FOREST CLOSURE EXTENDED AGAIN
We wish that we had better news to share but it was announced earlier today that the Los Padres, along with eight other California Forests, will remain closed through Thursday September 24 as a result of wildfire safety. As of this morning there were 27 major fires across California with over 18,500 firefighters engaged on the fires. While the weather has certainly cooled as compared to earlier this month, red flag and heat warning remain in the forecast for much of California. Resources (crews, support, air attack, etc…) are spread incredibly thin between California, Oregon and Washington and we collectively cannot afford to have any new fires with the resources being what they are. Once again, this forest closure forbids all access into the forest including trails and forest roads. We realize the inconvenience this has caused, especially for A-Zone hunters who have missed the last two weeks of the season, and hope people will remain patient as this too shall pass (favorite saying for 2020). We’ll provide updates as they are made available. If you have any questions please contact your local Los Padres Ranger Station.
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There is so much news from around the forest that doesn’t make sense to share at the moment due to the larger scale closure. We’ll save most of that for when the forest reopens but we’ve still got a bunch of things that remain relevant. Let’s go….!
• The largest (and only? knock knock) fire burning in the Los Padres remains the Dolan Fire within the Monterey Backcountry. Currently, Dolan has burned 127,724 acres and is 46% contained with an estimated full containment date of September 28. Some tragic news from the fire is the death of two condor chicks as reported by the Ventana Wildlife Society. And if you hadn’t heard, on September 8th the fire overtook 15 firefighters while they were fighting to protect Nacimiento Station. Fortunately all 15 survived but three did suffer significant injuries. You can read a spine-chilling account here as well as a link to the Big Sur Dolan Fire Relief Fund. #TrueHeroes
• Word on the beach is that sensors are showing La Niña ocean temps forming across the Pacific. La Niña winters are usually on the drier side and lack the large major winter rains that we’ve seen during some of the El Niño events. It’s early, but something worth keeping an eye on, especially after all the fires.
• The major LP news last month was the Reyes Peak Forest Health Project Proposal which received over 16,000 public comments. We talked with the Forest Service and they are currently reviewing the comments and will be sharing those comments with their specialists in order to assess if changes are needed within their proposal. There is no hard time-frame as to when the final decision will be made but we were told it would most likely come in late 2020 or early 2021. If you’ve not read the Reyes Peak Proposal, you really should take a few minutes and look it over. We may not all agree with all aspects of the proposal but we should all agree that we don’t want Pine Mountain to end up looking like Sewart. Stay tuned……
• We’ve started a new monthly feature where we highlight some of the extraordinary volunteers who dedicate their time to the trails, critters, habitat and heritage of the Los Padres Forest. Up first is the dynamic duo husband/wife tandem of Maureen and Kevin Wallace. Read more on our Instagram page and we’re looking forward to highlighting more volunteers in the months to come…
• Late last month South Coast Habitat Restoration and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation completed an aquatic organism passage project where they removed the concrete crossing at the bottom of the Davy Brown Trail. The project was successful but they will be back later this season to complete the job. Eventually they’ll also build bridges at the two Arizona crossings between Davy Brown and NIRA, most likely 2021. More to come….
• Many of you (we’ve been getting the emails) have noticed that HikeLosPadres has been down over the past few days. We’ve been working with the web guru himself to use this forest closure downtime to perform some site updates and maintenance. It’s a race, we’re hoping to get the site back up before the forest reopens. Thanks for your patience….
• Last week the Forest Service shared their decision notice for the Forest-Wide Invasive Plant Treatment Program.
• Camp Scheideck Lodge (aka Reyes Creek Bar & Grill) shut its doors last month. You can read more here. We’re not sure what’s next for the Lodge/Grill but we’re certainly going to miss coming off the Piedra Blanca Trail and having tasty burgers (today happens to be National Cheeseburger Day) and cold drinks. Hope it get resurrected again soon….
• Last but not least, we’re still looking for a car donation in case any of you have an extra vehicle looking for a new home. We can promise it will be well cared for, fed as often as needed and will have access to some of the best views around the Los Padres. Let us know……
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