LPFA News from Around the Los Padres

Squid Games on the Arroyo Quemado Trail 31W18 (aka Baron Ridge), post Alisal Fire

Hello Friends,

We’ve got lots of news from across the Los Padres down below but first off we wanted to share a couple incredible announcements that the trail users among us will certainly be excited to hear:

FIGUEROA MOUNTAIN TRAIL WORK
Thanks to a Public Trails Grant from the Santa Barbra Foundation and some generous donations from the Santa Ynez Valley Women’s Hiking Group, the LPFA will be restoring over a dozen miles of trail this season along the backside of Figueroa Mountain. This will include all the trails between White Rock and Willow Spring with most of the work focused on clearing brush and downed trees from the trail corridor. In order to help complete the trail work we’ll be scheduling regular Fig Mtn volunteer projects starting with our first one on Friday November 19. We’ll be sharing volunteer opportunities through the regular channels and would love to setup a corporate or special volunteer project should any of your companies or organizations be interested in helping with these trails – let us know. These trails are long overdue for a nice haircut and we can’t wait to get started. We hope you can join us in this ambitious effort…..

RED REEF TRAIL WORK
The Red Reef Trail is hands down one of the most spectacular trails in the Los Padres. Red Reef extends 13 miles from its Upper Ojai Valley southern trailhead over the Topatopas and into the rugged canyons of the Sespe Wilderness before terminating at the junction with the Sespe River Trail. Red Reef is a terrific trail and has a little bit of everything for just about every type of forest user. Unfortunately it’s also got quite a bit of trail damage resulting from both the Thomas Fire as well as deferred maintenance. The great news is that the Los Padres National Forest secured funding from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) and the LPFA will be helping over the coming months to restore and maintain all 13 miles of the Red Reef Trail. We are stoked, to say the least. We’ll be starting work on the Red Reef this weekend while hosting an Ojai First Saturday Trail Project starting at 8am on November 13. We’ll also be hosting a 5-day project in January working from the Sespe up towards an area known as Horsethief. We’ll have quite a few other volunteer projects lined up over the coming months as well. This is so exciting and we sure look forward to many of you helping bring this gem of a trail back to life.

A Glorious Day on the Whiter than Normal Red Reef Trail, January 2021

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FOREST 411

• Even with the generous early season rains, we’ve been hearing a lot of reports of continued dry conditions from across the Los Padres. It seems that Mother Earth drank up most of the precipitation so far and that the creeks, streams and rivers haven’t been activated yet. Keep this in mind as you pull on your backpack and head out to the forest. Even with the rain, water might still be scarce in spots. As always, it’s never a bad idea to check HikeLosPadres before you venture out and be sure to share what you find after you get back. Safe travels…..

• Quick reminder that the Los Padres remains in fire restrictions and campfires are currently not allowed anywhere across the forest.

• There remains a closure order in place for the Alisal Fire, which burned 16,970 acres across the western Santa Ynez Mountains in October. The forest remains closed through November 19th from Winchester Gun Club out through Gaviota Peak, this includes the Tequepis Trail and the dirt portions of West Camino Cielo.

• In addition to the Alisal Fire, both the 2021 Willow Fire and 2020 Dolan Fire still have active forest closures. Click the links to the left for more information.

• Another quick reminder that Fremont, Paradise and Los Prietos Campgrounds remain closed along Paradise Road due to hazard tree removal.

• Remember too that Sunset Valley Road and paved access to both Davy Brown and NIRA Campgrounds remains closed through March 2022. Some good news, the LPFA Trail Crew has been working to clear the nearby Sulphur Spring Trail, which will help provide some better access this season for the Manzana and Sisquoc. We’re also encouraging the Forest Service to keep vehicle access to other trailheads open this season as many backpackers are being displaced due to the Manzana closure. More on that to come…

• Some condor news, three condors were released earlier this month into the wild in the mountains above San Simeon. We’ll be watching these three closely, especially #38!

• The Forest Service signed a Decision Memo on September 30 to move forward with the Reyes Peak Forest Health and Fuels Reduction proposal along Pine Mountain within the Ventura Backcountry. You can read more about the controversial proposal here.

Prime Fall Colors Across the Mono Jungle, photo DFeinberg

• In other Los Padres news, we want to wish a fond farewell to former Supervisor Kevin Elliott, who recently retired after 43 years with the Forest Service and the last 3 on the Los Padres. Taking over as interim Supervisor for at least the next four months will be Chris Stubbs. Chris has been the Deputy Supervisor for a few years now and has a great feel for the Los Padres Forest. Welcome aboard Chris, we look forward to working with you.

• We also want to officially welcome Daryl Hodges as the new Santa Barbara District Ranger.  

• Our friends at the Pack Stock Center of Excellence are seeking packing apprentices for the 2022 summer season. You can apply herehere and here. Good luck and make sure they continue visiting the Los Padres as well….

• Our great friends at the Los Padres NF are also looking to hire seasonal help at their Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Frazier Park district offices – check it out here… The LPNF is also looking to hire for a permanent Admin Assistant for the Santa Barbara Ranger District, click here.

