Deep inside the San Rafael Wilderness, employees from the Los Padres National Forest are working to inventory centuries-old Chumash sacred sites impacted by devastating wildfires.
Despite closure orders that restrict public access in America’s first congressionally designated wilderness, forest officials are concerned that site barriers and interpretive signs charred in the fires no longer adequately protect these vulnerable sites from further degradation.
Los Padres Tribal Liaison Pete Crowheart and Forest Archaeologist Loreen Lomax recently led a team of resource specialists on a 10-mile, nine-hour hike to evaluate two sites scorched in the 2007 Zaca Fire. They documented the extent of the damage and developed ideas for repairing the barriers and signs. One of California’s largest wildfires, the Zaca burned 237,000 acres over nine weeks. Fire-cost recovery funds recently secured by the forest are fueling restoration projects within the Zaca’s massive footprint. Read more »
Los Padres firefighter Kevin Poyner (facing camera) and John Knight of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade appear to have one foot “in the black” and the other in the Pacific Ocean. In reality, the two men have ample room between their position and the cliffs leading down to the beach.
Along Monterey’s Big Sur coast in California, the job of responding to “fire starts” rests on the shoulders of Los Padres National Forest firefighters and their partners at the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade as Monterey County doesn’t have a fire department. When a coastal landowner’s pile burn project went awry Feb. 7, firefighters from the forest and volunteer fire brigade led the initial attack that quashed what became known as the Alder fire at less than five acres. Read more »
Crews worked for months to rehabilitate nearly two hundred miles of remote trails.
Recovery Act funding spurs a renaissance in backcountry trail maintenance.
This year, visitors to the Los Padres National Forest, near Goleta, Calif., are seeing widespread wilderness trail improvements thanks to Recovery Act funds. Nearly $2.3 million was allocated to the forest for wilderness trail rehabilitation and maintenance which was divided among its five ranger districts. Read more »