Get Your Rain Dance On!
I heard one of my mentors say the other day, “Remember when it used to rain in February?” No doubt we’ve all been reading and hearing about the drought that has engulfed California. It got me wondering, just how bad is it? So I did a little research (note: I’m no scientist, there are countless experts and bloggers who can provide much more substantiated and in-depth analysis). Currently the annual rain totals across the Los Padres are about 67% of average, give or take depending on geography. Throughout history we’ve endured years much worse than this one, but what’s different about this drought is that we are now in year 4 of well below average rain totals. Throughout local history, droughts generally don’t last more than 3 seasons. One of the worst droughts in our history occurred in 1989-1991, two seasons. Those years were really bad but it lasted only two years. We’re in year 4, including 2013-14 which was by most accounts considered THE WORST single rain season of all time. This is not good. While there is a chance for the much needed March Miracle that could boost this season to above normal levels, we are working out of a 3 year deficit that in all likelihood won’t be replenished this year. We’re dealing with reservoirs across the state being below 50% capacity, snow-free mountain ranges, San Francisco recording no rain in January for the first time in nearly 200 years, water rations, expansive swaths of dead trees, large ranches “harvesting water” to sell to municipalities and Big Sur getting 16% of normal rain during the 2013 season – however you break it down, we are up to our necks (or perhaps better, up to our ankles) in scary scary lack of water. I hate being pessimistic but its pretty hard to spin any positives out of the situation we find ourselves in. The best we can do is enjoy the creeks while they are flowing, conserve water the best we can, know that Mother Nature does this in cycles, hope for the best and get your rain dance on……
We need it all!
Mission Pine Pano, photo Nick D’Incelli
MISSION PINE UPDATE
The LPFA has focused much energy over the past year logging and reopening the Mission Pine Trail within Santa Barbara County. The Mission Pine Trail is one of the most spectacular trails within the Los Padres. The trail covers nearly 15miles across the San Rafael Mountains from McKinley Saddle to Windy Gap, all above 5,000ft and covering mostly pine terrain. The channel islands can be seen to the south and most of the time the Sierras can be seen to the north. According to legend, the area got its name after the timbers used to build the SB Mission were harvested from up along this ridge. The trees were cut and carried nearly 30miles up and down mountains on their long journey to the Mission. Anyway, volunteers have led 6 projects over the past year to work on the trail and we have another one planned for later this month. If you are looking for a great multi-day backpack across some fantastic terrain, this trail should be on your short list. If you have any questions about the trail, camps or loop/shuttle options – feel free to let us know: INFO@LPForest.org
Crew Training, photo provided by Burtness
FOREST FOUR ONE ONE
Bob Burtness sent in this photo from 1929 showing the University of Washington crew team training through the use of crosscut saws. No doubt it is hard work – we could use them. If you’d like to volunteer for a project, we could use your help too. Check the calendar
of events on LPForest.org and come on out. If you can’t make a project, we could certainly use donations
to help feed the hungry sawyers. It all goes to helping the trails and keeping access to the Forest open…….
TRAILS & ALES, GOLETA, CAPTAIN FATTY’S
TODAY, FEBRUARY 19
Last minute reminder that we’ll be having a Trails & Ales event this evening at Captain Fatty’s in Goleta. Come one, come all! Talk trail, win prizes, say hello, cheers with your friends, all of the above.
FIRST AID / CPR / BBP CERTIFICATION
We have a few spaces still available for a First Aid / CPR class in Ojai on February 28. The cost is around $50 and you’ll walk away with great knowledge and certifications for First Aid. Contact the LFPA to sign up or for more information.
GENE MARSHALL – PIEDRA BLANCA TRAIL PROJECT
The LPFA is teaming up with UTMC and the MPRD VWR to host a three day trail project along the Gene Marshall Trail. We’ll be starting from the Reyes Creek Trailhead and working up and over Pine Mtn eventually coming out at the Piedra Blanca Trailhead. Most of the work will be logging fallen trees from the trail corridor. We’ve had recent reports that nearly 20 trees are across the trail with quite a few in the 40″ diameter range. If interested in helping, contact Mark Subbotin
BACKPACKING FUNDAMENTALS CLASS
STARTS MARCH 10
The LPFA will be teaching a 6 week class on the fundamentals of backpacking. We’ll be covering everything from what gear to bring, how to choose a trail, what to do if you get PO, map reading, wilderness first aid and much more. The classes will be in Goleta starting Tuesday March 10. If you would like more information, contact Curt Cragg. Hope to see you there!
That’s it for today everyone! Hope you get out on the trails this weekend and have some great stories to share afterwards…….