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!
— • — • — • —
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.
Effective tonight (9/22, 11:59pm) the fire related Emergency Closure Order will expire and the Los Padres NF will reopen.
GREAT NEWS! We’re sure many of us will be sprinting out as soon as possible to visit our favorite trails, forest roads or camps. While the closure lifts at midnight, please understand that the Forest Service staff will be working hard tomorrow to reopen the gates and pull the closure signs. If you’re headed to a trail or road that is locked, you may want to give the FS a couple of hours to gets things reopened, just to be safe. We’d expect that the main gates will be opened early tomorrow and some of the further out ones might take a few hours to get reopened.
Understand too that the forest is reopening but some of the existing closures will remain in place. This includes:
This is great news for us backcountry wanderers, as it once again means we can have hot coffee and warm meals as we head into the freezing months of fall and early winter. This revised order is effective September 23 and lasts through December 31. Remember that you need a California Campfire Permit, it only takes a few mins online and PLEASE CREATE AND CLEAR A SAFE DEFENSIBLE SPACE anytime you are using a stove. Let’s not mess this up…
— • — • — • —
The LPFA is looking to immediately fill two positions listed below, click for more details. If you’re interested in learning more, have any questions or want to throw your name into the hardhat, we’d love to hear from you…INFO@LPForest.org
— • — • — • —
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!
We hope you are enjoying your summer and still mixing in some Los Padres time, despite the heat and waning water. As we all know, summers are tough around here but there are still great pools, camps and shaded trails this time of year for those who know where to go and plan appropriately. This is probably the quietest time of year in the Los Padres but don’t let the calm fool you, there’s been plenty of news around the forest of late. Let’s get to it…
— • — • — • —
FIRE RESTRICTIONS & UPDATES
The biggest news has been the new fire restriction order, which was announced July 15. The new restrictions prohibit campfires anywhere across the forest and camp stoves are allowed only within Designated Campfire Use Sites. The fire restriction order is effective through December 31, 2021and again:
– NO CAMPFIRES ANYWHERE – STOVES ONLY IN DESIGNATED CAMPFIRE USE SITES
Click the links above for more details. We realize that fire restrictions, which essentially ban hot coffee in the backcountry, are usually met with disapproval but please understand that there are over 170 drought-aided fires burning at the moment across the Western United States and most of the forests across the west are in similar fire restrictions as well. We’re all in this together and let’s hope for more rain in the coming years and certainly a slow remainder of the 2021 wildfire season. BE SAFE, everyone. Speaking of fires, the Willow Fire in the Northern Los Padres is now 100% contained after burning nearly 3,000 acres within the Ventana Wilderness. While the fire has come and gone, please check the most recent Willow Fire closure order to see what is closed and what remains open. If you know that part of the forest and enjoy reading about local fire history, you need to check out a book called Fire Monkswhich chronicles how the Tassajara Monks fought back the 2008 Basin Complex Fire. It’s a great read and while the book is terrific and the Willow Fire made a similar run this summer, we’re very fortunate and thankful that there won’t be a Fire Monks Willow Fire sequel.
— • — • — • —
FREE HERBAL MEDICINE WEBINAR
TUESDAY, JULY 27th 6PM PST
Join Emily Sanders, local clinical herbalist and founder of the Artemisia Academy of Herbal Arts & Healing, for a FREE webinar on the magic and medicine of the Artemisias. These local plant species, Sage brush, Wormwood, and Mugwort, have been used for thousands of years for both their medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Learn how you can make your own medicine! Click HERE to Register!
— • — • — • —
SUNSET VALLEY – NIRA CLOSURE
The Forest Service has been working with the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and other partner groups to schedule the construction of two bridges which would replace the existing ‘Arizona crossings’ along Sunset Valley Road. When completed, the bridges will help assist aquatic organism passage within the Santa Maria, Sisquoc, Manzana and Fir Canyon drainages. Sunset Valley Road is located in Santa Barbara County behind Figueroa Mountain and is most commonly used to access NIRA and the Manzana Trailheads. This bridge project has been in the works since at least 2017, with construction being delayed a few times due to COVID, etc…
That being said, the FS announced late last week that bridge construction will begin this coming week with an expected closure of Sunset Valley Road as well as the Catway OHV (aka Old Catway) through the end of March 2022.
