It’s Canine Companion Week!

Written by Dr. Emily Taylor of Central Coast Snake Services

Rattlesnake Avoidance Training and Exclusion Fencing

It’s Canine Companion Week! We have already advocated leashes on walks. Now let’s explore additional ways to protect your dogs: rattlesnake avoidance training and rattlesnake exclusion fencing.

Rattlesnake avoidance training for dogs is a worthwhile investment in protecting dogs from snakebite. Dogs tend to sniff wiggly things on the ground, which can earn them a bite to the snout. Bites to the face can be painful and even deadly (tomorrow we will discuss how to treat bites), so preventing them is paramount.

Techniques include either aversion training by pairing a rattlesnake with an unpleasant buzz from an e-Collar, or positive reinforcement training to teach dogs to avoid rattlesnakes. While I have heard about the latter, I have not seen it in action so will restrict my comments to the former.

Experienced dog trainers use avoidance training to teach your dog to fear the sight, smell, and sound of rattlesnakes. With avoidance training, the stimulus is a safely muzzled rattlesnake and an e-Collar that makes the dog associate the snake with the unpleasant buzz to its neck, essentially thinking it was bitten by the snake. The effect is immediate and dramatic. The dogs want nothing to do with the snakes, and this effect can last long after the training.

Since she took her training a year ago, my dog Pax has backed away from one rattlesnake and one shed skin, both while leashed on hikes. Trainers recommend that your dog is trained once per year for 2-3 years or until they remember from the year prior.

It is worth noting that the training is not foolproof. It only works insofar as the dog is trainable, and it doesn’t protect a dog from stepping on a rattlesnake as it runs through tall grass.

Follow us to learn when rattlesnake avoidance training will be available in our area. We will be sure to let you know!

Leashing and training your dog to avoid rattlesnakes will go a long way toward protecting most dogs, which typically encounter rattlesnakes on hikes and other adventures. But what about those of you who live in snake country, where rattlesnakes might regularly visit your yards?

Drought may be causing rattlesnakes to spend more time in yards as they seek water from irrigation, fountains, pools, birdbaths, and other sources. Also, climate change is predicted to actually be GOOD for rattlesnakes in many areas of California. So, rattlesnakes are here to stay, and we must learn to safely coexist with them.

Below is a link to an article I wrote on how to make your yard UN-friendly to snakes. This might discourage them from sticking around, but snakes can still come and go. Other remedies like powders sold at hardware stores do not work at all. The only way to completely prevent rattlesnakes from getting into a yard is with rattlesnake exclusion fencing. This involves reinforcing your existing fence with ¼-inch hardware cloth that is sunk into the dirt and extends at least 30 inches tall. It is particularly challenging to rattlesnake-proof gates, so I always recommend that you hire a professional company to install rattlesnake exclusion fencing. Feel free to contact me to ask for assistance with finding a company in your area or for tips if you decide to DIY it.

Tomorrow is the last day of Canine Companion week, and we will discuss first aid and treatment of dogs that have been bitten by snakes. Don’t forget to register for my free online presentation with Los Padres Forest Association this Thurs at 6pmPST: you must pre-register and it is almost full.…/index.html


K9 Natural Solutions Rattlesnake Avoidance Training:

How to make your yard UN-friendly to snakes:…/how-to-make-your-yard-snake…

Movie about rattlesnake fencing from AZ-based Rattlesnake Solutions:

Rattlesnake Vaccine for Dogs?

It’s Canine Companion Week! This post discusses whether or not you should get the “rattlesnake vaccine” for your dog.

Vaccines to help protect your dog against viral and other pathogens that cause disease like rabies and distemper are important parts of your regular visits to your vet. But what about “vaccines” that allegedly protect your dog not from pathogens but from other threats like snake venom? Do they work, and should you get the vaccine for your dog?

My answer is no. This is based on three things: (1) data from studies of the vaccine’s efficacy, (2) recommendations from veterinarians who specialize in snakebite treatment, and (3) my understanding as a scientist of how the immune system works.

(1) There is no evidence that the rattlesnake vaccine works: The rattlesnake “vaccine” has a conditional approval from the USDA, which means it simply must be shown to be safe and does not need to have been shown to work. Indeed, it has not been shown to provide any protection. Study #1 found no difference in outcome in snakebitten dogs who had the vaccine and those that did not. Study #2 showed that mice vaccinated with the drug had some protection against venom from Western Diamond-backed rattlesnakes (the species that was used to make the vaccine), but little protection against venoms from Northern and Southern Pacific rattlesnakes (the ones that most commonly bite dogs in California). Of course, dogs are not mice, but this is the closest thing to an experimental study that can be done because it is not considered ethical to perform such studies on dogs. What about what your vet says? I have heard some veterinarians say that they believe that the vaccine may afford some protection against snakebite. However, this can result from confirmation bias (a dog has the vaccine, survives a bite, and so the owner and vet attribute its survival to having had the vaccine).

(2) The specialist veterinarians at National Snakebite Support do not recommend the vaccine for the reasons I have described above. Join this Facebook group to learn about snakebite treatment from specialists.

