LPFA Working Vacations: Hammers, Pulaskis and Friends!


Manzana Schoolhouse Re-Roofed

The LPFA just wrapped up an incredibly successful 5-day Working Vacation based at the Manzana Schoolhouse. In addition to the usual top-notch trail work, our volunteers also replaced the decrepit roof on the Schoolhouse itself. The previous roof was last replaced in 1990 and was breaking apart and littered with holes. The structure was at risk of falling over and potentially being lost forever. We’ve been working with the Forest Service for most of the past decade trying to get the necessary approvals to replace the roof and at long last it finally all came together. Bravo! and just in time as we have rain coming in just a few days! 

We want to thank everyone who participated but especially Greg J and Mark B who have sat through years of planning meetings and had the patience and expertise to pull this off. We’ll be sharing more about this project and other planned historic structure repairs in the coming weeks as well. Stay tuned…..

As mentioned, there was more accomplished in addition to the awesome work on the Schoolhouse. Our stupendous volunteers were able to repair tables around the campground and restore approximately 1.5 miles of the incredibly overgrown western Hurricane Deck Trail. If you know the Deck, you know how much work was needed to just get it cleared that far. (round of applause please) For those of you who missed out on the fun, don’t worry, we’ll be back soon with plans to finish the Deck up to the Potrero Trail junction. STAY TUNED!



Dough Flat, Alder Creek, Sespe Working Vacation

Tis the season for volunteer Working Vacations and we’ve got another great one planned for December, this time in the Sespe Wilderness! We are planning a Working Vacation based at Dough Flat from December 1-10 working the Alder Creek Trail. The plan as of now is to have both a car-camping option as well as a backpacking option. The car-camping portion of the project would be based at Dough Flat working the first 4 miles of the trail out towards the Bucksnort junction. The backpacking portion would be based at Cow Spring Camp and working down from there. Lots of details need to be worked out ahead of time and we may even have a combo option where half the project is at Dough Flat and half at Cow Spring. TBD. 

If you are interested in learning more or to sign-up, email us at VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org or click the link below. As usual, the LPFA is planning on providing all food and tools. We’ll likely do some cleanup at Dough Flat as well and could use help with painting, cooking, etc… Sign up if interested and we’ll provide details in the coming week or two. THANKS!



It’s always great to hear from trail users who use the trails we help maintain. Here is a group of backpackers from Midland School enjoying a section of the Sespe River Trail that the LPFA Trail Crew restored over two hard weeks in May 2022. Many thanks to all of you who donated as part of #GivingTuesday so that we could repair this trail. Looking forward to #GivingTuesday 2023! photo Dan Susman


FOREST 411

The big news across the forest right now is the impending rain stormset to hit the Los Padres next week. Forecasts are showing significant rain that will likely initiate the seasonal gate closures across the forest. Don’t shoot the messenger…..

Thanks to all of you who helped support yet another successful LPFA Used Camping Gear Sale! We were able to set records for both most money raised as well as most happy forest-users leaving with awesome gear. Cheers to Gossamer Gear and Rik’s everlasting spirit.

LPFA 2024 Calendar Update 

Wow, did we get a bunch of great photos for this years 2024 Los Padres wall calendar! We actually have 517 photos submitted ~ it’s going to make selecting the photos really really hard. Good problem to have and the calendar is going to be something special this year. The calendar is currently for sale, if you’d like to reserve your copy and/or copies for all your friends and family, please click here to order. Thanks. this photo Wayne Spada

LPFA Trail Work Updates 

With the temperatures falling and water still flowing, the LPFA Trail Crew and LPFA Volunteers will be busy working trails this fall and winter. We have work scheduled on the following trails: Pothole, Agua Blanca, Alder Creek, Sespe, Matilija, Santa Barbara Cyn, Sisquoc, Sweetwater, Manzana, Hurricane Deck, Santa Cruz, Aliso, Matias, Arroyo Burro, Cold Spring, Blue Cyn, Franklin, Davy Brown, Trout Creek and anywhere else trail work might be needed. Click here if you’re interested in learning more about the Trail Crew.

Volunteer Help Needed 

In addition to the larger scale Working Vacations mentioned above, we have the following volunteer projects scheduled as well: 

  • November 12: Agua Blanca Trail, Sespe – this will be the first of many regularly scheduled and weather dependent trail days along the Agua Blanca Trail. Led by local trail steward Alan Coles, we’ll be driving out beyond locked gates and strategically chipping away at both the Agua Blanca as well as the Pothole Trail. We’ll be out there this Sunday with future dates to come. If interested click here or email VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org
  • November-December: Matilija Trail – Led by another local legendary trail steward named Peter Wilder, the LPFA has continued to work the Matilija Trail on most Thursdays and Saturdays since August. Our work will continue tomorrow and then we’ll likely change schedule a bit due to Thanksgiving. If interested click here or email VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org.


