Los Padres Forest Association – NEWS FOR YOU!

Lots of hard work went into making that little faint line – before and after – Red Reef Trail Working Vacation – May 2022

Hello Friends,

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 Visitor Center Open House – Saturday May 28


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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It’s a long hike to this pool but not as hard as it used to be……


• 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?

Crosscut Work is FUN! More details here about this 40″ downed gray pine along the Manzana

• 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 websiteCheck 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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The Ojai Raptor Center presenting at a previous Wheeler Open House – don’t forget, May 28, 2022

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

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


LPFA Transverse – Wildling and Gates

Sespe Glow, photo Dan Hall

Good Morning Los Padres,
Lets get right to it, shall we?

W I L D L I N G   
W I L D E R N E S S   

The LPFA is honored to be partnering with the Wildling Museum to host a panel discussion about the history, impact, spledor and future of the Santa Barbara County Wilderness areas.  The event is Saturday February 7 at 5:30pm in Solvang.  We are fortunate to have a fantastic panel assembled to talk about the Wilderness.  Joining us will be James Wapotich, Bob Burtness and Kerry Kellogg.  You can read their bios and more information at the following link:

Space is limited for the event, it will sell out.  If interested, get your tickets ASAP.  Make a day out of it.  Go for a dayhike at nearby Figueroa Mountain or the San Rafael Wilderness and come back in time for the panel event.  It’s going to be really fun and chock full of great stories about the SB Backcountry.  See you there………

Ranger Peak Gate, usually open, but not always
F O R E S T   G A T E S

If you’ve not checked out HikeLosPadres.com and you are reading this, you probably should set aside a few mins (or more) to explore the website.  For the past few years the LPFA has been working with web designer extraordinaire John Ziegler to create this fantastic tool and resource for LP Forest users.  The site is literally being improved every day.  It’s been a huge undertaking and there remain bugs throughout the site that are on our todo list – but we are hacking away and as mentioned making it faster, better and more user-friendly each day.

One of the new features we’ve added is a page dedicated to the gates across the Forest.  We just launched this feature earlier this week and it’s still very much a work in progress.  Our hope is that we can work with the Forest Service and the public to have as up-to-date information as possible as to if the gates are open or closed.  Did I mention its still a work in progress?  Check it out:

At the moment we only have a handful of gates included on the site but we will be adding them regularly over the coming weeks.  If you can think of any gates to be added, have information on any closures or have any ideas/opinions about the gates page, PLEASE let us know.  INFO@LPForest.org  As the winter moves on, we’ll be updating information as we get it so please share or come back and check on the status of a gate before your next journey into the Forest.  You can update the status of a gate by clicking on the comment section on the gate page as well.

VDC, Pine Ridge Trail, photo Tim Bills
N E W S   &   N O T E S

– The Pine Ridge Trail and parking lot at the west side of the Pine Ridge Trail is scheduled to open again today, this is the parking at Big Sur Station.
– While the trail remains in poor shape, especially for the first couple miles, it is passable for hikers.
– Please be careful along the trail.  For more information contact the Big Sur Station at (831) 667-2315

– Wheeler Gorge is ramping up for another busy season of interpretive events.
– Our summer schedule of events is filling up and we’ll be sure to share them with you as summer approaches.
– For starters, Wheeler is hosting a Trail Boss program on February 7.
– Trail Boss is a Forest Service supported program that teaches the techniques and safety involved with trail maintenance.
– The program is open to anyone 12 years or older and is usually a huge hit amongst the scouting communities.
– Topics include: first aid, trail terminology, introduction to trail tools and history of trail work.
– This is a great program for teaching respect for the trails and introducing the next generation of trail users to the art and science of trail building and maintenance.
– For more information contact Gordie:  WheelerGorge@LPForest.org   Hope to see you there!


Enjoy the weekend everyone and see you on the trails……..