(3) How vaccines work, and why they won’t likely work against snakebite: The idea behind a vaccine is that exposing your dog to bits of the foreign protein ahead of time primes their immune system so that their body initiates immune response against the proteins when later exposed. This makes sense for viruses and other pathogens, where vaccines protect against infection and save thousands of canine lives annually. When a virus invades the body, the vaccine-primed immune system can be activated and can attack that virus before it has a chance to replicate and cause a major infection. But this doesn’t make sense for venom. When a snake bites a dog, a vast quantity of foreign proteins is injected into the bloodstream all at once, and it is logically not possible that the immune system would be able to mount a response against this quantity of foreign protein. The vaccine is marketed with the notion that vaccination could buy your dog time when traveling to the veterinarian for lifesaving antivenom (the vaccine is NOT advertised as a substitute for antivenom!). But even that doesn’t make sense. If anything, it is more likely that “vaccinating” a dog against snake venoms could induce a dangerous sensitivity to venom proteins in dogs. Indeed, one study (Study #3, links at the end) has shown that several dogs who had received the rattlesnake vaccine died from anaphylactic shock when they were bitten by rattlesnakes because of this hypersensitivity.

In summary, my data-driven understanding as a scientist along with the recommendations of veterinarians specializing in treatment of snakebite in dogs have led me to recommend that you do not have your dog vaccinated against snakebite. The best ways to protect your dog involve prevention of snakebite in the first place, via the underrated and magical tool known as the leash (see yesterday’s post) and potentially via rattlesnake avoidance training and rattlesnake exclusion fencing, the subjects of tomorrow’s post. Until then, leash up and enjoy the trail with your pooch!


Study #1: Witsil et al. 272 cases of rattlesnake envenomation in dogs: Demographics and treatment including safety of F(ab′)2 antivenom use in 236 patients. ToxiconVolume 105, October 2015, Pages 19-26.

Study #2: Cates et al. Comparison of the protective effect of a commercially available western diamondback rattlesnake toxoid vaccine for dogs against envenomation of mice with western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox), northern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus), and southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri) venom. American Journal of Veterinary Research Volume 76, March 2015, Pages 272-279.

Study #3: Petras et al. Suspected anaphylaxis and lack of clinical protection associated with envenomation in two dogs previously vaccinated with Crotalus atrox toxoid. ToxiconVolume 142, February 2018, Pages 30-33.

Each morning of this Canine Companion Week I will post advice about “Keeping your dog safe in snake country,” with upcoming topics including the rattlesnake vaccine, rattlesnake avoidance training, snakebite first aid, and keeping your dog safe in your yard. This will culminate in a free online presentation sponsored by the Los Padres Forest Association on Thurs, June 29 at 6pmPST (registration here:…/index.html)

The Leash

Enjoy this post on “Hiking and Adventuring with your Dog.” Read to the end to find out how to score this cute doggie bandana and other swag.

In California, we are lucky to enjoy an extensive network of public trails like those in the Los Padres National Forest that we are free to explore with our canine companions. My dog Pax and I log about 4 miles per day walking or hiking. What are the best ways to keep your dog safe while hiking in our beautiful public lands?

Most dog owners know that hiking in California is fairly safe for people and pooches alike. There are indeed threats like ticks, seeds called “foxtails” can burrow their way into a dog’s skin requiring painful and costly surgery, some dogs might run through poison oak and transfer its oils onto the hands that pet them, and owners of small dogs need to be aware of the threat of coyotes and other large predators. But rattlesnakes are considered to be a major threat by many because they can deliver a dangerous defensive bite when confronted by a dog. Rattlesnakes do not want to bite dogs, but they will do so if they feel their lives are in danger.

What happens when your dog encounters a snake on a hike? The first instinct of many dogs is to stop and sniff the snake. To a rattlesnake, this appears to be a large predator going in for the kill, so they will often strike to defend themselves. This is why many snakebites to dogs occur on the face. This results in painful and dangerous swelling and tissue damage that may be fatal if not treated by a veterinarian. The idea of our beloved pooches being envenomated by a rattlesnake is scary. However, I have great news for you. Snakebite on hikes is mostly preventable with one simple tool that most of us already carry with us.


Leashes are truly wonderful things. They keep your dog by your side where you can enjoy the trail together. Most rattlesnakes, ticks, and other denizens that you may not want to encounter will be found in the shrubs, grasses, or rocks along a trail rather than on the trail itself. Keeping your dog on leash has many other benefits. It protects wildlife like squirrels, rabbits, and birds from your dog. When you encounter other hikers with dogs on the trail, leashes allow you to control your dogs to prevent negative canine social encounters. In short, leashing your dog by your side is the single best way to be a responsible dog owner because leashing protects your dog, other dogs and their owners, and wildlife.

Each morning of this Canine Companion Week I will post advice about “Keeping your dog safe in snake country,” with upcoming topics including the rattlesnake vaccine, rattlesnake avoidance training, snakebite first aid, and keeping your dog safe in your yard. This will culminate in a free online presentation sponsored by the Los Padres Forest Association on Thurs, June 29 at 6pmPST (registration link below- spaces are limited, so sign up now!).There is some awesome swag available with a small donation. You can pick up a super cute “Buzz the Buzztail” bandana for your dog for $15 when you register for the talk at the link above (supplies super limited), or you can help with CCSS’s annual summer fundraiser by purchasing a “Snake Safe Space” sticker or fence sign.Links and info:Register for Thursday’s online presentation and purchase bandana here:…/index.html

Purchase Snake Safe Space stickers here:…/SnakeSafeSpa…

Purchase Snake Safe Space: We Don’t Kill Snakes fence sign here:…/Snake_Safe…

Make a donation to Los Padres Forest Association here:

Make a donation to support Central Coast Snake Services here:

Los Padres Forest Association – NEWS FOR YOU!