• Remember that we are still accepting calendar submission for the 2022 Los Padres Calendar. If you’ve got a great photo or 50 from the Los Padres, please send em our way and we’ll send you a calendar if we use your photo. INFO@LPForest.org – thanks in advance!

• Last but not least, we want to say thank and good luck to our beloved friend Kendra Moss. Kendra was the LPFA Program Manager for the past couple years and had an opportunity come up that was too good to pass up. We really miss Kendra and appreciate all that she did for the LPFA and all the help she provided for the Los Padres Forest. Exciting times ahead for Kendra and she did a great job setting the LPFA up for success as well. Cheers KM!

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Halloween in the Los Padres, Pinos dressing up like the Channel Islands, photo Toejam

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 pass along!

November 13: First Saturday Ojai – Red Reef Trail, LPFA
November 13-14: Little Pine Trailwork, LPFA
November 18: Beauty of Chumash Basketry, SB Library Talk
November 19: Figueroa Mountain Trail Work, LPFA
November 20-21: Lower Santa Ynez Sign Install, LPFA
November 23: Trailwork Tuesday – Buena Vista Trail, MTF & LPFA

December 5: Santa Margarita Lake, CCCMB
December 2-6: Tamarisk Removal – Sisquoc, CIR

January 6-10: Red Reef Trail – Sespe Creek, LPFA
January 15: LPFA Member/Volunteer PARTY!
January 22: West Cuesta Trail Work, CCCMB

February 5: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training

March – April: Fundamentals of Backpacking Course, LPFA
March 26 – April 3: Alder Creek Working Vacation – Sespe, LPFA
April 22 – May 2: Red Reef Working Vacation – Ladybug Camp, LPFA
May 14-23: Indian Creek Working Vacation – Meadow Camp, LPFA
November 5-13, 2022: South Fork Working Vacation – San Rafael Wilderness, LPFA

  

Los Padres Forest Association
HikeLosPadres.com
Facebook.com/LPFA
Instagram/LPFA

It’s fall in the Los Padres….

Autumn is a second spring when (almost) every leaf is a flower – Camus

Hello Friends,

It is fall in the Los Padres, trail season is once again upon us and we hope you’ve been able to find some trail time! The Los Padres had a terrific early season first rain last week and ever since then we’ve been out and about restoring trails, fixing trail drains, clearing downed trees, repairing campgrounds and tackling all our other forest help initiatives. You probably know the saying “make hay while the sun shines”, for us it’s “make hay after the first rains and before the real rains start”; so we’ve been busy to say the least, more on that below….

There is a lot of news to share from across the Los Padres and we’ll send out another news related email in the next week but for now we wanted to highlight a few things we’ve been working on. Lets go!

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USED CAMPING GEAR SALE & MORE….

• For those of you looking to upgrade your camping gear for the year, we are once again (COVID be damned) hosting our annual members Used Gear Sale tomorrow Saturday November 6, 10am at Tuckers Grove Site #2. We’ll have a great collection of lightly used camping gear featuring Gossamer Gear packs & tents. We hope to see you there and let us know (INFO@LPForest.org) if you have any questions…..

• The LPFA will once again be printing a Los Padres themed calendar for 2022 and we are looking for photo submissions. If you’ve got a great Los Padres photo to share, preferably from 2021, please send our way (INFO@LPForest.org) and we’ll hook you up with a calendar if we use the photo in the calendar. The 2021 calendars turned out really nice and we’re hoping for an even better version for 2022. Thank you…..

• As previously mentioned, we’ve been busy! So busy in fact, that we’re unfortunately going to have to push back our Volunteer/Member party which was originally scheduled for November 13. We really appreciate all your continued support and donations. Of course parties are great, but we’ve got hay to make and we believe that you all would rather have us out helping the forest more than scheduling parties, right? With that said, we’ll choose a later date either in December or January after the hay has been made. Thanks and stay tuned….

• So what have we been doing….. Over the past couple months we’ve been able to do trail work on the following trails: Gene Marshall-Piedra Blanca, Santa Cruz, Blue Canyon, Cold Spring, Matilija, Franklin, Sulphur Spring, Jesusita and others… We’ve also been working with the Forest Service to renovate some of their campgrounds including Figueroa, Hi Mouintain, La Panza and both the Camuesa Camps. We’re also assisting the Forest Service with a couple sign projects including installing user education signs along Camino Cielo and over 35 interpretive signs across the LP backcountry. We’re also in the beginning stages of some conservation projects where we’ll be building pipe fencing to help stop illegal OHV trespass. Since the forest reopened in late September we’ve literally been in the forest helping with boots on the ground all but 4 days, and it was raining two of those days. Busy to say the least but it’s so fun seeing the colors change from green to brown in the trees and brown to green on the ground.

We’ve also got a busy schedule of volunteer projects to share as well. More on that next week….. Enjoy the weekend, maybe we’ll see you at the Used Gear Sale and be sure to get some trail time.

