Fire Restrictions Lifted & Trail Project Schedule 2016

Lucky Pooch Recharging by the CampfireJackson

FIRE RESTRICTIONS LIFTED

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year!  The big news across the forest this past week has been the change in Fire Restrictions.  Effective January 9, the fire restrictions dating back to May 5, 2015 have been lifted.  While this is exciting news for those of us who have spent freezing nights in the forest of late, please PLEASE remember to be safe with your campfires.  Only build campfires in cleared spaces, preferably in designated campground campfire-rings and most importantly be sure to completely put out your fires before you leave camp.  It may seem like a pain to spend those extra minutes soaking your fire but it’s so important – think about the alternative.  Take that extra time to run trips back and forth from the creek.  For those of you looking for an easier solution, REI sells a collapsible bucket made by Sea to Summit which carries 10 liters and can easily soak down a campfire with only a few trips to the creek.  Also be sure to get your California Campfire Permit.  Permits are available at any of the Ranger Stations or online at this link.  Just takes a few minutes and it is the law to have a permit.  Enjoy the warmth and be careful.  The change in fire restrictions also reopens shooting ranges across the forest.  Contact your local Ranger District for information on shooting ranges near you.





Happy Trail Workers Along Mono-Alamar Trail, photo Beeman
WorkersHappy VOLUNTEER TRAIL PROJECTS

The LPFA and friends have a bunch of volunteer trail projects scheduled over the coming months, a BUNCH!  We wanted to get the dates out to you now so that you can hopefully find a free weekend (or longer) to help the trails.  If you have any questions or want to sign up, please email INFO@LPForest.org:

February 7: Deal Trail, Dick Smith Wilderness

This is the 4th Annual Super Bowl Sunday trail project hosted in conjunction with UTMC along the deal Trail.  Meet at 8:30am and home in time for the second half of the game.  Lots of fun and you’ll feel great sitting on your couch that evening knowing you deserve it, Mark Subbotin is the project lead.

February 19-21: Location TBD
This is going to most likely be a 3-day car-camping project in the Santa Barbara Backcountry led by Curt Cragg.  We are finalizing the location based on weather and road access.  More to come soon……

March 4-6: Potrero Trail, San Rafael Wilderness
Led by Mike Smith, this will be a 3-day backpacking project based at Potrero Camp along Manzana Creek.  Work will be up the Potrero Trail towards Hurricane Deck.  The project will be stock supported so expect tasty meals.

March 18-20: Buckhorn Trail with SBMTV, Santa Barbara Backcountry
Led by Curt Cragg and cosponsored by LPFA and SBMTV, we’ll be working the legendary Buckhorn Trail down from the top towards the first creek crossing.  We’ll be camping at Happy Hollow Camp with opportunities for day volunteers as well.  Gonna be a fun one!

April 8-18: Madulce Working Vacation, Dick Smith Wilderness
This is the first of 3 LPFA Working Vacation scheduled for spring 2016.  We’ll be based at Madulce Camp and working the network of trails radiating from the old guard station.  Our main focus will be working the Madulce and Puerto Suelo Trails.  While we’ll be up there for 10 days, there will be opportunties for shorter stints.  Backpacking 7 miles to camp is required and there will be stock support.  April is a great time of year in this part of the forest.  Mike Smith will be the project lead.

April 29-May 1: Alamar Trail, Dick Smith Wilderness
This project will be based at Bluff Cabin and focused on completing the final mile of trail down Alamar Trail from Alamar Saddle.  Curt Cragg will be leading this project.  This was a project we started in September 2015 as part of National Public Lands Day.

May 5-8: Lost Valley Trail, San Rafael Wilderness
Mike Smith will be leading a gutsy (Mothers Day) extended weekend project along the Lost Valley Trail.  This will be a backpacking / stock-supported project based somewhere along the trail with the goal of working from the Manzana up to the Hurricane Deck.

May 20-30: Middle Sisquoc Working Vacation, San Rafael Wilderness
This is going to be a fun one as well.  We’ll be based at Sycamore Camp along the Sisquoc River and working the trail down-canyon to Abel Camp.  The Sisquoc should be epic this time of year with deep pools and green slopes.  Access will be along the Jackson Trail.  The project will be stock supported with shorter length stays possible as well.

June 3-5: National Trails Day, Location TBD
We’ll be partnering with REI to host a 3-day project in the Ventura or Santa Barbara Backcountry.  Location and specifics are in the works.  Stay tuned…….

