LPFA News from Around the Los Padres

Squid Games on the Arroyo Quemado Trail 31W18 (aka Baron Ridge), post Alisal Fire

Hello Friends,

We’ve got lots of news from across the Los Padres down below but first off we wanted to share a couple incredible announcements that the trail users among us will certainly be excited to hear:

Thanks to a Public Trails Grant from the Santa Barbra Foundation and some generous donations from the Santa Ynez Valley Women’s Hiking Group, the LPFA will be restoring over a dozen miles of trail this season along the backside of Figueroa Mountain. This will include all the trails between White Rock and Willow Spring with most of the work focused on clearing brush and downed trees from the trail corridor. In order to help complete the trail work we’ll be scheduling regular Fig Mtn volunteer projects starting with our first one on Friday November 19. We’ll be sharing volunteer opportunities through the regular channels and would love to setup a corporate or special volunteer project should any of your companies or organizations be interested in helping with these trails – let us know. These trails are long overdue for a nice haircut and we can’t wait to get started. We hope you can join us in this ambitious effort…..

The Red Reef Trail is hands down one of the most spectacular trails in the Los Padres. Red Reef extends 13 miles from its Upper Ojai Valley southern trailhead over the Topatopas and into the rugged canyons of the Sespe Wilderness before terminating at the junction with the Sespe River Trail. Red Reef is a terrific trail and has a little bit of everything for just about every type of forest user. Unfortunately it’s also got quite a bit of trail damage resulting from both the Thomas Fire as well as deferred maintenance. The great news is that the Los Padres National Forest secured funding from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) and the LPFA will be helping over the coming months to restore and maintain all 13 miles of the Red Reef Trail. We are stoked, to say the least. We’ll be starting work on the Red Reef this weekend while hosting an Ojai First Saturday Trail Project starting at 8am on November 13. We’ll also be hosting a 5-day project in January working from the Sespe up towards an area known as Horsethief. We’ll have quite a few other volunteer projects lined up over the coming months as well. This is so exciting and we sure look forward to many of you helping bring this gem of a trail back to life.

A Glorious Day on the Whiter than Normal Red Reef Trail, January 2021

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• Even with the generous early season rains, we’ve been hearing a lot of reports of continued dry conditions from across the Los Padres. It seems that Mother Earth drank up most of the precipitation so far and that the creeks, streams and rivers haven’t been activated yet. Keep this in mind as you pull on your backpack and head out to the forest. Even with the rain, water might still be scarce in spots. As always, it’s never a bad idea to check HikeLosPadres before you venture out and be sure to share what you find after you get back. Safe travels…..

• Quick reminder that the Los Padres remains in fire restrictions and campfires are currently not allowed anywhere across the forest.

• There remains a closure order in place for the Alisal Fire, which burned 16,970 acres across the western Santa Ynez Mountains in October. The forest remains closed through November 19th from Winchester Gun Club out through Gaviota Peak, this includes the Tequepis Trail and the dirt portions of West Camino Cielo.

• In addition to the Alisal Fire, both the 2021 Willow Fire and 2020 Dolan Fire still have active forest closures. Click the links to the left for more information.

• Another quick reminder that Fremont, Paradise and Los Prietos Campgrounds remain closed along Paradise Road due to hazard tree removal.

• Remember too that Sunset Valley Road and paved access to both Davy Brown and NIRA Campgrounds remains closed through March 2022. Some good news, the LPFA Trail Crew has been working to clear the nearby Sulphur Spring Trail, which will help provide some better access this season for the Manzana and Sisquoc. We’re also encouraging the Forest Service to keep vehicle access to other trailheads open this season as many backpackers are being displaced due to the Manzana closure. More on that to come…

• Some condor news, three condors were released earlier this month into the wild in the mountains above San Simeon. We’ll be watching these three closely, especially #38!

• The Forest Service signed a Decision Memo on September 30 to move forward with the Reyes Peak Forest Health and Fuels Reduction proposal along Pine Mountain within the Ventura Backcountry. You can read more about the controversial proposal here.

Prime Fall Colors Across the Mono Jungle, photo DFeinberg

• In other Los Padres news, we want to wish a fond farewell to former Supervisor Kevin Elliott, who recently retired after 43 years with the Forest Service and the last 3 on the Los Padres. Taking over as interim Supervisor for at least the next four months will be Chris Stubbs. Chris has been the Deputy Supervisor for a few years now and has a great feel for the Los Padres Forest. Welcome aboard Chris, we look forward to working with you.

• We also want to officially welcome Daryl Hodges as the new Santa Barbara District Ranger.  

• Our friends at the Pack Stock Center of Excellence are seeking packing apprentices for the 2022 summer season. You can apply herehere and here. Good luck and make sure they continue visiting the Los Padres as well….

• Our great friends at the Los Padres NF are also looking to hire seasonal help at their Santa Maria, Santa Barbara and Frazier Park district offices – check it out here… The LPNF is also looking to hire for a permanent Admin Assistant for the Santa Barbara Ranger District, click here.

• Remember that we are still accepting calendar submission for the 2022 Los Padres Calendar. If you’ve got a great photo or 50 from the Los Padres, please send em our way and we’ll send you a calendar if we use your photo. INFO@LPForest.org – thanks in advance!

• Last but not least, we want to say thank and good luck to our beloved friend Kendra Moss. Kendra was the LPFA Program Manager for the past couple years and had an opportunity come up that was too good to pass up. We really miss Kendra and appreciate all that she did for the LPFA and all the help she provided for the Los Padres Forest. Exciting times ahead for Kendra and she did a great job setting the LPFA up for success as well. Cheers KM!

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Halloween in the Los Padres, Pinos dressing up like the Channel Islands, photo Toejam

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!

November 13: First Saturday Ojai – Red Reef Trail, LPFA
November 13-14: Little Pine Trailwork, LPFA
November 18: Beauty of Chumash Basketry, SB Library Talk
November 19: Figueroa Mountain Trail Work, LPFA
November 20-21: Lower Santa Ynez Sign Install, LPFA
November 23: Trailwork Tuesday – Buena Vista Trail, MTF & LPFA

December 5: Santa Margarita Lake, CCCMB
December 2-6: Tamarisk Removal – Sisquoc, CIR

January 6-10: Red Reef Trail – Sespe Creek, LPFA
January 15: LPFA Member/Volunteer PARTY!
January 22: West Cuesta Trail Work, CCCMB

February 5: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training

March – April: Fundamentals of Backpacking Course, LPFA
March 26 – April 3: Alder Creek Working Vacation – Sespe, LPFA
April 22 – May 2: Red Reef Working Vacation – Ladybug Camp, LPFA
May 14-23: Indian Creek Working Vacation – Meadow Camp, LPFA
November 5-13, 2022: South Fork Working Vacation – San Rafael Wilderness, LPFA


Los Padres Forest Association