Los Padres New Years Information, LPFA

A Big Sunset Across Little Pine, no Photoshop or filters needed….


Hello Friends ~ Happy Holidays!

You’re likely getting inundated with year-end emails so we’ll keep this short but we needed to share a couple Los Padres updates before the end of the year. Let’s do this…..

Highway 33: OPEN

CalTrans reopened Hwy 33 after it had been closed for the previous 11 months. While the highway is open, there are lane closures and some campgrounds and trails remain closed. For more info click here….

Fire Restrictions

The Forest Service lifted fire restrictions; campfires are now allowed in most parts of the forest with a valid California Campfire Permit. See details and more information here….



Ventura Backcountry Updates

  • Earlier this month the LPFA was able to successfully complete a 9-day Working Vacation along the Alder Creek Trail within the eastern Sespe Wilderness. Thanks to the efforts of our volunteers and Trail Crew, we were able to maintain 5.5 miles of wilderness trail. 
  • Thank you everyone who contributed to our #GivingTuesday campaign to raise money in support of the Ventura Backcountry trails. We were able to exceed our goals and will be leading a volunteer trail project on the Sespe River Trail as soon as we get a clear weekend. Stay tuned….
  • Please join us on Saturday Jan 6 as we continue helping efforts to restore the Agua Blanca Trail within the Sespe Wilderness. Led by Alan Coles, volunteers will be meeting at Lake Piru and heading up the Agua Blanca clearing brush and downed trees. To sign up, click here
  • With the reopening of Highway 33, the LPFA was also able to reopen the beloved Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center. If you haven’t visited Wheeler Gorge, stop by next time you are in the neighborhood. We’re open weekends and holidays; just 15 minutes up from downtown Ojai. See you there….

Last but certainly not least, we need to thank all the dedicated LPFA volunteers who spend their free time in support of the forest. This includes volunteers at the Visitor Centers, our Board of Directors and of course all of you who spend time with us on the trails and within the forest. We also want to give a huge shout-out to our hard-working professional Trail Crew who spend all year helping the trails. They’re out in the forest 10 hours a day through the summer heat, the winter freeze and everything in between. Also a big thanks to all the donors, partners and grantors who support our mission in all ways imaginable. We truly could not do what we love to do without all of you!

Thank you everyone for a great 2023 with an even better 2024 on tap….

2023 Los Padres Forest Association Accomplishments


  • 9,944 volunteer hours 
  • 140 forest projects & hitches 
  • 577 individual volunteers 
  • 243 days spent on the trails 
  • 843 Trail Crew person days on the trails
  • 22,724 hours contributed to the forest 
  • 85 miles of trail maintained 
  • 495 miles of trail patrolled 
  • 731 miles of forest roads patrolled 
  • 1 one hundred and forty year old roof replaced

Thanks again everyone! Now go find some time to enjoy the forest, get a backpack in, go ride your favorite trail or take your family for a drive to a trailhead you’ve never visited. Safe travels and see you next year….


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!

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.

LPFA Working Vacation Season is Here!

Still mostly Grass Mountain, March 24, 2023

Hello Friends,

Heading into 2023, the LPFA Program of Work was going to feature large scale trail projects on quite a few of the more remote trails located deep within the Los Padres backcountry. We had Working Vacations scheduled to work on trails including the Puerta Suela (Dick Smith), Sweetwater, Bucksnort, Hurricane Deck and what was sure to be an epic two-week Working Vacation based at South Fork Station restoring the Sisquoc Trail. Alas, the best laid plans often go awry and Mother Nature had other plans. Due to this years substantial storm damage it’s looking very unlikely that we’ll be able to make it out this season to these more remote locations. Bummer… but those trails aren’t going anywhere and we’ll get there eventually….

As a result of the storm damage, we have pivoted our Program of Work to focus on trails a little closer to home. We’re still finalizing dates and details but we’re hoping to host larger scale projects this season on the Manzana, the Sespe, Santa Barbara Canyon, Santa Cruz, Blue Canyon, Alder Creek (Sespe), Tinta and the trails located off the back of Figueroa Mountain. While we certainly love the backpacking style Working Vacations that come with pack support, the fancy gravity water filter and wetting canvas manties to keep the coolers cold; it’s looking that at least through April most of our Working Vacations will be more along the lines of car-camping. Car-camping is great too, don’t get us wrong and it’s much easier driving in coolers of ice as compared to packing them in on mules.

