It is fall in the Los Padres, trail season is once again upon us and we hope you’ve been able to find some trail time! The Los Padres had a terrific early season first rain last week and ever since then we’ve been out and about restoring trails, fixing trail drains, clearing downed trees, repairing campgrounds and tackling all our other forest help initiatives. You probably know the saying “make hay while the sun shines”, for us it’s “make hay after the first rains and before the real rains start”; so we’ve been busy to say the least, more on that below….
There is a lot of news to share from across the Los Padres and we’ll send out another news related email in the next week but for now we wanted to highlight a few things we’ve been working on. Lets go!
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USED CAMPING GEAR SALE & MORE….
• For those of you looking to upgrade your camping gear for the year, we are once again (COVID be damned) hosting our annual members Used Gear Sale tomorrow Saturday November 6, 10am at Tuckers Grove Site #2. We’ll have a great collection of lightly used camping gear featuring Gossamer Gear packs & tents. We hope to see you there and let us know (INFO@LPForest.org) if you have any questions…..
• The LPFA will once again be printing a Los Padres themed calendar for 2022 and we are looking for photo submissions. If you’ve got a great Los Padres photo to share, preferably from 2021, please send our way (INFO@LPForest.org) and we’ll hook you up with a calendar if we use the photo in the calendar. The 2021 calendars turned out really nice and we’re hoping for an even better version for 2022. Thank you…..
• As previously mentioned, we’ve been busy! So busy in fact, that we’re unfortunately going to have to push back our Volunteer/Member party which was originally scheduled for November 13. We really appreciate all your continued support and donations. Of course parties are great, but we’ve got hay to make and we believe that you all would rather have us out helping the forest more than scheduling parties, right? With that said, we’ll choose a later date either in December or January after the hay has been made. Thanks and stay tuned….
• So what have we been doing….. Over the past couple months we’ve been able to do trail work on the following trails: Gene Marshall-Piedra Blanca, Santa Cruz, Blue Canyon, Cold Spring, Matilija, Franklin, Sulphur Spring, Jesusita and others… We’ve also been working with the Forest Service to renovate some of their campgrounds including Figueroa, Hi Mouintain, La Panza and both the Camuesa Camps. We’re also assisting the Forest Service with a couple sign projects including installing user education signs along Camino Cielo and over 35 interpretive signs across the LP backcountry. We’re also in the beginning stages of some conservation projects where we’ll be building pipe fencing to help stop illegal OHV trespass. Since the forest reopened in late September we’ve literally been in the forest helping with boots on the ground all but 4 days, and it was raining two of those days. Busy to say the least but it’s so fun seeing the colors change from green to brown in the trees and brown to green on the ground.
We’ve also got a busy schedule of volunteer projects to share as well. More on that next week….. Enjoy the weekend, maybe we’ll see you at the Used Gear Sale and be sure to get some trail time.
In case you hadn’t heard, the Los Padres Forest has extended its fire-related closure through 11:59pm on September 22. While most of the forests across California have reopened, the LP is one of five forests which will remain closed. For more information please visit the Los Padres NF website or check out the LPFA socialmedia feeds.
We are certainly feeling very disconnected from the forest at the moment and I’m sure we’re all missing our favorite Los Padres vistas, trails, secret spots and recreational opportunities. Let’s collectively hope that the blanket closures work and we’re back enjoying the Los Padres by this time next week. Until then, do your part, rest up and be ready to get back out there in a few days. Thanks everyone…
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National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the nation’s largest single day of volunteerism on public lands. The forest closure hasn’t helped but there are a series of NPLD events scheduled on the Los Padres this year. We’ve called out a few below along with some other upcoming trail projects. Hope to see you out there once again enjoying and supporting our great Los Padres Forest. Aug 14 – Sep 26: A-zone General Hunting Season
The LPFA will once again be hosting our annual members Used Gear Sale on Saturday November 6! For those of you who know, you know. For those who have not been, we’ll have an incredible assortment of used camping gear available highlighted by tons of packs and tents from Gossamer Gear. We’re also looking for used gear donations so if you have any gear (tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, mattresses, cook gear, etc…) collecting dust in the garage or closet, we’ll gladly take it off your hands and try to get it to folks who can breathe new life back into it. All proceeds go towards the LPFA Trail Care Program. Email us at INFO@LPForest.org if you’d like to donate anything or help out with the event. Hope to see you there, if not before!
Our Summer Membership Drive is almost over – join today!