Lots of hard work went into making that little faint line – before and after – Red Reef Trail Working Vacation – May 2022

Hello Friends,

We just wrapped up an incredibly fun and productive 10-day Working Vacation on the Red Reef Trail within the Sespe Wilderness. Over the course of the Working Vacation we accomplished 1.9 miles of trail restoration, clearing some of the thickest and gnarliest brush the Los Padres has to offer. On one of the days there were 10 of us brushing for nearly 8 hours and we cleared only 0.16 miles! The work was pretty intense and certainly hot but very very rewarding and long overdue. This section of the Red Reef Trail hadn’t been maintained in 11 years, which is a long time in chaparral growth years. We’ll share more information about Red Reef soon but we first wanted to thank all the volunteers who helped with this ambitious and rewarding undertaking: Danny, Charles, Ivan (Maui), Mark, Karen, Les, Sonia, Nancy, Marianne, MaryLou, Jim, Ted, Peter, Cameron, Kevin, Liz, Drew, John I, John II, Jasonn, Bardley, Diane, the wonderful packers from PSCOE, support from The CREW and our friends at Zevia and Topatopa who helped keep everyone incentivized….. If you haven’t explored the Red Reef Trail, this is certainly a good time to put it on your todo list. As always, feel free to email us if you have any questions about the trails or camps across the Los Padres.

While we’ve put the Working Vacations in the rear-view for the season, there are quite a few upcoming volunteer opportunities lined up across the Los Padres, check out the calendar below. This includes the return of our annual Open House at Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center and a National Trails Day event on the Sunset Valley Trail along Figueroa Mountain. We’ll also be heading out to Mono Campground and the Lower Manzana next week as well. It’s a good time to be in the Los Padres right now and an even better time to come out and volunteer. Hope you can join us soon and enjoy the rest of the newsletter……

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Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center Open House – Saturday May 28


For over 15 years the LPFA has hosted annual Open Houses at the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center. The Wheeler Open House has always been a celebration of the Los Padres Forest where we invite friends and partners to come out and share their passion and knowledge of the forest. Unfortunately, COVID derailed the last few years of Open Houses but we’re thankfully back at it again this year hosting the 2022 Open House on Saturday May 28 between the hours of 9am – 3pm. This years free family-friendly event will feature critters and crafts including reptiles, a variety of exotic birds and of course lots of information about our favorite bird the California Condor. While you’re there, be sure to head into the Visitor Center and check out Marcos the Mountain Lion, you won’t be disappointed. There’s always something going on at Wheeler and we hope to see you and your family on the 28th, it’s going to be fun!

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It’s a long hike to this pool but not as hard as it used to be……


• While most of the Los Padres remains in limited fire restrictions, a quick reminder that no campfires are allowed in the Santa Barbara Frontcountry between Gaviota and Divide Peak and from East Camino south to the forest boundary.

• May 1st is the date when most seasonal gates open across the Los Padres. The usual seasonal gates should now be open but it’s always a good idea to call your local Ranger Station ahead of time just to make sure.

• Huge congratulations to our friend Betsy MacGowan from the VWA who was recognized earlier this month with the 2021 Enduring Service Award. It’s great to see Betsy acknowledged for her dedication to the Los Padres. Cheers Betsy, THANK YOU!

• Speaking of the VWA, one of their board members Leor Pantilat was recently featured in Outside for his ambitious Big Sur Waterfall Project. So cool……

• While we’re in the neighborhood, the FS extended the Dolan Fire closure through April 29, 2023. Information about the closure is here and a map of the closure here.

• Did someone say Dolan Fire, not new news but some good news. Funds have been allocated to rebuild the Nacimiento Fire Station which was tragically destroyed during the Dolan Fire

• Last thing on the Dolan Fire, the arsonist responsible for the Dolan Fire was recently sentenced to 24 years in prison.

• Any surfers out there? Bet you didn’t expect to ever read the words Mick Fanning in a LPFA newsletter. Pretty cool actually, Mick, Connor Coffin and crew visited the Los Padres (yes,it’s true) earlier this year, check it out. Some top secret surf spots too….. 😉

• What’s the opposite of top secret? How about the YouTuber who purposely crashed his plane into the Hurricane Deck last fall, remember him? He was in the news again last month, check it out.

• Not sure if we shared this yet but the Condor Trail was featured in National Geographic earlier this season. It’s been a good year for the Condor Trail with a record number of hikers attempting and completing the epic thru-hike. When are you going?

Crosscut Work is FUN! More details here about this 40″ downed gray pine along the Manzana

• The Condor Trail passes along Pine Mountain, which remains a hot topic with a recent lawsuit filed against the Forest Service as part of the Reyes Peak Fuels Reduction Project.

• The Forest Service is working with some partner groups to remove the three artificial lakes along the Rose Valley Creek watershed above Ojai. More information is available at the link here. The FS is taking public comments through June 9. Make your voice heard.

• The Santa Barbara Library continues to host great monthly Trail Talk events. The last two featured James Wapotich talking about waterfalls and Helen Tarbet discussing wildflowers of the Central Coast. You can also download and view Helen’s excellent Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Guide here.

• Chumash remains and artifacts were recently moved from the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum and returned to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash.

• The Los Padres National Forest recently launched a new revamped version of their websiteCheck it out, should be much more user-friendly and easy to navigate.

