La Brea Canyon Road Permanent Closure

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by Chrisowens8186, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. Chrisowens8186

    Chrisowens8186 Adventurer

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    It seems that the Forest Service is closing another one of our back roads in my area. La Brea Canyon Road which connected Colson Canyon Road to Sierra Madrid Road has been closed for 8 years due to "damage from a fire". Now after waiting 8 years for this dirt road to reopen the Los Padres Forest Service simply wants to reclassify it has a non motorized hiking trail! I'm getting so tired of every dirt road ended up at a locked gate! If you've never been in this area this used to be about a 30 to 40 mile beautiful dirt road going through the backcountry of the Los Padres Forest including streams and campgrounds. Anyone that can spend a few minutes and comment to the Los Padres Forest Service about their proposed La Brea Project and hopefully get them to reconsider would be greatly appreciated. Comments can be made by following this link https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50298 and clicking on "comment on project" on the right side. Thanks for your support.
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  2. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    Thank you for posting this here! I went to the Santa Maria Forest Service office this morning to get more information. It is very important that we submit our comments in direct response to the 11 proposals, or we will not be allowed to comment on any potential future revisions.

    There will be an "open house" for questions/comments on the La Brea Restoration project at the Santa Maria Forest Service office, located at 1616 North Carlotti Dr, on Monday May 8th from 4-7pm. Please plan to attend so our group can be represented and our voices heard!

    Kerry Canyon Motorcycle trail should NOT be reclassified as non-motorized. I have personally ridden Kerry trail many times and have put in countless hours of trail maintenance work on Kerry trail and Bear Canyon loop over the years. I have hiked Kerry trail 3 times (Miranda Pines rd to Lazy camp and back) since the closure and see nothing that could be described as non-passable by a motor vehicle. It must be considered that the trail has always carried a black diamond/most difficult rating and even the FS's description describes the trail as being for only the most advanced riders. It still stands out as the most difficult and most rewarding trail in all of Los Padres. The trail has been almost entirely maintained by users (mostly motorcyclists) only reason the trail is in disrepair is due to lack of use, due to lack of access. If access is granted, the trail could be put back into pristine flowing singletrack in a matter of a couple weekends of volunteer work which I have no problem organizing. If you feel inclined to hike the trail to see for yourself, you may still find pink ribbon trail markers intact, and I stashed 2 bottles of water in the stove at Kerry camp if you find yourself in need.

    If someone could help write a brief comment opposing the current proposals and in favor of reopening Kerry trail/Lazy Camp/ Wagon Flats to motor vehicle access, it could be used to get more people to submit a comment with a simple cut-and-paste. I think that a compromise of opening a staging area at the bottom of Rattlesnake, and another at Wagon Flats would be reasonable SO LONG AS IT ALSO INCLUDES OHV ACCESS TO KERRY CANYON MOTORCYCLE TRAIL!

    I've fired off an email to the Central Coast Motorcycle Association (CCMA, our local club) and I plan to contact CORVA to get them involved (they did send a representative to attend a public meeting shortly after La Brea was initially closed.) I've also sent out a mass message to just about everyone on my phone list which I see has been circulating... but we need more people on our side! If you can think of other groups that will help fight for our rights to access, please speak up and let them/us/me know!

    Thank you,

    Jay
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  3. verboten

    verboten confused Supporter

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    you guys are doing the right thing by commenting. Stay engaged through the entire process and don't give up. These decisions take time and sticking with it is the only way to get a favorable outcome. I'm not familiar with the area, but the AMA has been a great ally in spreading the word and helping take action, especially if it effects an existing designated motorcycle trail. Hope it helps.
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  4. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv Super Supporter

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    I rode that area before the big fire and miss it so much now. Still hoping they will reopen but it appears the current proposal will close it permanently instead.

    Jay, I sent a letter this morning to the Board of Directors of CORVA regarding this issue. I will post up their reply if it's proper to share it with the public.

    There's a group of volunteers for Los Padres and I will contact them.

