Happy Holidays and what a nice start to the winter season! We’ve now had multiple storms roll through the Los Padres with rain totals across the forest over 150% of normal to date. The creeks have recharged, the hills are green and most of the higher mountains are white; all good stuff for this time of year. While we’re certainly off to a good start, let’s not forget that at this point last year we were also well above average, that was until the rain decided to shutdown for January and February. Let’s hope for more extended light rain over the coming weeks and beyond.
As a result of the recent rains and greening, the Forest Service has terminated the fire restriction order which means that campfires are once again allowed across the Los Padres. This is probably very welcome news for many of us backcountry wanderers! Be sure to renew your California Campfire Permit (click here, just takes a few mins) and please remain diligent and smart with your fire activity. Happy Day!
• Recreation Fees Increased – The LPNF announced earlier this week that fees at select sites will be increased across the Los Padres. This mainly affects campground fees and Pfieffer Beach day use. Click here to learn more.
• Trout Creek Update – Over the past 5 years the Wilderness Land Trust has purchased multiple private properties along Trout Creek (SLO Co.) and just completed the final transfer of land to the LPNF. This is a huge win in preserving forest access along Hi Mtn Road and into the Garcia Wilderness. Trout Creek is also a segment of the Condor Trail. Cheers and a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone involved in this effort!
• E-Bike Crew Poachers Busted – Seven people were busted this past month for poaching with illegal hunting tags. In addition to illegal tags, the group, known as the E-Bike Crew, had also been reportedly hunting within the Sespe Condor Sanctuary. That’s a no-no. Lots of information online, click here, here or here.
• Courts Approve Tecuya Fuelbreak – It was also announced earlier this week that the LPNF won a court appeal to begin work on the Tecuya Ridge Shaded Fuelbreak project within the Mt Pinos Ranger District. Click here and here for more information.
• Los Padres Calendars – Looking for any last minute stock stuffers or gifts for the Los Padres lover on your list…. we got ya covered! The LPFA has once again produced a full-color Los Padres wall calendar. They are beautiful and available online or at REI Santa Barbara. Get em while you can!
• JAN 21: Mountain Lion Tracking – Exciting news! The LPFA will be helping to install a series of game cameras across the Santa Barbara Backcountry which will be used to track mountain lion activity. We are looking for volunteers to help with this effort. Should be fun! Sign Up Here!
• DEC 30: Santa Cruz Trail – Join the LPFA on Friday December 30 to help maintain the beloved Santa Cruz Trail! Details on the link below but we’ll likely be focusing our efforts on the section of trail around 19 Oaks. TBD based on weather. What better way to wrap up 2022! Sign Up Here!
• DEC 21: Hwy 33 Cleanup – Please join the LPFA as we continue our monthly Highway 33 Adopt-A-Highway events based at Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center. While you’re there, come check out Marcos the Mountain Lion, photo featured above. Sign Up Here!
• FEB 4: VWR Training – The LPFA will once again be leading a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training event on Saturday February 4 off Paradise Road. Skills and procedures will be shared so that you can hopefully lead volunteer projects across the forest. Sign Up Here!