While the FS is working to finalize the closure order, we’ve been asked to share that the public will not be permitted along Sunset Valley Road between July 26, 2021 – March 30, 2022. This is a full closure, meaning no access along Sunset Valley Road or the Old Catway to Davy Brown Campground, NIRA Campground and both of the Manzana Trailheads. Hikers and bikes are also expected to not be permitted along the road during the closure. Again, closure details are being finalized and we’ll share final details as soon as they are available.
While the bridges will definitely help with creating safer fish passage, this 8 month closure is going to impact a lot of backpackers, hikers, equestrians and hunters who rely on NIRA and the Manzana for their backcountry access. We’ve already shared a list of concerns and suggestions with the FS and we’ll be sure to share the final closure details when available. In the meantime, if you have any plans to visit the Manzana or lower Sisquoc, you should start looking at other entry points and/or trail options. HikeLosPadres.com is a great resource for planning trips into the LP, check it out or feel free to email us with any Los Padres-related questions.
— • — • — • —
TRAIL WORK UPDATE
While many of us spend our summers vacationing in the Sierras or working on our beach tans, the LPFA volunteers and Trail Crew have remained busy working strategically on many of our favorite trails here in the LP. Here’s a quick rundown on what we’ve been doing trail-wise over the past few months:
GENE MARSHALL – PIEDRA BLANCA TRAIL: We wrapped up a busy spring and early summer of work on the GMPB with a fantastic 10-day Working Vacation and followed that up with a week of work by the LPFA Trail Crew. We’ve now collectively worked every inch of trail from Reyes Creek to Three Mile Camp and then from Piedra Blanca TH to Twin Forks. Great work by so many different people and groups, it sure does take a village!
BLUE CANYON TRAILS: Thanks to a generous SCE grant, the LPFA made a big push in 2021 to reopen the network of Blue Canyon Trails. We hosted volunteer days, volunteer weekends, worked with Laguna Blanca School for a week and wrapped it up with a couple weeks of work by the LPFA Trail Crew. We still have a little bit left to do but the trails from Forbush to P-Bar and out beyond Upper Blue Canyon haven’t looked this good in a long time…
COLD SPRING NORTH & MONO JUNGLE: We’ve also kept busy working the north Cold Spring Trail from Cold Spring Saddle down through Forbush and continuing through the new section of trail near the Mono Jungle. Work continues on the new section of trail and we were able to brush most of the trail from Forbush to the junction of the Gibraltar Trail. Work will continue out here through most of the summer and we’re hoping to schedule a few volunteer days out here as well.
MISSION PINE TRAIL: Thanks to support from the SB Trail Runners and the FS, we’ve been working hard to reopen an incredibly brushy section of the Mission Pine Trail out near West Big Pine. We hosted a couple of 4-day volunteer weekends and another week with the LPFA Trail Crew, and at the moment we have only 0.3 miles remaining to brush before punching through the worst of it. We’ll likely be back out there this summer should we get a cool-ish weekend to finish it up. Stay tuned…
LITTLE FALLS TRAIL: Thanks to some additional FS support we were able to put the LPFA Trail Crew on the Little Falls for a week of brushing and sign maintenance. Still lots of brushing needed in the upper parts of the canyon, but we were able to make a nice dent in the worst sections.
SANTA CRUZ TRAIL: Santa Cruz is a tough place to work in the summer, but we did spend a week in early June clearing brush and restoring tread out near Little Pine Spring. This will be a large focus of our fall/winter 2021 work as we continue working through the 40-Mile Wall and on down to Santa Cruz Station.
MATILIJA TRAIL: Thanks to some remaining Thomas Fire trail restoration funding, the LPFA Trail Crew has spent the past two weeks working the Matilija Trail outside of Ojai. We’ve been slowly chipping away at the Matilija Trail for the past three years, with the emphasis this summer being the section of trail between Middle Matilija and Upper Matilija. It’s slow going in this canyon, but thankfully there is good water along the way. More to come…
While the green of Spring certainly has felt short-lived this year, with 100% of the state of CA experiencing drought and 41 (out of 58) counties experiencing a drought emergency, we were glad to get out in the Los Padres to enjoy all the brief but beautiful spring moments we could. After our Santa Cruz Working Vacation at the beginning of May, we have stayed busy with work on the North Cold Spring trail, Mission Pine Trail, Blue Canyon Trail, Little Falls Trail and more work on the Santa Cruz Trail, and are headed out this next week to Beartrap camp to tackle sections of the Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail for our next Working Vacation.