All that being said, our first larger scale trail project of the season is set for April 5-9 at NIRA working up and down the Manzana Trail. We are still finalizing details but we’re hoping to drive in to NIRA on Wednesday April 5, setup camp and work the next 5 days clearing slides, downed trees and brush. While we’d love each of you to come for the entire 5 days, we know that life sometimes gets in the way of trail projects and there will be opportunities for people to come for shorter periods of time as well. If you are interested in signing up or to learn more, click the link below and get on the email list – we’ll provide updates as soon as we can. Hope you can make it!

Exuberant Trail Volunteers  – Indian Creek Working Vacation, Spring 2022
SIGN UP NIRA WORKING VACATION HERE!

Downed Trees Everywhere!!!

So many trees have fallen this month due to a combination of super saturated soil, wind and snow load. if you come across a downed tree or any other obstacle along the trails or roads, PLEASE take a photo of the trail impediment, try to position an object or person in the photo for scale, record the location and share on HikeLosPadres, with the Forest Service or send directly to us: INFO@LPForest.org      Thanks….

Forest Hiring Opportunities

It’s certainly harder to get around the forest at the moment, but that just makes the rewards greater for those who do – photo Wayne Pooper
  • FOREST SERVICE: The LP Forest Service is looking for candidates who have an interest and passion for outdoor recreation and public service! Click Here
  • LPFA TRAIL CREW: The LPFA is currently hiring for our spring-summer Trail Crew. If you like spending time in the forest and working on trails, check it out! Click Here

So nice to see so much water flowing just about everywhere across the forest. It’s going to be a great spring. Photo Tommy

Sespe Working Vacation & Exciting Santa Cruz Trail News!

Sespe, Red Reef & the Topatopa’s – shining!

Hello Friends – HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

While there is much to be thankful for here in the Los Padres, we are most thankful for the 32 volunteers who helped out last week on our Sespe Working Vacation based at Willett Camp. The LPFA has hosted dozens of Working Vacations over the years but they just keep getting better, more efficient and more fun. We had a great time out there, the Sespe in fall is hard to beat and we watched the colors get better and better with each passing day. We’ll share the whole story later but for now some quick bullet points of what we accomplished:

Otis, Annie, Tommy, Honey, Floyd & Jessabelle – could not have done it without you!
  • Our awesome volunteers cleared and restored 4 miles of the Sespe River Trail, mainly between Willett and Coltrell Camps.
  • We hauled out, thanks to the mules, over a dozen trash bags filled with garbage left along the trail and at Willett Camp. Willett is clean now, please help keep it that way!
  • We repaired 4 disastrous fire rings around Willett while creating defensible space for when the fire ban is lifted.
  • Repaired and cleaned most of the out-buildings at Willett Camp. Much more love is needed!
  • Cut out 13 downed trees which were blocking both the Sespe River and Red Reef Trails.
  • Somehow kept everyone well fed and energized despite the freezing conditions and daily long hikes to the work sites.
  • Engaged with countless dozens of backpackers who were out enjoying the Sespe and its fall colors over the past week!
They don’t call him the Shermanator for nothing…..

We want to also thank Southern California Edison, who provided a grant to complete some of this work and a private anonymous donor (you know who you are THANKS!) who paid for all the food and drinks for our hungry and thirsty volunteers.

We are working on scheduling next years Spring Working Vacations and as of right now will be working on the Alder Creek Trail within the Sespe Wilderness and hosting another Working Vacation at South Fork Station in the San Rafael Wilderness. Stay tuned for updates and we hope you can join us in 2023 and beyond……

You likely know that #GivingTuesday is this coming Tuesday November 29. Last year the LPFA raised funds to fix a sketchy section of the Condor Trail within the Sespe Wilderness called the Alder Creek Slide. This year we will be focusing our #GivingTuesday efforts to continue our trail restoration along the Santa Cruz Trail within Santa Barbara County. Thank you everyone who helped support our efforts this past year and we hope you choose to support this #GivingTuesday as well. 

Sespe Creek in Full Bloom

Fire Restrictions, Trail work Updates & Volunteer Opportunities

Just Another Mission Pine Sunrise
Photo by Conor Watson

Hello Friends,

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!

