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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
HikeLosPadres.com
Facebook.com/LPFA
Instagram/LPFA

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