Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

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By the Los Padres National Forest

Los Padres National Forest officials today issued a 60-day closure order for four ranger districts in response to the extreme winter storm that delivered punishing rain and wind across the Forest this week. This closure order takes effect immediately.

The closure order will be superseded or terminated when conditions and recreational access improves.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.

Over the last month, Los Padres received more than 100 percent of its annual rainfall along with extremely damaging wind events. The “atmospheric river” delivered record rainfall amounts January 8-10 ranging from 17 inches at San Marcos Pass on the Santa Barbara RD to 18 inches in the Ojai RD backcountry. These weather events have caused flooding, debris flows, slope failures, bridge, road and trail failures, and serious impacts to administrative and recreation facilities.

Public access to Los Padres recreation sites is limited or not currently possible due to compromised roadways. Weather forecasts predict additional precipitation at variable intensities and amounts over the next week on top of  already saturated conditions. Future storm events are expected to compound existing damage.

The full extent of damage to the Forest will be known once a full assessment is completed, which will likely take many weeks. Forest personnel are continuing to work with city, county and state partners on post-storm damage assessments and repairs when conditions are safe for work and travel.

“We’re taking this precautionary step to ensure visitor safety as we determine the extent of the damage and develop a strategy to prioritize and address the extensive impacts to infrastructure and natural resources,” said Los Padres Forest Supervisor Chris Stubbs. “I’m asking the public to heed the closure order while these recovery efforts are underway. My intention is to re-open closed areas as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

Forest Service law enforcement officers will strictly enforce the closure order, which carries a penalty of $5,000 and/or six months in jail.

For more information, please visit Los Padres National Forest’s website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.

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mtndriver Jan 15, 2023 08:15 AM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

If they leave the forest open and someone gets killed doing something stupid like trying to cross a creek that’s flowing over its banks, there will be lawsuits and a lot of bad PR. Protecting the agency. Can’t blame them, people are so litigious.

Sun Jan 14, 2023 11:17 AM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

Instead of complaining about no access for 60 days, needed for repairs, COMPLAIN to the Oil Industry who has taken AWAY OUR Public Lands with NO ACCESS PERMANENTLY!!! Destroying the Ecosystem, polluting water aquifers, and any fishing or other you are considering!!!

SBStoner Jan 15, 2023 08:59 AM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

Do you really think that kind of budget/work deficit wouldn’t be noticed if government agencies did things like this?

No one is going to do a double take when “all the rangers” as you are basically purporting disappear for two months while still drawing pay?

Someone probably had a messy marriage to a forest official

sacjon Jan 14, 2023 01:49 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

7:42 - because it's the ENTIRE forest, not just certain roads, camps, areas. It's absurd to close the whole park. Sure, they'll reassess it, but that they have the power to so easily shut down access to tens of thousands of acres of our public land is frustrating. Weird how I'm the only one not gleefully swallowing this.

a-1673724146 Jan 14, 2023 11:22 AM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

Because closing 2 MILLION acres of public land for 60 days is ridiculous. You're telling me they can't prioritize heavily used areas and get those open within a few weeks? Show us the damage then. Public lands should be a priority to keep open.

a-1673666049 Jan 13, 2023 07:14 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

I'd like to redirect everyone to the second paragraph. Pretend it's all in bold:

"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."
Maybe read more carefully?

LooseCannon Jan 13, 2023 06:48 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

I keep paying for the annual pass ($50) and getting to use it for, uh, half the year. I understand that some clean-up is required, but, really, it takes 2 months to clean up some small mudslides on Paradise Road? Hmmm.

sacjon Jan 18, 2023 04:20 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

And you know, honestly.... it's really not that much of a burden. I just got riled up after asking a simple question to clarify what I thought was an extreme measure, only to be met with snark and ridicule. So, out of principal, I dug in my heels. Won't do that again, seeing how quickly people here turn on anyone who disagrees with any type of closure regardless of the circumstances.

What ever happened to DUKE MUNSON? Be interested to hear his take on storm closures!

sacjon Jan 18, 2023 01:51 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

Because I enjoy hiking, fishing and exploring our vast public forest. With beautiful weather this weekend, I was looking forward to getting outdoors and taking a stroll where it's safe to do so. Damn... I must be a monster to even question this, huh?

sacjon Jan 13, 2023 04:51 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

4:38 - What's good about closing access to the entire forest for 2 months? What is about blanket bans that people seem to like so much? Are you one of those folks who gets upset whenever a hiker is injured and requires extraction? Shutting down an entire forest is ridiculous.

Chip of SB Jan 13, 2023 04:10 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

I’ve noticed a lot of articles have mentioned the record rainfall recorded on the San Marcos pass. I think it’s helpful to put these records in context. The data for the San Marcos pass goes back to the the 1965-1966 water year. Data for Santa Barbara goes back to 1868 on the county hydrology website. The wettest year in Santa Barbara was 1997, with the 1940-1941 water year coming in a close second. It will be interesting to see how much more rain we get this water year and whether we challenge those records. In addition, I would be very curious to know how much rain fell in Santa Barbara during the great flood of 1861-1862 when the Goleta slough was filled in with sediment and the Central Valley became an inland sea. Does know of any rainfall measurements taken in Santa Barbara county recording this event?

yakas Jan 14, 2023 03:03 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

The ARkStorm! I would imagine this series of atmospheric rivers might rival the 1862 event. I also could see how if it weren't for the current drought and agricultural water needs, the impacts might have to central valley could be similar.

sacjon Jan 13, 2023 03:58 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

Wait.... so for the next 60 days you could be fined or jailed for entering the Los Padres Forest at any point? No Cachuma fishing, no checking out the SY River, no entry of any kind? The order itself says "Going into or being upon any area...." So we're basically being banned from the forest for the next 2 months?

sacjon Jan 18, 2023 02:28 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

THOMAS JOHN - what a weird and backward comment and assumption. Are you saying because I'm upset about this shutdown, I can't be a "true liberal?" What are you saying? Liberals are happy to accept shutdowns and only conservatives oppose them? You're wrong on all counts though.

sacjon Jan 13, 2023 04:21 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

JIMBO - if that's really the case, they better clear out the jails. This is ridiculous. Close certain roads or areas, fine. But don't shut down the entire forest. 60 days puts us at mid-March. I'll be up there before then fishing. Public property!

a-1674078010 Jan 18, 2023 01:40 PM
Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

Why? Do you know anything specific about the extent of the damage done (more than the authorities responsible for maintaining the public lands) that leads you to the conclusion that 60 days is "excessive"? Please enlightne us. Perhaps if you offered to volunteer for trail maintenance with the Bucket Brigade or Montecito Trails Association, you might be able to get on the public land you're so insensed about being denied access to.

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