Before, During & After photos showing trail repair work the LPFA Trail Crew completed this summer along the West Fork Cold Spring Trail in support of Montecito Trails Foundation. This section of trail was severely damaged during the January 2023 storms and needed a complete overhaul. Please remember to share any trail damage you might find either with the local Forest Service Ranger Station, on HikeLosPadres or email us directly and we’ll forward to the appropriate persons – thanks!

Calling All Los Padres Photographers


Hello Trail & Forest Friends, 

Like it or not, the clock keeps ticking and the calendar pages keep turning. In order to help with this Sisyphean cycle, the LPFA will be once again produce a Los Padres themed wall calendar. Originally conceived by LPFA President Jasonn, the LPFA calendars have become a staple for Los Padres enthusiasts to not only keep track of time but to also have twelve months of Los Padres wall candy to look forward to. This will be at least our 10th year of producing Los Padres calendars and we’re hoping to make 2024 the best to date….. 

CALLING ALL LOS PADRES PHOTOGRAPHERS

We are currently looking for photo submissions for the 2024 Los Padres Calendar. We’re sure most of you have some great Los Padres photos that hopefully you’d like to share. Interested? Here’s the details: 

  • All photos or art (paintings are good too) must be of or from within the Los Padres National Forest 
  • Ideally the images would be from within the past year or two but historic photos are okay too 
  • We’re looking for photos of scenery, mountains, valleys, canyons, trails, local flora & fauna, waterfalls, all forms of recreation and activities from across the forest (action shots are great) and anything else that would be awesome to see within a Los Padres calendar 
  • If you have any photos or images that fit the descriptions above, please email them to INFO@LPForest.org for consideration 
  • If your photo is selected, we’ll credit you for the photo within the calendar and mail you a complimentary 2024 Los Padres calendar sometime in the middle of December 

We see so many great photos on Instagram and Facebook, if you have any to share, please let us know. THANK YOU EVERYONE!



Used Outdoor Gear Sale: Sunday Oct 22

The LPFA Used Outdoor Gear Sale is this Sunday October 22 at 11am, Tucker’s Grove Site #2. This event is a great way for LPFA members and supporters to pick up some really sweet deals on lightly used outdoor gear from Gossamer Gear and others including backpacks, tents, sleeping systems and all the fixings you might need for your fall journeys here in the Los Padres. See you there…. 

Manzana Schoolhouse Working Vacation

We are now just over a week away from the Manzana Schoolhouse Working Vacation! We’ll be out at the Schoolhouse from Nov 1-6 working to restore the roof at the Schoolhouse and maintain the nearby trails. If you are interested in helping, there is still time to sign up. If you’ve not been on a Working Vacation before, they are A TON OF FUN! Please email Volunteer@LPForest.org for more information…..

D13 Hunting Season

D13 general deer season has started in the southeastern Los Padres and will last through November 12. This is the second busiest hunting season in the LP. Click here to see a map of Zone D13 but it’s basically the Ventura Backcountry north of the Sespe Creek, east of Hwy 33 and west of I5 including most of the Mt Pinos Ranger District. If you are headed into D13 over the next couple weeks, expect to see quite a few hunters and busier trailheads than normal. Stay safe everyone and enjoy the fall colors!

Speaking of fall colors, they are starting to show in many of the higher parts of the forest AND there is still a lot of great water out there as well. Good time of year to get out and explore! Remember that www.HikeLospadres.com remains a great resource for learning the trails and camps across the Los Padres. You can always email us as well, we’re always happy to answer questions too. Get out there, have some fun and stay safe!

Los Padres Backcountry Season is Here!!!

MANZANA SCHOOLHOUSE WORKING VACATION: Nov 1-6, 2023

Hello Friends,

Lets get right to it! The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting cooler and we know what that means:

   BACKCOUNTRY SEASON IS HERE!   

This fall should be perfect in the backcountry as there is still so much water out there. Pick your favorite trail, bag your favorite peak or go explore a new corner of the forest; it’s gonna to be a great fall season here in the Los Padres! Go get it!

Manzana Schoolhouse Working Vacation

Backcountry Season also means that the LPFA will be hosting some really fun backcountry volunteer opportunities. We’ll be sharing more in the coming weeks but up first is a November 1-6 Working Vacation at the Manzana Schoolhouse.

