Memorial Day, 2020

Last year, Bixby Bridge was backed up going south, all the way back to Palo Colorado. This year, much of Big Sur is still closed, but some people are violating the SIP orders anyway.

Just a reminder: People often confuse Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day. On Memorial Day we honor those who gave their lives in the fight for our country. We honor our dead. Veteran’s Day, we honor the living.

This post is dedicated to all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation and for us…In memory of all of them, regardless of who they were.

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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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

USFS Rule Change re small land tracts

USDA Forest Service announces proposed changes to improve conveyance of small tracts of lands

FEBRUARY 26, 2020 – 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service is seeking public comment on a proposed rule change that would expand use of the Small Tracts Act and provide the Forest Service greater flexibility to resolve land management challenges through sales, exchange, or interchange of small land parcels. The proposed changes are among those that implement new authorities the Forest Service received through the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018—also known as the 2018 Farm Bill.

The proposed rule would allow parcels that are physically isolated, inaccessible, or lack national forest characteristics to be conveyed if they are 40 acres or less in size. It would also allow parcels 10 acres or less where permanent, habitable improvements have been made to be conveyed if encroachment was neither intentional nor negligent. Proceeds from these land exchanges could then be used to acquire lands or interest in lands in the same state that are suitable to be included in the National Forest System. Those proceeds may also be used to reimburse costs associated with the competitive sale of eligible lands.

“These changes are designed to help improve forest conditions, safety and service to the American people” said Chief Vicki Christiansen. “They will also help us to be better neighbors to landowners that border our national forests and grasslands.”

The proposed regulations will be open for public comment for 60 days following their publication in the Federal Register. More information on these rules and instructions on how to provide comments are available at http://federalregister.gov/d/2020-03639.

Recreational Shooting Ban extended on LPNF

Recreational shooting ban extended for six months

GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials announced that the Forest Order prohibiting recreational shooting has been extended until June 30, 2020, to provide for public safety due to increasingly high fire danger conditions in the extended weather forecast and the potential for a wildfire sparked by shooting.

Despite recent winter rainfall, live fuel moisture levels across the Forest did not significantly recover and are currently hovering just above the 60 percent critical threshold. Predictive weather forecasts indicate persistent, strong offshore wind events through April that will likely further reduce fuel moisture levels.

Long-range weather models have consistently shown well below normal precipitation and drier than average weather with a high likelihood of elevated temperatures through the spring months. If these forecasts are accurate, grasses will cure out earlier than normal and grass fire activity could occur weeks earlier this year. These conditions allow fire to burn readily and remain present in the larger dead and downed fuels in the landscape.  Even with recent precipitation and cooler temperatures, live fuel moistures are slow to rise due to a state of dormancy in the brush.  

Preventing accidental starts from recreational shooting under dry conditions is key to protecting life and property. Shooting ranges under permit by Los Padres National Forest monitor and implement preventative measures to avoid accidental starts.

Under this Forest Order, discharging a firearm is prohibited except in the designated target ranges at the Winchester Canyon Gun Club and the Ojai Valley Gun Club. Persons hunting during the open hunting season as specified in the laws of the State of California and having a valid California hunting license are exempt from this Forest Order.

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 six months, or both.

Prescribed Burns in LPNF

Los Padres to begin implementing prescribed fire activities

GOLETA, Calif.— Los Padres National Forest officials today announced plans to begin implementing their annual prescribed burning operations on the Forest over the next few months. When favorable weather conditions are present, specific project locations and dates will be shared on the Forest’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The objectives of the projects are to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire to people and communities, create conditions which offer a safer and more effective wildfire response, foster more resilient ecosystems, and minimize the effects of large wildfires on the landscape.

When implementing these projects, fire managers follow a burn plan that outlines the “prescription” or environmental conditions such as temperature, wind, fuel moisture, ventilation and relative humidity that need to be present before the project begins. When the criteria are met, crews implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets the goals and objectives outlined by managers. The prescribed fire program will continue through the winter and spring months as permitted by weather and other environmental factors.

Prescribed fires including both understory and pile burning are intended to reduce the amount of vegetation, such as needles, small plants, brush, and small trees which can carry fire from the forest floor into the treetops. Studies and experience have shown that prescribed fires stimulate the growth of grasses, forbs and shrubs that provide food for deer, mountain quail and other wildlife.

