Leave No Trace!

IMPORTANT ROAD CLOSURE, FOREST CLOSURE/REOPENING, FIRE RESTRICTIONS, and CAMPING INFORMATION (updated November 8, 2017)

ROAD CLOSURES: Replacement of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge just south of Big Sur Station is complete. Highway One is open from Carmel to Gorda. However, due to the Mud Creek slide, the road is closed from just south of Gorda from the north and just north of Ragged Point from the south ... making access to the Silver Peak Wilderness difficult. In the northern Ventana, Palo Colorado Road to the trailhead at Bottchers Gap is closed. The Big Sur Information facebook page, updated by the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, is a reliable source for up-to-the-minute road conditions in the Big Sur area. As is the Caltrans Road Closure page for Monterey County. 

FOREST CLOSURE/REOPENING: Los Padres National Forest officials issued a forest order on 11/07/2017 maintaining a temporary closure of the lower Pine Ridge (Forest Trail No. E306), Terrace Creek (Forest Trail No. 3E22) and Ventana Camp (Forest Trail No. 2E14) trails, as well as Barlow Flat, Sykes, Redwood, Terrace Creek and Ventana Camps. The remainder of the Soberanes Fire closure instituted last December on the Monterey Ranger District HAS BEEN LIFTED. Other than the closure of the trails listed above, you are welcome to roam most of the Ventana Wilerness and all of the Silver Peak Wilderness. Please do so responsibly. 

Please review these links for details, and if you have questions, call the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest at (831) 385-5434 before visiting the Ventana Wilderness.

US Forest Service Memo regarding Pine Ridge Trail Closure

Map of Pine Ridge Trail Closure (Ventana, Terrace Creek, Barlow, Sykes, and Redwood Camps)

FIRE RESTRICTIONS: Effective June 14, 2017, Fire Restrictions are in place. Campfires are prohibited in the backcountry. Stoves are permitted with a valid permit which can be obtained hereCampfires are NEVER permitted along roadways or at unauthorized camping sites in Big Sur.  Bottom line, do not camp illegally and do not have a campfire unless you are 100% sure it is legal.  

LEAVE NO TRACE: With much of the Forest reopened, visitation to the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest will increase. It is up to all of us to tread lightly on the land. Now more than ever, it is critical that all visitors practice Leave No Trace principles. 

CAMPING is NEVER permitted along Highway 1 and Nacimiento-Fergusson Road in Big Sur. Plan your trips well in advance to secure reservations at State Park and National Forest campgrounds. There is no reservation system for backcountry camps. Only use established camps. Never make new campsites.   

STATE PARKS: Many State Park trails in the Big Sur area are also CLOSED. Call the State Park that you wish to explore to determine if trails are open. A handy list of State Park phone numbers can be found at the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce Camping Guide.

Current conditions for Big Sur area State Parks. 

leave no trace signWe need everybody to commit to the Leave No Trace principles. This is an example of what happens otherwise.

 

The Big Sur backcountry is rugged and untamed. It is also quite fragile and easily impacted by the actions of man. California’s population has doubled since the Wilderness Act of 1964 was signed into law. This growing population and the global popularity of Big Sur as a destination for outdoor recreation exert tremendous pressure on our public lands. The US Forest Service is the agency responsible for recreation management in the region. They are woefully underfunded and understaffed.

That is why the Ventana Wilderness Alliance partners with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. We share the same dedication to protecting the environment by teaching people to enjoy it responsibly.

You can help by learning the Leave No Trace Seven Principles and practicing them when you are in public wildlands. Thank you for doing your part to pass our nation’s heritage of outdoor recreation to future generations

 

LEAVE NO TRACE SEVEN PRINCIPLES

 

options1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
  • Visit in small groups. Split larger parties into groups of 4 or less.
  • Repackage food to minimize waste.
  • Bring food you can cook with a stove (not a fire).
  • Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

 

surfaces2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow. Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.

Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.

In popular areas:

  • Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
  • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
  • Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.

In pristine areas:

  • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
  • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

 

dispose3. Dispose of Waste Properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food, and litter.
  • Deposit solid human waste in cat holes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cat hole when finished.
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

 

leavewhatyoufind4. Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
  • Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
  • Do not stack rocks.

 

campfire5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings.
  • Do not build up fire rings or create new ones.
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, and then scatter cool ashes.

 

wildlife6. Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

 

considerate7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
  • Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

 

Leave No Trace!

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