Recent fires and mudslides have damaged many of the area’s most popular trails, but volunteers with the Los Padres Forest Association point out that other, more accessible trails that have not been used recently could be groomed to expand the now-limited choice of trails.
“Many of these trails have become overgrown, hard to follow, and not very enjoyable to hike or ride,” said Bryan Conant of the LFPA, including Arroyo Burro, Devil’s Canyon, Matias, and the network of trails within the Figueroa Mountain Recreation Area.
“The community can help by either donating money to help restore these trails or by volunteering on any of the upcoming projects focused along these trails,” Conant said.
Local experts point out that the more well-known damaged trails will not be stable enough to begin rebuilding in the near future and, even when restoration begins, it is likely to be a monumental, multi-year effort.
The Santa Ynez Women Hikers, a club that has been hitting the trails every Wednesday for more than 40 years, is raising funds to support the efforts of the LPFA, which is a nonprofit group of mostly volunteers who have been tirelessly building and grooming trails for the past four decades.
The funds will go to purchase equipment, hire specialist workers, and help with volunteer activities needed to restore trails.
Los Padres National Forest is the second-largest in California, stretching across the Central Coast from Los Angeles County to Monterey. It has 10 designated wilderness areas along with thousands of miles of trails and spectacular natural wildlife and scenery.
The Santa Ynez Women Hikers are inviting tax-deductible donations that can be mailed to Los Padres Forest Association, c/o Phoebe Patterson, 1710 Overdel Lane, Solvang, CA 93463.
For more information on the LPFA, log onto www.lpforest.org.