With the low rainfall the state has seen this year, we were not surprised when the Forest Service announced Fire Restrictions on backcountry campfires that went into effect earlier this week. No open fires, campfires or charcoal fires will be permitted outside of developed recreation sites or designated Campfire Use Sites, even with a valid California Campfire Permit. Lanterns and regular gas camping and backpacking stoves will be permitted, but only with a valid California Campfire Permit, which are available free-of-charge on the Forest website. We cannot stress enough the importance of adhering to these campfire restrictions, and in general the importance of fire safety during these dry, dry times. The state is gearing up for an intense fire season and while most of the Southern CA counties were not included in the emergency drought proclamation from the governor’s office, it is on all of us to make sure that the lands we cherish remain safe from human-caused fires. Please be safe, follow the rules and do your part to help protect your Los Padres National Forest. We all love a good campfire, but it’s definitely not worth the risk. Besides, camping without a fire can definitely be fun and a great way to connect to different aspects of nature at night. There are lots of great things that camping without fire can include, like more time for stargazing, playing cards or music, listening to the sounds of nature, and getting some extra sleep! Enjoy your time in the forest and let’s all stay safe!
SANTA CRUZ WORKING VACATION PT 2
Weather permitting, we’ll be headed back out to Santa Cruz Guard Station the week of June 12-20 to continue work on the Santa Cruz Trail. This time we’ll be based at Santa Cruz and working up towards Little Pine along the legendary “40 Mile Wall”. Most of the work will be cutting tread until it gets too warm and then retreating to spend the hotter hours relaxing under the oaks or in the nearby Santa Cruz Creek pools. The exact dates will be weather dependent and we’d love to have any of you help out and join the fun. If interested in either signing up or to get some more information, please email us at VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org. We will be driving in to Santa Cruz Station – hope to see you out there!
Senator Alex Padilla introduced companion legislation to Representative Carbajal’s Central Coast Heritage Protection Act, which passed the House of Representatives in February. This bill will protect special places in the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument for their ecological, cultural, and recreational values. Rep. Carbajal’s bill will also designate the Condor Trail as a National Scenic Trail. The senate version also prohibits future oil drilling in certain places, improves equitable access to the outdoors, and benefits local and statewide economies. Thank you Senator Padilla and Rep. Carbajal!
Condor populations are healthily growing and expanding their range! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service announced a new initiative that calls for releasing four or six juvenile condors each year for 20 years throughout Redwood National Park, which is about an hour’s drive from the Oregon border. Partnering with the Yoruk tribe, conservationists hope to boost populations of these endangered birds, which suffered great losses during the Dolan fire. Good luck, condors!
The Los Padres National Forest is proposing to restore Rose Valley Creek to its historical stream function, form, and habitat to benefit native aquatic species as well as provide streamside recreation. Check out the recording of the Public Workshop the Forest Service hosted on May 13th.
LPFA-Operated Visitor Centers are open and ready to help you navigate the Los Padres! With Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center serving the Southern Los Padres and Big Sur Station serving the North, our visitor centers are a great place to stop before you head into the forest. Come by to learn about the ecology of the area, pick up a map and supplies, or get your Los Padres-related questions answered by our friendly staff and volunteers. LPFA members receive a 15% discount on all purchases (exception for Adventures Passes) at Los Padres Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers.
SB County Parks & Recreation is hosting a National Trail Day event on June 12th at Tunnel & Jesusita Trails. Email Sbiddle@SantaBarbaraCA.gov to RSVP and get more information.
Volunteer Trailhead Ambassadors Needed for the popular Pine Ridge Trailhead in Big Sur! Trailhead Ambassadors will help visitors understand how they can enjoy the public lands of the Big Sur coast safely and responsibly. To learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
SBRD Biologist Valerie Hubbard is seeking volunteers for noxious weed removal. The initial work would include mapping high priority weeds on the East Camino Cielo and also manually treating spotted knapweed. Future work might be assisting with herbicide treatment of tamarisk in the Santa Ynez River, manual treatment of yellow star thistle on Zaca Ridge road, manual treatment of pampas grass on the Happy Canyon allotment, manual treatment of medusahead grass at Happy Hollow camp and mapping and manual treatment of yellow star thistle on the Buckhorn road. Email us at VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org to get involved!