June 11-19: Mission Pine Working Vacation, San Rafael Wilderness
There have been quite a few projects over the past few years attempting to reopen the Mission Pine Trail from McKinley Saddle to Big Pine.  Talk about epic trails, this Working Vacation will be focused on completing the work across Mission Pine and down the top mile of the Santa Cruz Trail.  There is lots of potential for this project as far as where it is based and all that.  In the works and we’ll share when we know more……..

Wheww, that is a lot, isn’t it?  We hope you can make it on at least one of these projects.  We’ll be covering many different types of trails at many fantastic locations.  There is really something for everyone on these projects.  If you haven’t been on any LPFA project, try to make it this spring, you’ll have a great time!





 

Snowy Hwy 33 Pine Mountain Winter Wonderland, photo Humphrey



 

Working Vacation Update and National Trails Day

Hello Los Padres – hope this finds you well,

The big news this past week was that most of the seasonal gate closures in the Ventura backcountry were opened as of May 1.  This includes Dough Flat, Grade Valley, Santa Barbara Canyon (SBCo), Alamo and Pine Mtn amongst others.  These gates are closed November 1 and reopened May 1 as part of seasonal gate closures.  Unfortunately the closures happen to coincide with the best time for people to recreate behind most of these gates.  It would be nice to see the gates opened and closed on a case by case basis based on storm events, conditions and elevation rather than a blanket closure.  Hopefully this is something we can work on over the next 6 months so that next years closures won’t be so drastic.  For now, the gates are open and now is a great time to get out and enjoy the Forest.  Have at it………


 

PackSupport

Dream Team of Otis, Susie and team……….

WORKING VACATION
– UPPER SISQUOC –

The LPFA just wrapped up a 10-day Working Vacation along the Upper Sisquoc in the San Rafael Wilderness.  We had 16 volunteers over that time working the trail and helping supply the project with stock support.  Working Vacations are designed to entice volunteers to spend time working the trails in exchange for cooked meals and cold beverages at the end of each hard days work.  Led by VWR super hero Mike Smith, we were able to log out over 100 downed trees from the Judell and Sisquoc Trails.  By the end of the 10-days, the entire Judell Trail and from Mansfield to Lower Bear was passable to stock.  It was a great project and huge accomplishment.  Special thanks to the Forest Service for helping support the project, in particular Joe Duran, Pancho Smith and Nate Rezeau.  Also Susie and Otis for their expert pack support and Rich Scholl for being a dutch oven magician as our designated cook.

Now that the trail work is done, it’s time to head out and see for yourself.  There was plenty of water in the Sisquoc and the trails are in great shape.  We’re starting to plan an early summer followup project to log the section of trail from Alamar Saddle down to Lower Bear.  We’ll keep you posted and hope to see you next time around……

MansfieldOak

Crosscut Logging near Mansfield, photo Beckstrand

TombstoneTree

The Tombstone Oak, you know it’s taken some time when a tree gets a name, photo Burtness 

SisquocTread

Tread Looking Nice!

HeathCamp

Benefits of stock support, photo Burtness

HeathFood

Eat like Kings and Queens

JudellTrail

Spectacular Judell Trail, looking better than normal!

 

 

NATIONAL TRAILS DAY

Give back to your trails by celebrating National Trails Day with the LPFA.  This year we are hosting a 1-2 day project along the Cold Spring Trail in Santa Barbara County.  With the help of a grant from the Los Padres Trails Riders, we’ll be base camping at Mono Campground and working the Cold Spring Trail through the Mono Jungle and up to the infamous North Cold Spring Slide.  The Slide has been choking the trail for the past 10+ years and preventing most trail users from making it along the trail.  We are going to spend our time reestablishing this section of trail and logging downed trees in the Mono Jungle.  Here is a quick breakdown on the project logistics:

Friday June 5
– Arrive at Mono Campground in the afternoon or evening
– Setup camp, relax, nearby hot springs

Saturday June 6
– Arrive at Mono Campground
– Trail work will start at 0800
– We’ll break into groups and hike the 2miles to the slide section
– Work the trail……
– Stop work at 1500 and head back to Mono Campground
– BBQ and post-work cold beverages provided by the LPFA and TBA local brewing company
– Relax around camp, enjoy nearby hot springs

Sunday June 7
– Breakfast provided by the LPFA
– 0900, optional continued work on the Slide for those interested
– 1400 stop work and head back to Mono Campground
– Pack up and head home

