Hello Friends & Happy Holidays,
We love what we do. We absolutely love helping the Los Padres Forest. We love the work we do restoring trails. We love sharing helpful forest information in these newsletters, on social media, HikeLosPadres and at both Big Sur and Wheeler Gorge Visitor Centers. We love working in support of the Condor Trail. We love working with all of you on volunteer projects. We feel very lucky to share in the responsibility of caring for the mountains, creeks, critters and trails which make the Los Padres what it is today. It’s our turn collectively, all of us, to care for the LP and it means so much to have your support in that effort. December is when we receive the majority of our annual donations and we really really appreciate all the support so many of you offer – we couldn’t do what we love to do without your help. Your help goes far beyond donations as well. This past year the LPFA and our volunteers accounted for nearly 23,000 hours of forest support. That’s amazing, especially since we continue to struggle with COVID related restrictions. THANK YOU and we look forward to continuing our efforts to help the Los Padres in 2022 and beyond. Happy Holidays, stay safe and please find some forest time……
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TOP 10 ACCOMPLISHMENTS FROM 2021
In the spirit of the late night talk shows, we wanted to share our top accomplishments from 2021. In no particular order:
1. Santa Cruz & Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail Work – Thanks to support from #GivingTuesday2020, we were able to restore over 5 miles of trail along the two National Recreation Trails within the Los Padres National Forest. This included two 10-day volunteer Working Vacations in spring 2021 and three weeks of hired trail crew work. Excellent stuff!
2. Graffiti Removal – Thanks in large part to a generous donation from Louis T, we seriously ramped up our graffiti removal game in 2021 and led close to a dozen graffiti removal projects across the forest. Unfortunately, much more is needed…..
3. Jesusita Fire Trail Work – We partnered with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) in spring 2021 and spent 6 weeks working with one of their crews to maintain many of the trails impacted by the Jesusita Fire including Rattlesnake, Tunnel and Jesusita.
4. Campground Renovations – The LPFA stayed busy this fall working with the Forest Service on some deferred maintenance at some of our favorite campgrounds including Figueroa, Hi Mountain, Happy Hollow and Middle & Lower Camuesa. Work included fixing campsites and installing fences, toilets, firerings and trash collection facilities.
5. North Cold Spring & Blue Canyon Trail Work – Thanks to grant support from the National Forest Foundation, SCE and NFWF, the LPFA was able to spend nearly two months this year working on the very overgrown north Cold Spring and Blue Canyon Trails within the Santa Ynez Mountains. We’re not done yet and have more scheduled in 2022 as well…..
6. Lights Stayed On – Despite another year of COVID craziness and fire related forest closures, we were able to keep Big Sur and Wheeler Gorge Visitor Centers staffed and open to help forest-users. We also kept our Trail Crew going most of the year as well. This might be our most important and impressive accomplishment.
7. Condor Trail – 2021 was a big year for the CT with Brian Sarvis releasing a first ever Condor Trail guide book and the LPFA was able to spend time working many sections of the CT including the upper Sisquoc, Santa Barbara Canyon, Madulce, Piedra Blanca, Hi Valley, Lopez Canyon, Big Falls, Trout Creek and Agua Blanca. Thanks to another successful #GivingTuesday2021, we’ve got much more CT work on the horizon as well…..
8. HLP Revamp – John Ziegler launched HikeLosPadres over 5 years ago and since then it’s become a crucial resource for anyone venturing into the Los Padres backcountry. We started the process of revamping HLP in 2021 and have much MUCH more to do heading into 2022. This is so exciting and we can’t wait to continue working with JZ on some updates and new features within HLP. Cool stuff….
9. Working Together – 2021 was another great year working with our partners and friends across the Los Padres. They say it takes a village and they might have been wrong, it actually takes a city! Big thanks to all the volunteers, scouts, our friends at the Forest Service and all the organizations across the Los Padres for your continued work.