Help collect seed to restore areas invaded by Spanish broom along East Camino Cielo in Santa Barbara! Saturday volunteer seed collection dates are: 5/22, 6/5, 6/19, 7/10, 7/24, and 8/7. There are sign-up 10 slots for each date, with a limited number of vehicles allowed to park along East Camino Cielo Road. We will announce additional dates for the fall. Please email Josie Lesage at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (email@example.com) to sign up.
The work we do would not be possible without the support of our community! Please consider donating or becoming a member of the LPFA to help ensure that we can continue to care for the Los Padres National Forest.
Since 2020 was pretty much a lost year for forest projects, we’ve been trying hard the past few months to catch up on some of the todo’s from last year while also moving forward with our 2021 program of work. We’ve been busy providing education opportunities and information for forest-users while also tackling graffiti removal, forest restoration projects and of course trying to keep the trails open and passable. A lot of our trail focus has been trying to clear downed trees that have fallen across the trails. The combination of missing a year of trail work (deferred maintenance), plus two seasons of heavy snowfall, plus drought and mix in a windier than normal spring and we ended up with what might be a record numbers of downed trees across the forest. We really appreciate all the trail-user reports of downed trees either via email or HikeLosPadres.com, please keep those coming.
All that being said, it’s certainly a great time to be in the Los Padres…. The creeks are still flowing, the grass is mostly green, the flowers are as good as they’re going to get, the temps still cool’ish and the seasonal gates will be opening soon…. prime Los Padres time. We hope you’re all of good health and making time to explore some new LP trails or revisit your old favorites….. and of course, gearing up to help on some upcoming volunteer projects!
— • — • — • —
PINE MOUNTAIN WORKING VACATION
Speaking of volunteer projects…. as COVID continues to back down here locally (knock knock), we are once again allowed to host constricted volunteer projects. We’re currently wrapping up a Working Vacation on the Santa Cruz Trail and have another Working Vacation scheduled for late May / early June along the Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca Trail (GMPB) in the Sespe Wilderness. The Pine Mountain Working Vacation will be based at Haddock Camp along the headwaters of Piedra Blanca Creek and the work will be focused on clearing the trails pretty much from Reyes Peak down to Haddock and then both directions towards upper Beartrap Canyon and out to Pine Mountain Lodge. There should be a great variety of work ranging from crosscut to brushing and some fun tread sections mixed in as well. The Working Vacation will be stock (horse & mule) supported and we should be able to provide all the food for the week. We’ll be out there between May 28 and June 6 and would love to have any of you help out and join the fun. If interested in either signing up or to get some more information, please email us at VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org. Hope to see you out there……
Lots of news to cover from across the forest. Strongly suggest refilling your coffee and settling down…..
• May 1 is the preset date when the seasonal road closures reopen. This is a big day across the forest as people can once again drive into places like Grade Valley, Dough Flat, Pine Mountain and many others… We’ve talked to the FS and they are planning on opening the seasonal gates in time for this coming weekend. That being said, there are a lot of gates across the forest and we strongly recommend calling the FS to ensure your gate will be open before heading out this weekend. Enjoy…..
• While the PRT has reopened, the portion of the forest south of there remains closed due to the 2020 Dolan Fire. The closure is set to expire in late May and we’ll keep you posted if the FS decides to extend the closure.
• While most the gates will be swinging open, East Camino Cielo above Santa Barbara remains closed due to road repair. The closure is just east of Cold Spring Saddle and is expected to remain closed through the end of May. Contact the SB Ranger District with more questions…..
• The LPFA Trail Crew has been busy working to keep trails open. Over the past month or two we’ve led trail restoration efforts on the following trails: Sellers Potrero, Hi Valley, Florence Hart, Trout Creek, American Canyon, Jesusita, Tunnel, Tunnel Connector, Rattlesnake Canyon, Madulce, Santa Barbara Canyon, Alamar, Sisquoc, Santa Cruz, Cold Spring, Blue Canyon, Blue Canyon Connector, Matilija, Mission Pine, Lion Canyon, Indian Creek, Hurricane Deck, Baron, Midland and Sulphur Spring. Big shout out to our supporters, friends and partners who have helped make all this possible: SLOPOST, MTF, SB Trails Council, Athletic Brewing Co, REI, SCA, SCE, NFWF, LPNFand of course many of you who have donated to the trail restoration fund – thank you all!