• Last but not least, the LPFA Trail Crew has been busy restoring and maintaining trails. Over the past couple months we’ve worked on the following trails: Sespe, Red Reef, Lion Canyon, Rose-Lion Connector, Santa Barbara Canyon, Pothole, Santa Cruz, Sellers Potrero, Buckhorn, Indian Canyon, Figueroa Mountain (Willow Spring, Willow Connector, White Rock, Davy Brown, Munch Canyon, Sunset Valley), Tequepis, Arroyo Quemado, Horn Canyon, Matilija, Blue Canyon, Blue Canyon Connector, Romero, Cold Spring, Sisquoc and Manzana. We’ve got work lined up for much of the summer as well, stay tuned for more….. and please continue to let us know if you come across any downed trees or other trail issues that need help. or email – thanks!

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The Ojai Raptor Center presenting at a previous Wheeler Open House – don’t forget, May 28, 2022

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!

May 21-23: Mono Campground Restoration, LPFA
May 21: Chumash Earth Day, Santa Ynez Reservation
May 20-22: Big Sur Trail Maintenance, VWA
May 22: Highway 33 Adopt-A-Highway Cleanup, LPFA
May 22: Potrero John Nature Hike, Lanny Kaufer
May 22: West Fork Cold Spring Microtrash Cleanup, FW
May 24: Manzana Crosscut Project Part II, LPFA
May 26-30: Sisquoc Tamarisk Removal, CIR
May 27-29: Big Sur Trail Work, VWA

May 27-30: Carrizo Trail Saw Trip, VWA

May 28: Wheeler Visitor Center Open House

National Trails Day, Figueroa Mountain, LPFA
National Trails Day, Pine Mountain, MPRD

June 5: West Camino Cielo Microtrash Cleanup, FW
June 14: Trailwork Tuesday TBD, LPFAJune 25: Last Saturday Trail Project TBD, LPFA

Aug 13 – Sep 25: A-Zone South General Hunting Season

October 2022: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training
Nov 5-13, 2022: South Fork Working Vacation – San Rafael Wilderness, LPFA


Lower Manzana 40″ Gray Pine Crosscut Time Lapse

Time lapse photo of a very large gray pine that five LPFA volunteer cut off the trail on May 10, 2022. The pine was measured at 40″ in diameter and took us almost five and a half hours to cut using a 72″ felling crosscut saw. Thanks to everyone who reported it to us. We can’t help maintain trails if we don’t know there is help needed. Good fun had by all……

LPFA Updates: Red Reef in our Sights

Might not be a ‘Super Bloom’ Year but this Bloom is Mighty Super this Year

Hello Friends,

Lots of news to share from across the Los Padres, enough for two emails actually but lets start with an update from the LPFA Working Vacations. Thanks to help from over 30 volunteers, we just successfully wrapped up a 12-day volunteer Working Vacation along the Indian Canyon Trail in the Dick Smith Wilderness. Everyone had a great time, the food was terrific as always, the weather more or less cooperated, thankfully it wasn’t too hot and we got the trail dialed in up to Indian Canyon Camp! #knockeditout We’ll share more details within the next email but for now, we wanted to remind everyone of the next Working Vacation coming up in a couple weeks along the Red Reef Trail……

April 23 – May 1
Come one, come all and join us later this month as we work to restore the spectacular Red Reef Trail within the Sespe Wilderness. The project will kick-off on Saturday April 23 with volunteers driving up from Rose Valley along the Nordhoff Ridge 4WD Road to the upper Red Reef Trailhead. Once at the trailhead we’ll backpack 5 miles across and down to Ladybug Camp, which will be our home for the 10-day Working Vacation. We’ll once again have stock support bringing in most of the food, tools, supplies and cold drinks for the project. The focus of the work will be brushing and tread work along approximately 2.5 miles of the Red Reef Trail from Ladybug down towards Sespe Creek. Ladybug is set within a grove of shaded fir trees just below 5,000ft and has reliable water with enough space to find some privacy and move around. While we’d love to have you for the entire time, there will be many shorter options for people to come and go as their schedule allows. This promises to be a great time spent with like-minded friends along one of the more epic Los Padres trails. Please email with questions or to sign up. We could use help with trail workers, cooks and shuttle drivers. Hope you can make it!

What is a Working Vacation?

Working Vacations are larger scale volunteer trail maintenance projects that the LPFA organizes in support of the Los Padres National Forest. Working Vacations are generally focused on maintaining harder-to-get-to trails and they usually range from 7-10 days in length.

The LPFA provides all the food for the Working Vacations and we normally have stock support bring in food, gear and supplies with a dedicated cook on hand to ensure everyone eats well throughout their stay. While we’d love to have everyone volunteer for all 7-10 days, we realize that life doesn’t usually allow us to be away for that long and we always have shorter options available as well. We do ask that everyone commit at least 3 days for the project.

The usual Working Vacation day starts off with sunrise coffee followed by breakfast. We then we pack our lunches and hit the trail by 8am. We work throughout the day or until we’re tired and return to camp for a cold drink, dinner and ideally some story-telling, songs and laughter around the campfire before heading off to bed.

The flow of Working Vacations is very soothing and somewhat addictive, most people who come on a Working Vacation end up signing up for the next one as well. The Working Vacations are a lot of fun and a truly rewarding wilderness experience. That’s the sales pitch, in case the opportunity to spend time in the forest wasn’t enough of a pull all by itself.