Sespe Shadows – can you hear the wind?  – photo DHall

Los Padres Forest Association
HikeLosPadres.com
Facebook.com/LPFA
Instagram/LPFA

Sespe Dreams Are Made of This & COVID Cancellations

Dreaming of Cove Camp but thinking of COVID-19

Hello Friends,

Unless you’ve been wandering the backcountry since December, you’re no doubt aware of the coronavirus and all the worldwide precautions that are underway. As a partner of the Los Padres Forest, the LPFA will be following the Forest Service’s lead with regards to our work within their facilities, on forest lands and how to proceed with scheduled projects and events. Earlier this week we cancelled the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger (VWR) Training, which was to be held on Saturday March 14. For the time being we will be keeping the Visitor Centers at Wheeler Gorge and Big Sur Station open and staffed as usual in order to provide information for the forest community. We are also going to continue moving forward with all of our scheduled outdoor trail projects. These are certainly scary times but being in the forest, away from large groups of people might be the least scary place at the moment and for the time being we want to keep those opportunities open. We’ll be sure to share any updates via social media and our regular email. Stay informed and please be safe.

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Sespe views for days and days, McDonald Peak panoramic

WE LOVE THE SESPE

The LPFA has been working to restore many of the trails across the Sespe Wilderness.
Help us out!

Or click here to sign up for our April Working Vacation along the Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca Trail based at Beartrap Camp.

We love the Sespe!
This is a great way to give back or support this fantastic wilderness area in the Southern Los Padres.
THANK YOU!

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Remember those shirts that said: GO CLIMB A ROCK ?
Not a bad idea…….

FOREST 411

• We’re hiring for the paid LPFA Trail Crew. Check it out……..

• The Forest Service has been continuing their controlled burns in the Pinos, Monterey and Santa Lucia districts. These burns are designed to “reduce hazardous fuels in order to create healthy landscapes that are more resilient to the impacts of drought, disease, insects and uncontrolled wildfire”.

• Speaking of disease and insects (technically arachnids), the California Department of Public Health has been testing ticks across the Los Padres to see if they carry Borrelia burgdorferi, which is the causative agent of Lyme Disease. From what’s been shared to date, they’ve collected nearly 350 ticks from over a dozen different locations and none have tested positive. There are more tests scheduled and we’ll share more information at the conclusion of this program.

Los Padres Trails Recently Maintained, Restored or Worked: Agua Blanca, San Ysidro, Jesusita, Rattlesnake Cyn (SB), Pine Ridge, Matilija, Santa Paula, Matias, Buckhorn, Santa Cruz, Buena Vista, Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca, Lottie Potrero, Red Reef

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While we weren’t fast enough with the camera to get a photo of this bear as it ran away from us last week,
we were fast enough to photo its tracks in the rapidly melting snow drifts – Big Pine Mtn, SB County

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 pass along!

March 14: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger (VWR) Training (CANCELLED)
March 14: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
March 14: Brushing Pine Ridge Trail, VWA
March 20-22: American Canyon, Machesna Trail Project, LPFA & SLOPOST
March 21: Brushing Pine Ridge Trail, VWA
March 27: Dutra Flat Project, Toejam Trail Alliance

April TBD: Little Falls & Trout Creek Trail Sign Project, LPFA
April 3-9: Beartrap GMPB Sespe Working Vacation, LPFA
April 5: Ojai 1st Saturday (Sunday) Murietta Trail
April 11: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway & Wheeler Cleanup
April 15: Pretty Strong Film, Topa Topa SB
April 16: Aliso Trail Collective, LPFA
April 16: Cachuma Lake Wildflowers, SB Library
April 18: Wheeler Gorge Open House
April 18-19: Davy Brown Earthday Trail Project, LPFA
April 25: State Trails Day SB, Jesusita/Tunnel Trails
April 29: LPFA Trivia at Night Lizard Brewing, SB

May 2-10: Big Cone Spruce Manzana Narrows Working Vacation, LPFA
May 2: Pine Ridge Trail Brushing, VWA
May 16: Pine Ridge Trail Brushing, VWA
May 21: Gaspar de Portola’s Route, SB Library
May 23-31: Indian Creek Working Vacation, Dick Smith, LPFA

June 6: National Trails Day, Location TBD

Sespe Trail News & Your Late “Winter” Los Padres Update

Have you seen the rain? I ain’t seen the rain! Where’s that confounded rain? photo Kail

Hello Friends,

What happened? We got off to such a nice start this season. Do you remember the bomb cyclone around Thanksgiving and all the low elevation snow storms we had for much of December? I think I remember but ever since then the water valve just shut off. We’re not supposed to be doing trail work in January and February, it’s supposed to be too wet but this year we’ve been able to work all but one day (January 16). As of right now Salinas is at 73% “normal-to-date rainfall”, Paso Robles is at 82%, Santa Maria 54%, San Marcos Pass 53%, Camarillo 72% and no substantial rain is in the forecast through at least the first week of March. I hate to say this, but the days are going by and our window is starting to close. Yikes! And we’re not even going to talk about the early wildflowers already popping up around the forest. Maybe we’re due for a late “March Miracle” or an “Astounding April” but if not we’re looking at another dry year, a potentially long wildfire season and what might be a very short backcountry season for water. That being said, lets not give up on the season, positive thoughts everyone, get your rain dance ready. The good news is that the snow pack remains from the early season storms and that’s excellent for ground water percolation and recharge. Positive thoughts. Anyway, lots of great stuff going on around the Los Padres Forest, read on for details and we hope you’re enjoying the trails and that we get to see you soon on an upcoming volunteer project. Read on…..


