- While the Forest Service has reopened their previously closed land, both the City and County of Santa Barbara have decided to keep their portions of the burn area closed. You can read more details on the Noozhawk article by Ray Ford. The City and County of SB control much of the lower portions of the Santa Barbara Frontcountry, including the trailheads at Cold Spring, San Ysidro and Hot Springs Canyon. This means that while the upper Frontcountry within the Los Padres is open, people cannot access the trails through the more popular lower trailheads. This has created a bit of a conundrum as stakeholders and trail-users attempt to figure out the best ways to legally enjoy the trails. We’ll keep you posted as news develops……..
- The LPFA has been busy over the past days installing yellow warning signs at the trailheads around the Thomas burn area, see photo below. Please do be careful if you are within the burn area. There are many loose rocks and hazard trees that have not succumbed to gravity quite yet. Pay special attention on switchback sections where people above might trigger a loose rock on trail users below. Also, if you plan on camping in the burned area, be really careful of hazard trees and limbs that might fall.
- Portions of the town of Montecito remain in a state of disrepair as they continue to deal with repercussions from the Thomas Fire and January 9 debris flows. There is still a lot of heavy equipment moving rocks and pushing dirt, and some shocking house damage remains within the community. Please be mindful and respectful.
- The Romero Camuesa Road from Romero Saddle down towards Pendola remains closed to vehicles/motorcycles as does Divide Peak OHV. Hikers and bicyclists are able to use these roads. No timetable has been set as to when the road and OHV route might reopen but don’t count on it happening anytime soon.
- Both Rose Valley Campground and Middle Lion Campground remain closed. No news as to when they might reopen.
- While the forest is open, most of the trails have received little or no trail work since the winter rains. You should plan on the trails taking significantly longer to travel than normal and be careful attempting shuttle trips as there may be some impassable sections of trail that may cause changes in your plans.
- There have been some reports from within the burn area of the dreaded fire-follower plant called the Poodle Dog Bush. Our unfriend, the Poodle Dog, causes human reactions similar to poison oak. It’s a very picturesque purple flower that can grow in large robust fields that look like something you should dance through rather than skirt around. Google search it please…….
Other than that, the forest has been reopened from the lower Sespe out to Gibraltar Road and up to Hwy 33. Enjoy, be safe and please let us know if you come across any downed trees or horrible sections of trail that need significant work. We’re helping compile a list of trail issues and any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Please share your reports on www.HikeLosPadres.com. THANKS and be safe!
This was (is) Matilija Camp? NATIONAL TRAILS DAY
MATILIJA TRAIL, Ventura County
The LPFA is organizing a trail project into the Thomas Fire burn area and focusing on restoring the lower portion of the Matilija Trail from the trailhead up to Matilija Camp. The trail is covered in downed trees (crosscut sawyers needed) and burnt brush that we’ll be clearing from the trail corridor and if time allows we might work to uncover Matilija Camp, which was buried in boulders. We’ll be meeting Saturday at 8am at Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center and working until 2pm. REI will be joining us back at Wheeler Gorge with their famous “CHILL ZONE” and we’ll have a quick BBQ for the volunteers around 3pm. It should be a special day and a lot of fun. For more information check us out here or email INFO@LPForest.org
DAVY BROWN TRAIL, Santa Barbara County
The LPFA will also be hosting a trail project on June 2 along the Davy Brown Trail, off of Figueroa Mountain near Los Olivos. We’ll be meeting at the upper Davy Brown Trailhead at 8am and from there working down Davy Brown and perhaps out the Willow Spur Trail. Work will be mainly clearing downed trees and brush from along the trail. Mike Smith is the project leader and we’ll work until the afternoon before returning to the trailhead. Davy Brown is one of the more scenic trails in the area providing ocean views from the trailhead as well as views of Hurricane Deck. It’s also home to a great variety of plants and flowers that make Figueroa Mountain so famous. We hope to see you there. Please RSVP if you can make it (INFO@LPForest.org) and click here for more details.
BOULDER CANYON TRAIL, Ventura County
Mark Subbotin will be leading a sawyer assault down the Boulder Canyon Trail along the northern slope of Pine Mountain. There is an estimated 20+ trees down along the trail and we’re fairly certain they’ll get them all! This is also part of the Condor Trail. Details will be provided by Mark and the Mt Pinos Volunteers, you can reach Mark at: MSubbotin76@Gmail.com.
HORSEPASTURE TRAIL, Monterey County
The VWA is hosting a car-camping potential multi-day project along the Horsepasture Trail. They’ll be working hard on Saturday and then playing equally hard on Sunday. Sounds like a great project and a terrific way to get to know the area and the people who help keep the trails open. RSVP required, please click here for more details.
The Quick Gray Fox Jumps Over the Newly Restored Trail, photo Humphrey
• GREAT NEWS! The Ojai Ranger District released a scoping letter last week outlining an environmental proposal to approve all the ORD trails for Level 1-2 trail maintenance. See attached letter to learn more and please respond if you’d like to see the Ojai trails improved.
• This weekend marked the launch of a temporary shuttle service that shuttles visitors from the Big Sur Station parking lot down to Pfeiffer Beach and back. Beach access to Pfeiffer and overcrowding has been a serious problem over the past decade and the shuttle service is a pilot project to see if a shuttle can prevent traffic jams along Sycamore Canyon Road. By most accounts the first weekend was a big success. We’ll share more information on this in a future email.
Pay Attention to the Thomas Fire Warning Signs, and Especially Pay Attention to the Signs of Thomas Fire Warnings, photo Gordon J.