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How many happy FS staff does it take to reopen a bridge? Sunset Valley Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

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After being closed for nearly 9 months, the Forest Service successfully reopened Sunset Valley Road a day ahead of schedule on March 31. The extended closure was needed to complete construction of two new bridges along Sunset Valley Road which are designed to improve fish passage within the the Fir, Manzana and Sisquoc drainages. The bridges were welcomed as part of a ribbon cutting ceremony held on March 30. The road reopening once again means the public can access Davy Brown and NIRA Campgrounds in addition to both Manzana trailheads, which is certainly reason for many people to celebrate. While the bridges look fantastic, the trails out of NIRA might be a little rough after having 9 months of limited foot and hoof traffic. If you happen to explore the trails out of NIRA and come across anything that could be repaired, please let us know or post to and we’ll do our best to get it fixed up as soon as we can. Enjoy everyone and take it slow……

One of the treasures of the Working Vacations is watching the packers do their thing. AMAZING folks, AMAZING animals, AMAZING skills!

Notice of Opportunity for Public Review OHMVR Grant Program (G22)

The Los Padres Forest Association has applied for funding to complete projects in the Santa Lucia and Mt. Pinos Ranger Districts. All projects support the OHV program within the Los Padres National Forest. The opportunity for public review and comment is now open. Please select “Grants and Cooperative Agreements Program – 2022” and search for Los Padres Forest Association to access preliminary applications. Thank you. 

Working Vacation Season Is NOW!

Hello Friends,

It sure seemed impossible that we’d be where we are after the December deluge but sure enough we’re staring directly into another drought year. California just endured our driest January and February in recorded history and even after the phenomenal 2021 Holiday storms we’re currently around 55-60% of normal total rain percentage for the year. {insert profanities as needed} Even with the recent lack of substantial rain the Los Padres remains in ideal spring mode at the moment, we’re just not sure how long this moment will last….. With that in mind, we’ve decided to pivot some of our volunteer projects in order to ensure we have enough creek water for the Working Vacations. 

First, a little background: what is a Working Vacation? Working Vacations are larger scale volunteer trail maintenance projects that the LPFA organizes with the support of the Los Padres National Forest. Working Vacations are generally focused on maintaining harder-to-get-to trails which require a larger time commitment. We usually host Working Vacations for 7-10 days which allow us to accomplish miles of really solid trail work. The LPFA provides all the food for the Working Vacations and we normally have stock support bring in food, gear and supplies with a dedicated cook on-hand to make sure everyone is fed good food throughout their stay. While we’d love to have everyone volunteer for all 7-10 days, we realize that life doesn’t usually allow us to be away for that long and we always have shorter options available for people as well. We do ask that everyone who signs up commit at least 3 days towards the project. The usual day starts off with sunrise coffee followed by breakfast then we pack our lunches and hit the trail by 8am. We work throughout the day or until we’re tired and return to camp for a cold drink, dinner and ideally some story telling and laughter around the campfire before heading off to bed. The flow of Working Vacations is very soothing and somewhat addictive, most people who come on a Working Vacation end up signing up for the next one as well. The Working Vacations are a lot of fun and a truly rewarding wilderness experience. That’s the sales pitch, in case the opportunity to spend time in the forest wasn’t enough of a pull all by itself. 

The LPFA has two Working Vacations scheduled for spring 2022, see details below and we hope you can make it to one or both. Please email us with any questions or to sign up. We are currently looking for cook help and could also use some help camp sitting, truck shuttling and of course helping maintain these incredible trails…..

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We’ll be working to restore the Indian Creek Trail within the Dick Smith Wilderness between Meadow Camp and Indian Creek Camp. Volunteers will be able to drive to the Indian-Mono Trailhead and from there it’s a 6 mile backpack out to our basecamp at Meadow Camp. Indian Creek is a special spot which has suffered of late due to lack of access and the trail hasn’t been maintained since before the 2007 Zaca Fire. This will be a fantastic opportunity to get back out there and ensure the trail remains open for years to come. Email us to sign up or with questions or you can check our Facebook Event posting for more details as well.

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The Red Reef is another classic LP trail which hasn’t seen much dedicated maintenance in quite some time. We’ve been chipping away at Red Reef over the past year and have most of it cleared and in good shape expect for about 2.5 miles directly below Lady Bug Camp within the Sespe Wilderness. The Working Vacation will be based at Lady Bug and we’ll be focused on reopening the final couple miles of trail. We’ll be able to drive up from Rose Valley to the base of Topatopa Bluff which will leave us about 5 miles of trail to backpack out to Lady Bug. Stock will be bringing in all the food, gear and supplies – should be a great project and we hope you can join us. Email us to sign up or with questions or you can check our Facebook Event posting for more details as well.

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The Bridges of Sunset Valley – NIRA remains closed but remains on target to reopen Friday April 1. Click here if you’d like information about alternative backcountry locations to check out while NIRA is closed in order to minimize overcrowding at the usual suspects. Photo South Coast Creek Habitat Restoration

Waxing Poetic About the Los Padres

In case you needed a reason, it is definitely backcountry season, hope you are getting some trail time!

After consulting with the Forest Service and due to COVID, the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training will be postponed until the fall. 
Stay tuned for more updates as they become available….