Sespe Trail Projects Collage, photos Marcie, Myke & Ari – special thanks to REI and Sespe Wilderness Outfitters

SESPE WILDERNESS TRAIL WORK

The trails across the Ventura Backcountry have been neglected over the past decade probably more than anywhere else across the Los Padres. Enough’s enough, it’s time for that to change….. In 2019 the LPFA applied for and was awarded a grant from REI to lead a series of volunteer projects across the Sespe Wilderness. We started in January 2020 working the Sespe River Trail from Piedra Blanca to Willett and followed that with a February 2020 project working the Red Reef Trail up from Sespe Creek. Our next scheduled project is a week-long Working Vacation in April 2020 on the Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca (GMPB) Trail working up from Beartrap Camp. The work we’ve done so far has been incredible, with great volunteer turnout and everyone we’ve met along the trail has been so supportive and happy to see these trails getting worked once again. The response has been so positive that we want to keep the momentum going and continue our progress working trails in the Sespe. With that in mind, the LPFA is launching a fundraiser for the Sespe trails with the hopes of raising $15,000 to put towards future trail projects in the Sespe. We’d love to schedule one more week-long project working the GMPB in spring 2020 and host a 10-day Working Vacation in fall 2020 working the Alder Creek Trail from Cow Springs to the Sespe Creek. These are some of the most spectacular trails across the Los Padres but they are in such bad shape at the moment. We’re hoping the trail community can help by raising some funds for the Sespe trails. For more information and a short video about our proposal, check the link below – thank you:

SUPPORT SESPE TRAIL WORK

HELP THE SESPE TRAILS


Perfect camping morning: get your coffee, climb a rock, find that perfect view and watch the sunrise……

FOREST 411

  • The LPFA is working with the Los Padres Forest and other LP trail groups to host a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training on March 14 at the Los Prietos Compound off of Paradise Road.  We are finalizing the agenda and details will be shared soon.  If you are interested in learning more or would like to attend, please email us and we’ll be sure you are on the list: Volunteer@LPForest.org
  • There are A TON of volunteer trail opportunities coming up across the forest over the coming months. Check it out below and we hope to see you swinging a tool with us soon……
  • We’ve been getting a lot of questions about gate closures and why gates are closed when the roads are dry.  The answer is that most of the LP gates are closed due to predetermined seasonal road closures.  Most of the seasonal closures kick in either November 1 or when it starts to rain and are reopened May 1 or when the roads have been fixed after the rain season. This has been a weird year due to the lack of rain and depending on how the weather shapes up over the coming month, some of the gates may open early.  Our best advice if you are planning a trip through a seasonal gate closure is to contact the appropriate Ranger District and check to see if the gates are open.  And then if the gates are closed, you can always remind the FS politely that you’d appreciate the gates opening as soon as practical so that you can better access your forest.  We’re of course happy to help as well if we can: INFO@LPforest.org
  • Speaking of closures, the Pine Ridge Trail remains closed between Big Sur Station and Redwood Camp but lots of great work is being done by the Forest Service and Ventana Wilderness Alliance in the hopes that it will be reopened soon.  Stay tuned…….
  • Enough about closures, the Cold Spring Trail above Montecito has reopened after being closed for over two years due to the Thomas Fire.  We’re all very proud of the work that’s been accomplished along Cold Spring!  In particular the Don’s Wall.
  • Along those lines, we wanted to remind everyone about the Trail Yield Triangle and to share the trail appropriately with other users.  That’s all….
  • The Cave Fire, which burned 3,126 acres above Santa Barbara in November 2019, was officially called out on January 27, 2020.  The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
  • The Forest Service has extended the forest-wide target shooting restrictions through June 30, 2020.  Check this link for more details and locations you can legally discharge a firearm.
  • Lots of condors in the news of late.  Last month the Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed three new California condors to their large enclosure.  If you’ve not visited the SB Zoo, they now have 14 condors and provide a great opportunity to see these birds up close.  And in December there were three more condors released above San Simeon, joining 25 others which have been released there since 2016.
  • More condor in the news, the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 2199) passed the House of Representatives earlier this month bringing it one step closer to providing additional protection of nearly 250,000 acres of land in and around the Los Padres Forest.  Included in the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act would be the designation of the Condor Trail as a National Scenic Trail.  Up next for the bill is a visit with the Senate and potentially a signature from the President. Side note: Skopos gives the bill a less than 20% chance of becoming law, but this is the first time in the nearly 10 year history of this bill that its passed the House and the Skopos odds have increased over 10% since November 2019.
  • The Los Padres Fire Crews are continuing a series of prescribed burns across the Los Padres with scheduled burns over the coming week in the Mt Pinos and Figueroa Mountain areas
  • Trails worked across the Los Padres over the past month or so include: Lottie Potrero Trail, Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca Trail, Red Reef Trail, Sespe River Trail, Buckhorn Trail, Camuesa Connector Trail, Matias Trail, San Ysidro Trail, Blue Canyon Trail, Romero Trail, Matilija Trail, Potrero John Trail, Santa Cruz Trail, Baron Trail, Franklin Trail, Buena Vista Trail, Cold Spring Trail, Ocean View Trail, Pine Ridge Trail, Agua Blanca Trail and probably a few others too…..