The Manzana Schoolhouse was built in 1893 and if any of you have visited the Schoolhouse over the past couple decades, then you certainly know how close it is to collapsing and being lost forever. The LPFA has been working with the Forest Service for most of the past decade trying to get the necessary approvals to repair the Schoolhouse roof. Finally, thanks to some really super volunteers, the ‘fixing of the roof’ is scheduled to happen early next month and we could use your help….

  • Our volunteers will drive or hike in to the Schoolhouse on November 1st and will spend the next 6 days doing a combination of roof repairs, campground maintenance and trail restoration on the nearby Manzana, Sisquoc and Hurricane Deck trails.
  • While we’d love to have you out there for the whole time, there will be lots of opportunities for shorter stays. We’ll be scheduling a few different drive-in and drive-out days and of course you can hike in from NIRA as well.
  • As always, the LPFA will provide all the food for the trip as well as all the tools and training needed in order to volunteer.
  • We are also looking for volunteers who like to cook and might be interested in staying at camp and making sure everyone is well fed and energized for the trail work. Let us know if that might be something you would be interested in as well.

If you are interested in learning more or to sign up, please click here and/or email us at VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org.

And last but not least, in case you aren’t available or able to help at the Schoolhouse, you can always support by donating. We’re going to have quite a bill between food and roofing supplies and any donations would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Hope to see you out there and remember to email us with any questions…..

VOLUNTEER CLICK HEREDONATE HERE

LPFA Used Outdoor Gear Sale

The LPFA will be hosting our 7th Annual Used Outdoor Gear Sale on Sunday October 22nd at 11am, Tucker’s Grove Site #2. The Used Gear Sale is a great opportunity for LPFA members and supporters to get some killer deals on lightly used gear including a whole bunch of Gossamer Gear backpacks and at the same time also donate gear towards the cause. All proceeds from the Gear Sale go towards the LPFA Trail Care Fund.

This year we will be celebrating the memory of our dear friend Rik Christensen. Rik founded the Used Gear Sale many years ago and his expertise and passion for the forest, the trails and gear was always on full display during these events. He’ll certainly be there with us in spirit on October 22nd…..

Got Used Gear to Donate

  • We’ll happily take any used gear you might have and help find it another home.
  • Great chance to purge and help in the process.
  • Email INFO@LPForest.org and we’ll find a way to get the gear exchanged!

Used Outdoor Gear Sale

  • Sunday October 22nd, 11am
  • Tucker’s Grove Park, Site #2
  • Santa Barbara / Goleta
  • Email INFO@LPForest.org with any questions!

Forest 411

LPFA volunteers putting the finishing touches on crosscutting a particularly stubborn 30″ downed tree from across the Reyes Peak Trail as part of National Public Lands Day. For more, see below…..

Volunteer Here

– The LPFA continues to lead twice-weekly volunteer trail projects on the Matilija Trail outside of Ojai. For more information or to sign-up, click here.

– Save the date, a second LPFA Working Vacation, most likely in the San Rafael Wilderness, is being planned for December 1-10, 2023, email for details.

– Save the date 2x, the LPFA will be leading a weekend volunteer project off Hi Mtn Road in SLO in November. Interested? Email us, dates TBD.

– The Ojai Ranger District is looking for volunteers to help at the front desk at the Ojai Ranger Station. Email Maria for more information.

– Our buddies at the Ventana Wilderness Alliance will be leading a series of volunteer projects along the Pine Ridge Trail in Oct and Nov. Check this link for more information.

Let’s GO Los Padres! National Public Lands Day

Congratulations to Emily Winn for submitting this contest-winning photo taken from along the Pine Ridge Trail.  Emily’s epic autumn sunset photo will be featured as the front cover on the upcoming reprint of the Los Padres Atlas!!! Thanks to everyone who submitted photos for contest!

Hello Friends,

Slowly but surely, thanks to continued efforts from the Forest Service and partner organizations like the LPFA, additional storm-damaged trails and roads are being reopened across the Los Padres Forest. The Forest Service released two new storm-related Forest Closure Orders on August 31.

  • The first order (05-07-00-23-11) is a revision or update to the existing closure order and will last through October 30, 2023. Some areas have reopened but unfortunately many of the LP fan-favorites remain closed due to either the continued closure of Hwy 33 or in some cases extreme storm damage which will likely take many more months to repair.
  • The second order (05-07-00-23-12) is a little different and calls out areas within the forest that were damaged to the point where they will remain closed for at least the next year until August 31, 2024.
  • There are some additional fire related and special circumstance closures in place as well. Please visit the Forest Service website here for more information.

