It’s been quite a winter for storms hasn’t it? We’ve had flash floods, debris flows, road closures, evacuations, washed away trails, snow, snow and more snow and it might have been capped off by one of the more spectacular lightning displays this past Tuesday night. And most importantly, we’ve had a lot of great rain soaking into the earth, recharging the groundwater supplies and filling up our creeks, rivers and reservoirs. Almost all of the LP has received over 100% of our annual rain averages with more “rain season” still ahead of us. It’s been terrific! While we might not be completely done with the rains, many of the signs across the forest are indicating that spring is in the air. Wildflowers are starting to do their thing (#SuperBloom2019?), the grass is gliding a little different, the ants have resurfaced (%&#^#&), the days are longer and there is that faint sweet smell of flowers. No matter what season you might argue we’re in, the Los Padres is about as good as it gets at the moment. We hope you are getting out and enjoying the trails, sights and sounds. Be safe with the water crossings and be sure to check in on www.HikeLosPadres.com before you head out and after you get back. There are also a bunch of upcoming volunteer projects up and down the forest you could participate in. Olly olly oxen free = time to come out of hiding!
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TRAIL WORK UPDATE
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about recent trail work and upcoming trail work. While we can’t possibly share every detail here, you’d be reading for a month, we can at least provide a quick update on some of the LPFA trail work that has occurred over the winter season. As always, if you come across any downed trees or showstoppers along the trails, let us know and we’ll do our best to share the information with the appropriate trail crews: INFO@LPFOREST.ORG
- Hurricane Deck Trail has been brushed a mile from Lost Valley out towards White Ledge.
- Poplar Trail (Upper Indian Creek) within the Dick Smith Wilderness from Bluff Camp down to within 100 yards of Poplar Camp has been opened.
- Grapevine Trail within the San Rafael Wilderness is clear other than some large downed trees about 1.5 miles west of Bluff Camp.
- Alamar Trail is in the best shape it’s been in many decades. You can actually follow the trail now, which is saying a lot based on how bad it was.
- The Sisquoc Trail remains our main focus this spring with multiple Working Vacations planned over the next few months. These projects are piggy-backing on some great work we accomplished in 2018 including this summertime project that Terrence filmed for us along the upper Sisquoc.
- Deal Trail has received some much needed attention brushing out the upper valley between the Narrows and the wilderness boundary.
- We had a crew working the Agua Blanca Trail in December between Blue Point and Log Cabin.
- The Tinta motorcycle trail has had 5 of the 7 miles brushed along the trail.
- Quite a bit of work has been put into the Matilija Trail outside of Ojai. We’ve worked the bottom mile of the trail and recently flagged the entire trail from trailhead to trailhead. Once the water levels lower we’ll be back out there to continue working up towards Middle Matilija Camp and beyond.
- We’ll also be working nearby Gridley Trail on March 16, hope to see you there!
- We’ve also been working hard to clear downed trees and washouts along many of the Santa Ynez Valley trails including Davy Brown, Devil’s Canyon, north Tunnel Trail, north Arroyo Burro, north Cold Spring, Blue Canyon, Aliso Canyon, Santa Cruz, Tequepis, Snyder and we’ll be leading a trail project this Sunday on the White Rock Trail on Figueroa Mountain. Come join us!
- We also did some water control tread work on Santa Paula Canyon, Last Chance and Lion Canyon Trails in the Ojai Ranger District.
- And of course a TON of work has been accomplished in the SB Frontcountry partnering with Montecito Trails Foundation, SBMTV, SB Trails Council and others…..
- We’ll also be maintaining the Sellers Potrero Trail in the Garcia Wilderness later this month. Scouting project is set for March 10.
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- There is still space available for the LPFA Backpacking Fundamentals class we’re teaching in Santa Barbara. We had our first class this past week and it was great sharing the backpacking stoke. Click here or email us for more information.
- Even with some nice drying weather on the horizon some of the roads and trails around the Los Padres remain closed due to storm activity and damage:
- Highway 154 opened earlier this week about a half a week ahead of schedule. The damage along Duval Canyon is astounding.
- Ranger Peak along Fig Mtn Rd remains closed due to black ice. You cannot drive between Fig Mtn and Cachuma Saddle. Fig is bound to receive a lot of attention in the coming weeks as wildflower season kicks in, be sure to call the FS ahead of any visits to make sure the roads are open.
- As reported by the VWA, the Carmel River Trail is closed at the moment due to trail damage.
- West Fork Cold Spring Trail in Montecito remains closed due to a particularly active landslide. Trail work is scheduled this coming week with the hopes of getting the trail reopened by the 15th of March.
- Highway 1 through Southern Big Sur remains on a pre-storm closure schedule. Check CalTrans ahead of any visits between San Simeon and Big Sur.
- And we’re also getting a lot of mixed messages about the regular Forest Service gate closures. Some gates that are supposed to be locked have been found open and vice versa. We suggest you contact the FS ahead of any trips into the forest that might be impacted by gate closures.
- If you have a spare $31million, you might be in luck as the Neverland Ranch outside Los Olivos is for sale. Great access to the Los Padres!
- The FS announced this week that there will be a series of controlled burns across the forest, namely at Arroyo Seco and Fig Mtn.
- This information slipped through the cracks a bit but the FS extended the Soberanes Fire closure of the western Pine Ridge Trail through November 6, 2019.
- If you missed the story of the trail runner who fought off and killed a mountain lion last month in Colorado, it’s certainly worth a read. Fortunately, that mountain lion was just a kitten. He probably wouldn’t have fared so well against a full grown athletic mountain lion like this one recently seen in Montecito.
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