Snow Better Time to Snow Camping Than Right sNow, photo TWilder

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 pass along!

February 19 – April 8: Sierra Club Wilderness Basics Class, Ventura
February 22: Winter Trails Day, Rattlesnake Canyon, Santa Barbara
February 22 – March 22: SB Botanic Garden Fire Recovery Mapping
February 22: Lower Pine Ridge Day Trip, VWA
February 22: Arroyo Burro Trash Cleanup, ForestWatch
February 29: Agua Blanca Trail Project #4, A.Coles
February 29: Pine Ridge Trail Brushing, VWA

March 7: Ojai First Saturday, Chorro Grande Trail, LPFA
March 8: Santa Paula Canyon Graffiti Removal, LPFA
March 14: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training, Paradise Road
March 14: Brushing Pine Ridge Trail, VWA
March 14: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
March 20-22: American Canyon, Machesna Trail Project, LPFA & SLOPOST
March 21: Brushing Pine Ridge Trail, VWA

April TBD: Little Falls & Trout Creek Trail Sign Project, LPFA
April 3-9: Beartrap GMPB Sespe Working Vacation, LPFA
April 18: Wheeler Gorge Open House
April 18-19: Davy Brown Earthday Trail Project, LPFA

May 2-10: Puerto Suelo Trail Working Vacation, Dick Smith Wilderness, LPFA
May 23-31: Indian Creek Working Vacation, Dick Smith, LPFA

June 6: National Trails Day, Location TBD

VWR Training March 14

2020 Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training – COMING SOON!

Hello Friends – Pardon the interruption…..

We’re in the middle of a larger Los Padres Forest email update but wanted to let you know that the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training that was scheduled for this weekend (January 25) has been rescheduled for Saturday March 14

The VWR Training is an annual training that the LPFA and Forest Service host in order to train volunteers on best practices and needed Forest Service procedures in order to run volunteer trail projects within the Los Padres Forest.  If you’ve not been before, it’s a great introduction to the behind-the-scenes steps needed for running trail projects and helping to keep our trails open and passable. We generally squeeze a lot of information, perhaps too much, into the VWR Training with an assortment of guest speakers who talk about subjects including First Aid, Trail Standards, What If Scenarios, Tool Maintenance, Packing Safety, Camp Cooking, FS Protocol and more…..

If you’re interested in attending or would like more information, please email INFO@LPForest.org and we’ll get you on the list.  We’ll also be sharing additional information in the coming weeks as part of the regular email updates.

Now back to your regularly scheduled emails.  Thanks and stay tuned for more Los Padres information coming soon…….

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First Full Moon Light Around Cara Blanca, photo Ziegler

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 pass along!

January 18-20: Sespe River Trail Project, LPFA
February 2: Gene Marshall (Reyes Creek Side) Ojai First Saturday Super Bowl
February 8: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
February 19 – April 8: Sierra Club Wilderness Basics Class, Ventura
February 29: Agua Blanca Trail Project #4, A.Coles

February TBD: Little Falls & Trout Creek Trail Sign Project, LPFA
March 4 – April 8: LPFA Fundamentals of Backpacking Course, Santa Barbara

March 8: Santa Paula Canyon Graffiti Removal, LPFA
March 14: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training, Paradise Road
March 14: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
March 20-23: American Canyon, Machesna Wilderness Trail Project, LPFA
April 4-12: Indian Creek Working Vacation, LPFA

April TBD: Return to Sespe Trail Project, LPFA
May 2-10: Puerto Suelo Trail Working Vacation, Dick Smith Wilderness, LPFA
May 23-31: Piedra Blanca Trail Working Vacation, LPFA

Get Your Los Padres Fire, Rain and Snow Report


We have the GOAT volunteers and also goats who volunteer!  2019 LPFA Volunteer Appreciation Party

Hello Friends,
I hope this email finds you doing well and perhaps with a little Los Padres mud on your boots.  2019 is coming to an end and it’s been a terrific year for the LPFA. Over the past year we contributed over 25,000 hours to supporting the Los Padres Forest.  Included within that time was 83 forest volunteer projects, over 50 miles of trail restoration, maintenance on 5 historic LP buildings and 315 miles of trail surveys and forest patrols.  Busy and fantastic! While 2019 was great, we’ve got even bigger and better plans for 2020 including more trail restoration, new trail construction, updates to HikeLosPadres.com, improvements at both Wheeler Gorge and Big Sur Station and of course a lot of fun volunteer opportunities up and down the Los Padres.  We hope you can join us in 2020 and we want to say thank you for all the support you’ve provided towards the forest in 2019.  We couldn’t do what we do without you and without your generous contributions towards the LPFA.  As we look forward to 2020, all your donations and memberships are crucial for the growth and sustainability of our programs.  If you enjoy these email updates or the work we’re doing, we’d love the support through a year-end donation.  Thank you again and Happy Holidays!

