Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

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Jdubb

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by Jdubb »

The closure certainly appears to be over reactive, very broad and excessive. I understand closing specific locations due to storm damage and safety concerns for the public however the majority of the forest weathered these storms well and do not pose a threat to the public.
I am selfishly angry that I am unable to hike and enjoy the back country at this time of year which happens to be my season.

When I read the closure order, I understood that the forest service would be opening areas as appropriate after their initial assessment. Unfortunately, it appears that the blanket closure may stay in effect for the full 60 days.

I will remain patient and plan my excursions for March but I am certainly concerned at this over reaching response to storm damage and am concerned that this will be the new norm in the future
highlander

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by highlander »

This is about money. The government will net hundreds of thousands of dollars from this blanket closure in the form of citation penalties. Absolutely disgusting!
crockettonearth
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:24 am

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by crockettonearth »

It has been just about two weeks since the blanket closer of the entire Los Padres National Forest.
Date(s): Jan 16, 2023

A 60-day closure order for four ranger districts (Monterey, Santa Lucia, Santa Barbara, and Ojai) has been issued in response to the extreme winter storm that delivered heavy rain and wind across the Forest last week. This Order is effective January 13, 2023, through March 14, 2023, at 12:00 pm.
Today the land manager posted the following on Twitter:
As we continue our storm damage assessments, our law enforcement officers are encountering members of the public who disregard the closed signs & barricades. Hundreds of citations have been issued – we’d much prefer visitors steer clear of these areas for their own safety.
It is another sad example of their failure to collaborate with the public on this closer.
Screen Shot 1
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There has been almost 0 rain fall in Big Sur since the closure.

weather data
weather data
The closure order will be superseded or terminated when conditions and recreational access improves. Forest employees will be assessing the extent of the damage over the coming weeks and months and will scale back the closure based on improving conditions.
The weather conditions are perfect for foot-based trail access right now.

As an environmental advocate, I thought my work would be focused on protecting land like this from industrial development like farming, mining, and drilling for oil.

Now it is focused on fighting land managers who are intent on protecting people by keeping them out following a 100% exclusion framework.

In short, the land managers are acting as dictators.

In relegating conservation to a land manager that excludes all access to human members of the biotic community we have given the land away.

I do not know why we must conquer this land so that its "safe" for human access.

Let's move past this Darwinistic view of Wilderness.

Ecosystems are complex, humans are part of them. Wilderness can have an element of danger. Visitors can accept inherent risk, make good decisions and walk in these spaces.

Losing access to the wilderness in this context should never happen.

Today's Twitter post from LPNS makes the situation us vs them.

It should be us vs the problem.

Open access to trails, and let new and existing volunteers help repair the damage caused to them by the rain.

That's my ~2 cents. ~ C
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jdoelman
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:47 am

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by jdoelman »

I wholeheartedly agree with Crocket’s outrage. The closure is an abomination.

Is the FS saying that they will guarantee that trails are “safe” after the opening?

Will someone be walking the length of all trails to ensure they are “safe”?

I await notification that some of my favorite trails are “safe”,

Prewitt trail safe?
Little Sur trail?
Rattlesnake trail?
Mt Manuel trail?
Santa Lucia trail?

Really? Were they “safe” before? Please give me the gratification to know these are safe by opening the forest
crockettonearth
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:24 am

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by crockettonearth »

Post 1 of 2 due to the 5 URL max rule


###### Post 1 ##########
The situation continues to get worse.


Los Padres NF posts on Twitter images of "Un Safe conditions."

Like the one where they park the government truck on the road next to where a portion of it has washed out.
https://twitter.com/LosPadresNF

Folks can walk on these trails safely IMO.
Image
Perhaps things are so bad that they need more labor to work on trails. Say you want to help work for free to make things better?
Sign up for a trail work weekend at the meetup: https://www.meetup.com/ventana-wilderne ... 290344320/

People who have not volunteered with the org in the past are not allowed to volunteer during the closer!

"IMPORTANT: As you may know the Forest Service has closed Los Padres National Forest due to water damage to the roads and trails. We are still authorized to do work trips, with approval for each trip. WE CAN ONLY INCLUDE VOLUNTEERS WHO HAVE WORKED WITH US PREVIOUSLY."

