USFS closes 4 popular dirt roads in the South Coast of Big Sur

The three roads that people live on have suffered significant damage such that emergency responders cannot respond with needed equipment if there is a fire or other emergency. Additionally, every night there is at least one illegal campfire. Local residents applaud the order, which goes into effect today, 8/7 and remains in effect until Oct 19.

Given the nature of the comments I have received, I am turning off all comments for this post.

Wildfire in the time of Coronavirus

How is fire fighting different during a pandemic. I explore that today in my article published in Voices of Monterey Bay about firefighting, the Plaskett fires, and our pandemic. Here are the first few paragraphs. One can go here: https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2020/06/26/wildfire-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/ to read the rest of it.

Photo by Brendon Shave

FEATURED

By Kate Woods Novoa

I’ve been following wildland fires since I moved to the Big Sur backcountry in 1994 and survived my first close encounter in 1996. Big Sur has had a lot of fires since then, and I’ve closely monitored them all. But I had a new fire experience earlier this month that I hope never happens again: two fires in two weeks along the road leading to my house.

The first, on June 3, was called the Plaskett Fire and was caused by humans. The U.S. Forest Service says it is under investigation. The second, the Ridge Fire, started June 17. They were both put out quickly, but before describing how, I want to talk about the science of firefighting first.

I have studied the language of firefighting in my online interactions. Every year, I am immersed in the wildland fire culture in person and online. Fire is why I first learned how to blog and has been an all-consuming summer unpaid occupation for 12 years now, as more and more people use the backcountry, some of whom don’t have a clue about the dangers.

Read the rest. Go to Https://voicesofmontereybay.org

Forest Closure Order

GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials today announced that campgrounds managed by concessionaire will remain closed through June 14 in an effort to remain consistent with state and local health guidelines that promote safe social distancing and discourage large gatherings.

LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST MONTEREY RANGER DISTRICT Forest Order No. 05-07-51-20-12 Developed Campground and Road Closure
Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a) and (b), and to provide for public safety, the following acts are prohibited within the Los Padres National Forest, Monterey Ranger District. This Order is effective from June 2, 2020, through June 14, 2020.

  1. Entering or using a Developed Recreation Site (campground) managed by Parks Management Company listed below and shown on the attached map.
    a. Plaskett Creek
    b. Kirk Creek
    c. Bottchers Gap
    d. Ponderosa
    e. Nacimiento
    f. Arroyo Seco
    g. Memorial Park
    h. Escondido
    i. White Oaks
    j. China Camp
    36 CFR 261.58(b).
  2. Being on the National Forest System roads listed below and shown on the attached map.
    a. Forest Road No. 22S05 (South Coast Ridge Road)
    b. Forest Road No. 23S01 (Los Burros (Willow Creek) Road)
    c. Forest Road No. 23S02 (Plaskett Ridge Road)
    36 CFR 261.54(e).
    Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:
  3. Any Federal, State or local officer, public utilities employee, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
  4. Owners or lessees of private land are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their land.
  5. Residents are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their residences.
  6. Persons with a Forest Permit for Use of Roads, Trails, or Areas Restricted by Regulation or Order, Form FS-7700-48, specifically exempting them from this Order.
    These prohibitions are in addition to the general prohibitions in 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart A.
    A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
    16 USC 551 and 18 USC 3559, 3571, and 3581. Executed in Goleta, California, this 1st day of June, 2020.
    Kevin B. Elliott
    Forest Supervisor
    Los Padres National Forest

LPNF Closure Order

Los Padres extends recreation site closure until June 1                                                                                                                                                                                GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials today announced that campgrounds managed by concessionaire will remain closed through June 1 in an effort to remain consistent with state and local health guidelines that promote safe social distancing and discourage large gatherings.
Information on individual recreation sites is available on Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.
Outdoor recreation is beneficial to mental and physical health but must be practiced safely. The Forest Service is focused on ensuring the health and safety of our employees, our concessionaires and the public while maintaining our ability to provide mission critical services including emergency fire response, law enforcement, and support for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. If you do plan on visiting the National Forest please be aware that:
No trash removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and wasteAll toilet facilities are currently closed – please plan accordinglyAvoid high-risk activities – law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limitedIf an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location
We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopen these closed sites. Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting National Forests. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and preventing further restrictions. Visitors are encouraged to recreate in areas close to home and avoid traveling long distances. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our national forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.
FOREST ORDER NO. 05-07-00-20-07 Forest Developed Recreation Site Closure LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST
Pursuant to 16 USC § 551 and 36 CFR § 261.50(a), and to provide for public and employee health and safety, the following act is prohibited in the Los Padres National Forest. This Order is effective from May 16, 2020through June 1, 2020.