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Giving Thanks for Some Early Season Snow, Cuyama River
Photo Jarrett Smith

I’VE SEEN FIRE AND I’VE SEEN RAIN… and I’VE SEEN SNOW
We’re pretty sure James Taylor wasn’t singing about the Los Padres but his lyrics just about described the crazy weather we had over Thanksgiving week 2019.  It was summer when the week started.  High temperature heat warnings across the Los Padres culminated in the 3,100 acre Cave Fire.  Two days later it was winter with extremely low snow levels across the Los Padres including a blanket of snow covering the upper slopes of the still burning Cave Fire above Santa Barbara.  Social media was inundated with incredible snow photos from Big Sur all the way down through Ventura.  By the time the smoke had settled and the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers had been eaten, the forest had received anywhere between 3-18″ of precipitation which was sufficient enough to prompt the Forest Service on December 2 to lift all fire restrictions. So over the course of one week we went from fire restrictions and wildfire to rain and snow and no fire restrictions.  Who would have guessed?  With the change in fire restrictions we are allowed to have both stoves and campfires across the Los Padres.  That being said, we’ve learned over the past few years that wildfires can still occur well into December so please remain diligent and careful with your stoves and campfires…..

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2020 LOS PADRES CALENDAR
Hot off the presses, the 2020 version of the Los Padres wall calendar just arrived and they turned out fantastic!  This is the 8th year the LPFA has produced Los Padres calendars and the consensus so far is that the 2020 calendar is the best to date.  The photos were taken by regular forest-users like yourself and we then organized them into monthly themes ranging from waterfalls to snow-scapes and from wildlife to trail work.  The calendars are full color, 8.5×11″ and include the anniversary dates of all the major LP wildfires and other important Los Padres dates.  The calendars are available either at your local Ranger Station or through our website.  Check em out and pick a few up for the Los Padres lover on your holiday list…….

https://lpforest.org/los-padres-2020-calendar/

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Speaking of calendar worthy photos….. photo Tim Wilder

FOREST 411

  • For those of you in the Santa Barbara Frontcountry, the main lower Tunnel Trail trailhead is expected to be closed through the next week or so due to Southern California Edison road maintenance.  There hasn’t been a lot of publicity with regards to this closure but trail-users are being turned around by SCE workers both coming from the trailhead as well as coming down from East Camino Cielo.  There is potential for the SCE work to migrate towards Inspiration Point and Jesusita within the next week as well.  Keep that in mind, watch social media for updates and have a plan B just in case you can’t do your regular hike in that part of the forest.
  • As a result of this past weeks snow storms, most of the seasonal gates across the Los Padres have been swung shut for the season.  The most heavily impacted part of the forest for seasonal gate closures is the Mt Pinos Ranger District but there are closures within all the other ranger districts as well.  If you’re heading out into the forest you might want to check the current gate status here, call the appropriate Ranger Station or you can email us and we’ll do our best to get you the answers you need: INFO@LPForest.org  The seasonal gates usually reopen May 1.
  • We all like stories that end well, right?  Here’s a story, compliments of Jack Elliott that came out a few weeks ago about a baby mountain lion who got stuck and was eventually saved from an old abandoned pit toilet.  We’re hoping to work with the Forest Service to fix this issue so no future animals suffer a similar fate.  Good work Jack!
  • Highway 1 between Ragged Point and Big Sur remains in a preemptive storm closure cycle.  What this means is that ahead of and during storms CalTrans will be closing Hwy 1 so that no one is on the road in case of a mudslide or debris flow.  If you’re heading that way and a storm is in the forecast, check with CalTrans ahead of time.
  • Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary to the LPFA!  Not sure if you knew it or not but we celebrated our 40th anniversary earlier this year!  Yes indeed, we started back in 1979 as the Los Padres Interpretive Association.  Hip hip hooray and a high-five, hug and handshake to everyone who has helped guide and steer the LPFA (or LPIA) over the past 40 years!
  • On November 20 the House Committee on Natural Resources passed the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act and have sent it to the House for consideration.  This is certainly a positive step towards the approval of this bill.  If approved, the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act would designate close to 250,000 acres of land to wilderness protection along with creating two scenic areas and additional Wild and Scenic River protection.  The bill would also create a national designation for the Condor Trail.  No time-frame has been shared on next steps bu stay tuned…..
  • The LPFA will once again be hosting our annual Volunteer Training on January 25 at the VWR Headquarters off Paradise Road.  We’ll share more information in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, if interested, there are a series of upcoming volunteer trainings for both First Aid as well as Chainsaw Certification:
    • LPFA will be scheduling a First Aid Training in the Santa Barbara area either December 29, January 4 or January 5.
    • UTMC will be hosting two First Aid Classes at Wheeler Gorge outside of Ojai on January 26 and February 9.
    • SLOPOST is hosting a chainsaw certification class January 11-12 at Lopez Lake in SLO County.
  • If you are interested in any of these classes you can reach out to the host groups or email INFO@LPForest.org and we can put you in contact with the appropriate person.
  • In case you’re looking for even more ways to help the LPFA, we have an Amazon Smile account where Amazon donates a % of all Amazon orders from anyone who chooses to support the Los Padres Forest Association.  If you are an Amazon shopper and you’d like to support the LPFA, check out Smile.Amazon.com and navigate to support the LPFA.  THANK YOU, happy shopping and of course you can get us a 40th birthday present!  We wear XXXXXXXXL, 1.75 million acres……..
  • Lastly, we’re really excited about an upcoming trail project we’re hosting on the Sespe River Trail over MLK weekend January 18-20.  We’re partnering with REI, the Los Padres Forest and Sespe Wilderness Outfitters to maintain as much of the trail as we can around Oak Flat Camp and then do some much needed cleanup at Willett Camp within the Sespe Wilderness.  You can read more at this Facebook link or in the Upcoming Events section below but we wanted to give it an extra push as well!  This should be a great trail project…..