This does not make sense from a support standpoint.

Furthermore, these meetups are going reasonably deep into the backcountry to work on the trails near rainbow camp.

Why not allow for public access in this region of the forest? https://www.gaiagps.com/map/?loc=12.2/- ... yer=natgeo

If the trail is safe enough to allow walking access to Rainbow camp for trail workers then it should be safe enough for the public to back in IMO.

We can also look at death data from other public lands that has higher death rates than this area and no blanket closers such as the one we are currently facing.

For example, White Mountain National Forest had three deaths last year: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_p ... tial_Range

They never close this forest. At the trailhead, they have a sign that reads, "STOP The area ahead has the worst weather in America. Many Have Died There From Exposure. Even In the Summer. Turn Back IF the Weather Is Bad. " This forest is 750,882 acres so about 1/3 the size of Los Padres.
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crockettonearth
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:24 am

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by crockettonearth »

################# post 1/2 ######

We can also look at NPS land. https://wms.org/magazine/1343/risk-of-d ... all%20NPs. There are about 8 deaths per 10 billion visits.

Let's compare that to another dangerous activity such as driving. In California, there were 3,847 deaths in 2020 ratio to a population of 39,499,739.

The statistics are clear it is more dangerous to drive to a public land trailhead than it is to walk on public land.

To better understand the difference between 39 million and 8 billion consider the following;
a. A million seconds is 12 days. A billion seconds is 31 years

In short, there is no data that supports a blank closer of a land mass as large as Los Padres National Forest for safety reasons when we compare the risk of walking in a park to driving to a trailhead.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Padre ... nal_Forest

I understand if some roads need to be closed to vehicles.

Closing off hiking access in this manner to all 1,762,400 acres of public land is tyrannical.

The leaders making this policy do not deserve this power. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/lpnf/abo ... st/offices

I see this as a violation of the Memorandum of January 21, 2009
Transparency and Open Government explicitly states:
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR- ... 9-1777.pdf
Government should be participatory. Public engagement enhances the Government’s effectiveness and improves the quality of its decisions. Knowledge
is widely dispersed in society, and public officials benefit from having
access to that dispersed knowledge. Executive departments and agencies
should offer Americans increased opportunities to participate in policymaking and to provide their Government with the benefits of their collective
expertise and information. Executive departments and agencies should also
solicit public input on how we can increase and improve opportunities
for public participation in Government.

Government should be collaborative. Collaboration actively engages Americans in the work of their Government. Executive departments and agencies
should use innovative tools, methods, and systems to cooperate among themselves, across all levels of Government, and with nonprofit organizations,
businesses, and individuals in the private sector. Executive departments
and agencies should solicit public feedback to assess and improve their
level of collaboration and to identify new opportunities for cooperation.

There was no calibration with the Venta Wild community on this board prior to the closing access. And since the closer, the land manager has only justified the action.

By law, they need to make the process both participatory and collaborative. They have failed.

Currently, I am stuck at my keyboard writing about their failure instead of working with the land manager and the Venta Wilderness alliance on organizing more trail meetups that allow the new volunteers to participate in post-Strome restoration. This is because I have not formally volunteered with the org in the past.

I have donated to VWA, brushed trails in Los Padres on my own backpack trips, picked up trash and toilet paper, and participated in trail building on other public lands with other organizations.

And yet I and many others remain excluded from volunteering for trail work meetups on this land.

If you reading this and agree this is a bad policy, advocate to change it.

The worst thing we can do is let this land manager take our rights to access.

For folks with more experience in policy, what do you think the best pathway forward is restoring legal access to our land in the next 60 days?
Rob
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:21 pm
Location: SJC

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by Rob »

Regarding Sequoia: sure, the high country is snow-covered. No problem there, except that the road up from the entrance is closed above Hospital Rock because of damage from the storms. Yer gonna be carrying those skis a long way ... The road to South Fork was damaged from the storms, and there was a post from the NPS saying that the campground is closed. I have to imagine the North Fork road is pretty bad off, too.