Members who join by September 25th will be invited to our Member Party in November and automatically entered to win great prizes at our raffle, from Los Padres experiences to outdoor gear, giftcards, merch, and more!
Welcome to fall in the Los Padres. We’ve been seeing peak fall colors this past week across most of the LP with sycamores, alders, maples and cottonwoods all dazzling in their fall bests. Fall has been especially dramatic this year thanks to the sneaky snow storm that came in a couple weeks back. If you remember that first storm, it was predicted to be light and cold with very little precipitation. The storm came and went but instead of light and cold we surprisingly found most of the high country covered in a solid blanket of 6 inches of snow. A sneaker storm for sure and it was very nice getting out over the past week and seeing the mountains drinking up some much needed moisture. Hopefully a good sign of things to come…..
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LPFA TRAIL UPDATES
The LPFA has been busy with our fall – winter program of trail work and we’re hoping the recent shift in COVID tiers doesn’t slow us down too much. The LPFA Trail Crew is currently helping the Forest Service with some BAER work in the Dolan Fire but we’ve spent much of the past months working some of the trails in and around the SLO Backcountry. We cleared the lower portion of the Lopez Canyon Trail, brushed the worst section of American Canyon and cleared trees along the Castle Crags Trail in the Machesna. Lots of work left to do in SLO and we’re hoping to get back out there soon. Our main focus this fall and early winter will be in the deeper parts of the SB Backcountry working primarily on the Santa Cruz and Mission Pine Trails while also strategically hitting Poplar, Alamar, Madulce and the upper Sisquoc. We’ll share more details and potential volunteer opportunities but we should be out there as much as we can until the rains come and shutdown access.
We had a great volunteer projectlast week and cleared about 0.4 miles of some of the nastiest wilderness chaparral you can imagine along the Mission Pine Trail, it was great to get out there! In addition, we’ll be continuing work on the Mono Jungle Reroute of the Cold Spring Trail and should also get started on restoring the North Franklin Trail out behind Carpinteria. As the weather changes we’ll plan to move closer to paved roads and should spend some time working the Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca Trail, North Fork Matilija, Sulphur Spring Trail, Blue Canyon, lower Santa Cruz while also organizing triage projects where needed to help clear storm caused trees and slides. We certainly have a lot of trail work scheduled and our collective fingers are crossed that it all goes as planned. Thanks everyone for the support and as always, if you come across any bad sections of trail, downed trees or slides, take pictures and post to HikeLosPadresand email the Forest Service or your favorite trail group – things change so quickly across the trails and any information you can share is always appreciated! See you on the trails….
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• Despite the recent rains, the forest remains in fire restrictions which prohibit campfires across the forest and camp stoves are only allowed in designated campfire use sites. These restrictions generally stay in place until the forest has collectively received a few inches of rain. The Forest Service is monitoring and checking moisture levels weekly and we’ll be sure to share when any changes occur in the fire restrictions.
• We are officially within the Seasonal Gate Closure season where some of our favorite trailheads and campgrounds become harder to get to as the FS swings the gates for the winter. As of right now the only closed seasonal gates outside of the MRD that we’ve heard of are Dough Flat outside of Fillmore, Cherry Creek in the upper Sespe and the Upper Santa Ynez gate at Romero (which has now been closed for 3+ years). Everything else should be open at least until the next big storms. If you find any locked gates, please let us know so we can pass along the news. It’s also very wise this time of year to check with the FS ahead of time to see if the gates are closed. Nothing worse that trying to get to Santa Barbara Canyon (or wherever you want to go) and finding the gates closed 4 miles before the trailhead.
• In case you missed last months LPFA Seven Minute Story Night, never fear, it’s on YouTube, check it out… Oh yeah, and if you’d like to sign up to present in the future, we’ll likely be hosting another one in January. Let us know….
• The Forest Service is also looking for volunteers who might be interested in helping treat and eliminate non-native noxious weeds within the Santa Barbara front and backcountry areas. You’d be working with the FS biologist. If this sounds fun or for more information email us at Volunteer@LPForest.org.
• If you Amazon, remember that you can always use Amazon Smile and choose the LPFA as your charity of choice so that you not only shop but also help the forest, all in just a few clicks. Check it out – thanks…
• And last but certainly not least, our latest volunteer spotlight features the great Bardley Smith. You know the saying about a tree falling in the woods, right? Well, it should be changed to if a tree falls across the trail in the Ojai Ranger District…. yes, Bardley will most likely cut it out. Thanks for all you do Bardley!