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Hello Friends,

We hope this email finds you in a nice comfortable place, with some sore trail legs and a smile on your face! January has certainly been interesting here in the Los Padres between volcanic tsunami warnings and a rare January wildfire. Never a dull moment, and that’s not even mentioning the ghosted backcountry plane…. While we had a tremendous run of storms over the holidays, January has unfortunately been a bit of a precipitation dud up to this point with no additional storms in the forecast. Most of the Los Padres remains just above the normal percentage of rainfall to date but we’re still quite a long way from reaching our normal water year totals. We need more rain. That being said, the forest is spectacular at the moment with lots of green and plenty of water flowing through most of the creeks, rivers and waterfalls. Lets collectively keep our fingers crossed for lots more gentle rain in the near future. Until then, we should all be taking advantage of the clear skies and finding as much trail time as we can. As always, is a terrific resource for checking trail conditions and of course reporting back what you find. There’slots more forest information and updates in the email below…. Enjoy and please let us know if we can help with anything or if you have any Los Padres questions……..

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Sunrise on the Sierra Madre, the makings of a great poem, photo CHorner, LPFA Trail Crew


We’ve been busy! You may be familiar with the saying about making hay when the sun shines, for us if it’s not raining in January we are out there. Here’s a quick update of what the LPFA Trail Crew and our terrific volunteers have been up to across the Los Padres:

• We just wrapped up three weeks of work along the Red Reef Trail in the Sespe Wilderness working from the Sespe Creek side up towards Ladybug Camp. Over that time we brushed out approximately 3 miles of really overgrown trail up past Horsethief. This was a combination of volunteers along with the LPFA Trail Crew. Huge thanks to our volunteer packers Emma and Joe for fueling the effort. We’ll be back soon, continuing work from both sides with the goal of completing the Red Reef Trail by early May!

• As always, we are open for business to help provide answers and information for forest users. Both Big Sur Station and Wheeler Gorge Visitor Centerhave been open and are helping people enjoy their time in the Los Padres. If you’re ever in the Hwy 33 or Hwy 1 neighborhoods, stop by and say hello to Tim, Andres, Peter, Gordie, Kasey and Terry. Then be sure to ask them a really hard question, make em sweat a bit…. You can always reach us with forest questions at as well. We are also always looking for volunteers to help at the Visitor Centers, please email if interested or with questions….

• Another trail in our cross-hairs this year is the Sweet Water Trail, which connects the Sierra Madre down to the Sisquoc River within the San Rafael Wilderness. The LPFA Trail Crew was out there last week starting to chip away at the brushing and there will be some volunteer opportunities for runners soon helping to bring water out along the trail as well. If you are a runner, like to camp and would like to help, please let us know. 

• On the other side of the San Rafael, the LPFA Trail Crew are out this week putting the finishing touches on brushing out the Sulphur Spring Trail coming off of Zaca Ridge and dropping into the Lower Manzana. We’ve been hacking away at this trail for the past year or more and doing our best to avoid the poison oak in the process.

• We’ve also been busy working on all the Figueroa Mountain Trails focusing again on brushing and clearing downed trees. If you’re interested, we’ve got a few volunteer days on the schedule below and would love to help organize a larger volunteer team-building day for your group, company or organization. Let us know…..

• The best volunteers ever have stayed busy keeping trails open and clearing downed trees, slides and brush where needed on many of the frontcountry and midcountry trails including Cold Spring north, Blue Canyon, Franklin north, Tequepis, Horn Canyon, Red Reef, Santa Cruz, Arroyo Burro, Romero north, Big Falls and more…. Thanks everyone!

• Volunteers have also been busy working on the far southern side of the Sespe with trail days focused on the Agua Blanca, an upcoming reroute of the Pothole Trail and scouting for future projects working from Dough Flat to Sespe Hot Springs. Good stuff ahead down along the lower Sespe.

• Lastly, we’re gearing up for some continued work along the lower Buckhorn Trail in advance of our May 2022 Working Vacation on Indian Creek. The Working Vacation will be focused on clearing the Indian Creek Trail from Meadow Camp up to Indian Canyon Camp, aka Indian Creek Camp. This is something we’ve been wanting to do for many many years. Stay tuned for more information or you can always sign up now by emailing

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Squalls over the Hurricane Deck, pretty sure there are some poems about that as well….. 


• The biggest news around the Los Padres has certainly been the Colorado Fire, which burned approximately 700 acres north of Big Sur this past weekend. The cause of the fire was released earlier this week and fortunately it was quickly contained. Fires in January?

• The other biggest news was the apparent staged plane crash along the Sisquoc. If you haven’t seen this video, buckle up (pun intended) and prepare for the rabbit hole. You can watch hours and hours of commentary videos dissecting each of the pilots choices and there will be more coming as the FAA investigation takes shape. The fortunate news is that the crash didn’t ignite a fire and we’ve heard that the wreckage has been removed. We’ll keep you posted on future developments……

• Campfires are currently permitted across the Los Padres with a California Campfire PermitCheck here for more information from the Forest Service. Be safe and always extinguish your campfire.

• You may remember the video from fall 2020 of the mountain lion standoff in Utah, well, here is a shorter cougar charge also caught on film from just outside the Los Padres.

• The Forest Service has released an additional report regarding the entrapment and burnover during the 2020 Dolan Fire.

Not a poem but a blank canvas, surveying the Pothole Trail reroute.

• Good news shared this week as some much needed money will be invested to rebuild and repair the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road which was severely damaged as a result of the Dolan Fire. The road remains closed but should reopen by the start of 2024.