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First rain means fall colors and water once again flowing in the creeks
photo @SteveSearer

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 pass along!

December 13: Matilija Falls Trail Project, LPFA
December 14: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
December 14-15: Pine Ridge Trail Brushing, VWA
December 15: Cold Spring Trail Work, Sage
December 21: Agua Blanca Trail Project #2, A.Coles
January 4: Potrero John, Ojai First Saturday, LPFA
January 11: Agua Blanca Trail Project #3, A.Coles
January 16: Talkin SB Backcountry, LPFA at SB Library
January 18: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
January 18-20: Sespe River Trail Project, LPFA
January 25: LPFA Volunteer Training, Paradise Road
January TBD: Santa Paula Canyon Graffiti Removal, LPFA

January TBD: Little Falls Trail Sign Project, LPFA
February 8: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
February 19 – April 8: Sierra Club Wilderness Basics Class, Ventura
February 29: Agua Blanca Trail Project #4, A.Coles
March 4 – April 8: LPFA Fundamentals of Backpacking Course, Santa Barbara
March 14: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
April 2020: Indian Creek Working Vacation, LPFA
May 2020: Piedra Blanca Trail Working Vacation, LPFA
May 2020: Puerto Suelo Trail Working Vacation, Dick Smith Wilderness, LPFA

Los Padres Forest Association
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Los Padres 2020 Calendar

HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2020 – The LPFA is once again producing a Los Padres wall calendar featuring all of the seasons of the Los Padres Forest.  Waterfalls! Wildlife! Woods! We have some awesome new shots this year. Thank you to everyone who contributed!

Calendars are (fullsize 17″ x 11″) printed on high quality stock with full color photos and special date information.  It’s great as a gift for the LP lover in your life or for yourself to help inspire your next Los Padres adventure.

Each calendar is $15.00 + tax, shipping is included.  Any proceeds will go to the LPFA Trail Care Program.  You can purchase the calendars here:

Send a check to… 
Los Padres Forest Association 
6750 Navigator Way #150
Goleta, CA 93117

Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays!


Los Padres Fire Restrictions & Lots of Good News

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that ____ mountain.” – Jack Kerouac
Black Canyon of the Los Padres, November 2019, photo M. Wallace

Hello Friends,

The big forest news this past week was the Forest Service announcing that the Los Padres is going into Extreme Fire Danger restrictions until at least December 31, 2019.  We’ve all seen the recent devastating wildfires across California.  The raised restrictions are intended to help prevent similar wildfires here in the Los Padres.  Under Extreme Fire Danger restrictions:

  1. Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of the Los Padres Forest.
  2. Camping stoves are allowed only within Designated Campfire Use Sites and with a California Campfire Permit.
  3. No camp stoves are permitted outside of the Designated Campfire Use Sites, meaning no camp stoves in the backcountry.
  4. No smoking outside of a Designated Campfire Use Site or inside an enclosed vehicle or building.

That being said, current conditions across the Los Padres are prime for hiking, exploring, riding, backpacking and/or wandering.  While the idea of camping without a fire or backpacking without a stove might sound unpleasant, give it a shot and you might end up liking the weight savings, extra sleep or simplicity that “cold camping” provides.  There’s an old saying that challenges are opportunities for improvement or when life gives you lemons make lemonade.  With that in mind, here are a few tips you can try in order to turn your fire’less camping into a safe, fun and memorable camping experience:

The weather has been great, there’s still good water in the usual good water places and remember that HikeLosPadres.com has lots of current camp and trail condition reports to help with your trip planning.  Regardless of fire or stove, we hope you find some time over the coming weeks to visit your favorite trail, check out that hidden canyon you’ve always wanted explore or grab a friend and seek out those fall Los Padres colors.

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2020 LOS PADRES CALENDAR

The LPFA will once again publish a wall calendar for 2020 featuring the vistas, mountains, waterfalls and plants/animals we love from across the Los Padres. This will be our 8th year organizing LP calendars and we are looking for photos from you to include within the calendar. The calendars should print in early December and be ready in time for the holidays. If we use one of your photos, we’ll of course credit you within the calendar and also send you a calendar to hang up in your kitchen, gear nook or office. The calendars will be available online as well as at your local LP Ranger Station or Visitor Center.