No one likes the closure orders and it’s unfortunate we’re having to deal with closed trails and limited road access across the Los Padres. We’ll keep doing what we can to help by clearing trails and supporting the Forest Service. There are lots of ways to help either through donations or upcoming volunteer trips. It takes a village and we could always use more hands.

Thanks everyone and enjoy the rest of this latest newsletter!

Earlier this summer the LPFA toured both Dabney Cabin and Manzana Schoolhouse with Forest Service specialists and volunteer engineers, architects and carpenters. After many years of hard work and preparation, we are close to reroofing and stabilizing both structures along the Manzana Creek. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be out there pounding nails later this fall. We can use more help in case any of you have skills or time you’d like to contribute. Hit us up at VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org – it’ll be great to save these historic backcountry treasures!

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY(s): Sep 16 -24

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) is the “largest single-day volunteer event for public lands” across the nation. NPLD is held on the second to last weekend of September and this year there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities on both September 16th & 23rd across the Los Padres for folks to donate time and energy in support of the forest.

Hope to see you out there……

PINE MOUNTAIN, OJAI, SEPTEMBER 22-24

The LPFA will be leading a multi-day trail project on NPLD weekend focusing on clearing downed trees from across the trails on Pine Mtn. We’ll be camping two nights but people are welcome to come for any combination of days between Friday and Sunday. We’ll be working Reyes Peak, Chorro Grande, Boulder Canyon and Raspberry Spring Trails. Email VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org or click here with questions or to sign up!


SB FRONTCTRY, SEPT 16

Come volunteer in support of the beloved Santa Barbara Frontcountry trails. We’ll be working around San Ysidro, Tunnel and Hot Springs, please email here to RSVSteve.

MATILIJA, SEPT 16 & 23

The LPFA is continuing our work to reopen the Matilija Trail outside of Ojai. We’ve been working each Thurs and Sat and will continue this effort as part of NPLD. Click here to sign up or learn more.


MT PINOS, SEPT 23

Join the Mt Pinos District as they host a cleanup atop Mt Pinos at Chula Vista CG. Beautiful part of the forest with views that are hard to beat, email here to RSVP.

OJAI OFFICE, SEPT 23

Come help the Ojai District clean, plant and tend to their beautiful downtown Ojai office. Great opportunity to meet and help the ORD staff. Email here to RSVP.


Mark your calendars, the LPFA will once again be hosting a Used Camping Gear Sale for our members and friends! This year we’ll be back at Tucker’s Grove on Sunday October 22nd. We will again be featuring Gossamer Gear apparel but could definitely use more donations if you have any lightly worn or seasoned camping, biking, adventuring or backpacking gear that’s collecting dust. Help us find it a new home! Email VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org to donate. This will be our 7th year hosting the Used Gear Sale. So much fun, hope to see you there!

It’s fall in the Los Padres….

Autumn is a second spring when (almost) every leaf is a flower – Camus

Hello Friends,

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.

Sespe Shadows – can you hear the wind?  – photo DHall

Los Padres Forest Association
HikeLosPadres.com
Facebook.com/LPFA
Instagram/LPFA

Los Padres Reopening & LPFA Job Openings

When the sun rises next, it will be over a freshly reopened Los Padres Forest

FOREST REOPENS

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:

— • — • — • —

STOVES ALLOWED

In addition to the forest reopening, the Forest Service is also revising the existing forest-wide fire restriction order. Under the new fire restriction order, campfires remain banned across the forest but the use of cooking stoves with shut-off valves is now permitted everywhere across the forest as long as you have a valid California Campfire Permit.

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

— • — • — • —

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

National Public Lands Day
September 25-26: Upper Santa Ynez Trail Work, LPFA
September 25: Tumamait Trail Tree Bucking, MPRD – email INFO@LPFOREST.ORG to sign up
September 25: Romero Canyon Trail Work, Santa Barbara Parks & Recreation
September 25: Santa Paula Canyon Cleanup, RPL & LPFW

October 22-24: Big Pine Mountain Trail Project, LPFA

November 6: LPFA Used Gear Sale
November 13: LPFA Member Party!!!

December: Santa Cruz Trail Project, Details TBD, LPFA

December: Hurricane Deck Trail Project, Details TBD, LPFA
December: Red Reef Trail Project, Details TBD, LPFA

— • — • — • —

Dust off your (gently) Used Gear! 

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! 

Join or Renew your LPFA Membership to help us continue to care for the Los Padres National Forest. 