Volunteers relaxing at the Santa Cruz Guard Station, May ’21. Photo by Marianne Henry

Forest 411 

  • 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. 
      
  • Volunteers are returning again this year as citizen smoke watchers at the 92-year-old Chews Ridge lookout tower south of Carmel. This commanding vantage point has given spotters the ability to detect and quickly report new wildfire starts before they get large and destructive. If you’re interested in becoming a Chews Ridge volunteer, visit the Chews Ridge Fire Lookout FB page or email Scott at PalomarTowers@gmail.com for more information.
      
  • 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. 
      
  • Graffiti removal efforts have been advanced by local Boy Scouts. Members of Troop 26 helped remove over 30 pieces of graffiti on Tunnel Trail in the SB Frontcountry. Great work, Scouts! We hate to see graffiti in the forest, so please let us know if you find any – email INFO@LPForest.org
Member of Troop 26 helping remove graffiti. Photo by Paul Weakliem

Volunteer Opportunities 

  • National Trail Day is coming up on June 5th! This is a great day to give back to and enjoy the many trails we love. Click here to find a volunteer event near you! 
      
  • 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 toan@ventanawild.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 (jlesage@sbbg.org) to sign up.
The LPFA Trail Crew in Action

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. 

Trail work, Forest Updates & More!

If a picture is worth a thousand words, does that mean a before and after is worth two thousand words? Lion Canyon Trail, Ventura County, compliments of the LPFA Trail Crew and the LPNF

Hello Friends,

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……

The new Pothole Trailhead and southern terminus of the Condor Trail, photo USFS

FOREST 411

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…..

• Speaking of reopening, CalTrans did a great job and was able to reopen Hwy 1 at Rat Creek well ahead of their initial target date. As of now you can clearly drive Hwy 1 from SLO to Carmel and access most of the Monterey Ranger District.

• Speaking of reopening once again, after being closed since July 2016, the Pine Ridge Trail out of Big Sur Station reopened earlier this month. This is a huge accomplishment with the lions share of thanks going to the Ventana Wilderness Alliance. Enjoy responsibly, please…..

• 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…..

• Hopefully you’ve heard of OR-93 by now. If not, there may very well be a wolf cruising the Los Padres right now. We haven’t received an official update from Fish and Wildlife in a few weeks now but last we heard OR-93 was headed for the SLO backcountry. We’ll be watching for updates daily, stay tuned…..

• 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: SLOPOSTMTFSB Trails CouncilAthletic Brewing CoREISCASCENFWFLPNFand 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.

Upper PRT April Magic, photo Duane Dean

• 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……

• Due to continued resource damage, the FS has permanently closed Colson Campground located just outside Santa Maria.

• 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.

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Recent LPFA restoration efforts along Hi Mountain Road, photo TrailSmith

Hindsight is 2020

The sun sets early over the Mono Jungle this time of year but we’ve spent many long days of late working the new Cold Spring reroute trail.

Hello Friends,

As we near the end of 2020, the saying ‘Hindsight is 20/20’ has never been more applicable or felicitous. While 2020 will live in infamy for so many reasons (no LPFA Working Vacations – BOO), we sure hope it hasn’t been without at least a few silver linings.  Looking back, COVID hit and we saw record numbers of people visiting the forest. At the time, it was overwhelming and many of the trailheads, camps, creeks and canyons were inundated with people seeking time outside. While the infrastructure wasn’t ready for this onslaught, the silver lining was that people were getting out and enjoying the forest.  Of course, it would have been nice had many of these people known more about Leave No Trace, forest etiquette or been better at dispersing, but at the same time, let’s hope that these people, in particular the forest newbies, were able to establish an appreciation for the outdoors and that they continue to carry that appreciation with them into the future. We can teach the curious, but we can’t teach curiosity. Life will get back to the next newest normal and group activities will commence again, but we have to believe that the world is a better place with as many people appreciating nature as possible. Maybe, if we’re lucky, that will be a positive lasting legacy when looking back, hindsight on 2020.  

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Thanks to everyone who donated on #GivingTuesday to continue the LPFA trail work on both the Santa Cruz and Piedra Blanca NRT’s.  We got started earlier this month clearing brush and grooming tread on the Santa Cruz Trail (see photos below) but had to stop due to the latest Stay at Home Order. Can’t wait to get back out there, hopefully soon!