Entering or using a Developed Recreation Site (campground) managed by Parks Management Company, or a portion thereof, as listed in Exhibit A.36 CFR 261.58(b).

Pursuant to 36 CFR § 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:Any Federal, State, or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
This prohibition is in addition to the general prohibitions contained in 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart A.

A violation of this prohibition is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both. 16 USC § 551 and 18 USC §§ 3559, 3571, and 3581.

Done at Goleta, California this 15th day of May, 2020.Kevin B. ElliottForest SupervisorLos Padres National Forest

LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST MONTEREY RANGER DISTRICT Forest Order No. 05-07-51-20-08COVID19 Emergency Closure
Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a) and (b), and to provide for public safety, the following acts are prohibited within the Los Padres National Forest, Monterey Ranger District. This Order is effective from May16, 2020through May 31, 2020.

1. Entering or using the trailheads listed below and shown on the attached map.San Carpoforo TrailheadSalmon Creek TrailheadBuckeye TrailheadSoda Springs TrailheadCruickshank TrailheadPrewitt South TrailheadPrewitt North TrailheadMill Creek TrailheadKirk Creek TrailheadDe Angulo TrailheadBoronda Trailhead
36 CFR 261.58(b).

2. Being on the National Forest System roads listed below and shown on the attached map.Forest Road No. 22S05 (South Coast Ridge Road)Forest Road No. 23S01 (Los Burros (Willow Creek) Road)Forest Road No. 23S02 (Plaskett Ridge Road)Forest Road No. 20S05 (North Coast Ridge Road)
36 CFR 261.54(e).

3. Being on the National Forest System trails listed below and shown on the attached map.Forest Road No. 20S03 (Boronda Trail)Forest Trail No. 2E07 (De Angulo Trail)Forest Trail No. 4E17 (Kirk Creek Trail)Forest Trail No. 5E06 (Prewitt Loop Trail)Forest Trail No. 5E10 (Cruickshank Trail)Forest Trail No. 5E17 (Soda Springs Trail)Forest Trail No. 5E09 (Buckeye Trail)Forest Trail No. 6E11 (Salmon Creek Trail)
36 CFR 261.55(a).

Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:Any Federal, State or local officer, public utilities employee, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.

Owners or lessees of private land are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their land.
Residents are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to gain access to their residences.
Current recreational cabin permittees are exempt from the prohibitions listed above to the extent necessary to access their cabins.
Persons with a Forest Permit for Use of Roads, Trails, or Areas Restricted by Regulation or Order, Form FS-7700-48, specifically exempting them from this Order.
These prohibitions are in addition to the general prohibitions in 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart A.
A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
16 USC 551 and 18 USC 3559, 3571, and 3581.
Executed in Goleta, California, this 15th day of May, 2020.Kevin B. ElliottForest SupervisorLos Padres National Forest
FOREST ORDER PDF’SCOVID-19 Emergency Closure extension to May 31Forest Developed Recreation Site Closure Exhibit AForest Developed Recreation Site Closure Order
LPNF CLOSURE MAP

Los Padres National Forest-Monterey District Closure update

UPDATE: IN TODAY’S PINECONE POLICE LOG IN THE REAL ESTATE SECTION:

From the USFS, LPNF PIO: The new closure order will be posted on our public web site….It will take effect Saturday, May 16, and expire June 1. Here’s a rundown on what IS open:

All of the trails closed under the first order will remain closed except for Turner Creek and Sand Dollar/Jade Cove. Roads closed by the first order that will reopen are Sycamore Canyon, Nac-Ferg, Piney Creek, Tassajara, Milpitas, Central Coast/Cone Peak, Baldwin Ranch.

Developed campgrounds will remain closed until June 1.The group campground at Arroyo Seco will reopen June 19. We are permitting Parks Management Company to reopen the day use sites along Hwy. 1 provided they have adequate staffing and measures in place to safely deliver services to the public. The intent with the day use sites is to provide recreation opportunities for nearby residents along the coast. By opening roads on the east side of the district, we are encouraging backcountry access from the inland trails.