Los Padres Closure Extended

Hello Friends,

In case you hadn’t heard, the Los Padres Forest has extended its fire-related closure through 11:59pm on September 22. While most of the forests across California have reopened, the LP is one of five forests which will remain closed. For more information please visit the Los Padres NF website or check out the LPFA social media feeds.

We are certainly feeling very disconnected from the forest at the moment and I’m sure we’re all missing our favorite Los Padres vistas, trails, secret spots and recreational opportunities. Let’s collectively hope that the blanket closures work and we’re back enjoying the Los Padres by this time next week. Until then, do your part, rest up and be ready to get back out there in a few days. Thanks everyone…

— • — • — • —

Our last NPLD event was September 2019 on Lion Canyon outside of Ojai, different world two years later…

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

National Public Lands Day
September 25-26: Upper Santa Ynez Trail Work, LPFA
September 25: Tumamait Trail Tree Bucking, MPRD – email info@lpforest.org
September 25: Romero Canyon Trail Work, Santa Barbara
September 25: Santa Paula Canyon Cleanup, RPL & LPFW

October 22-24: Big Pine Mountain Trail Project, LPFA

November 6: LPFA Used Gear Sale
November 13: LPFA Member Party!!!

December: Santa Cruz Trail Project, Details TBD, LPFA

December: Hurricane Deck Trail Project, Details TBD, LPFA
December: Red Reef Trail Project, Details TBD, LPFA

Dust off your (gently) Used Gear! 

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! 

Join or Renew your LPFA Membership to help us continue to care for the Los Padres National Forest. 

Temporary Forest Closure

Sunset Valley has company

LOS PADRES NF: CLOSED

Due to extreme fire conditions and thinned fire resources, the Los Padres Forest (yes, all of it) will be closed effective tonight August 31 at 11:59pm. There are currently over 20 wildfires burning across California and not nearly enough fire resources to handle any additional fires. As a result, the Forest Service has decided to close all National Forests across California with a scheduled reopening date of 11:59pm on September 17. The news first broke last night and we’ve seen a mixed reaction across social media and the internet. We’d all like the fire agencies to have plenty of resources to go around, plenty of time to safely manage any fires, and the certainty that all forest-users would safely and responsibly enjoy their time in the forests. Unfortunately, that’s not the case right now and the closure order should help reduce potential new ignitions. No one is happy about this closure and we realize the inconvenience this causes, especially for A-Zone hunters, but everyone please do your part and stay off the forest. The closure will hopefully be lifted on the night of the 17th and hopefully by then this large scale closure will have worked. Until then let’s all hope for the best…be safe and stay cool! 

Click here for the full closure order

While the forest closure may keep you physically out of the Los Padres, you can virtually visit it with us, as we welcome Brian Sarvis to the LPFA Zoom stage to discuss the Condor Trail. Brian is a multiple time Condor Trail through-hiker and has just authored a new Condor Trail guide book, that is not a typo – exciting news! Click here to see the recording of the event.

FOREST 411

  • The Forest Service announced earlier this month that the cause of the Willow Fire, which burned 2,877 acres earlier this summer in the Ventana Wilderness, could not be determined.
  • Speaking of the Condor Trail, most of the condor news of late has been bad thanks to an uptick in lead poisoning and of course some wildfire caused deaths. But there has been some good news as well coming from across the western states with two wild condors recently spotted in southern Utah and a 29 year old Haku sighting in Tehachapi. Keep those positive condor vibes going!
  • Wishing a fond farewell to Silas who has been on our Trail Crew for the past couple seasons. During his time with the LPFA Silas worked to maintain and restor over 50 different trails while spending nearly a years worth of days in the forest. Good on ya Silas, hope to see you around…
  • Quick reminder that Sunset Valley Road as well as NIRA and Davy Brown Campgrounds will remain closed through March 2022. We’ll be sure to provide updates throughout the winter if and when the reopening schedule changes.
  • Located along the northern edge of the southern Los Padres, Cuyama is a key gateway for much of the Ventura and Santa Barbara backcountry. Here’s a great article discussing the history of Cuyama and some of our favorite cowboys who call the Sierra Madre home.
  • OR-93 Update: Last week, CDFW received trail camera video from May 15, 2021 showing a collared gray wolf in southwest Kern County. Though CDFW cannot confirm this at this time, it is possible the wolf could be OR-93 because of video evidence of the collar and the last known whereabouts of OR-93 (San Luis Obispo County on April 5, 2021). Even though the video evidence is more than three months old, CDFW will immediately investigate the area for additional information in hopes of finding wolf DNA for analysis. CDFW will also conduct flyovers to attempt to connect to the collar through radio telemetry. We are thrilled about the possible reappearance of OR-93 and can’t wait for more updates! 
  •  It’s that time of the year again…collecting photography submissions for the 2022 LPFA Calendar! Send us your best photos of the Los Padres (does not have to be from this year) and if your photo is selected, you’ll receive a free copy of the calendar! These make great holiday gifts as well as reminders to get out and enjoy the forest. Email INFO@LPForest.org with your photography submission. Deadline for submitting is October 31st. 