10. Setting the Table – While 2021 was fantastic, there’s better ahead! We’ve got lots of great work in store for 2022. That being said, we want to hear from you about what other help is needed across the Los Padres and what you all would like to see done. We’ve put together a quick and anonymous survey here, check it out, let us know and THANK YOU!
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• The big news across the forest is of course the rain and snow we’ve been getting and are scheduled to get over the coming week. Right now rain totals across the forest are well over our average and things are looking good heading into 2022. Remember that the current fire restrictions don’t expire until 12/31/2021.
• Quick reminder that Sunset Valley Road, NIRA and Davy Brown Campgrounds remain closed due to bridge construction. You can see a photo of some of the bridge construction below.
• With all the rain and storms comes inevitable downed trees, slides and other trail damage. If you come across any significant trail damage, please let us know, post to HLP, contact the Forest Service or reach out to your local trail organization. We collectively can’t repair the trails if we don’t know they’re damaged. People or objects used for scale within photos are always appreciated as well. THANKS!
• We had a successful #GivingTuesday2021 and as a result we will be scheduling a few weeks of work this season on the Alder Creek Trail within the Sespe Wilderness. GREAT NEWS and long overdue – thanks everyone for the support!
• Along with the cold and rain of course comes coffee and the need for good coffee. Outside Magazine recently wrote an article about the best methods of preparing coffee, check it out…..
• The Forest Service recently revised and extended the forest closure associated with the 16,790 acre Alisal Fire through April 30, 2022. Contact the FS for details or see link here. Note, this closure includes the Baron Ranch trails and Arroyo Quemado Trail.
• In case you missed it, our heroic and inspirational Los Padres gray wolf OR-93 was tragically killed in late November while trying to cross I-5 near the town of Lebec. OR-93 was big news and certainly the story of the year across the Los Padres. You can read more here and here.
• Highway 1 through southern Monterey County and northern SLO County continues to have proactive storm related closures. Basically CalTrans closes Hwy 1 during large storm events in order to protect people from potential slides. If you’re headed that way, be sure to check with CalTrans before you go…..
• Most of the seasonal gates across the Los Padres have now been closed due to all the recent rain and snow. We can’t list all the seasonal gates here but it’s never a bad idea to check with the Forest Service or email us ahead of time before venturing towards your trailhead of choice.
• A team from UCSB and the Forest Service recently completed a study of stream impacts and aquatic species repopulation related to wildfire. It’s a good article if interested, check it out here.
• The Forest Service will be hosting a Women in Wildfire Basic Training Camp this spring in the Santa Barbara area. Check this link for more information, this is a great program.
• In case you missed it earlier, we’re looking for feedback from you about what we can do and what help is needed across the Los Padres. If you’re reading this, you probably have an opinion, please share, we’d love to hear from you! It’s anonymous.
• Super volunteer Ellie Mora Jefferies was recognized by the Forest Service earlier this month for her tremendous contributions across the Los Padres. Ellie was awarded the Regional Foresters COVID-19 Pandemic Response Hero award in recognition for her efforts specifically restoring Santa Paula Canyon. Woot woot Ellie, so well deserved – congratulations.
• Lots going on and lots to share, hope we didn’t lose you. That being said, if you appreciate the work the LPFA does in sharing this information and our help across the forest, please consider donating to help us continue helping you and the forest. Click this link for more information, thank you!
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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!
January 2: Agua Blanca Trail Maintenance
January 6-10: Red Reef Trail – Sespe Creek, LPFA
January 14: Figueroa Mountain Trail Work, LPFA
January 15: LPFA Member/Volunteer PARTY!
January 18: Horn Canyon Trail Work, LPFA
January 20: Medicinal Herbs w/ Lanny Kaufer, SB Library
January 22: West Cuesta Trail Work, CCCMB
February 5: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training
February 17: LPFA Backcountry Update Presentation, SB Library
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