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VWA in the News - Forest Closure

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Expand view Topic review: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by Alladin on Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:42 pm

Good news from the Forest Service regarding trail conditions (referened under "highlights" - ... ecid=10974 ). There we can see that the "Tin-House Trail" has a more cheery, optimistic and joyful status report.

From the FS-referenced site: ( ... gIk_ltSypo )

FS: Trail Condition: Kind of Good - Little to no bushwacking and easily followable

The more pessimistic VWA trails site seems to have stricken this trail from existence!

Who am I supposed to believe ? Why can't the VWA put up more cheery trail status reports ?

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by Alladin on Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:20 pm

My wife grilled the guy at the Big Sur Forest service station, he said that the closed areas of the ventana wilderness will be open by "early December" (this year). He also advised that the Pine Ridge trail to Sykes will not be open for many years.
Maybe the Sykes-lovers will implement a pipe to bring the warm water down to Barlow ?

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by Walden on Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:28 pm

Rock on Dmitry !
individuals should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences, and that they have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice.

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by Dmitry on Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:19 pm

@ventana_paramour - It is obvious that without foot traffic the trails will get overgrown, but it is irrelevant. From the public policy point of view hard closure is a very cost effective and elegant solution. It frees up the over-tasked staff for things that really matter, like paperwork and powerpoints. Just think about how sleek those quarterly reports look now.

Fortunately, we live in a liberal democracy and no one person makes decisions, so you can't complain to anyone. But if you really don't like it - go ahead, don't let the pink tape and a couple blurry photocopies at the trailhead stop you. The state will gladly accept your $5000 donation. It will make the quarterly reports look even better.

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by ventana_paramour on Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:58 pm

@Dmitry - Keep the trails closed? What exactly will that accomplish? There is NO money in the Forest Service's recreation budget to maintain trails. Trails in the Los Padres NF are maintained almost exclusively by unpaid volunteers OR paid crews funded and supervised by the VWA. There are not (and never will be) enough funds to maintain trails as good as they should be. But keeping the trails closed for a long time only encourages post-fire regrowth to proceed unabated, very often to the point of completely obscuring the trail beyond repair.

Public safety is important no doubt -- but this persistent closure to the public is beyond ridiculous. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? We don't need yet another federal bureaucracy depriving us of our public lands to "protect" us from other people's poor decisions.

The public absolutely needs access to our trails before they are completely lost to nature --- and the government needs to stop this unnecessary deprivation of access to our public lands. OPEN VENTANA!!

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by Dmitry on Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:43 pm

Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge will reopen Oct 13. That's a citation galore waiting to happen. Don't have $5000? Well, there is an option of half a year in jail. Everything is for your safety and convenience, just like the wilderness closure.

Lets keep the trails closed for a very, very long time. By then enough money will be raised, and the trails will be very, very nice.

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by mikesplain on Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:47 pm

Good point & I'll admit a little speculation on #3, but have heard FS murmurings of fire concerns & limited staffing / response capability due to so many fires all over the west. "Burnt to cinders" though some of the backcountry may be, regrowth has been heavy enough that many veg types could easily burn again.

Regardless, the latest report is:
1) The lower/western Pine Ridge Trail is severely damaged & pending assessment by a professional FS crew; it & other spur trails in the lower Big Sur River drainage will likely remain closed unless & until repairs can be made.
2) The remainder of the Monterey Ranger District should re-open within a month or so.

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by Foxy Concubine on Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:39 am

Nice word "anthropogenic" ! I had to look that one up.
It seems misguided to close the forest based on risk of more wildfire after the place has been burned to a cinder. If this was a rationalization then they should have closed the unburnt area in addition to the burned. Those two forest service decision makers seem to work in mysterious ways.

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by mikesplain on Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:17 am


We hear you & definitely relate to your frustration at the lengthy Forest closure. The LPNF Monterey Ranger District is public land & the public should have access. The VWA has been advocating for re-opening the District (or at least a reduction of the closure area) for months & rest assured, we're getting close. I suspect the closure has endured this long due to bare-bones LPNF staffing & concerns about:
1) visitor safety (which should not generally affect the closure of wilderness, but keep in mind that our region tends to attract novice/first-time backpackers who can cause a strain on Search and Rescue operations when they get in trouble)
2) resource damage (trail "workarounds", abandoned gear in areas of especially tough conditions, etc.)
3) the risk of additional anthropogenic wildfire during a time of hindered response capability (this risk will of course wane with cooler, moister fall weather)
Keep an eye on our website & the LPNF website for updates.

Re: VWA in the News - Forest Closure

Post by Alladin on Fri Sep 15, 2017 7:44 am

In my opinion, there was no reason to close the forest after the fire. The fire burnt some brush and made some trails difficult to follow, but it also made some trails easier to see and easier to follow. Some trails will have a short-term benefit immediately after a fire because they had been overgrown with brush prior to the fire, any trail which was "impassible" related to heavy brush would likely have been made slightly more passable by the burning of all that brush.
The excessive rain last winter caused a problem for one trail, the Pine Ridge trail. That trail had a section of trail wiped out by a slide. Similarly it seems that the Santa Lucia trail had a section slide out near Last Chance camp, and up near Roosevelt Creek. Note that the Santa Lucia trail has not been closed and certainly has not caused the closure of an entire section of the Wilderness as seems to be the case with the Pine Ridge trail problem.
The result of the closure of the forest north of the Pine Ridge is that all trails in that area are in need of rehabilitation. The report of the Danish Creek trail from 2017 indicates that even that previously clear trail is now rated as difficult. This is the direct consequence of closing the forest.

It makes no sense to close the Ventana,(from the weekly) "Forest Service officials don’t even know the extent of the damage – and nobody else does either". What is the basis for the forest closure. The VWA advocates and actively works toward making the trails more accessible to the public, do they encourage the FS to open the forest?
If not why?