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THANK YOU FOR READING THIS IMPORTANT INFORMATION - updated January 22, 2021

Effective January 22, 2021 U.S. Forest Service - Los Padres National Forest has re-opened most unburned areas of the Monterey Ranger District. In and around the northern Ventana Wilderness, most lands north of and including the Marble Peak Trail are open.

The Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp remains closed.

Lands south of Willow Creek Road, including most of the Silver Peak Wilderness, are also open. Most back roads (including Del Venturi/Milpitas, Nacimiento-Fergusson, Plaskett Ridge, Willow Creek/Los Burros, & South Coast Ridge roads) remain gated and closed.

This map depicts the closure boundary. Still not sure if a particular road, trail, or camp is open? Call the Monterey Ranger District at 831-385-5434. Please enjoy your public lands responsibly, abide by NO CAMPFIRE restrictions, pack out everything you pack in (including toilet paper), and leave this special place better than you found it.

State Parks

The following are open for day use:  Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Garrapata State Park - Soberanes Canyon Trail, Andrew Molera State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park (tours only), and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (go online or call to find out if the park's campgrounds are open) 

The following remain closed: Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, John Little State Natural Reserve, Limekiln State Park 

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO (additional US Forest Service information for the Monterey Ranger District): Please note that the information above is oftentimes more up-to-date than the US Forest Service site. Call 831-385-5434 with questions. 

Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

This is the place for general discussion and backcountry information.

Moderators: Betsy M, dknapp1

Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed - Reopened

Postby gfelsman on Fri Jan 22, 2021 4:39 pm

Fyi, there is a reduced Dolan Fire closure notice posted to the LPNF Website. The lower Pine Ridge Trail remains closed at this time. It is covered by a separate order.

Dolan Fire Emergency Forest Closure Order 05-07-51-21-02

https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/lpnf/alerts-notices/?aid=61036

As of this writing they still need to update part of this page and actual Monterey Ranger District status. For more information call the MRD Ranger Office directly.

Current Fire Restrictions: No Campfires allowed. Stoves are permitted in the backcountry with a valid Campfire/Stove Permit.
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Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

Postby Jack B Nimble on Sat Jan 16, 2021 7:30 pm

The road closures added to the difficulty of reaching the forest but they didn't matter because the forest was closed. If the forest had been open after the Soberanes fire there would have been hikers using the Little Sur Trail and it would not now be abandoned/unusable. Even though the Palo road was closed to the Ventana Double cone trail it might have seen some traffic by people walking the 2 miles from Hoist to Bottchers to start a hike (now the VDC trail is unusable between Bottchers and Skinner Ridge). The big pines trail may still be usable from LP dam to Big Pines but it seems to bypass much of the original trail (it now follows the firebreak), beyond Big Pines it was unusable last I was there.

It would seem to be preferable to open the forest now, when the forest was open after the basin fire there were no major issues after a forest closure of 8 months. I would contend that there would have been no issues after a closure of 3 months, it is unclear what exactly they are waiting for.
Jack B Nimble
 

Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

Postby Rob on Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:27 pm

You might also recall that the winter of 2016 - 2017 was very, very wet, after a number of drought years. Palo Colorado Road was washed out. Mud Creek slide obliterated the highway to the south. A bridge had to be replaced. I remember that year ... kind of crazy. Sounds like lots of unstable ground.
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Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

Postby Ant Eater on Thu Jan 14, 2021 1:02 pm

The Basin Fire was active until about September 2008, then the forest was apparently opened May 1, 2009, l'll call it 8 months of closure time.
The Soberanes fire was active until about September 2016, then the forest was apparently opened December 25, 2017. I will call it 15 months of closure time.

In the link below are some images of what happened to the trails after 8 months of closure. Based on those images it is easy to see why many of the trails were never found again after the 15 month Soberanes fire closure.

https://xasauantoday.com/2009/05/01/ven ... ening-day/

The closure seems like a needless waste of what is left of the trail system.
Ant Eater
 

Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

Postby Rob on Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:18 pm

Remember the Basin Complex fire in the summer of 2008 ? If not, Google should retrieve quite a few articles.

I don't remember exactly when things opened back up afterwards, but I think it was not until 2009 sometime. Check the trail condition reports in the 2008-2009 time frame.
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Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

Postby porcupine on Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:23 am

I found the below VWA forum thread related to the forest closure after the Soberanes fire (Summer 2016). It appears that the forest was closed until December of 2017 as a result of that fire. Was that really necessary?

https://www.ventanawild.org/forums/vent ... ssion/1706
porcupine
 

Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

Postby Jack Ripper on Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:10 am

After the Soberanes fire the entire national forest was closed for over a year. The result was that some trails became overgrown during that time. Some examples are round rock trail, little sur trail, rattlesnake trail, big sur trail. These trails were never resurrected.
Some trails get some maintenance during the closure, but if this is similar to the last closure then the trails which receive maintenance will be far less than the ones which suffer from the closure.
Jack Ripper
 

Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

Postby gfelsman on Wed Dec 16, 2020 9:32 am

If you got the latest post on Facebook or VWA E-mail. The VWA is advocating for opening up the unburned areas where possible. They continue to work and prepare for its reopening when the time comes.

However, at last report the Dolan Fire is still smoldering and burning in many areas. The Los Padres Forest needs more rain before it may reopen.

It is expected to rain some more this evening.
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Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

Postby Rob on Mon Dec 14, 2020 8:29 pm

I just went for a hike at Henry W. Coe State Park. The park was closed during the SCU lightning fires. About two thirds of the park burned; in November they re-opened the parts near headquarters and Hunting Hollow. There are barriers and signs advising people not to enter the burned areas.

The Pine Ridge Association (sort of like the VWA but for Coe) published a newsletter explaining some of the damage and extent of the burn. Most likely the rest of the park will not be open until late winter or spring, but that is just my guess. I remember the Lick Fire in 2007.

I visited a pond which was just on the border between the burned and unburned areas. I was surprised at how stark things looked. It still smelled ... burnt, even after our recent rain, which was not enough even to get the creeks running again.

We've had a pretty dry autumn. The rain we have gotten has been kind of paltry towards the south and east. I don't expect the Ventana to open up for a quite while. I'd suggest making other plans.
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Re: All Los Padres National Forest is Now Closed

Postby redshift83 on Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:22 pm

At this point, I am 99.9% certain the fire is out and has been for weeks. Its obviously hard to be certain when you can't legally enter the forest. This feels like government overreach to fulfill other goals (stopping yahoo's from illegally dumping) at this point.
redshift83
 

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