    I everyone reading this thread send a comment to the FS, we should be loud enough to be heard.
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  5. Chrisowens8186

    Chrisowens8186 Adventurer

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    Thank you guys so much for the contributions. I have never done the Kerry Trail myself but have heard that it is quite the adventure! Last year I mountain biked a few miles in from the baracade on the Miranda Pine side and it sure seemed quite possible to me, at least as far as I went in. I'd like to go in from the Colson side to see how "bad" it really is.
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  6. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    It's not nearly as bad as it's made out to be. If you had a vehicle that left the factory with a low-range transfer case, it would have few, if any, issues traveling the length of La Brea Canyon. From the side that you bicycled in from, there is only one downed tree, one SMALL rockslide, and one creekcrossing that needs some attention between Buckhorn Ridge and Wagon Flats. A quad with a box scraper could clear ALL of that in half a day. It is currently classified as a "class 2" road which is for high clearance vehicles... same classification as the Stairsteps at Pozo (but nowhere near as difficult.) No reclassification would be necessary as-is.

    I have pictures of the area when we went in after the closure on a "guided tour" led by the forest service in 2010 (?) the one and only time my older son ever had access to the area. I would be comfortable driving my wife's bone stock Grand Cherokee through La Brea as it stands. A work week with one bulldozer could have it passable by 2wd passenger cars, but that is not the criteria for a class 2 road.

    It should also be known that the La Brea fire DID NOT make its way through Kerry Canyon, so the alleged burn damage and storm damage the following season DID NOT cause damage to Kerry like it did to La Brea. It never made it that far. Wagon Flats is exactly as it was pre- La Brea Fire with tables, outhouses, and even forest service posters still perfectly intact, the weeds have just overgrown.
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  7. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    Just a reminder that there will be an "open house" at the Forest Service office tomorrow from 4-7pm so the public can voice our concerns.

    1616 N. Carlotti Dr
    Santa Maria, CA 93454
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  8. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Showing up at these meetings is about all that can be done,that and trying to elect people who might give a rat's ass about this kind of thing.
    The Plumas National Forest came out with a map of "their" dirt roads and the ones in red are classified by them as "un-needed" Some lead to ages long used swimming and fishing/camping,some lead to historical stuff,some just travel the public forest,(almost)Nobody shows up at the meetings they hold to gauge public interest.

    Then the gates go up and the roads get bulldozed shut,if the USFS can even afford to do that much,they spend what money they get on maintaining bureaucracy and more high profile issues. It seems hard for them to talk about the National Forest with out referring to it as "theirs", the higher ups have had it their way so long with little public involvement, they long ago forgot they are responsible to the public who pay them and own the forest.

    Its kind of interesting to show up at these meetings and voice opinions.
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  9. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    TONIGHT! TONIGHT! TONIGHT!

    Please come to the Forest Service's open house from 4-7pm and voice your opinion!

    1616 N. Carlotti Dr.
    Santa Maria, CA 93454

    If you haven't already submitted a comment and you can't attend tonight's open house, please submit your comments electronically here: https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=50298 Comments must be submitted by 5/21/17 if you want to be involved with the project in the future... speak now or forever hold your peace!
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  10. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    Just giving this a bump.

    The Forest Service is open to suggestions for alternative proposals. You can submit more than one comment, so even if you've already spoken up, but you have some new ideas, submit another comment! I may not partake in all uses of our forests, but I do believe that we all have a right to be there.

    A few ideas to get your wheels turning:

    -Shared use roads and trails can get green sticker funding that non-motorized cannot.

    -if a total re-cut of the road is required, it can be slightly shifted to further avoid any critical habitat, without increase to the budget: the fewer water crossings, the better.

    -adopt-a-trail= free labor. There are local volunteers standing by, waiting for the "go ahead"

    -the vast majority of forest users use some form of motorized travel to get there, even if only to a trail head. Motorized access benefits all users.

    -non-motorized activity is already permitted on ANY road or trail, they will not gain ANY new access by removing "motorized" designations.

