It sure seems like every time we’re ready to call an end to our 2018-19 rainy season, another storm or two pops up on the Doppler. It’s not often we get any significant rain in May. Yet this year, on top of all the rain we’ve already had, we made a serious run at the all-time record for rain in the month of May. Even this past week we had some odd early season thunderstorms which caused flash flood warnings across much of the Los Padres. As a whole, the LP is well over our seasonal average rainfall totals with most stations across the forest recording 115-140% of annual rainfall totals. It’s certainly been an exciting year for weather but we all know the heat will be coming soon so until then lets be sure to enjoy all the overcast, dreary, precipitation filled days we can.
Speaking of precipitation and rain delays, the Forest Service has done a good job over the past few weeks of getting most of the seasonal road closures open across the forest. Here’s the latest and greatest on gate closures and openings:
- Mt Pinos:
- CLOSED: Snowy Motorcycle Trail
- Everything else is open including Santa Barbara Canyon and Grade Valley
- CLOSED: Nordhoff Ridge 4×4, Cherry Creek
- Everything else is open including Pine Mtn and Dough Flat!
- Santa Barbara:
- CLOSED: Road to Upper Oso from Lower Oso, Buckhorn OHV, Romero Camuesa Road down to Pendola and the Calientes
- Everything else is open including River Road at First Crossing out to Red Rock!
- Santa Lucia:
- CLOSED: East Pinery & Figueroa Lookout Roads, Catway
- All else is open including Rock Front, Hi Mtn and Pozo!
I know many of us have been waiting patiently (some impatiently) for the gates to swing open this year. Now is the time, most of the gates are open and the forest is yours to enjoy responsibly! Many flowers are still blooming, some of the protected hillsides remain green and water is still flowing across most of the drainages. Get out and enjoy your forest and if you come across anything interesting, dangerous, a trail impediment or have any questions please share on HikeLosPadres.com, email us (INFO@LPForest.org) or contact your local district ranger office. Have at it and as always be cautious and safe!
NATIONAL TRAILS DAY 2019
National Trails Day (NTD) is an annual day of trail celebration where thousands of hikers, bikers, riders and trail users across the country donate their time to help protect and maintain the trails they love. While NTD is technically the first Saturday of June, NTD hosted projects usually spill over a few weeks before or after the actual National Trails Day. This year is no different with a few NTD projects still scheduled on both June 8 and June 15, see list below. While it would be great for you to make it to a trail project this month, the essence of National Trails Day is much more than just a singular day each year. Dedicate every month, every week and every day you spend on the trail to the spirit of a NTD event. It can be as easy as picking up a few pieces of trash along the trail, helping clear a downed branch from the trail corridor or simply sharing what you found with your local trail organizations or agencies. And of course, you can always step up your game and try adopting your favorite trail as well. Every bit helps! Hope you can make it to an upcoming trail event near you:
- JUNE 8:
- JUNE 15:
– The Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center summer series of weekend interpretive events is off and running. In June we have presentations and talks covering the Wonderful World of Bees, the Last Days of Dinosaurs and Saving the California Condors. Always something going on at Wheeler! Hope to see you soon….
– Speaking of the condor, our local 400+ mile Los Padres thru-hike, the Condor Trail has been seeing some activity this season. There are currently at least three people hiking the CT and another few who have already completed it this year. The CT made an appearance on a recent Backpacker Radio podcast and rumor has it that a guide book is in the works as well. Stay tuned, we’re certain to be hearing more about the Condor Trail in the years to come….
– And along those lines, Piper (Diane) from Santa Barbara successfully connected the Los Padres with the PCT backpacking from NIRA to Agua Dulce. This was Piper’s second time completing this epic hike. You can follow her journey through a series of YouTube videos she put together. Check it out…..
– If you’ve ever driven up Hwy 33 you’ve probably noticed the remains of Matilija Hot Springs on the left across from what used to be the U.S.A.’s Smallest Post Office. The VC Star recently ran an article discussing the future of the hot springs along with a small video tour of how it fared during the Thomas Fire.
– The Partnership for Resilient Communities steel ring net project above Montecito is in full swing. There are 6 nets currently being installed across West Fork Cold Spring, East Fold Cold Spring, Buena Vista and San Ysidro canyons. If you’re in the neighborhood, go check them out, they are not hard to spot.
– From sediment capture to sediment flow, the San Clemente Dam was removed in 2015 along the Carmel River in large part to help restore local steelhead populations. Reports this spring are showing that steelhead numbers along the Carmel are way up from previous years. You can read about it here and here. This is potentially a good sign of things to come for other failing Los Padres area dams including the Los Padres Dam and the Matilija Dam.
– The Los Padres National Forest is seeking public comment on a recently proposed forest-wide Invasive Plant Treatment Program. Public comment can be submitted to the Forest Service before either June 19 or June 27 (conflicting reports). You can read much more on this proposal here.
– This is pretty cool, the Forest Fire Lookout Association in conjunction with the Los Padres National Forest will be training volunteers to spot smoke from the Chews Ridge Lookout tower (36.312201, -121.568204) in Monterey County. If interested, please see flier. This is a neat concept for a few different reasons. Can you think of any other lookout towers across the Los Padres that would be worthwhile to reactivate and setup similar volunteer programs? Lets do it!
– Do you shop at Amazon? If so, please shop through the AmazonSmile program and choose the LPFA as your charitable organization. Amazon will donate 0.5% of all eligible purchased back to the LPFA. It adds up quick and goes right back towards the forest and trails you love! You can start shopping right now by clicking this link or choosing the Los Padres Forest Association within the AmazonSmile program. Thanks in advance and happy shopping!