• In addition to trail work, we’ve also been busy hosting a series of virtual events ranging from Rattlesnake Myth-busting to Seven-Minute Storytelling to Lunchtime Trail Talk and iNaturalists Training with the SB Botanic Garden. In case you missed any of these, you can check them out on the LPFA YouTube Channel.
• Earlier this month the Los Padres NF announced plans for a Forest Health and Fuels Reduction Project along Mount Pinos. You can read more about the project proposal here on the FS site and additional information here as well. Similar to other fuels reduction proposals, there are a lot of differing opinions on how to best protect these higher elevation conifer zones. If interested, please take the time to scour the internet, research, listen to the different voices and share your thoughts with the Forest Service before May 7.
• One of our favorite local authors Craig Carey, he of red beard fame, has released a second edition of his epic Hiking & Backpacking Santa Barbara and Ventura book. This is a huge accomplishment for Craig (congrats!) and a must have resource for any LP explorer. Check it out……
• As mentioned in a photo above, the new Pothole Trailhead outside of Lake Piru is now open and being used. This is the Southern Terminus of the Condor Trail and provides much easier access to the Agua Blanca and other nearby haunts.
• The Forest Service is in the process of looking at options to restore the Rose Valley Creek and Lakes located off Hwy 33 above Ojai. See the invitation below to an upcoming workshop where some of the different proposed options will be discussed. If interested, please attend and make your voice heard.
The rest of the Los Padres received a good dousing over the past week as well with rain totals primarily between 2-6″ with some areas seeing upwards of 12″. We did see some parts of the forest receive monster downpours of close to 0.75″ of rain over a 15-min time period. Snow levels were consistently in the 4,500 – 5,000′ range and we’ve seen some spectacular photos of Los Padres winter wonderland from this past weekend. Most of the larger creeks and rivers around the forest are now flowing but many of the smaller creeks have not quite been activated just yet. While this past storm was a good one, we certainly could use more rain. That being said, please adjust your dance routines to focus on lots of snow and light consistent rain, we don’t need anymore debris flows or declared emergencies……
— • — • — • —
FOREST OPENINGS & CLOSINGS
While it might be prime Los Padres season, there are still some closures and restrictions to be aware of and some changes too:
The COVID related regional campground closure order also expired on January 29. This means that all the accessible campgrounds are once again open. That being said, some of the previously closed campgrounds remain closed due to storm related road closures and we’re also hearing that Parks Management is a little behind on restaffing after the 6+ week closure. We suggest that you contact Parks Management or the Forest Service if you are looking to camp over the coming weeks just to make sure ahead of time that your favorite campgrounds are open.
The last weekend of January has long been reserved for the annual Los Padres Volunteer Wilderness Ranger (VWR) Training. This year would have been the 24th annual VWR Training. Unfortunately we aren’t able to host the training this year due to COVID but we’re certainly missing the 80+ volunteers who regularly attend these trainings. We’re looking forward to seeing all the great volunteers later this year on trail projects (as COVID restrictions hopefully ease) and we’ll throw an even bigger celebration (we mean training) next year for the 25th annual VWR Training. Can’t wait….
The Los Padres NF extended the forest-wide target shooting ban through June 30, 2021. No target shooting outside of Winchester and Ojai Valley Gun Clubs. For more information, click here…..
Our buddies from the Channel Islands Restoration are looking for some good volunteers to help with some of their upcoming Santa Ynez River volunteer trips. Check em out here…
Our buddy Chuck Graham, who frequently writes about adventures across the Los Padres, recently released a photo book featuring the sights and splendor of the Carrizo Plain. It’s called Carrizo Plain “Where the Mountains Meet the Grasslands”, you can check it out here and congrats Chuck, so cool!
In late 2020, officials with the CDFW cleared out over 3,000 lbs of trash from an illegal marijuana grow site in the Los Padres above Ragged Point. We hate seeing grow sites, it’s no fun and so destructive to the environment. If you come across a grow site in your explorations, get out of there as quickly as you can and please report it to the Forest Service.
