We just wrapped up an incredibly fun and productive 10-day Working Vacation on the Red Reef Trail within the Sespe Wilderness. Over the course of the Working Vacation we accomplished 1.9 miles of trail restoration, clearing some of the thickest and gnarliest brush the Los Padres has to offer. On one of the days there were 10 of us brushing for nearly 8 hours and we cleared only 0.16 miles! The work was pretty intense and certainly hot but very very rewarding and long overdue. This section of the Red Reef Trail hadn’t been maintained in 11 years, which is a long time in chaparral growth years. We’ll share more information about Red Reef soon but we first wanted to thank all the volunteers who helped with this ambitious and rewarding undertaking: Danny, Charles, Ivan (Maui), Mark, Karen, Les, Sonia, Nancy, Marianne, MaryLou, Jim, Ted, Peter, Cameron, Kevin, Liz, Drew, John I, John II, Jasonn, Bardley, Diane, the wonderful packers from PSCOE, support from The CREW and our friends at Zevia and Topatopa who helped keep everyone incentivized….. If you haven’t explored the Red Reef Trail, this is certainly a good time to put it on your todo list. As always, feel free to email us if you have any questions about the trails or camps across the Los Padres.
While we’ve put the Working Vacations in the rear-view for the season, there are quite a few upcoming volunteer opportunities lined up across the Los Padres, check out the calendar below. This includes the return of our annual Open House at Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center and a National Trails Day event on the Sunset Valley Trail along Figueroa Mountain. We’ll also be heading out to Mono Campground and the Lower Manzana next week as well. It’s a good time to be in the Los Padres right now and an even better time to come out and volunteer. Hope you can join us soon and enjoy the rest of the newsletter……
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WHEELER GORGE OPEN HOUSE
For over 15 years the LPFA has hosted annual Open Houses at the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center. The Wheeler Open House has always been a celebration of the Los Padres Forest where we invite friends and partners to come out and share their passion and knowledge of the forest. Unfortunately, COVID derailed the last few years of Open Houses but we’re thankfully back at it again this year hosting the 2022 Open House on Saturday May 28 between the hours of 9am – 3pm. This years free family-friendly event will feature critters and crafts including reptiles, a variety of exotic birds and of course lots of information about our favorite bird the California Condor. While you’re there, be sure to head into the Visitor Center and check out Marcos the Mountain Lion, you won’t be disappointed. There’s always something going on at Wheeler and we hope to see you and your family on the 28th, it’s going to be fun!
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• While most of the Los Padres remains in limited fire restrictions, a quick reminder that no campfires are allowed in the Santa Barbara Frontcountry between Gaviota and Divide Peak and from East Camino south to the forest boundary.
• May 1st is the date when most seasonal gates open across the Los Padres. The usual seasonal gates should now be open but it’s always a good idea to call your local Ranger Station ahead of time just to make sure.
• Huge congratulations to our friend Betsy MacGowan from the VWA who was recognized earlier this month with the 2021 Enduring Service Award. It’s great to see Betsy acknowledged for her dedication to the Los Padres. Cheers Betsy, THANK YOU!
• Speaking of the VWA, one of their board members Leor Pantilat was recently featured in Outside for his ambitious Big Sur Waterfall Project. So cool……
• While we’re in the neighborhood, the FS extended the Dolan Fire closure through April 29, 2023. Information about the closure is here and a map of the closure here.
• Did someone say Dolan Fire, not new news but some good news. Funds have been allocated to rebuild the Nacimiento Fire Station which was tragically destroyed during the Dolan Fire.
• Last thing on the Dolan Fire, the arsonist responsible for the Dolan Fire was recently sentenced to 24 years in prison.
• Any surfers out there? Bet you didn’t expect to ever read the words Mick Fanning in a LPFA newsletter. Pretty cool actually, Mick, Connor Coffin and crew visited the Los Padres (yes,it’s true) earlier this year, check it out. Some top secret surf spots too….. 😉
• What’s the opposite of top secret? How about the YouTuber who purposely crashed his plane into the Hurricane Deck last fall, remember him? He was in the news again last month, check it out.
• Not sure if we shared this yet but the Condor Trail was featured in National Geographic earlier this season. It’s been a good year for the Condor Trail with a record number of hikers attempting and completing the epic thru-hike. When are you going?
• The Condor Trail passes along Pine Mountain, which remains a hot topic with a recent lawsuit filed against the Forest Service as part of the Reyes Peak Fuels Reduction Project.
• The Forest Service is working with some partner groups to remove the three artificial lakes along the Rose Valley Creek watershed above Ojai. More information is available at the link here. The FS is taking public comments through June 9. Make your voice heard.
• The Santa Barbara Library continues to host great monthly Trail Talk events. The last two featured James Wapotich talking about waterfalls and Helen Tarbet discussing wildflowers of the Central Coast. You can also download and view Helen’s excellent Figueroa Mountain Wildflower Guide here.
• Chumash remains and artifacts were recently moved from the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum and returned to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash.
• The Los Padres National Forest recently launched a new revamped version of their website. Check it out, should be much more user-friendly and easy to navigate.
• Last but not least, the LPFA Trail Crew has been busy restoring and maintaining trails. Over the past couple months we’ve worked on the following trails: Sespe, Red Reef, Lion Canyon, Rose-Lion Connector, Santa Barbara Canyon, Pothole, Santa Cruz, Sellers Potrero, Buckhorn, Indian Canyon, Figueroa Mountain (Willow Spring, Willow Connector, White Rock, Davy Brown, Munch Canyon, Sunset Valley), Tequepis, Arroyo Quemado, Horn Canyon, Matilija, Blue Canyon, Blue Canyon Connector, Romero, Cold Spring, Sisquoc and Manzana. We’ve got work lined up for much of the summer as well, stay tuned for more….. and please continue to let us know if you come across any downed trees or other trail issues that need help. www.HikeLosPadres.com or email INFO@LPForest.org – thanks!
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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!
May 21-23: Mono Campground Restoration, LPFA
May 21: Chumash Earth Day, Santa Ynez Reservation
May 20-22: Big Sur Trail Maintenance, VWA
May 22: Highway 33 Adopt-A-Highway Cleanup, LPFA
May 22: Potrero John Nature Hike, Lanny Kaufer
May 22: West Fork Cold Spring Microtrash Cleanup, FW
May 24: Manzana Crosscut Project Part II, LPFA
May 26-30: Sisquoc Tamarisk Removal, CIR
May 27-29: Big Sur Trail Work, VWA
May 27-30: Carrizo Trail Saw Trip, VWA
May 28: Wheeler Visitor Center Open House
June 4: NATIONAL TRAILS DAY
National Trails Day, Figueroa Mountain, LPFA
National Trails Day, Pine Mountain, MPRD
June 5: West Camino Cielo Microtrash Cleanup, FW
June 14: Trailwork Tuesday TBD, LPFAJune 25: Last Saturday Trail Project TBD, LPFA
Aug 13 – Sep 25: A-Zone South General Hunting Season
October 2022: Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Training
Nov 5-13, 2022: South Fork Working Vacation – San Rafael Wilderness, LPFA