LPFA Updates: Red Reef in our Sights

Might not be a ‘Super Bloom’ Year but this Bloom is Mighty Super this Year

Hello Friends,

Lots of news to share from across the Los Padres, enough for two emails actually but lets start with an update from the LPFA Working Vacations. Thanks to help from over 30 volunteers, we just successfully wrapped up a 12-day volunteer Working Vacation along the Indian Canyon Trail in the Dick Smith Wilderness. Everyone had a great time, the food was terrific as always, the weather more or less cooperated, thankfully it wasn’t too hot and we got the trail dialed in up to Indian Canyon Camp! #knockeditout We’ll share more details within the next email but for now, we wanted to remind everyone of the next Working Vacation coming up in a couple weeks along the Red Reef Trail……

April 23 – May 1
Come one, come all and join us later this month as we work to restore the spectacular Red Reef Trail within the Sespe Wilderness. The project will kick-off on Saturday April 23 with volunteers driving up from Rose Valley along the Nordhoff Ridge 4WD Road to the upper Red Reef Trailhead. Once at the trailhead we’ll backpack 5 miles across and down to Ladybug Camp, which will be our home for the 10-day Working Vacation. We’ll once again have stock support bringing in most of the food, tools, supplies and cold drinks for the project. The focus of the work will be brushing and tread work along approximately 2.5 miles of the Red Reef Trail from Ladybug down towards Sespe Creek. Ladybug is set within a grove of shaded fir trees just below 5,000ft and has reliable water with enough space to find some privacy and move around. While we’d love to have you for the entire time, there will be many shorter options for people to come and go as their schedule allows. This promises to be a great time spent with like-minded friends along one of the more epic Los Padres trails. Please email with questions or to sign up. We could use help with trail workers, cooks and shuttle drivers. Hope you can make it!

What is a Working Vacation?

Working Vacations are larger scale volunteer trail maintenance projects that the LPFA organizes in support of the Los Padres National Forest. Working Vacations are generally focused on maintaining harder-to-get-to trails and they usually range from 7-10 days in length.

The LPFA provides all the food for the Working Vacations and we normally have stock support bring in food, gear and supplies with a dedicated cook on hand to ensure everyone eats well throughout their stay. While we’d love to have everyone volunteer for all 7-10 days, we realize that life doesn’t usually allow us to be away for that long and we always have shorter options available as well. We do ask that everyone commit at least 3 days for the project.

The usual Working Vacation day starts off with sunrise coffee followed by breakfast. We then we pack our lunches and hit the trail by 8am. We work throughout the day or until we’re tired and return to camp for a cold drink, dinner and ideally some story-telling, songs and laughter around the campfire before heading off to bed.

The flow of Working Vacations is very soothing and somewhat addictive, most people who come on a Working Vacation end up signing up for the next one as well. The Working Vacations are a lot of fun and a truly rewarding wilderness experience. That’s the sales pitch, in case the opportunity to spend time in the forest wasn’t enough of a pull all by itself.

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How many happy FS staff does it take to reopen a bridge? Sunset Valley Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

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After being closed for nearly 9 months, the Forest Service successfully reopened Sunset Valley Road a day ahead of schedule on March 31. The extended closure was needed to complete construction of two new bridges along Sunset Valley Road which are designed to improve fish passage within the the Fir, Manzana and Sisquoc drainages. The bridges were welcomed as part of a ribbon cutting ceremony held on March 30. The road reopening once again means the public can access Davy Brown and NIRA Campgrounds in addition to both Manzana trailheads, which is certainly reason for many people to celebrate. While the bridges look fantastic, the trails out of NIRA might be a little rough after having 9 months of limited foot and hoof traffic. If you happen to explore the trails out of NIRA and come across anything that could be repaired, please let us know or post to HikeLosPadres.com and we’ll do our best to get it fixed up as soon as we can. Enjoy everyone and take it slow……

One of the treasures of the Working Vacations is watching the packers do their thing. AMAZING folks, AMAZING animals, AMAZING skills!