We hope you and your family are safe and doing your part as we deal with coronavirus. A lot has changed since the last LPFA email. California has issued a ‘stay at home’ order and we’ve followed suit by postponing all of our March and early April volunteer projects. We’ll see what happens beyond that and we’ll keep everyone posted as all things continue to change (by the hour).
The government is promoting outdoor recreation as being an essential activity and people are responding by getting out and enjoying their local parks, beaches and trails. While it’s great that people are out enjoying nature, there have been some instances of trail-overcrowding and in some places the overcrowding has led to additional trail closures. PLEASE DON’T LET THAT HAPPEN HERE. We’ve included some safety tips and guidelines below to follow as you head out to enjoy the great outdoors:
- Do not use the trails if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or if you are feeling sick.
- Maintain a 6-foot distance from other people along the trail. If you see trail-users heading your way, find an area where you can safely walk off the trail and let them pass. It doesn’t hurt to smile and say hello either.
- Try to time your trail visit away from the typically busy times of the day.
- Keep in mind that many public restrooms are closed, more on that below, so take care of business before heading out. You should also avoid touching any public drinking fountains, benches, etc… and take the necessary precautions both before and after in the case that you have to use public facilities.
- Keep your dogs on leash, away from other trail-users or leave at home.
- Stay in small family groups or alone while on the trail. If the trailhead is packed or parking is hard to find, go somewhere else or come back later. Our collective mission right now is to isolate not congregate.
- If the trail is busy, then use this as an opportunity to discover lesser known trails. This is the main reason why some trails and forests are being closed. HikeLosPadres.com might be able to help you find a new less crowded trail to explore.
In response to coronavirus as well as the California Stay at Home order, the Los Padres Forest has issued a few forest-wide closures:
- The Forest Service has closed all their offices, visitor centers and stations to public in-person visits. Forest Service staff continue to work and will be serving the public virtually via phone and/or internet.
- The Forest Service has closed all ‘developed recreation sites’ across the forest. A complete list of closed recreation sites has not been shared as of yet but our understanding is that all car-campgrounds and designated day-use areas are now closed. This includes all the Parks Management sites.
- Trails, trailheads, dispersed camping and backcountry camping remain open for people to enjoy.
- We’ve been hearing that toilets across the forest (usually within recreation sites) are now closed as are the gates leading to developed recreation sites.
- In addition, there are quite a few wet-weather closures that might impact forest access at the moment.
Again, this information is changing by the hour and we’ll keep everyone updated as soon as we hear anything different. In the meantime, if you have plans to head into the backcountry portions of the forest, we suggest contacting the nearby ranger district and seeking answers directly from the source. These are strange times for sure and we are extremely fortunate to have an incredible forest to enjoy. Be safe, take extra precautions and stay tuned-in as things are changing faster than ever……
• The Tunnel Trail trailhead above Santa Barbara is currently closed as Southern California Edison conducts repair work to the access road between the trailhead and the Mission Creek bridge. The work is supposed to conclude March 27th but we’ve also heard rumors that there have been some delays. We’ll keep you posted or check social media for more updates……
• The Los Padres Forest has postponed any prescribed burns due to potential smoke impacts to the public.
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!
March 2020: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training (POSTPONED)
March 20-22: American Canyon Trail Project, LPFA & SLOPOST (POSTPONED)
March 27: Dutra Flat Project, Toejam Trail Alliance
April TBD: Little Falls & Trout Creek Trail Sign Project, LPFA
April 3-9: Beartrap GMPB Sespe Working Vacation, LPFA (POSTPONED)
April 5: Ojai 1st Saturday (Sunday) Murietta Trail
April 11: Hwy 33 Adopt-A-Highway & Wheeler Cleanup
April 15: Pretty Strong Film, Topa Topa SB
April 16: Aliso Trail Collective, LPFA (POSTPONED)
April 16: Cachuma Lake Wildflowers, SB Library
April 18: Wheeler Gorge Open House
April 18-19: Davy Brown Earthday Trail Project, LPFA
April 25: State Trails Day SB, Jesusita/Tunnel Trails
April 29: LPFA Trivia at Night Lizard Brewing, SB
May 2-10: Big Cone Spruce Manzana Narrows Working Vacation, LPFA
May 2: Pine Ridge Trail Brushing, VWA
May 16: Pine Ridge Trail Brushing, VWA
May 21: Gaspar de Portola’s Route, SB Library
May 23-31: Indian Creek Working Vacation, Dick Smith, LPFA
June 6: National Trails Day, Location TBD