LOS PADRES UPDATE

California issued the latest regional COVID Stay at Home Order on December 6 and shortly thereafter the Forest Service released additional forest related regional closures and restrictions. While the forest remains open, all developed campgrounds across the Los Padres will be closed through January 6, 2021.  Here’s a list of the developed Los Padres campgrounds, in general they are the ones you might consider car-campgrounds. That being said, the trails, trailheads, picnic areas, day use areas, OHV routes and dispersed camping remain open for us to enjoy across most of the forest.

The Monterey Ranger District remains closed due to unsafe conditions as a result of the Dolan Fire. This closure is expected to last until the Dolan Fire is 100% contained which is dependent on getting more rain. This is a bit of a conundrum, as more rain should lead to the full containment of the Dolan Fire, but it’s that same rain that causes more unsafe conditions in and around recent burn scars. It’s likely that once the Dolan Fire reaches full containment, the Forest Service will keep the fire scar closed, but reopen other parts of the District. Time will tell and please remain patient. We need rain….

An additional closure was extended for the Pine Ridge Trail which is also within the Monterey Ranger District. This most recent closure lasts through May 21, 2021. A quick little backstory, the Pine Ridge Trail was severely damaged in the 2016 Soberanes Fire and subsequent 2017 storms.  The Ventana Wilderness Alliance has been working with the Forest Service to restore the trail but have had unforeseen 2020 COVID related and fire delays that have pushed the reopening back. From what we hear, the trail is looking great to a certain point but a few more weeks of work is needed. Hang in there…..

And last but not least, the regional fire restrictions remain in place through December 31, 2020 for the Los Padres NF. Again, this means no campfires anywhere and the use of camp stoves only at developed campfire use sites, which are mostly closed due to the above mentioned COVID closures. We have come full circle….  While the northern Los Padres has seen some rain, there has been very little rain across most of the forest. Santa Barbara is currently at 2% of County-Wide Percent-of-Normal Rainfall, whereas historically we should have received around 30% of our rainfall totals by the end of December. That’s a lot of catching up to do – might need a January, February and March miracle this year. Anyway, the fire restrictions should remain in place until the forest receives a couple inches of rain and good news is that there is rain in the forecast….  Fingers crossed and remain safe everyone….

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Sneak peak at the 2021 Los Padres Calendar, get em while you can!

FOREST 411

• Thanks everyone who has ordered the 2021 Los Padres calendar.  The calendars are set to arrive very soon and we’ll have them shipped out or delivered hopefully in time for Christmas but certainly before the end of the year. We went with a local printer this year and they are looking great! If you’d like one, click here. Happy New Year!

• Quick volunteer update, all non-emergency or non-prioritized work across the Los Padres has been cancelled through January 6 as part of the regional COVID stay at home order. This includes our volunteer projects and Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center. As a result, there’s not much scheduled right now as far as volunteer projects but we’re planning 2021 with the hopes of Working Vacations and regular volunteer trail projects. See below for more…..

• Seems like ancient history already but it was officially released that arson was the cause of the November 25, 2019 Cave Fire.

• Some of the seasonal gates have been closed across the forest while some gates that usually close in November remain open due to the lack of rain. At this point in time, we suggest that if you’re headed into the forest to a place where gate access might be a concern, be sure to contact the local Ranger District ahead of time to see if the gates are open or closed. We do know that Pine Mtn gate closed earlier this month and should remain closed until spring.

• Speaking of roads and gates, the Forest Service was able to repair the severely damaged and rutted section of road just before Thorn Meadow off Grade Valley Road.  Great to see that work accomplished!

• MONOLITH/ˈmänəˌliTH/ a large single upright block of stone, especially one shaped into or serving as a pillar or monument. If you missed the recent monolith craze, it’s worth a Google search and some time while drinking your morning coffee. Interestingly enough, the Los Padres made the news earlier this month when one of the monoliths made a cameo near the summit of Hi Mountain above Arroyo Grande. We found it very interesting that the aliens who planted the Hi Mtn monolith chose to plant it where they did. I guess aliens don’t have the needed FS keys to get to the actual summit either.

• For those of us procrastinators (it’s not a bad thing) who still have some last minute shopping to take care of, remember that you can always use Amazon Smile and choose the LPFA as your charity of choice.  Help the forest and shop at the same time, what could be better – maybe being done with shopping of course. Thanks for choosing to help the LPFA!