• No new news to share on the Reyes Peak (Pine Mountain) Fuels Reduction Project but here’s an article from the Guardian which does a good job of sharing multiple sides of the debate. 

• It was announced late last year that the Tepusquet area outside of Santa Maria will be getting a fire prevention related haircut in order to help protect the area. 

• The Los Padres NF is looking to fill a temporary Recreation Office position on the Ojai and SB Ranger Districts. Click here for details….

• Sunset Valley Road and paved access to NIRA remains closedue to bridge construction. The project is on schedule to be completed by the end of March. Dan McCaslin recently wrote an article featuring some photos of the under construction bridges. Check it out….

• The Forest Service will be overseeing a few piling and burning operations here and there across the forest, most notably up at Figueroa Mountain. More details and updates will be shared on social media……

• The Los Padres NF has some new Campground Occupancy Use regulations which limit the amount of time people can camp at certain locations, check here for the Forest Order.

• Our great friend and recent Condor Trail Guide author Brian Sarvis was recently featured on the Road Dog Podcast hosted by Luis Escobar. If you are thinking about the Condor Trail, be sure to pick up Brian’s book and check out the podcast.

• Speaking of condors, while our favorite feathered friends continue a remarkable multi-decade recovery, it’s not all rainbows and puppies. Recent reports indicate that lead poisoning remains a threat and cause of death for condors. For more information or to help out, reach out to the Ventana Wildlife Society or the Friends of California Condors.

• Last but not least we wanted to wish a fond farewell to Diane Cross, who retired at the end of 2021 after 38 years with the Forest Service. Diane served a lot of roles over her decades of work but is mostly known for her contributions to recreation within the Ojai Ranger District. We’ll share some more information on Diane in the coming weeks but wanted to thank her for all her help and wish her the best of luck on her forthcoming stanzas. And of course, she has a lifetime invite to attend any upcoming Working Vacation (hint hint DC).

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Forever exploring…. check one goal off the list and add three more.


January 28-30: Pine Ridge Trail Work, VWA
January 29: Agua Blanca Trail Work

February 9: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
February 10: Horn Canyon Ojai Trail Work, LPFA
February 17: LPFA Backcountry Presentation, SB Library
February 18: Figueroa Mountain Trail Work, LPFA
February 19-21: Pine Ridge Trail Work, VWA

March 9: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway, LPFA
March 26 – April 3: Alder Creek Working Vacation, Sespe, LPFA

April 7: Tour de Los Padres Bike Event
April 22 – May 2: Red Reef Working Vacation – Ladybug Camp, LPFA

May 14-23: Indian Creek Working Vacation – Meadow Camp, LPFA

October 2022: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training
November 5-13, 2022: South Fork Working Vacation – San Rafael Wilderness, LPFA

Los Padres Forest Association

2021 Los Padres Forest Association Accomplishments & Forest Updates

Loving the rain & snow but couldn’t wait for the warm sun while taking this picture, photo LPFA

Hello Friends & Happy Holidays,

We love what we do. We absolutely love helping the Los Padres Forest. We love the work we do restoring trails. We love sharing helpful forest information in these newsletters, on social media, HikeLosPadres and at both Big Sur and Wheeler Gorge Visitor Centers. We love working in support of the Condor Trail. We love working with all of you on volunteer projects. We feel very lucky to share in the responsibility of caring for the mountains, creeks, critters and trails which make the Los Padres what it is today. It’s our turn collectively, all of us, to care for the LP and it means so much to have your support in that effort. December is when we receive the majority of our annual donations and we really really appreciate all the support so many of you offer – we couldn’t do what we love to do without your help. Your help goes far beyond donations as well. This past year the LPFA and our volunteers accounted for nearly 23,000 hours of forest support. That’s amazing, especially since we continue to struggle with COVID related restrictions. THANK YOU and we look forward to continuing our efforts to help the Los Padres in 2022 and beyond. Happy Holidays, stay safe and please find some forest time……

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In the spirit of the late night talk shows, we wanted to share our top accomplishments from 2021. In no particular order:

1.  Santa Cruz & Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail Work – Thanks to support from #GivingTuesday2020, we were able to restore over 5 miles of trail along the two National Recreation Trails within the Los Padres National Forest. This included two 10-day volunteer Working Vacations in spring 2021 and three weeks of hired trail crew work. Excellent stuff!

2. Graffiti Removal – Thanks in large part to a generous donation from Louis T, we seriously ramped up our graffiti removal game in 2021 and led close to a dozen graffiti removal projects across the forest. Unfortunately, much more is needed…..

3. Jesusita Fire Trail Work – We partnered with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in spring 2021 and spent 6 weeks working with one of their crews to maintain many of the trails impacted by the Jesusita Fire including Rattlesnake, Tunnel and Jesusita.

4. Campground Renovations – The LPFA stayed busy this fall working with the Forest Service on some deferred maintenance at some of our favorite campgrounds including Figueroa, Hi Mountain, Happy Hollow and Middle & Lower Camuesa. Work included fixing campsites and installing fences, toilets, firerings and trash collection facilities.

5. North Cold Spring & Blue Canyon Trail Work – Thanks to grant support from the National Forest Foundation, SCE and NFWF, the LPFA was able to spend nearly two months this year working on the very overgrown north Cold Spring and Blue Canyon Trails within the Santa Ynez Mountains. We’re not done yet and have more scheduled in 2022 as well…..

