The big forest news this past week was the Forest Service announcing that the Los Padres is going into Extreme Fire Danger restrictions until at least December 31, 2019. We’ve all seen the recent devastating wildfires across California. The raised restrictions are intended to help prevent similar wildfires here in the Los Padres. Under Extreme Fire Danger restrictions:
- Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of the Los Padres Forest.
- Camping stoves are allowed only within Designated Campfire Use Sites and with a California Campfire Permit.
- No camp stoves are permitted outside of the Designated Campfire Use Sites, meaning no camp stoves in the backcountry.
- No smoking outside of a Designated Campfire Use Site or inside an enclosed vehicle or building.
That being said, current conditions across the Los Padres are
prime for hiking, exploring, riding, backpacking and/or
wandering. While the idea of camping without a fire or
backpacking without a stove might sound unpleasant, give it a
shot and you might end up liking the weight savings, extra
sleep or simplicity that “cold camping” provides. There’s an
old saying that challenges are opportunities for improvement
or when life gives you lemons make lemonade. With that in
mind, here are a few tips you can try in order to turn your
fire’less camping into a safe, fun and memorable camping
- Make a flameless campfire.
- Alternative nighttime entertainment.
- REI tips to stay warm without a fire.
- Cooking and eating without a stove:
- Much much more information online as well, have at it….
The weather has been great, there’s still good water in the usual good water places and remember that HikeLosPadres.com has lots of current camp and trail condition reports to help with your trip planning. Regardless of fire or stove, we hope you find some time over the coming weeks to visit your favorite trail, check out that hidden canyon you’ve always wanted explore or grab a friend and seek out those fall Los Padres colors.
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2020 LOS PADRES CALENDAR
The LPFA will once again publish a wall calendar for 2020 featuring the vistas, mountains, waterfalls and plants/animals we love from across the Los Padres. This will be our 8th year organizing LP calendars and we are looking for photos from you to include within the calendar. The calendars should print in early December and be ready in time for the holidays. If we use one of your photos, we’ll of course credit you within the calendar and also send you a calendar to hang up in your kitchen, gear nook or office. The calendars will be available online as well as at your local LP Ranger Station or Visitor Center.
If you have a photo you’d like to submit, please email INFO@LPForest.org or you can check the link below for more information. Thanks in advance and looking forward to hearing from some of you soon…..
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• Over the past month sections of the following Los Padres trails have been maintained by the Forest Service or your friendly neighborhood trail group: Madulce Peak Trail, Big Pine Spring Camp Trail, Deal Connector, Rancho Nuevo Trail, Matilija Falls Trail, Pine Ridge Trail, Arroyo Burro Trail, Santa Cruz Trail, Gridley Trail, Camuesa Connector Trail, Cold Spring Trail, Hot Springs Trail, Romero Trail, San Ysidro Trail, Baron Trail, Fishbowls Trail, Jesusita Trail, Tunnel Trail, Cedar Creek Trail, Grapevine Trail, Sisquoc Trail, Big Cone Spruce Trail and Matilija Trail.
• As we approach the rainy season expect to see some of the gates across the Los Padres swing shut due to the seasonal gate closure regulations. We’ve not heard of any closures as of yet but all the Ojai area gates will close by December 15 and the other gates should shut as storms begin approach. If you’re heading out to a trailhead and you’re unsure if the gate might be open or closed, we strongly suggest contacting the local Ranger District before you head out. We’ll keep you posted as gates start to shut.
• For those of you who hike the far Southern Los Padres or plan on doing the Condor Trail, we’ve heard a rumor that the Pothole and Agua Blanca Trailhead will be moving before the end of the year from the Lake Piru Campground to right next to the start of the Pothole Trail. This will mean that the public will be able to drive all the way to the start of the Pothole Trail rather than having to walk miles along the paved Piru Lake Road. The plan to move the trailhead has been in the works for a few years now but it’s looking like it might actually happen by late 2019. We’ll keep everyone posted on this as well. This will be terrific……
• More Condor Trail, it was announced earlier this week that 800 acres of the Trout Creek properties above Arroyo Grande were transferred from the Wilderness Land Trust to the Los Padres Forest. The Trout Creek properties were purchased by the Wilderness Land Trust earlier this year from private sellers and as a result are now protected for public enjoyment. The Condor Trail passes through Trout Creek.
• Speaking of condors, the population of California condors has now surpassed 100 across the central California region.
• CalTrans announced that they will continue the preemptive closure of Hwy 1 during large storm events for the 2019-2020 winter season. The closures will be south of Big Sur, keep this in mind if you have plans to visit the area over the winter months.
• Speaking of Big Sur, the Ventana Wilderness Alliance has been working hard to reopen the Los Padres portion of the famed Pine Ridge Trail. They have trail crews scheduled to work the trail for much of the fall and again starting back up next spring. Three cheers – hip hip hooray for VWA! In the meantime we want to remind everyone that the Pine Ridge Trail remains closed to the public due to dangerous trail conditions. If all goes according to plan, the PRT should reopen sometime in the next year or two. We’ll keep you posted…..
• And speaking of awesome people doing awesome things for our trails, the 5th Annual Turkey Trot fundraiser for the Franklin Trail successfully launched earlier this month. The Franklin Turkey Trot is an excellent example of trail lovers finding creative ways to support the trails they love most. Very cool……
• For years and years people have been enjoying the famed mountain biking trails along West Cuesta Ridge in San Luis Obispo. While the trails were in good shape and frequently used, they were never officially part of the Forest Service inventory of System Trails and as such were technically illegal trails. Thanks to the local SLO trail community and the Forest Service working together, the NEPA process has begun to adopt and legalize many of these West Cuesta trails. The Forest Service is accepting comments regarding the West Cuesta Trails through November 24. Click here for more details. This is a terrific example of the FS and the trail community working together towards a mutually beneficial goal. Cheers again!
• The Forest Service issued a forest order on October 22 to close Dry Canyon and Dome Springs Campground in the Mt. Pinos Ranger District due to potential live explosives and artillery. Read more here and closure map here.
• LPFA President Jasonn Beckstrand was recognized earlier this month as the 2019 winner of the coveted Dave Weaver Wilderness Award. The Dave Weaver Award is named in honor of the late Dave Weaver who helped start the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program here in the Los Padres Forest. Dave was a huge advocate for volunteers working with the Forest Service to accomplish mutual goals. Dave’s spirit lives on in so much of what we do across the Los padres and his award is given annually as a lifetime achievement for outstanding Los Padres volunteers. Jasonn is the 6th award winner joining Rik Christensen (2014), Mickey McTigue (2015), Mike Smith (2016), Bob Burtness (2017) and Otis Calef (2018).
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