We’re working on our winter-spring trail work schedule and have a lot of catching up to do after much of our 2020 program of work was COVID derailed. Trails we’ll be focusing on include: Hurricane Deck, Santa Cruz, Red Reef, Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca, Blue Canyon, Red Reef, American Canyon, Madulce, Sisquoc, Mission Pine, Lion Canyon, Matilija and likely more… The LPFA Trail Crew will be focusing on the eastern Hurricane Deck Trail for the next few weeks with the hope of punching through to connect with Lost Valley. Exciting for sure!
Last but not least, when you get out into the forest over the coming weeks please be sure to let us or the Forest Service know if you come across any downed trees or slides blocking the trails or roads. We’ll collectively do our best to get them cleared as soon as we can. Be safe out there…..
— • — • — • —
Obviously COVID can and will adjust some of our upcoming volunteer opportunities but we wanted to share what we have scheduled and hope for the best. We’ll be providing signup links and updates when we get green-lighted for the projects. In the meantime, if you’d like to sign up for any specific projects, please email us at VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org and we’ll get you on the list.
March 6: Red Reef / Sisar 1st Saturday Trail Project, LPFA March 6-7: American Canyon Trail Project, LPFA & SLOPOST March 13: Agua Blanca Trail Project, TBD March 13-14: Blue Canyon Trail Project March 19-21: Upper Sisquoc Project, LPFA
April 3-11: Indian Creek Working Vacation, LPFA April 10: Ojai 1st Saturday, TBD April 23-25: Madulce Trail Project, LPFA
May 1-9: Red Reef / Lady Bug Working Vacation, LPFA May 15: Ojai 1st Saturday, TBD May 15-23: Santa Cruz Trail Working Vacation, LPFA May 28 – June 6: Pine Mtn Haddock Working Vacation, LPFA
We’re in the middle of a larger Los Padres Forest email update but wanted to let you know that the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training that was scheduled for this weekend (January 25) has been rescheduled for Saturday March 14.
The VWR Training is an annual training that the LPFA and Forest Service host in order to train volunteers on best practices and needed Forest Service procedures in order to run volunteer trail projects within the Los Padres Forest. If you’ve not been before, it’s a great introduction to the behind-the-scenes steps needed for running trail projects and helping to keep our trails open and passable. We generally squeeze a lot of information, perhaps too much, into the VWR Training with an assortment of guest speakers who talk about subjects including First Aid, Trail Standards, What If Scenarios, Tool Maintenance, Packing Safety, Camp Cooking, FS Protocol and more…..
If you’re interested in attending or would like more information, please email INFO@LPForest.org and we’ll get you on the list. We’ll also be sharing additional information in the coming weeks as part of the regular email updates.
Now back to your regularly scheduled emails. Thanks and stay tuned for more Los Padres information coming soon…….
— • — • — • —
A few upcoming dates, events, projects, presentations or things you might want to know. If you have any forest-related events to add to this list, let us know and we’re more than happy to pass along!
We hope this email finds you doing well and hopefully a little sore after a great weekend on the trails! The LPFA is a little sore as well after having over 70 volunteers on the trails this weekend doing trail maintenance and enjoying their time outside. The one positive to not having much early season rain is that we’ve been able to host our regularly scheduled trail projects without being shutdown by rain. That’s the good, the bad is that most of the Los Padres has received very very little rain so far. It’s early but Santa Barbara County is only at 16% of normal rainfall for the season (Sep-Aug). The lack of precipitation means that fuel moisture levels have remained low across the LP and as a result the Forest Service has not been able to change the fire restriction level. Even with the cold/freezing nights we remain in Level III Fire Restrictions. You can learn more about Level III here. The fire restrictions were lifted by this time last year but it appears we’ll have to wait a few more weeks this time around. We’ll keep you posted if anything changes, be patient and you might want to start dusting off the rain dance attire just in case……
— • — • — • —
Susan Guy Giving New Light to Some of Our Favorite Los Padres Settings, Recognize Them?
