miles of the Lost Valley Trail. After the weather cleared, and the remaining work was farther up the trail, we moved to Twin Oaks Camp to continue our efforts.

The trip was very successful overall, especially as an alternate to the original plan. Each day we broke into several teams, performing brushing, tread-work and/or tree removal as needed.

Future Projects for the area – The remaining 3 miles, from Vulture springs to hurricane deck, need to be completed to Full LPFA standard. A multi-day trip, with workers staying at cowboy camp and packers bringing water to camp, will make working this section feasible. This will allow us to work on the East Hurricane deck section simultaneously.

Backcountry users observed in the area – We observed several groups of day-hikers and backpackers in the Manzana trail and NIRA camp areas. On the final day of the project, a couple of backpackers who hiked the middle-deck loop mentioned that they were very pleased to hike a freshly worked Lost Valley Trail.

What’s a WORKING VACATION?

JasonnSisquoc WORKING VACATIONS
If you check the dictionary or an online source and look up the antonym for the word VACATION, the first response that comes back is the word WORK.  Generally the words WORK and VACATION don’t go together too well, do they?  That’s not always the case though, let me explain…..
Starting about 15 years ago the LPFA began a program called WORKING VACATIONS where VWR Trail Leaders would host a 7-10 day volunteer trail project usually deep in a wilderness area.  Being that it takes a day of travel to even get to most of these remote locations, the WORKING VACATIONS (WV) gave us enough time out there to accomplish a lot of trail work.  The WV’s are always stock supported, meaning we utilize mules and/or horses to bring in camp supplies, food and in some cases all the camping gear.  On a few WV’s the volunteers literally only need to carry in a daypack and the stock team carries in all other essentials for the week – it’s great!  The LPFA pays for all the food for the week and there is usually a designated cook who handles preparing all meals and cleanup.  You wake up and there is hot coffee and breakfast waiting for you and at the end of the day you are greeted back at camp with a cold beverage and dinner already made – it’s great!  (You might be asking how you can schedule a WV at your house?  Can’t help you there…..)  It’s also really nice having a terrific excuse to visit some of the more remote, wild and spectacular parts of the forest.  But the best part about WORKING VACATIONS is getting into a daily rhythm of working the trails and spending time with old friends or making new friends – it’s great!

Heath Camp has never smelled so good…..
HeathBurgers
In Spring 2016 the LPFA will be hosting three WORKING VACATIONS.  Our first is from April 8-18 at Madulce Camp in the Dick Smith Wilderness.  We’ll be working all the trails that radiate from camp including Santa Barbara Canyon, Madulce Trail, Puerto Suelo and the Don Victor Trail.  There are options available for volunteers who can only make it for a long weekend or for those who would like to stay all week.  We can pretty much customize the arrivals and departures around your schedule.  The project will be stock supported and all food expenses covered.  If you are interested in helping either as a trail volunteer, cook or packer, contact INFO@LPForest.org.  Mike Smith will be the project leader.

Log Cabin Pancake Breakfast
LogCabinPancake

Our second WORKING VACATION is May 20-31 based at Sycamore Camp along the middle Sisquoc in the San Rafael Wilderness.  Our focus for this project will be to work the Sisquoc Trail downstream from Sycamore to Abel Camp.  John Franklin and Steve Cypher are co-leading this project.  Volunteers, cooks and/or stock support are needed.  I’ll tell you one thing, jumping into the Sisquoc after a long day of work will not be the worst thing.

The stars of the show: Susie, Otis and Team
PackSupport

The third WORKING VACATION is scheduled for June and the location is TBD dependent on how water conditions shape up the rest of the winter and into summer.

If you are interested in learning more or to sign up, let us know:  INFO@LPForest.org

 

The Working Vacations are great fun and I think I can speak for all the previous participants and say that they are some of the best volunteer experiences you can have in the Los Padres.  Hope to see you out there…….

PotholeWorker



SURF & TURF

And while I have you, don’t forget about the Surf & Turf event TONIGHT at Surf Brewery in Ventura.  Information is attached.