Los Padres Back to School Week

Imagine back to school week at the Manzana Schoolhouse, photo James Wapotich

It’s BACK TO SCHOOL WEEK, which might be the most universally hated week of the year.  First off, for many people it means the end of summer.  That alone could be reason for the hatred.  It also means daily rituals changing for parents, traffic patterns fluctuating around the crazy kid-drop-off schedules and the dreaded H WORD (homework).  And we’re not even talking about how teachers must feel this week.  But, for the Los Padres, Back to School Week is a slight indication that our backcountry season is not too far off into the future.  It might seem impossibly far right now, with all that’s going on with the fires, but trust me, it’ll be here before you know it.  So, in honor of Back to School Week and with backcountry season coming up soon, we wanted to focus this email on a few upcoming educational opportunities that you might want to check out.  Tis the season…….

If you haven’t discovered backpacking or you’re interested in improving your gear, improving your skills, or meeting some new friends to explore the trails with this Fall; this is a great class for you to check out!  Curt Cragg is the lead instructor and brings in a wide variety of local experts to discuss all topics backpacking related with an emphasis on local Los Padres backpacking.  Topics include what and how to eat along the trail or in camp, basic trail first aid, how to avoid getting lost, what you should and shouldn’t be afraid of, the latest in gear, where you should get your gear, ultralight backpacking…. it’s all covered.  This will be Curt’s 5th time teaching the class and it’s been great watching the new backpackers hit the trail after the class and keep coming back for more.  We’ve actually gotten to know quite a few of the graduates on some of our backpacking trail maintenance projects as well.  To learn more or sign up, check it out at the link HERE.  The classes will be hosted at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and all proceeds go to LPFA Trail Care.



Class in session, photo Terry Wright
If you haven’t made it out to Wheeler Gorge yet this summer, there is still time!  LPFA super-volunteer and board member Gordie Hemphill continues to organize weekly interpretive events each Saturday at Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center.  Most of the talks start around 11am and cover a wide variety of topics ranging from local critters to dinosaurs to geology to trees.  The talks are designed mainly for kids and young teenagers but I promise you that there is something for everyone.  Not to mention any excuse to drive up Highway 33 is a good excuse.  Upcoming talks include:
  • August 27 – Into the Wild (Naturalists & Forester) Programs
  • September 3 – Saving the California Condor
  • September 10 – Rescuing Ocean Animals
  • September 17 – Amazing World of Bears
  • September 24 – Chumash Storytelling with Julie Tumamait

You can learn more here, or email WHEELER@LPForest.org with any questions you might have!  We hope to see you soon up at Wheeler………



REI is teaming up with the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) to offer a series of classes this Fall focused around wilderness first aid (WFA).  These two-day classes offer advanced teaching on how to handle medical emergencies when you can’t call for an ambulance.  Certainly skills that are worth having and could save a life.  The classes are at Camp Arnaz in Ventura.  REI and WMI are offering two classes, information below:

October 29-30: http://bit.ly/2bkg79H
November 12-13: http://bit.ly/2biQOmE


Now you’ve learned how to backpack, how to do wilderness first aid and how to save the Condor; the only thing left is getting some new trail gear.  The LPFA will be hosting our 2nd Annual Used Gear Sale on Saturday October 1 in Santa Barbara (location TBD).  Similar to last year, we’re collecting lightly used gear, cleaning it up and making it available for you to purchase.  Gear guru Rik Christensen is heading up the event and if it is anything like last year, you better get there early!  If you have any old gear that you’re interested in donating/selling, there is both direct sales and consignment options available.  We’d love to help take any old gear off you and make it available for someone else to use.  All sale proceeds this year will go towards the restoration of South Fork Station, Dabney Cabin and eventually the Manzana Schoolhouse.  We’ll provide more details soon.  If you have any questions, please email: INFO@LPForest.org

There’s a lot going on.  We hope to see you at some of these events and best of luck with Back to School Week!

— • — • — • —
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 pimp your event!

September 10: NPLD Jesusita Trail
September 11: Island View Trail Race
September 14: LPFA Backpacking Fundamentals Class
September 20: LPFA Trail Talk Series, History of Los Padres Lookouts by Craig Carey
September 24: National Public Lands Day Trail Project, Lion Canyon Trail, Ojai

October 1: LPFA Used Gear Sale
October 16: D-13 Hunting Season Starts
October 22-30: LPFA Working Vacation, Poplar Trail (ON HOLD)
October 29: LPFA First Aid & CPR Training
October 29-30: REI Wilderness First Aid Training

November 12-13: REI Wilderness First Aid Training


Los Padres Events, Yeehaw!