• Show of hands, who has sat in a rock art site and been baffled by trying to figure out what is being represented within those amazing lines, colors, curves and images? There might be an answer after a recent study found evidence of psychedelics at a nearby painting site.  It’s amazing how science continues to uncover information about the native people of these lands. Be sure to practice proper etiquette when visiting these sacred sites!

• Momentum continues to grow with the restoration of the Rose Valley Lakes and Sespe Creek Watershed. While still at the conceptual design phase, the idea is to remove fish passage barriers including the three man-made Rose Valley Lakes. For more information check the link here and we’ll keep you posted as more information is available.

“The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places” – Roald Dahl

UPCOMING EVENTS

While it’s impossible to predict  or schedule anything right now, we’re really hoping to put together some extended volunteer projects this season. Stay tuned, fingers crossed!

February 2021: Blue Canyon Volunteer Weekends, LPFA
March 2021: Sespe Volunteer Weekends, LPFA
April 2021: Santa Cruz Trail Working Vacation, LPFA
May 2021: Puerto Suelo Dick Smith Working Vacation, LPFA
May 2021: Upper Sisquoc Working Vacation, LPFA
June 2021: Haddock Camp Sespe Working Vacation (GMPB Trail), LPFA

Los Padres Fire Restrictions & Lots of Good News

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that ____ mountain.” – Jack Kerouac
Black Canyon of the Los Padres, November 2019, photo M. Wallace

Hello Friends,

The big forest news this past week was the Forest Service announcing that the Los Padres is going into Extreme Fire Danger restrictions until at least December 31, 2019.  We’ve all seen the recent devastating wildfires across California.  The raised restrictions are intended to help prevent similar wildfires here in the Los Padres.  Under Extreme Fire Danger restrictions:

  1. Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of the Los Padres Forest.
  2. Camping stoves are allowed only within Designated Campfire Use Sites and with a California Campfire Permit.
  3. No camp stoves are permitted outside of the Designated Campfire Use Sites, meaning no camp stoves in the backcountry.
  4. No smoking outside of a Designated Campfire Use Site or inside an enclosed vehicle or building.

That being said, current conditions across the Los Padres are prime for hiking, exploring, riding, backpacking and/or wandering.  While the idea of camping without a fire or backpacking without a stove might sound unpleasant, give it a shot and you might end up liking the weight savings, extra sleep or simplicity that “cold camping” provides.  There’s an old saying that challenges are opportunities for improvement or when life gives you lemons make lemonade.  With that in mind, here are a few tips you can try in order to turn your fire’less camping into a safe, fun and memorable camping experience:

The weather has been great, there’s still good water in the usual good water places and remember that HikeLosPadres.com has lots of current camp and trail condition reports to help with your trip planning.  Regardless of fire or stove, we hope you find some time over the coming weeks to visit your favorite trail, check out that hidden canyon you’ve always wanted explore or grab a friend and seek out those fall Los Padres colors.

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2020 LOS PADRES CALENDAR

The LPFA will once again publish a wall calendar for 2020 featuring the vistas, mountains, waterfalls and plants/animals we love from across the Los Padres. This will be our 8th year organizing LP calendars and we are looking for photos from you to include within the calendar. The calendars should print in early December and be ready in time for the holidays. If we use one of your photos, we’ll of course credit you within the calendar and also send you a calendar to hang up in your kitchen, gear nook or office. The calendars will be available online as well as at your local LP Ranger Station or Visitor Center.

If you have a photo you’d like to submit, please email INFO@LPForest.org or you can check the link below for more information. Thanks in advance and looking forward to hearing from some of you soon…..

https://lpforest.org/2020-los-padres-calendar/

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Grapevine Sunrise & Moonset, LPFA Working Vacation, October 2019

FOREST 411

• Over the past month sections of the following Los Padres trails have been maintained by the Forest Service or your friendly neighborhood trail group: Madulce Peak Trail, Big Pine Spring Camp Trail, Deal Connector, Rancho Nuevo Trail, Matilija Falls Trail, Pine Ridge Trail, Arroyo Burro Trail, Santa Cruz Trail, Gridley Trail, Camuesa Connector Trail, Cold Spring Trail, Hot Springs Trail, Romero Trail, San Ysidro Trail, Baron Trail, Fishbowls Trail, Jesusita Trail, Tunnel Trail, Cedar Creek Trail, Grapevine Trail, Sisquoc Trail, Big Cone Spruce Trail and Matilija Trail.