If you are interested in helping either with trail work or as a camp cook, please email INFO@LPForest.org.  For more information check here:

http://www.nationaltrailsday.org/events/north-cold-spring-trail-project/

The Slide, looks better than it actually is…….
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SlideTwo
OverviewMapColdSpring

List of more upcoming events……….
———————————————————————————–
May 19-27: Santa Cruz Trail Project
May: Buckhorn Trail Project
June 3-11: Mono Alamar Trail Project
June 5-7: National Trails Day, Mono Campground Trail Weekend
June 27: Big Sur Wilderness Celebration
June: Bear Sisquoc Crosscut
July 10-12: Santa Barbara 100 Endurance Run Support
July: Madulce Trail Crosscut
———————————————————————————–

Upper Sisquoc Working Vacation

Hello Everyone,We’re very excited to announce that the LPFA is  partnering with the Forest Service to host a 10-day trail project along the Upper Sisquoc Trail within the San Rafael Wilderness.  The dates are April 17-26.  The Cliff Notes version:

  • While the project is 10 days in total length, we’ll have a variety of entry and exit dates for those who cannot commit to the entire 10 days.  Let us know what works for you and we’ll do our best to figure out a solution.
  • The project will start by driving past the locked FS gates to Santa Barbara Potrero.
  • We’ll meet the stock horses and mules at SB Potrero and load them up with gear, food, tools and supplies to haul down to Heath Camp.
  • From there we’ll backpack the 5 miles down to Heath Camp, which will most likely be our basecamp for the week.
  • Once at Heath along the Sisquoc, we’ll setup camp and do what we do:  trail work, campfires, swim, good food, log out trees, explore, hang out with friends and swing tools.
  • The focus of the project is to work and clear the trail of the 100 reported trees down from Heath up towards Alamar Saddle.

If you’ve not been on a Working Vacation, I can assure you they are a lot of fun.  Having stock support means we eat well and usually have cold beverages to look forward to at the end of the day.  Hope you can make it and to sign up or for more information email: INFO@LPFOREST.ORG


SISQUOC WORKING VACATION
April 17-26
Heath Camp
San Rafael Wilderness
http://www.hikelospadres.com/sisquoc-trail-south-fork-to-alamar.html

UpperSisquocWV

 BearFalls

LPFA Transverse – Buzzy Times

Don’t spend too much time looking at this, photo Amanda Grandfield
Rattler

Hello Los Padres,

Busy time in the Forest.  Lots going on.  Events every weekend.  Flowers going off.  Trail projects here and there.  Good water in the creeks.  And yes, our snake friends are awake, out and about.  We’ve been getting reports of rattler sightings.  While the buzzing sound will startle you, remember that it’s better than the alternative of a snake that doesn’t provide warnings.  Rattlesnakes play a crucial role in the LP environment and don’t like seeing people as much as you might not like seeing them.  Keep your eyes open while along the trails, watch where you put your feet and hands and be sure to give them their space if you do see/hear them.  They really are quite beautiful, once you get over the initial startle.

EVENTS, PROJECTS and VOLUNTEERING, OH MY!!!

MARCH 19
FREE Showing of MULE Living on the Outside
Greater Goleta
The Los Padres Trail Riders are presenting a free screening of the great documentary of Mule’s wanderings around the Western United States.  See attached for more details.

MARCH 22
Trails and Tales: A Behind the Scenes Look at Ojai’s Backcountry
Ojai
This is going to be awesome!  The Ojai Valley Museum has organized a panel discussion about everyone’s favorite subject: The Ojai/Ventura Backcountry!  The panelists are a who’s who, including Rick Bisaccia, John Boggs, Craig Carey and Mike Vaughn.  The event starts at 4:30.  I know, spend the day in the mountains, stop by Wheeler Gorge on your way back and then hit the Trails and Tales on your way back home.  Perfect day!  Thank me on Monday with some pictures of your hike.  See attached for more information.

MARCH 25
Exploring the Dick Smith Wilderness Slideshow by James Wapotich
Santa Barbara
Join James Wapotich next Wednesday as he takes us on a tour of the forgotten Dick Smith Wilderness.  Free event that will leave you wanting to risk bad trails and blood sucking California rose for the solitude and beauty of the Dick Smith.  See you there…..  More information attached.

MARCH 28
Wildflower Tour of Figueroa Mountain
Santa Ynez Valley
Helen Tarbet of the Forest Service will be leading a tour of the world famous Figueroa Mountain wildflowers.  Helen’s passion and knowledge of the local flora is incredible.  She’s great and you will have a terrific time on this tour, trust me.  See the attached flier and please send us some photos to share when you get back.