Dust off your (gently) Used Gear! 

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!

Little Sur Drainage, Monterey Ranger District

Our Summer Membership Drive has a few weeks left! Join or Renew your LPFA Membership to help us continue to care for the Los Padres National Forest. 

August Updates

The best oak frames can’t be bought at Aaron Brothers! Camuesa Peak, August 2021

Hello Friends, 

We hope you had a nice weekend and despite the heat and ever increasing lack of water, found some Los Padres exploration time. We always love seeing your photos of shaded trails, higher elevation peaks, and secret oases that many of you post on social media (remember to tag us!), email, or share on Hike Los Padres. Thank you as always and please keep sending them in, they are fantastic to see! As you know, there is rarely a dull moment here in the Los Padres and we’ve got some more news to share below including new closures, new characters, the onset of A-Zone hunting season and of course some upcoming events and projects that you no doubt can’t wait to hear about. Pins and needles for sure. Thanks everyone for following along and let’s get to it!

A-ZONE GENERAL HUNTING SEASON

We’re expecting another busy A-Zone deer season across most of the Los Padres. A-Zone starts Saturday August 14 and lasts through Sunday September 26. During A-Zone you can expect most of the forest roads and trailheads to be quite busy, especially on opening weekend. Hunters and forest recreationalists usually get along fine, but it is certainly busier than normal at many of the normally un-busy locations. Good luck and be safe! 

HOT OFF THE PRESS: 

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!

SUNSET VALLEY – NIRA CLOSURE

While this isn’t new news, we have heard complaints from quite a few people who didn’t realize the extent of the Sunset Valley Road Closure. Effective July 31, Sunset Valley Road and the Catway OHV (Old Catway) are closed due to bridge construction and repaving. The closure is expected to remain in effect until the end of March 2022 and includes both NIRA and Davy Brown Campgrounds. We realize this is going to impact a bunch of your recreational plans. For more information please click here.

