HELLO FRIENDS – Tomorrow (August 10) kicks off the most popular hunting season here in the Los Padres, the Zone A South General Deer Season. Zone A South encompasses most of the Los Padres from Monterey down through Ventura County except for Zone D13 which covers the Ventura/Kern Highcountry, click to see map here. There will be a lot of hunter activity across the forest over the coming A Zone weeks, especially during the early weekends of the Season. If you’re out and about you should expect to see hunters at most of the trailheads and along many of the access roads. If you have plans to visit the forest this weekend, be aware of the extra activity and depending on your interests and where you plan on going, you may want to adjust your plans or at the very least wear bright colored clothing. Good idea to leave the antler helmet at home this time around.
Remember that we are in fire restrictions and campfires are only permitted in designated campfire use sites. Be safe!
WILDFIRE UPDATE & CLOSURES
The Los Padres had two wildfire scares over the past couple weeks with the Mill Fire (310 acres) along the southern edge of the Ventana Wilderness and the Range Fire (100 acres) off of Happy Canyon in the Santa Ynez Valley. Thankfully both fires didn’t blow up and are near 100% containment. The cause of the fires have not been shared. There is a current forest closure as a result of the Mill Fire that includes Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, Mill Creek Trail, Kirk Creek Trail, South Coast and Cone Peak Roads. Thanks to everyone involved in fighting the fires and lets hope for no more wildfire scares.
• There have been quite a few trails maintained over the past month or so across the Los Padres by the FS and your local volunteer organizations. Here’s a quick list, remember you can visit HikeLosPadres.com for more information about these wonderful trails: Cold Spring, Marble Peak, Franklin, Matilija Falls, Poplar, Reyes Peak, Rattlesnake Canyon, Romero, Baron, Sisquoc, Terrace Creek, Jesusita
• Earlier this week the Los Padres made the news as a result of a car chase that ended up, then down, along the Sierra Madre Road. The footage of the LP portion of the chase was released a few days ago and is absolutely crazy. Please don’t try this!
• The LP also made the news this week thanks to a two-day search operation for a missing backpacker. The solo backpacker and his faithful dog were attempting the 50-mile Lower Sisquoc Loop in the San Rafael Wilderness when he came down with a sickness on day 1 of his 3 day trip. His family grew concerned when he didn’t make it home at the end of day 3 and contacted Santa Barbara Search and Rescue. The extensive search began at sunrise on day 4 and thankfully the backpacker turned up mid-morning on day 5. The backpacker was dehydrated but otherwise in good health. Thankfully the backpacker had left an itinerary with his family and had taken the time to enter his name into the various trail registers along the route. The combination of register entries and knowing his itinerary aided immensely in developing a search strategy for the lost backpack. Remember that. Alls well that ends well, great work by SAR and yes, the dog came back in one piece as well – probably had the time of his life!
• The trails above Montecito were hit extremely hard due to the Thomas Fire and subsequent January 2018 debris flows. Many groups and volunteers have assisted in the reconstruction of the trails but we wanted to mention one specific group effort working on the lower Cold Spring Trail, specifically building a wall that is now affectionately known as the Don Wall. The Cold Spring Trail was wiped clean after the debris flows and along with it the trailhead on the east side of Mountain Drive. This section of trail had turned into a lumpy cliff face with a 20ft drop into the creek below. It seemed impossible to repair but thanks to nearly two-months of hard work the trail has been fixed and is looking terrific! Many people assisted in this process including: Los Padres National Forest, City of Santa Barbara, SB County, Montecito Trails Foundation, Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers, Multi-Use Trails Coalition, Thomas Fire Trail Fund, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, SLO County Trails, SB County Trails Council, Ventana Wilderness Alliance, the LPFA ans especially Donn & Don. It was really inspiring and fun working with so many people and completing our goal. Thanks everyone…….
• The gate at Cherry Creek Road along upper Highway 33 is now open. Cherry Creek provides access to the upper Matilija Trailhead as well as the upper Ortega Motorcycle Trail.
• Get your party hats on….. Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday is today. Woot woot! Wonder if he will have candles on his cake….??? Happy Birthday Smokey Bear.
• Highway 1 along northern SLO County will have overnight closures at Ragged Point for 4 weeks starting on 8/12.