Here is what the NPS site is saying :

"Extreme flooding damaged key drainage fixtures between Hospital Rock Picnic Area and the Giant Forest. The highway will need major repairs before it will be safe to reopen. Road crews are working to prevent further damage to the road. The park is also working with Federal Highways to assess damage and begin repairs. Storms over past weeks have brought the most extreme weather conditions in the park that long-term staff have seen in over 30 years. In addition to heavy precipitation, storms brought rain on top of the snowpack, melting existing snow and adding that moisture to the rain. All of this flowed over areas burned in 2021’s KNP Complex Fire, causing erosion, mudflows, and rockslides. Roads are heavily impacted by mud and rock slides not only in the parks, but along routes leading to the area."

Nice little generalization about the state parks, ha. You've probably never been to Henry Coe ... there are steep canyons and creek crossings that became swollen and impassable during the storms. I have to imagine there were lots of slides and downed trees, too. And not just inside the park, but on the twisty little roads that lead to the trailheads.

But sure, the land managers are worried about people who don't have good judgment or experience with rough trails getting into trouble and a surge of SAR activity and/or lawsuits. That's just how it is in this day and age. Based on some of the stupid stuff I've seen people do over the years, I'm not really sure I blame them.

Post mortum wrote: Thu Jan 19, 2023 7:55 am Rob, I am “dealing with it” by venting here. The state parks cater to people who may want to push a stroller along the trail, wilderness areas an specifically the Ventana Wilderness have never claimed to be that accommodating.
If I think about the trails and the access to those trails closed now on the coast and what they were before the rain
Turner creek trail - no change
Skinner ridge trail - no change
Mt Manuel- no change, the north End of the trail was lost years ago, washouts and obstructions on the remainder of the trail have not closed it in the past
Pine ridge- no known change except high water in the river makes it impossible to traverse just as it does for some time every year
Boronda trail- no change known
De angulo trail - no changes
Vincent’s trail
Mill creek trail

You get the idea. Sure there may be a trail obstruction but that is always the case. Note that sequoia national park is open, put on your skis and head over whitney crest

The closing of the forest is crap, not justified by any specific conditions, it is garbage
Post mortum

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by Post mortum »

Rob, I am “dealing with it” by venting here. The state parks cater to people who may want to push a stroller along the trail, wilderness areas an specifically the Ventana Wilderness have never claimed to be that accommodating.
If I think about the trails and the access to those trails closed now on the coast and what they were before the rain
Turner creek trail - no change
Skinner ridge trail - no change
Mt Manuel- no change, the north End of the trail was lost years ago, washouts and obstructions on the remainder of the trail have not closed it in the past
Pine ridge- no known change except high water in the river makes it impossible to traverse just as it does for some time every year
Boronda trail- no change known
De angulo trail - no changes
Vincent’s trail
Mill creek trail

You get the idea. Sure there may be a trail obstruction but that is always the case. Note that sequoia national park is open, put on your skis and head over whitney crest

The closing of the forest is crap, not justified by any specific conditions, it is garbage
Rob
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:21 pm
Location: SJC

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by Rob »

At least they're giving a timeline. A lot of CA state park units have closed indefinitely, "until further notice", and it isn't hard to understand why: flooding, damage to roads, trails, campgrounds, etc.

Same with some of areas of the national parks, if you've been following those feeds. Sequoia NP has been pretty hard hit.

You might want things to be a certain way, but it just ain't going to happen. Deal with it.

On the plus side, some of the local reservoirs around here are full, and that hasn't happened in some cases since 2019. The Sierra snowpack seems to be doing a lot better than last year (abysmal). On the minus side, folks won't be able to get in until later in the year without snowshoes or skis, and the mosquitoes are going to have a very nice year :)

"During the dry years, the people forgot about the rich years, and when the wet years returned, they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.”
-- John Steinbeck
ventana_phile

Re: Los Padres Forest Closed Jan. 13, 2023.

Post by ventana_phile »

When you cede your liberties to the criminal tyrants in Washington don't ever expect to get them back.
Why wouldn't the Forest Service do this?
They and other Federal alphabet-soup agencies have continually taken our freedoms for the sake of safety-ism.
You and I as taxpaying citizens be damned.
And the disenfranchisement of our access to public lands will go on.
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