If you have a photo you’d like to submit, please email INFO@LPForest.org or you can check the link below for more information. Thanks in advance and looking forward to hearing from some of you soon…..

https://lpforest.org/2020-los-padres-calendar/

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Grapevine Sunrise & Moonset, LPFA Working Vacation, October 2019

FOREST 411

• Over the past month sections of the following Los Padres trails have been maintained by the Forest Service or your friendly neighborhood trail group: Madulce Peak Trail, Big Pine Spring Camp Trail, Deal Connector, Rancho Nuevo Trail, Matilija Falls Trail, Pine Ridge Trail, Arroyo Burro Trail, Santa Cruz Trail, Gridley Trail, Camuesa Connector Trail, Cold Spring Trail, Hot Springs Trail, Romero Trail, San Ysidro Trail, Baron Trail, Fishbowls Trail, Jesusita Trail, Tunnel Trail, Cedar Creek Trail, Grapevine Trail, Sisquoc Trail, Big Cone Spruce Trail and Matilija Trail.

• As we approach the rainy season expect to see some of the gates across the Los Padres swing shut due to the seasonal gate closure regulations.  We’ve not heard of any closures as of yet but all the Ojai area gates will close by December 15 and the other gates should shut as storms begin approach.  If you’re heading out to a trailhead and you’re unsure if the gate might be open or closed, we strongly suggest contacting the local Ranger District before you head out.  We’ll keep you posted as gates start to shut.

• For those of you who hike the far Southern Los Padres or plan on doing the Condor Trail, we’ve heard a rumor that the Pothole and Agua Blanca Trailhead will be moving before the end of the year from the Lake Piru Campground to right next to the start of the Pothole Trail.  This will mean that the public will be able to drive all the way to the start of the Pothole Trail rather than having to walk miles along the paved Piru Lake Road.  The plan to move the trailhead has been in the works for a few years now but it’s looking like it might actually happen by late 2019.  We’ll keep everyone posted on this as well.  This will be terrific……

More Condor Trail, it was announced earlier this week that 800 acres of the Trout Creek properties above Arroyo Grande were transferred from the Wilderness Land Trust to the Los Padres Forest.  The Trout Creek properties were purchased by the Wilderness Land Trust earlier this year from private sellers and as a result are now protected for public enjoyment.  The Condor Trail passes through Trout Creek.

• Speaking of condors, the population of California condors has now surpassed 100 across the central California region.

• CalTrans announced that they will continue the preemptive closure of Hwy 1 during large storm events for the 2019-2020 winter season.  The closures will be south of Big Sur, keep this in mind if you have plans to visit the area over the winter months.

• Speaking of Big Sur, the Ventana Wilderness Alliance has been working hard to reopen the Los Padres portion of the famed Pine Ridge Trail.  They have trail crews scheduled to work the trail for much of the fall and again starting back up next spring.  Three cheers – hip hip hooray for VWA!  In the meantime we want to remind everyone that the Pine Ridge Trail remains closed to the public due to dangerous trail conditions.  If all goes according to plan, the PRT should reopen sometime in the next year or two.  We’ll keep you posted…..

• And speaking of awesome people doing awesome things for our trails, the 5th Annual Turkey Trot fundraiser for the Franklin Trail successfully launched earlier this month.  The Franklin Turkey Trot is an excellent example of trail lovers finding creative ways to support the trails they love most. Very cool……

• For years and years people have been enjoying the famed mountain biking trails along West Cuesta Ridge in San Luis Obispo.  While the trails were in good shape and frequently used, they were never officially part of the Forest Service inventory of System Trails and as such were technically illegal trails.  Thanks to the local SLO trail community and the Forest Service working together, the NEPA process has begun to adopt and legalize many of these West Cuesta trails.  The Forest Service is accepting comments regarding the West Cuesta Trails through November 24.  Click here for more details.  This is a terrific example of the FS and the trail community working together towards a mutually beneficial goal.  Cheers again!

• The Forest Service issued a forest order on October 22 to close Dry Canyon and Dome Springs Campground in the Mt. Pinos Ranger District due to potential live explosives and artillery.  Read more here and closure map here.

Dave Weaver Award Winners (L to R): Mickey McTigue, Jasonn Beckstrand, Otis Calef, Mike Smith. Missing from the photo are Rik Christensen and Bob Burtness
Photo Dan Najera

• LPFA President Jasonn Beckstrand was recognized earlier this month as the 2019 winner of the coveted Dave Weaver Wilderness Award.  The Dave Weaver Award is named in honor of the late Dave Weaver who helped start the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program here in the Los Padres Forest.  Dave was a huge advocate for volunteers working with the Forest Service to accomplish mutual goals. Dave’s spirit lives on in so much of what we do across the Los padres and his award is given annually as a lifetime achievement for outstanding Los Padres volunteers.  Jasonn is the 6th award winner joining Rik Christensen (2014), Mickey McTigue (2015), Mike Smith (2016), Bob Burtness (2017) and Otis Calef (2018).

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The Infamous Devil’s Slide, Upper Sisquoc Trail
Recently restored by the LPFA Trail Crew and LPFA Volunteers as part of a NFWF Trail Grant, photo J. Morris