The ignition of all prescribed burns is dependent on the availability of personnel and equipment and appropriate conditions. Prescribed burn planning and execution are closely coordinated with the National Weather Service and Air Quality Management Districts in order to manage smoke production and minimize impacts as much as possible.

When these burns occur, information signs will be posted along the roadways to alert the public to the burning activity and subsequent visible smoke in the area.

For questions on the Los Padres National Forest prescribed fire program, please contact Fuels Management Specialist Rebecca Dykes at (805) 961-5764.

Overtourism

I ended my multi-year discussion of overtourism in Big Sur through my Tourist Tuesday posts sometime ago and how it relates to other destinations in the world. It seemed to be on a trajectory where nothing could be done. I am not convinced, one way or the other, that it is a problem than will be solved, only that it must. Unsustainable population translates into unsustainable tourism, which in turn contributes more than its share to climate change. As we know from other studies, systems here on this finite planet are intimately interwoven and interconnected. Overtourism is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The Atlantic wrote and created video on this problem, published yesterday.

Mass Tourism Is Destroying the Planet

Dec 12, 2019 | 12 videos 
Video by  The Atlantic

Last year, 1.4 billion people traveled the world. That’s up from just 25 million in 1950. In China alone, overseas trips have risen from 10 million to 150 million in less than two decades.

This dramatic surge in mass tourism can be attributed to the emergence of the global middle class, and in some ways, it’s a good thing. But the consequences are grave—particularly for the planet. In a new episode of The Idea File, the staff writer Annie Lowrey explains how overtourism has contributed to large-scale environmental degradation, dangerous conditions, and the immiseration and pricing-out of locals.

“Tourists can alter the experience of visiting something such that they ruin the very experience that they’ve been trying to have,” Lowrey says in the video. “That’s the essential definition of overtourism.”

To watch the Idea File Video (less than 5 minutes), click https://www.theatlantic.com/video/index/603451/overtourism/

For more, read Lowrey’s article, “Too Many People Want to Travel.”

December’s Full Moon

Traditionally called the “Cold Moon” or “Long Nights Moon” by Native Americans, December’s full moon is named appropriately, as it foreshadows the coldest and longest nights of the year.

Ancient European pagans called it the “Moon Before Yule,” in honor of the Yuletide festival celebrating the return of the sun heralded by the year’s longest night on December 21, Winter Solstice.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac says the timing of this year’s Cold Moon is a  good omen.

According to NASA, it will reach its peak fullness at 12:12 a.m. on the 12th day of the 12th month.

(Thanks to Lois DeFord and to see the rest of this go to: http://Returntothenow.net)

Coastal Commission 5-year Plan, Public Comment


California Coastal CommissionPublic Review Draft Strategic Plan PUBLIC COMMENT OPPORTUNITY
The Commission has released the 2020 – 2025 Public Review Draft Strategic Plan and is now seeking public input on the draft plan through February 14, 2020.
The Commission has released the Public Review Draft of the 2020-2025 California Coastal Commission Strategic Plan. The Draft Strategic Plan provides a framework of goals, objectives, and actions to set priorities and guide the agency’s performance for the next five years. It can be viewed at: https://www.coastal.ca.gov/strategicplan/spindex-2.htmlThe Draft Strategic Plan identifies 189 priority action items intended to be undertaken in the next five years, organized under 9 separate goals related to: Internal Agency Capacity and Effectiveness; Public Access; Coastal Resources; Climate Change and Sea Level Rise; Environmental Justice, Diversity, and Tribal Relations; Coastal Planning and Permitting; Enforcement; Public Presence and Partnerships; and Information Management and E-Government.The public is invited to provide comments on the Draft Strategic Plan in writing or verbally at the Commission’s December 2019 or February 2020 meetings. Written comments must be received by February 14, 2020.
Comments can be mailed to:
California Coastal Commission   Executive Division45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000San Francisco, CA 94105
Or sent via email to:StrategicPlanComments@coastal.ca.govA final plan is anticipated to be adopted by the Commission in April or May 2020.
California Coastal Commission | 45 Fremont St, Suite 2000, San Francisco, CA 94105