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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, 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

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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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…….

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Speaking of calendar worthy photos….. photo Tim Wilder


  • 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:  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 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 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

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