Cuyama Badlands Below, Mt. Pinos Above, January 2016; photo Humphrey

Good Evening Everyone,

Most of the forest saw a good dose of rain today.  While the Southern LP is forecast to get less than an inch, the Big Sur backcountry is getting hammered with as much as 6 inches falling over the past 12hrs.  The recent rains along Big Sur have caused periodic Hwy 1 road closures.  If you’re headed that way, be sure to check road conditions before you go, take your time and it’s a good idea not to drive after dark.  Be safe and after the skies clear we’d love to check out any of the great forest photos (like the one above from earlier this month) you might be capturing.

There are a few upcoming events that we wanted to share in addition to the list of trail projects announced last time.  Check em out below and hope to see you there.

Backpacking Introduction Classes

Santa Barbara: Led by Curt Cragg, the LPFA will be hosting a 6-week Backpacking Fundamentals Class starting on March 1.  This is the third time Curt has led this course and it’s been received incredibly well.  If you are a beginning backpacker or have looked for a reason to get into backpacking, this is a must for you.  Not only will you learn from the best-of-the-best about the latest in backpacking gear, wilderness safety and how to plan backpacking trips, but perhaps the best part is the friendships that come as a result of the class.  We’ve seen great friendships develop in these classes and there’s no better way to get into backpacking than with a friend or two to share the experience with.  For more information check the link here or contact Curt at: Curt@LPForest.org

Ventura: The Sierra Club also leads a Wilderness Basics Course designed to teach backpacking and wilderness appreciation for those looking to get into backpacking.  The Sierra Club has been offering a WBC for many years now, it’s a great program.  Classes start in late February, for more information please check this link.




USFS / IMBA Central Coast Trail Stewardship Summit: February 20-21

IMBA, in conjunction with the Los Padres National Forest, LPFA, CCCMB and SBMTV, is hosting a weekend trail building/maintenance workshop at the Los Prietos Compound in Santa Barbara County.  The summit will start on Saturday 2/20 with an in-depth classroom workshop focused on sustainable trail construction and maintenance, focused water control and tread repair methodologies.  Sunday 2/20 will be a field class showing how to walk the walk, or in some cases ride the ride.  This is an opportunity to get incredible training from world class trail managers and crews.  Camping will be available at nearby Sage Hill and there will be a plethora of social and fun activities built around the trail instruction.  The cost is $150 per person and limited scholarship funding is available through the LPFA.  If you are interested in signing up or learning more, please contact INFO@LPForest.org.


January 21, Santa Barbara: The Los Padres Trail Riders are hosting a presentation by Otis Calef about a group of Los Padres horse/mule riders who recently completed a 1,200 mile ride along the Old Spanish Trail from San Bernardino, Ca. to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  For more information see the attached PDF.

January 24, Santa Paula: The Ojai Ranger District is organizing a cleanup along Santa Paula Canyon.  For more information contact INFO@LPForest.org or call the Ojai Ranger Station at (805) 646-4348.

January 25-26, Los Olivos: NatureTrack is hosting a two-day nature stewardship program in Los Olivos.  Sounds pretty neat!  See attached PDF for more information or contact NatureTrack directly.

February 6, Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez: The LPFA is hosting a First Aid / CPR training at the Los Prietos Fire Compound along Paradise Rd.  If you are in need of First Aid/CPR certification or want some additional training, let us know at INFO@LPForest.org.  Space is limited.


January 15 – March 1, Figueroa Mountain: The FS announced earlier this week that there will be a series of prescribed burns in and around the Fig Mtn area over the coming months.  See attached for more information.

January 19, San Luis Obispo: The FS announced that the maintenance and repair along West Cuesta Rd will continue this month and that the area is closed to public entry due to safety.  See attached PDF.

And last but certainly not least, there was a great training event this past weekend at the Mt. Pinos Ranger District.  Headed up by United Trail Maintainers of California (UTMC), over 40 volunteers were certified to use chainsaws for trail clearing projects.  Beth, with UTMC, led the charge and as a result the LP has a fresh crew of certified sawyers to assist with trail clearing projects outside of wilderness areas.  Great stuff and no doubt the trails in and around MPRD will see more action as a direct result of the training.  Hip hip hooray……

Final mini-descent into Madulce Camp