SUSAN GUY 1st THURSDAY LPFA HOLIDAY OPENING
Local artist, LP explorer and Ojai Search and Rescue alum Susan Guy will be sharing her artwork at The Press Room in Santa Barbara on Thursday December 7 as part of the SB 1st Thursday art events. 1st Thursday has become a monthly tradition where galleries and art-related venues across SB feature visual and performing art within their regular social environment. They are a lot of fun. What’s even more fun about this event at The Press Room is that Susan will be donating a portion of all her art sales from the night to the LPFA Trail Care program – awesome, right? You’ll certainly notice a lot of local Los Padres vistas and landscapes in her paintings. And, as if it couldn’t get any better, we’re going to try to turn the Press Room into a LPFA holiday party that night as well. So come on down Thursday around 7pm, have a drink, lets talk trails and favorite camp sites, mingle while admiring some amazing art, leave with some of that art, wear that holiday sweater or Los Padres themed attire and keep your eyes peeled for that mistletoe. It’s going to be a lot of fun, hope you can make it!
Don Jack along the Pritchett Trail, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden
PRITCHETT TRAIL SUCCESS
Last episode of the LPFA Email Newsletter we talked a little about some of the great partnerships that have developed around the forest. Along those lines we wanted to share a success story from the Pritchett Trail at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (SBBG). Earlier this year the LPFA was approached by the Botanic Garden about some trail damage they were dealing with along some of their over 5 miles of trails, in particular the more remote Pritchett Trail. The trail was sustaining some major erosion damage and had one section near the bottom that was losing its battle with gravity and needed some serious work. The LPFA does a lot of work in the deeper parts of the backcountry where we really don’t get a chance to visit and see our work during the storms that cause all the damage. The idea of working on a trail just outside town where we could come and watch the water control structures do their thing right in the middle of a storm was very appealing. So we reached out to longtime LPFA volunteer and nearby resident Don Jack to see if he’d be interested in helping the Botanic Garden with some trail restoration. He was all about it and got started immediately working with the SBBG staff on plans and designs to fix the trail. Fast forward a few months and Don had completed building water control along the entire stretch of trail in addition to constructing a rather complicated retaining wall at the bottom of the trail. We recently took a tour of the trail with Don and the work he’s done in partnership with the Botanic Garden is amazing! It will be really valuable for Don to visit the trail throughout the winter months and see how the water structures hold up. And then we really can’t wait for him to apply that knowledge to the Los Padres on the next Working Vacation as well…………
— • — • — • —
2018 Los Padres Calendars are Ready
The 2018 LPFA Los Padres Calendars have been sent to the printers! Thanks to everyone who submitted well over 200 photos for the calendar! We had a tough choice paring that down to the best 50 photos but we got it done. The calendars are currently at the printers and should be ready in the next week. There is a limited quantity available so if you’d like one be sure to place your order ASAP. Calendars are $10 each with any proceeds going to the LPFA Trail Care program. For more information or to order, click the link here!
I hope you are having a great week and enjoying the interesting spring-like weather we’ve been experiencing. Today’s message is a bit different than usual. I’m not not providing updates or announcing projects but rather asking for your help. The LPFA has a full slate of trail projects scheduled for the Spring and early Summer and WE NEED YOUR HELP! We have trail projects in the works ranging from 10-day Working Vacations along the Santa Cruz Trail to 1-day projects down the Cold Spring Trail. All these projects take time and money. The LPFA works hard to organize, schedule and complete the work that keeps our trails open. At the same time we love to provide our trail volunteers with the necessary great food, sharp tools and safety equipment that keep them coming back for more and heading home with smiles on their faces (albeit with sore backs). I’m reaching out asking for your support as we get started on the busiest and most ambitious season of trail projects and Forest support in the history of the LPFA. Become a LPFA member and donate to help our trail projects. Listed at the bottom of this email is a quick list of projects we have in the works for the next few months. I always say that every little bit of trail work helps, and similarly all the support we can get helps just as much. Your help is greatly appreciated.
Click the image below and become a LPFA supporter.
Thanks and enjoy your weekend on the trail,
Hurricane Deck: Schoolhouse towards Potrero Canyon
Alamar Hill Trail: Indian Creek up to Loma Pelona
Santa Cruz Trail: Little Pine to Santa Cruz Station
Santa Cruz Trail: Kellogg Camp to Mission Pine Basin
Mission Pine Trail: McKinley Saddle to Mission Pine Basin
Cold Spring Trail: Mono to the Emerald Pools
Gene Marshall/Piedra Blanca: Reyes Trailhead to Haddock Camp
Ranger Peak Trail: Shooting Range towards Peak
Franklin Trail: Jameson Lake up towards East Camino Cielo