— • — • — • —

FOREST 411

  • NEW CHIEF OF US FOREST SERVICE: Randy Moore, former head of the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Region in Vallejo, CA., was recently named chief of the U.S. Forest Service by President Biden. Moore, who will become the first African-American to lead Forest Service, will oversee twice as much land as all national parks. “Randy has been a conservation leader on the forefront of climate change, most notably leading the region’s response to the dramatic increase in catastrophic wildfires in California over the last decade,” said Tom Vilsack, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service. Randy takes the reins as previous Chief Vicki Christiansen will retire from federal service in August after a 40 year career in forestry. We are excited to see what a Californian Forest Service leader will do for the Forest Service. Congratulations, Randy!
  • CURRENT DOLAN & WILLOW FIRE CLOSURES: The Forest Service has made a few revisions to the the fire closures within the Monterey Ranger District for the 2020 Dolan Fire and the 2021 Willow Fire. If you’re headed in that direction, be sure to familiarize yourself with what is and is not open. Thanks!
  • CONDOR NEWS: 2020 was a difficult year for many populations, including the endangered CA Condor. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported 42 condor deaths in 2020, including 34 in California. That’s nearly triple the dozen deaths recorded in the state a year earlier.” While lead poisoning was the number one cause of death for condors in CA, the Dolan Fire in Big Sur was a close second. You can support the care and protection of condors through the Ventana Wildlife Society and/or Friends of the California Condor.
  • ROSE VALLEY LAKES PROJECT: 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. 
  • TARGET SHOOTING BAN EXTENDED: The ongoing and increasing danger of wildfire prompted Los Padres National Forest officials to extend the recreational shooting ban on forest lands for six months, until Jan. 31, 2022. Recreational target shooting is prohibited in all areas of the National Forest except in the two shooting ranges under special use permit: Winchester Canyon Gun Club and Ojai Valley Gun Club; however, hunting with a valid State of California hunting license during open hunting season is exempt from this restriction.
Taped-off fire rings and BBQs along the Buckhorn road campsites
  • LPFA VOLUNTEERS PREP FOR HUNTING SEASON: With intense fire restrictions in place and A-Zone hunting season starting later this week, LPFA volunteers drove out along the Buckhorn Road to place flagging over the fire rings, post the current fire restrictions along all the camps and trailheads between Upper Oso and Alamar Saddle, and check the status of the locked gates. Meanwhile, another group of volunteers headed out to the Upper Santa Ynez Recreation Area to do fire clearance at the campgrounds and day-use areas and helped the FS remove an old, broken sign. Many thanks to our amazing volunteers! Want to get involved? Email VOLUNTEER@LPForest.org
  • DISPERSED CAMPING ETIQUETTE: While one of the best thing about the Los Padres is the ability to find great dispersed camping, there definitely are some unspoken rules for how to make sure you are enjoying yourself while being respectful to others and nature. Check out the Dispersed Campers Guide to Etiquette before you head out on your next adventure. Getting out in the forest around the New Moon is a great time to practice your night photography skills
  • WHEELER GORGE VISITOR CENTER: We are open every weekend in summer, helping forest users by providing information and supplies. The Wheeler Gorge Nature Trail was also recently been worked by our LPFA volunteers and our photo contest to find a new cover for the brochure reprint resulted in some beautiful photography! Come on by! 
  • WELCOME FOREST SERVICE STAFF TO SBRD: The LPFA would like to extend a warm welcome to new District Ranger Daryl Hodges and Recreation Technician Alyssa Thornburg for the Santa Barbara Ranger District! We are so excited to have you on board, welcome to the SBRD!
  • SLO LAND PURCHASE & FOREST TRANSFER: The Wilderness Land Trust has just purchased 148 acres of private land to be transferred to the Los Padres National Forest near Hi Mountain and the Santa Lucia Wilderness. This purchase will provide an important wildlife connection between the existing Santa Lucia Wilderness and a proposed wilderness to the northeast, and is also a key link to the planned California Condor Trail, a 400-mile route connecting the southern and northern parts of the Los Padres National Forest.
  • CHERRY CREEK CLOSED: Due to the road being damaged and overgrown, the gate at Cherry Creek Road in the Ojai Ranger District will remain closed until it can be repaired. While you can’t drive on the road, it remains open for hikers and bicycles. Contact the FS with questions.
  • LA BREA CLOSURE RENEWED: The existing closure of the La Brea Fire Area has been renewed and extended. This includes the closure of the La Brea Road between Buckhorn and down to the bottom of Rattlesnake Canyon. We’ll share the official closure order next time or through social media.

RIP Madulce and D13 Kick Off

Madulce Cabin, circa 1983, photo Eldon Walker

Hello Friends,

20 years ago today (Oct 11, 1999) the Madulce Cabin was tragically burned to the ground as a result of either an accidental burning or arson (click here for more of the history).  The historic Madulce Cabin site is located in the heart of the Santa Barbara Backcountry, within the Dick Smith Wilderness and has a rich history dating back long before the Los Padres was known as the Los Padres. Before going up in flames, the much beloved Madulce Cabin was open to the public for shelter during bad weather or to briefly relive times long gone when forest rangers lived in cabins, stations and lookout towers across the Los Padres. It’s hard to imagine how different the forest must have been back then. Phone lines stretching across the mountains, connecting stations with fire lookouts and horse mounted rangers regularly patrolling the backcountry. Allow yourself to dream of how immaculate the trails must have been back then? Insert dream……. Times have changed, for better or worse, and the idea of phones across the mountains might not sound so good these days but back then it must have been a sight to behold. The Madulce Cabin site remains on the National Register of Historic Places but without the cabin it’s hard to recreate the feeling of what this site must have felt like during its heyday. There was some talk a few years back of trying to rebuild the Madulce Cabin. Local backcountry historians drafted a blueprint of the cabin and had secured private funding to rebuild an exact replica of the Madulce Cabin. Yet the story goes that due to modern Wilderness regulations the Forest Service was not able to permit the rebuilding of the Madulce Cabin. Pros and cons…..

In recent years, Madulce has been the location of quite a few LPFA trail projects and Working Vacations and remains a fantastic place to visit for backpackers or horse/mule packers. The area was mostly burned in the 2007 Zaca Fire but a few mature cedars and pines are still standing next to the cabin site. The horse corral remains along with some other remnants of the cabin era. Times change and perhaps one day a replica of the cabin can be rebuilt at Madulce to once again aid backcountry travelers. Maybe people will again seek refuge from snow storms inside the cabin and wait out the weather next to the wood burning stove. Then again, maybe not. Either way, today we look back at 20 years ago when the Madulce Cabin burned to the ground and along with it a treasured part of Los Padres history.  Lets hope that even without the cabin the memory and history will live on at least another 20 years too…..