Big Sur COVID-19 Response Meeting Notes

COVID-19 Community Response Group Meeting Notes

May 11th, 2020

Attendees (via Zoom):

State Senate District 17, Cal State Parks, US Forest Service, Parks Management Company, Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Big Sur Health Center, Big Sur Fire, Big Sur CERT, and the Community Association of Big Sur 


Big Sur Health Center:

Executive Director Sharen Carey reports:• There are still no known cases of COVID-19 in the Big Sur planning area.• It appears that transmission of the virus is enhanced by close conditions in enclosed spaces over a prolonged exposure time frame.• There is less risk of transmission in open air settings.• There is evidence that Llamas produce more effective anti-bodies of the COVID-19 virus than humans. Research is ongoing.• Bottom line defense against contracting the virus: Assume it is in Big Sur and take all precautions recommended : wearing facemasks in public, social distancing, frequent handwashing.

Big Sur Fire, Chief Matt Harris:

Chief Matt Harris reports:• Big Sur Fire is prepared for fire season which will officially begin on May 18th.• Reported fires are now receiving a “wildland response”.• Big Sur Fire expects to respond to calls reporting illegal campfires, supporting the USFS and MOCO SO.• BSF is resuming fire, rescue and medical training.• Muster and other event dates are in flux pending Local and State SIP updated guidance.

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce,

Kirk Gafill reports:• There is a noticeable shift in momentum to begin reopening California with each County in various stages of preparedness to facilitate that reopening.• Supervisors Adams and Phillips are working with the Monterey County Hospitality Association to establish guidelines the hospitality industry will implement in order to safely reopen.• Rick Aldinger adds, establishing these guidelines is a collaborative process, bringing in public health experts and industry experts as well as lessons learned from businesses already open in countries ahead of California on the epidemiological curve.• As SIP guidance transitions in California, traffic in and out of Big Sur will continue to increase, putting pressure on closed trails and day use areas to reopen.

Community Emergency Response Team, Martha Karstens:• That the residents SIP survey is ongoing.• CERT successfully conducted two ZOOM training classes.

USFS, LPNF Monterey District Ranger Tim Short:• The Forest Order closing the Monterey District expires May 15th and that order will be reinstated with some modifications and exceptions. The new Order may reopen some Day Use areas, the Nacimiento Rd and some roads and trails on the east side of the Monterey District of the LPNF. Remaining closed will be the developed campgrounds, dispersed camping areas and roads and trails on the coast side of the Monterey District.• Fire restrictions will go into effect on May 13th. This will result in no campfires outside of developed campsites. Camp stoves with a permit will be allowed.• Butch Kronlund requested that gates at the intersection of Highway 1 and Nacimiento Rd and Nacimiento Rd and the South Coast Ridge Rd need maintenance as they are nearly inoperable. Tim pledged to get them on the list of resources needing attention.

Ca. State Parks, Superintendent Brent Marshall:• State Parks personnel extremely busy enforcing the ongoing SIP order.• The public is confused by the State softening of restrictions and the more restrictive County SIP order.• Relatively good news regarding California flattening the curve of the rate of infection.• Opening of Day Use areas will precede opening of campgrounds.• Brent appreciative of valuable input the stakeholder group provides on the weekly calls.  This input helping to drive reopening policy and procedure. Between Saturday and Sunday, Parksissued over 35 citations. Verbal warnings were also issued (10 verbal warnings for each citation).

Parks Management Company, Brian Cushman, CEO:• All Campgrounds and Day Use Areas remain closed.• Seeing an increase in vehicle traffic and is in agreement that trails need to be reopened to give an outlet for people to go to.• PMC is seeing more public disregard for the closures.• Employees are here and ready and anxious to open once the SIP order is lifted.

Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Mike Splain, ED:• VWA continues working on trails and campsites in the back country. • 17 campsites restored.• 41 lbs of trash packed out.• 0 hikers encountered on the Big Sur Trail.• 20 hikers advised to obey the Forest Order closing the Salmon Creek Trail.

17th State Senate District, Colleen Courtney for Senator Bill Monning:• For clarification on DMV license/registration extensions, see dmv.ca.gov for more information. 

              If anyone has specific questions, feel free to contact Senator Monning’s office (831) 657-6315.• Department of Motor Vehicles is extending Driver License renewal and vehicle registration renewal in consideration of the pandemic. Go to California Department of Motor Vehicles website to request an extension. Late fees may be waived.• Most DMV offices are closed but Salinas DMV is open.

Community Association of Big Sur, Butch Kronlund. ED:• CABS, working with the Big Sur business HR departments, will be making a second distribution of financial assistance to those most financially vulnerable due to employment disruptions brought on by COVID-19.

LPNF Fire Restrictions go into effect tomorrow, 5/12

Los Padres National Forest officials raise fire restrictions

GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials announced that fire restrictions will be raised throughout the Forest effective tomorrow, May 12.These restrictions will affect the use of campfires, stoves, smoking materials and internal combustion engines, and will remain in effect until the end of fire season in late autumn. 