MARCH 28
Santa Paula Canyon Trash Cleanup
Ojai Santa Paula
The Ojai Ranger District will be organizing a trash cleanup along Santa Paula Canyon on March 28.  For more information, contact Ranger Heidi: handerson@fs.fed.us

MARCH 28-29
Santa Barbara Canyon Sawyer Project
Cuyama Pine Mountain
Join the UTMC and Wilderness Corp on a sawyer project along the Santa Barbara Canyon Trail in the Dick Smith Wilderness.  The work starts Saturday at 9am and lasts through 5pm on Sunday.  This is a beautiful trail in a remote corner of the forest.  Great opportunity to give back to the forest.  If interested click on www.WildernessCorps.com and click on Logging Trips; Santa Barbara Canyon Trail.  Looking forward to hearing about all the great work they get done!

APRIL 11
Wheeler Gorge Open House
Ojai Highway 33
The LPFA is hosting our 11th Open House at Wheeler Gorge!  This is a great family event.  This is a perfect excuse for getting you and your family into the mountains.  The Open House is from 10am – 2pm, which gives you plenty of time for an early morning hike or an afternoon swim in the nearby Matilija or Sespe Wildernesses.  We’ll have games, arts & crafts, booths, Smokey Bear, BBQ, etc etc… See attached for more details.

I told you there was lots going on.  Hope to see you out and about and have a great week……….


Santa Paula Canyon, photo Ranger Heidi
SantaPaulaCyn

LPFA Transverse – Potholes and Superbowls

Hello Everybody,

Hope you’ve been getting out and enjoying the unusually warm weather we’ve had of late.  It’s been nice, sometimes too nice.  WE NEED RAIN.  Good news is the LP is looking like we might get a few storms within the next week or so.  Fingers crossed!  We’ve got quite a few updates from across the Forest, lets get to it:

PotholesWorkingVacation
P O T H O L E    W O R K I N G    
V A C A T I O N

We were just reminded that this project was never shared.  Back in July, the Ojai Ranger District reached out to us and asked if we’d be interested in hosting a ‘Working Vacation’ on the Pothole Trail.  I don’t think the words had fully left their mouth and we’d already responded with a “HECK YEAH!”  The Pothole Trail is a rarely hiked trail within the Sespe Wilderness that connects Lake Piru with the Agua Blanca drainage.  It’s the southern most trail along the Condor Trail, right next to the Sespe Condor Sanctuary and is extremely wild and scenic.  Great spot!  After a few scouting missions by the Forest Service and LPFA, we set off and spent a week clearing the trail from Log Cabin Camp up towards the ridge line.  Working Vacations are projects where the LPFA provides food for the volunteers in exchange for volunteers spending their days hacking away at brush.  Three daily meals and morning/evening beverages were more than enough encouragement for our team of 13 volunteers.  We ended up clearing nearly 3 miles of trail that was extremely overgrown at the start of the week.  Good times had by all and a great opportunity to spend an extended time in the Sespe Wilderness.  More photos can be seen on the LPFA Facebook Page.

Bluff Storm Clouds, photo Beeman
BluffStormClouds
U P C O M I N G     P R O J E C T S

Tis the season and there is a storm of trail projects on the horizon at the moment.  Hopefully you can make a couple of these.

January 31: Pothole Trail Clearing
The Ojai Ranger District is hosting a trail project along the Upper Pothole Trail January 31.  It will be mostly brushing with some light tread work.  For more information, contact Ranger Heidi: handerson@fs.fed.us

February 1: Mine Camp Trail Project
What better way to spend Super Bowl Sunday than doing some trail work in the morning.  The LPFA, UTMC and Mt. Pinos Volunteers are teaming up for the 3rd Annual Super Bowl Trail Project.  This year the work will be up the Mine Camp Trail up from the Deal Canyon Connector Trail in the Mount Pinos Ranger District.  The work will start early and end in time for you to at least make the second half of the Super Bowl.  As if that isn’t incentive enough, all volunteers will walk away with a commemorative drink koozy.  How can you beat that.  For more information, get a hold of Mark Subbotin: msubbotin76@gmail.com

Koozy

February 27-March 1: Mission Pine Trail
In a continued effort to open up the Mission Pine Trail, another project will be hosted from February 27-March 1 starting from McKinley Saddle and heading to Mission Pine Basin in the San Rafael Wilderness.  We’ll send some additional updates but if you’d like to sign up, reach out to Curt Cragg:  Curt@LPForest.org


Shrouded Cachuma Peak
CachumaPeak
F O R E S T    4 1 1


First Aid / CPR Training

There is a forest-centric First Aid and CPR Class on Sunday February 28 in Ojai.  This is a great opportunity to get re-certified for your crosscut or chainsaw certification.  If interested contact:  Bryan@LPForest.org

Wildling Wilderness Panel
The LPFA is partnering with the Wildling Museum to host a Wilderness Panel event in Solvang on February 7.  The panel will feature some local Forest historians and key figures as they talk about their experiences in the Los Padres and how the wilderness designations have affected the Forest.  Should be a really fun night.  We’ll post more information in the coming days.  Seats are limited so put it on your calendar.