• As we approach the rainy season expect to see some of the gates across the Los Padres swing shut due to the seasonal gate closure regulations.  We’ve not heard of any closures as of yet but all the Ojai area gates will close by December 15 and the other gates should shut as storms begin approach.  If you’re heading out to a trailhead and you’re unsure if the gate might be open or closed, we strongly suggest contacting the local Ranger District before you head out.  We’ll keep you posted as gates start to shut.

• For those of you who hike the far Southern Los Padres or plan on doing the Condor Trail, we’ve heard a rumor that the Pothole and Agua Blanca Trailhead will be moving before the end of the year from the Lake Piru Campground to right next to the start of the Pothole Trail.  This will mean that the public will be able to drive all the way to the start of the Pothole Trail rather than having to walk miles along the paved Piru Lake Road.  The plan to move the trailhead has been in the works for a few years now but it’s looking like it might actually happen by late 2019.  We’ll keep everyone posted on this as well.  This will be terrific……

More Condor Trail, it was announced earlier this week that 800 acres of the Trout Creek properties above Arroyo Grande were transferred from the Wilderness Land Trust to the Los Padres Forest.  The Trout Creek properties were purchased by the Wilderness Land Trust earlier this year from private sellers and as a result are now protected for public enjoyment.  The Condor Trail passes through Trout Creek.

• Speaking of condors, the population of California condors has now surpassed 100 across the central California region.

• CalTrans announced that they will continue the preemptive closure of Hwy 1 during large storm events for the 2019-2020 winter season.  The closures will be south of Big Sur, keep this in mind if you have plans to visit the area over the winter months.

• Speaking of Big Sur, the Ventana Wilderness Alliance has been working hard to reopen the Los Padres portion of the famed Pine Ridge Trail.  They have trail crews scheduled to work the trail for much of the fall and again starting back up next spring.  Three cheers – hip hip hooray for VWA!  In the meantime we want to remind everyone that the Pine Ridge Trail remains closed to the public due to dangerous trail conditions.  If all goes according to plan, the PRT should reopen sometime in the next year or two.  We’ll keep you posted…..

• And speaking of awesome people doing awesome things for our trails, the 5th Annual Turkey Trot fundraiser for the Franklin Trail successfully launched earlier this month.  The Franklin Turkey Trot is an excellent example of trail lovers finding creative ways to support the trails they love most. Very cool……

• For years and years people have been enjoying the famed mountain biking trails along West Cuesta Ridge in San Luis Obispo.  While the trails were in good shape and frequently used, they were never officially part of the Forest Service inventory of System Trails and as such were technically illegal trails.  Thanks to the local SLO trail community and the Forest Service working together, the NEPA process has begun to adopt and legalize many of these West Cuesta trails.  The Forest Service is accepting comments regarding the West Cuesta Trails through November 24.  Click here for more details.  This is a terrific example of the FS and the trail community working together towards a mutually beneficial goal.  Cheers again!

• The Forest Service issued a forest order on October 22 to close Dry Canyon and Dome Springs Campground in the Mt. Pinos Ranger District due to potential live explosives and artillery.  Read more here and closure map here.

Dave Weaver Award Winners (L to R): Mickey McTigue, Jasonn Beckstrand, Otis Calef, Mike Smith. Missing from the photo are Rik Christensen and Bob Burtness
Photo Dan Najera

• LPFA President Jasonn Beckstrand was recognized earlier this month as the 2019 winner of the coveted Dave Weaver Wilderness Award.  The Dave Weaver Award is named in honor of the late Dave Weaver who helped start the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program here in the Los Padres Forest.  Dave was a huge advocate for volunteers working with the Forest Service to accomplish mutual goals. Dave’s spirit lives on in so much of what we do across the Los padres and his award is given annually as a lifetime achievement for outstanding Los Padres volunteers.  Jasonn is the 6th award winner joining Rik Christensen (2014), Mickey McTigue (2015), Mike Smith (2016), Bob Burtness (2017) and Otis Calef (2018).

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The Infamous Devil’s Slide, Upper Sisquoc Trail
Recently restored by the LPFA Trail Crew and LPFA Volunteers as part of a NFWF Trail Grant, photo J. Morris

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…..

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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……

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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.

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