These restrictions are in response to the increasing potential for a wildland fire start in areas where significant late season rainfall produced a large grass crop and an abundance of fine fuels. 

Effective May 12, the following restrictions will be in effect:

·         No open fires, campfires or charcoal fires will be permitted outside of developed recreation sites or designated Campfire Use Sites (list attached), even with a valid California Campfire Permit. Lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel will be permitted, but only with a valid California Campfire Permit, which is available free-of-charge on the Forest website and at any U.S. Forest Service office. Forest visitors must clear all flammable material for five feet in all directions from their camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times during use.

·         Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or a designated Campfire Use Site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material. 

·         Internal combustion engines may be operated only on roads or designated trails. This restriction is in effect year-round. Please make sure your engine is tuned, operating properly, and has an approved spark arrester. 

·         Fireworks – even the “safe and sane” variety – are not permitted at any time or in any location within the Forest.

For a list of Developed Recreation Sites and Campfire Use Sites in Los Padres National Forest, or further information regarding Fire-Safe Camping, visitwww.fs.usda.gov/lpnf or contact the U.S. Forest Service district office nearest you.

USFS Closure extended to 5/15

Los Padres extends Monterey Ranger District

closure of roads and trails until May 15

GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials today extended the temporary closure of roads, trails and trailheads on the Monterey Ranger District until May 15 to align with current state and local guidance for safe social distancing and to ensure the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers and employees.

These roads, trails, and trailheads were drawing increasingly heavy vehicle traffic and large groups of people, creating circumstances where social distancing was not possible. Additionally, some roads, trails, and trailheads are located adjacent to residential properties and could potentially contribute to exposure risks to local residents. Roads and trails may create unmanageable vectors for further community spread of COVID-19.

This forest closure order includes the following:

Roads

·         Tassajara Road – Forest Road No. 18S02

·         Piney Creek Road – Forest Road No. 19S10

·         Milpitas Road – Forest Road No. 19S09

·         Nacimiento-Fergusson Road – Forest Road No. 22S01

·         Central Coast Road/Cone Peak Road – Forest Road No. 20S05.3

·         South Coast Ridge Road – Forest Road No. 22S05

·         Baldwin Ranch Road – Forest Road No. 24S06

·         Plaskett Ridge Road – Forest Road No. 23S02

·         North Coast Ridge Road – Forest Road No. 20S05

·         Los Burros (Willow Creek) Road – Forest Road No. 23S01

·         Sycamore Canyon Road – Forest Road No. 19S05

Trails

·         Boranda Trail – Forest Road No. 20S03

·         DeAngulo Trail – Forest Trail No. 2E07

·         Kirk Creek Trail – Forest Trail No. 4E17

·         Prewitt Loop Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E06

·         Sand Dollar/Jade Cove Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E13

·         Cruickshank Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E10

·         Soda Springs Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E17

·         Buckeye Trail – Forest Trail No. 5E09

·         Salmon Creek Trail – Forest Trail No. 6E11

Trailheads

·         San Carpoforo

·         Salmon Creek

·         Buckeye

·         Soda Springs

·         Cruickshank

·         Prewitt South

·         Prewitt North

·         Mill Creek

·         Kirk Creek

·         De Angulo

·         Boronda

This closure is an interim measure. Los Padres National Forest will continue to evaluate the emerging circumstances around COVID-19 and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as State and local health departments to ensure that the safety of our employees and our visitors remains our top priority.

Forest Service closes developed recreation sites throughout California until May 15

GOLETA, Calif. – The Pacific Southwest Region which includes Los Padres National Forest announced that developed recreation sites will remain closed through May 15. This closure order is being extended to discourage large gatherings of people and promote safe social distancing of staying more than six feet apart.

“Developed recreation sites” refers to designated recreational use areas such as campgrounds, day use sites and picnic areas. Information on individual recreation sites is available on Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.

Outdoor recreation is beneficial to mental and physical health but must be practiced safely. In light of the statewide shelter-in-place order issued by the Governor of California, we continue to ask visitors to recreate locally.  

If you do plan on visiting the National Forest please be aware that:

  • No trash removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and waste
  • All toilet facilities are currently closed – please plan accordingly
  • Avoid high-risk activities – law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited
  • If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location

Closing any site for any reason is not an action we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopen closed sites.

Please keep health, safety and the environment in mind when visiting National Forests. Your personal responsibility is critical to ensuring public safety and preventing further restrictions. We appreciate your cooperation in keeping our national forests safe and healthy for everyone’s use.

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