6. Lights Stayed On – Despite another year of COVID craziness and fire related forest closures, we were able to keep Big Sur and Wheeler Gorge Visitor Centers staffed and open to help forest-users. We also kept our Trail Crew going most of the year as well. This might be our most important and impressive accomplishment.

7. Condor Trail – 2021 was a big year for the CT with Brian Sarvis releasing a first ever Condor Trail guide book and the LPFA was able to spend time working many sections of the CT including the upper Sisquoc, Santa Barbara Canyon, Madulce, Piedra Blanca, Hi Valley, Lopez Canyon, Big Falls, Trout Creek and Agua Blanca. Thanks to another successful #GivingTuesday2021, we’ve got much more CT work on the horizon as well…..

8. HLP Revamp –  John Ziegler launched HikeLosPadres over 5 years ago and since then it’s become a crucial resource for anyone venturing into the Los Padres backcountry. We started the process of revamping HLP in 2021 and have much MUCH more to do heading into 2022. This is so exciting and we can’t wait to continue working with JZ on some updates and new features within HLP. Cool stuff….

9. Working Together – 2021 was another great year working with our partners and friends across the Los Padres. They say it takes a village and they might have been wrong, it actually takes a city! Big thanks to all the volunteers, scouts, our friends at the Forest Service and all the organizations across the Los Padres for your continued work.

10. Setting the Table – While 2021 was fantastic, there’s better ahead! We’ve got lots of great work in store for 2022. That being said, we want to hear from you about what other help is needed across the Los Padres and what you all would like to see done. We’ve put together a quick and anonymous survey here, check it out, let us know and THANK YOU!

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Some of our awesome trail volunteers taking a well deserved and scenic lunch break along the upper Red Reef Trail, December 2021


• The big news across the forest is of course the rain and snow we’ve been getting and are scheduled to get over the coming week. Right now rain totals across the forest are well over our average and things are looking good heading into 2022. Remember that the current fire restrictions don’t expire until 12/31/2021.

• Quick reminder that Sunset Valley Road, NIRA and Davy Brown Campgrounds remain closed due to bridge construction. You can see a photo of some of the bridge construction below.

• With all the rain and storms comes inevitable downed trees, slides and other trail damage. If you come across any significant trail damage, please let us know, post to HLP, contact the Forest Service or reach out to your local trail organization. We collectively can’t repair the trails if we don’t know they’re damaged. People or objects used for scale within photos are always appreciated as well. THANKS!

• We had a successful #GivingTuesday2021 and as a result we will be scheduling a few weeks of work this season on the Alder Creek Trail within the Sespe Wilderness. GREAT NEWS and long overdue – thanks everyone for the support!

• Along with the cold and rain of course comes coffee and the need for good coffee. Outside Magazine recently wrote an article about the best methods of preparing coffee, check it out…..

• The Forest Service recently revised and extended the forest closure associated with the 16,790 acre Alisal Fire through April 30, 2022. Contact the FS for details or see link here. Note, this closure includes the Baron Ranch trails and Arroyo Quemado Trail.

• In case you missed it, our heroic and inspirational Los Padres gray wolf OR-93 was tragically killed in late November while trying to cross I-5 near the town of Lebec. OR-93 was big news and certainly the story of the year across the Los Padres. You can read more here and here.

• Highway 1 through southern Monterey County and northern SLO County continues to have proactive storm related closures. Basically CalTrans closes Hwy 1 during large storm events in order to protect people from potential slides. If you’re headed that way, be sure to check with CalTrans before you go…..

• Most of the seasonal gates across the Los Padres have now been closed due to all the recent rain and snow. We can’t list all the seasonal gates here but it’s never a bad idea to check with the Forest Service or email us ahead of time before venturing towards your trailhead of choice.

• A team from UCSB and the Forest Service recently completed a study of stream impacts and aquatic species repopulation related to wildfire. It’s a good article if interested, check it out here.

• The Forest Service will be hosting a Women in Wildfire Basic Training Camp this spring in the Santa Barbara area. Check this link for more information, this is a great program.

• In case you missed it earlier, we’re looking for feedback from you about what we can do and what help is needed across the Los Padres. If you’re reading this, you probably have an opinion, please share, we’d love to hear from you! It’s anonymous.

• Super volunteer Ellie Mora Jefferies was recognized by the Forest Service earlier this month for her tremendous contributions across the Los Padres. Ellie was awarded the Regional Foresters COVID-19 Pandemic Response Hero award in recognition for her efforts specifically restoring Santa Paula Canyon. Woot woot Ellie, so well deserved – congratulations.

• Lots going on and lots to share, hope we didn’t lose you. That being said, if you appreciate the work the LPFA does in sharing this information and our help across the forest, please consider donating to help us continue helping you and the forest. Click this link for more information, thank you!

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Where’s that confounded bridge? Fish passage bridge construction just before NIRA, see it?, photo LPNF

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 2: Agua Blanca Trail Maintenance
January 6-10: Red Reef Trail – Sespe Creek, LPFA
January 14: Figueroa Mountain Trail Work, LPFA
January 15: LPFA Member/Volunteer PARTY!
January 18: Horn Canyon Trail Work, LPFA
January 20: Medicinal Herbs w/ Lanny Kaufer, SB Library
January 22: West Cuesta Trail Work, CCCMB

February 5: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training
February 17: LPFA Backcountry Update Presentation, SB Library

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

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:

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…..

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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• 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. – 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

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

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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• 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 ( 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 ( 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