First off, we hope you are all safe and dried out after all the great rains we’ve had over the past weeks. This is not news but from Big Sur to Piru we’ve seen historic quantities of rainfall across the Los Padres. 2023 will be remembered and documented in the lore of other epic winters like 1969, 1983 and 2005, etc… It’s exciting for sure, good to see the reservoirs filling up and of course nice to look forward to what all this rain will mean for the spring flowers, scoured swimming holes and late-season backpacking trips. That’s the good.
The bad & the ugly is all the damage sustained across the Central Coast of California. Just turn on the national news and you see photos of familiar places under a dozen feet of water. Here in the Los Padres we’ve seen historic bridges go down, campgrounds washed away, levees blown out, communities isolated and more road damage than can be listed. And that’s not even talking about the trails, which have mostly not been seen as of yet.
At the moment, most forest access roads are closed and will likely remain closed until at least after this next upcoming storm (Friday – Monday). Many of the trailheads that are closer to town have sustained damage due to washouts and slides. It is not easy to get into the forest at the moment and even then, water levels remain dangerously high at most of the larger creek crossings. We’ve also been hearing about catastrophic slides and washouts along the trails themselves that may eventually lead to trail closures. TBD.
All things considered, depending where you are, it’s not a bad idea to skip the forest for a week or so until water levels drop and proper trail surveys have been completed. If you are on the trails or in the forest, be careful, listen to your instincts and don’t be afraid to turn around should you encounter a sketchy section of trail or road. It’s no joke out there right now.
We are working with the Forest Service to start documenting damage to the infrastructure, roads, trailheads and trails. If you see any substantial damage, please take photos and share with the Forest Service or with us (INFO@LPForest.org) and we’ll be sure to pass it along.
Be smart everyone and stay safe…..