California Fire Permit
We were reminded that now is the time to get a CA fire permit.  It’s free and only takes a few mins.  Use the link below and share with your friends and camping buddies.
http://www.preventwildfireca.org/Campfire-Permit/

Middle Lion Campground OPEN
Middle Lion Campground in the Ojai has been reopened.  It was closed for about a month due to hazard trees.  The FS removed the hazard trees and it’s good to go now.

Los Padres Biodiversity Workshop
The LP is hosting a workshop to encourage women to get into fire fighting.  The classes are in Santa Barbara over Super Bowl Weekend.  For more information check the link below:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/lpnf/home/?cid=STELPRD3827043&width=full

Franklin Trail Fundraiser – January 28
Trails and Ales is back!  Drink beer and help the Franklin Trail?  What could be better…..
http://sbtrails.org/events/trails-and-ales/

Lots of information…….If we missed anything or you have any updates you’d like us to forward on – send our way.  Be safe everyone and enjoy your time in the Forest.

LPFA Transverse – HOTEMBER

                    Whoa, has it been hot!  September is usually one of the hottest months across the Los Padres and 2014 is no different.  Most of the backcountry has been baking and taking the remaining water with it.  We’ve been getting reports of places drying up that we didn’t think was possible.  Reports of the Carmel River drying up, Upper Indian Creek dry and everything else at all-time low levels.  There was a backpacker last week in the Sespe that had to be airlifted out due to heat stroke and dehydration.  If you are heading to the mountains and are unsure if there will be water, it’s best to be on the safe side and plan on there being no water – bring every drop you might need.  And of course, before you head out, contact your local Forest Service and ask them for any recent reports.  You can always ask us as well and we’ll see if we can dig anything up.

Now all that being said, the forecast is changing and temperatures will be going down over the next few days and into next week.  And don’t look now, the northern reaches of the Los Padres even have some rain in the forecast.

NATIONAL  PUBLIC  LANDS  DAY

September 27 is National Public Lands Day (NPLD).  NPLD is the single greatest day across the United States for volunteerism and the Los Padres is no exception.  There are a series of projects scattered across the forest including trail work, invasive plant removal, sign installation, trash cleanup and Visitor Center maintenance.  We put together a webmap to help highlight all the projects.  Check it out:

Hope to see you out there somewhere and if you have a project you’d like us to include on the map, let us know.

DevilsGateway

Devils Gateway, Agua Blanca – September 2014
W O R K I N G   V A C A T I O N

Each year the LPFA hosts a larger-than-normal trail project that we call a Working Vacation.  The Working Vacations usually involve a cook, stock support and an ideal location for volunteers to work the trail while at the same time feel a little more pampered than a usual trail project.  This year we’ve been asked to support the Ojai Ranger District by hosting a Working Vacation on the Potholes Trail outside of Lake Piru.  The Potholes Trail also happens to be a key component of the Condor Trail.  We scouted the trail a few weeks ago and the project is taking shape for sometime in November with Log Cabin Camp along the Agua Blanca being the basecamp.  Details to come in the next weeks.  If you are interested in hearing more, please let us know and we’ll get you on the list: info@LPForest.org

S A N T A    C R U Z    S C R E E

For those of you who have hiked the Santa Cruz Trail from Upper Oso up towards Little Pine, no doubt you remember the scree slides along the southern face of Little Pine.  These slides have been terrorizing trail users and frustrating trail builders since Hector was a pup.  Last week the LPFA headed out that way to install two short lengths of rope to aid hikers and bikers as they cross the infamous slides.  We’ve been hearing tales of people refusing to go through the slides out of fear.  If nothing else, the rope should provide confidence and assurance that the slides are safe to pass.  So far we’ve heard compliments from both the hiking and biking community.  In the meantime the search for a permanent solution to the scree slides goes on…….

SantaCruzScreeSlides