The 8th of July Version

Hope everyone is well and finding some time to get on the trails.  Couple quick updates and information to share with you.  If you have any announcements or information that you’d like shared, please send our way.  Thanks………


W A T E R    U P D A T E

The 2013-14 rain season was pretty wimpy by just about standards.  Most of the Los Padres got under 50% of normal rain totals with some places getting significantly less than that. Yet hidden amongst the calm of the winter was one rain event that turned out to be far from calm.  The last three days of February and first day of March brought lots and lots of rain to the Los Padres.  The upper Sespe recorded nearly 18 inches of rain during that time.  There was a lot of water running and quite a few rescues as a result of that storm.  Turns out that we are still seeing the results of that storm.  Reports from around the forest are that many of the reliable pools and swimming holes are filled in with silt at the moment.  How did this happen?  In order to find out we enlisted the help of a few local scientists, and in layman’s terms, concluded that after having a few seasons of light rain, the silt buildup in the forest was stacking up.  The one large storm we had in February freed up most of that silt and carried it downstream filling in pools.  Since then we’ve had no additional rains that would usually carve out the pools and remove the silt.  As a result we are left with filled in pools until at least the next rain storms have the opportunity to clear them out again.

While we’ve heard reports of filled in pools from Indian Creek, Mono Drainage, Little Pine area and the Sespe; the most extreme example has to be at Fishbowls Camp on the upper reaches of Piru Creek.  Fishbowls is usually a series of pools carved into the sandstone that is highlighted by a 7 ft deep pool.  The main Fishbowl is normally a godsend in the summer heat as the pool promises cold water to jump into.  Not this year.  James Wapotich hiked out there a few weeks ago and found the pool completely silted in.  Such a shame.  But never fear, these things happen and no doubt that in the next year or so when the rains re   turn, the Fishbowl will be carved out again.

Silted in Fishbowls, June 2014, photo Wapotich


Seven foot deep Fishbowls, August 2007, photo Rose


Any other questions about water availability or to share what you’ve found along the trails, hit us up:


W I L D E R N E S S    R A N G E R    T R A I N I N G

The Sierra National Forest hosted a week long Wilderness Ranger Training in early June.  Over 170 rangers from across California convened near Huntington Lake to hear about ranger techniques, learn new skills and have an opportunity to share stories with rangers from other forests who are doing the same things we’re doing here in the Los Padres.  The rangers included Forest Service personnel as well as volunteers.  We had around 15 people from the Los Padres representing the various districts and including volunteers from the VWA, UTMC and LPFA.  Some of the classes included crosscut sawing, axe work, rock work, Leave No Trace, stock packing, rigging and wilderness first aid.  It was a great training and after talking to the other rangers it really makes you understand how unique many of our issues are here in the Los Padres.  Hope you can make it next year………

Day 4 Morning Briefing, Wilderness Ranger Training 2014




F O R E S T    C L A S S I F I E D

Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council Projects
Have you heard of Cape Ivy?  It’s a very aggressive, non-native vine that invades the chaparral community and smothers it ultimately killing the native vegetation.  The Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council is hosting volunteer events every Sunday in July from 8am-12pm and 2-5pm.  They could use your help.  If interested contact Jason Nelson (805.569.5429 –  Hope to see you there!

Gaviota Coastal Trail
There has been a lot of talk lately about the California Coastal Trail.  You can find descriptions of the trail online as it makes its way around the Los Padres.  While the trail generally follows the coastline, there are some areas where private property, geographic confrontations or federal lands prevent the trail from actually being on the coast.  There are a few areas that fit this description along the Gaviota Coast.  The SB County Trails Council has been working on a plan to develop the trail along this area and completed a report earlier this year studying and documenting the trail and coastal access along the Gaviota Coast.  Check it out and be sure to weigh in with your thoughts on the plan.

Friends of the California Condor
Got plans on July 18?  Now you do.  The Friends of the California Condor are hosting a free event at the Ojai Libby Bowl on July 18.  They’ll be showing The Condor’s Shadow, which is a great documentary about the condor that came out a few years back.  There will also be opportunities to meet some birds up close.  Check out the attached flier for more information.  Once again, hope to see you there…..