— • — • — • —

Doe a Deer D13, Summer 2019

D13 DEER SEASON

The general deer hunting season in Zone D13 starts this weekend October 12 and lasts through November 10. Within the Los Padres, D13 covers the Mt Pinos Ranger District east of Hwy 33 and the Ojai District north and east of Sespe Creek. Expect to see a lot more activity within D13 over the next month and in particular this long holiday weekend. If you aren’t planning on hunting, you may want to choose a different location for your LP adventures this weekend and over the coming few weeks.  Be safe, tread lightly, remember fire restrictions and good luck……

— • — • — • —

National Public Lands Day Volunteers on Lion Canyon, photo Josephine Liu

FOREST 411

• While wildfire season is now a 12 month endeavor, we’ve got some “fire weather” headed our way over the coming days that include red flag warnings and potential preemptive power outages.  Be safe.

• There have been a few smaller wildfires within the Los Padres over the past month including the October 1 Ranch Fire (55 acres) near Pozo and the September 21 Lopez Fire (220 acres) outside of Arroyo Grande. The Lopez Fire was started by an improperly extinguished campfire.  Please, even if you are in a designated campfire use site, always remember to properly extinguish your campfire, it’s not worth doing it half ash. Like that?  It’s an original.  Royalties?

• Lastly, regarding wildfires, there were a couple articles recently written and a podcast related to the Los Padres and wildfires.  Check out History of Wildfires in Big Sur, an Outside Magazine Podcast about defending your home from wildfire and a LA Times piece discussing fuel breaks as related to the Thomas Fire. 

• Last month SLO based super meteorologist John Lindsey scientifically prophesied that “we could see lower than average amounts of rainfall in California this winter“.  And so the prediction game begins.  In the past we’ve heard weather predictions ranging from acorn droppings to ant activity but Mr. Lindsey is a living legend and a genius when it comes to weather.  We’ll see what happens…..  What do you predict?

• Over the past month sections of the following Los Padres trails have been maintained by your friendly neighborhood trail groups and the Forest Service: Lion Canyon Trail, Sisquoc Trail, Tunnel Trail, Jesusita Trail, West Fork Cold Spring Trail, Romero Trail, San Ysidro Trail, Franklin Trail, Pine Ridge Trail, Potrero John Trail, Reyes Peak Trail

• Big thanks to volunteers from Southern California Edison who showed up at toasty Dough Flat on a late July Saturday to help clean up the trailhead, paint the bathrooms, install signs and spend a little time clearing the trail up to the Condor Observation Point.  Thanks also to United Trail Maintainers of California for providing the trailhead sign and the Forest Service for the support!

What’s the opposite of a power outage? SCE volunteers bringing it!

Two more steel debris flow nets are being installed above Montecito on San Ysidro and Buena Vista creeks.  These two new nets will bring the total nets installed to sixNote that the information on the link is out of date.

• Here’s an feel-good story about some stranded hikers along the Arroyo Seco who were unable to reach the Police and cleverly used a message in bottle in order to get help.

• The Los Padres Forest and Ventana Wilderness Alliance will be moving forward with a trail reroute along the Pine Ridge Trail.  The PRT was damaged during the 2016 Soberanes Fire and subsequent 2017 storms to the extent that a reroute is needed near Barlow Camp.  No date has been set as to when the trail may reopen but hopefully sometime within the next year. Stay tuned…..

• Late last month the State Water Resources Control Board voted that more water needs to be released from Cachuma Lake in order to support the steelhead population.

• Super Volunteers, friends of the LPFA and Gossamer Gear ambassadors Rik and Paul were featured this past month in a Gossamer Gear profile series, click link above.  We know Rik and Paul really well, they are the main driving force behind so much good stuff across the forest including the LPFA Used Gear Sale, but it’s always cool seeing their influence extend beyond the Los Padres.  Great work guys!

• LPFA supporter and friend of the forest Kevin Cody has started a Facebook fundraiser on behalf of the LPFA.  We’ve known Kevin for many years and over that time he’s become somewhat famous for his dedication to keeping the forest litter free.  In particular he has a hatred of stray helium balloons.  It is not uncommon to be running or hiking with Kevin and then all of a sudden see him swimming through brush or scaling hillsides to retrieve that stray helium balloon that happened to plunge down in the Los Padres.  We’re willing to bet that no one has recovered more lost helium balloons than Kevin has.  Setting a great example Kevin and thanks for the additional support.  Happy Birthday!  If you’d like to support Kevin’s fundraiser, click here.

— • — • — • —

Kevin Cody doing what he does, days deep in the Caliente Drainage