    Plenty of different angles to approach this from, let's get some ideas flowing and submit new alternatives!
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  11. Chrisowens8186

    Chrisowens8186 Adventurer

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    As far as an alternative to following the creek up the canyon it looked like there is a ridge line that pretty much parallels the existing road and from the view on google earth it looks like it is still pretty much bare from the fire. Looks like this ridge line could be intersected before reaching La Brea Canyon Road on the back side of Colson Canyon Road and then drop back down into La Brea Canyon near Wagon Flat Campground. Any thoughts? I submitted another suggestion to the forest service but it appears to be a blank page. I'll give it a day and resubmit if need be.
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  12. Chrisowens8186

    Chrisowens8186 Adventurer

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    La Brea Canyon Road Bypass.jpg
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  13. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    That looks like an absolutely brilliant idea to me! Relatively gentle slope (but might still need to be classified as a 4wd route?) completely out of the water, and still provides year-round access and trail sustainability (almost no maintenance required.) La Brea Canyon Rd is actually in really good shape about 1/2 mile or so south of Wagon Flats, so your route could head down from the ridge and tie into the existing route even earlier if there is a more gentle slope to do so. That would mean even less road construction.

    The canyon directly to the left of your proposed route is the Bear Canyon hiking trail that leads to Bear Camp, and shortly after, ties into Bear Canyon Loop motorcycle trail... imagine if that short section was CONVERTED TO MOTORIZED with the help $$$ of our OHV/green sticker funds and you could have singletrack through access from Rattlesnake Canyon to Buckhorn ridge!

    There are even some old road cuts on/near that ridgeline that are not on any maps I've seen, but could possibly be utilized as part of your proposed route? Those are the things that some good old fashioned "boots on the ground" scouting and some gps waypoints could really help to support the proposal.

    Another thing that needs to be investigated would be if either of those routes crosses private land? That could be a stick in the spokes.

    Thank you so much for that. It was exactly the type of outside the box thinking I was hoping to find, much better than what I had come up with thus far. Genious!
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  14. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    It looks like the only place your proposed route crosses private land is at the begining/Southernmost end, right where Rattlesnake (Colson) La Brea, Bear, and your route converge... right at the old house that is still down there (with trees growing through it.) I'm trying to get ahold of someone that, I believe, still has OLD maps that might show the mining roads that predate any of the FS roads/maps to scratch up a work around.

    The issue made the front page of today's local newspaper: http://santamariatimes.com/news/loc...cle_936714d2-1b77-5e5a-b62e-ff57020fc1e2.html
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  15. dman

    dman Long timer

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    I just submitted a comment via the Public Comment page. Though I live pretty far away in Santa Cruz, I pointed out that Los Padres is our local National Forest on the Central Coast, and the diversity of roadless Wilderness as well as motorized recreation should be maintained. Thanks for making me aware of this opportunity.
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  16. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    I met with the district ranger yesterday along with 2 other active voices in our local motorcycle community, and I attended an OHV meeting today at the LPNF headquarters. I'm very new to all of the processes involved here, so I feel like I'm trying to jump onto a moving train, but we have to start somewhere right?

    To make any of this work, we need to provide the simplest (and least costly) alternatives possible. Reclassification is probably the simplest, and it CAN work in OHV's favor. I'm still getting a few other sets of eyes on my proposals before publicly submitting them, but I am focusing on these basic goals:

    1) OHV access staging from Colson Canyon/Rattlesnake Canyon

    2) have a motorized route (ANY) through the forest from Colson to existing routes on the 166 side

    3) reopen Kerry Canyon Motorcycle Trail for motorized use.

    Please keep submitting your comments and contributing more ideas for alternatives!

    If anyone else has USGS maps (or OLD FS maps) you'll see a good amount of roads in the area that are not on current FS maps, the roads are still there, and mostly on public land...
    #16
  17. Chrisowens8186

    Chrisowens8186 Adventurer

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    Thanks for all that you are doing. I contacted the forest service webmaster as it seems all of the comments over the past few days are just ending up as error messages. It appears they have fixed some of them but others are still having issues, mine for example are showing up as someone else's documents for something else entirely! I've seen only a few negative comments posted, just curious was there anyone at the meetings speaking out against our cause? It was interesting in one of the negative comments they were saying how ruined the rock front area is because of all the off-roaders, yet I can't recall seeing any signs of tracks off of the designated routes when I was there just a few months ago.
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  18. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    Keep in mind, public comments can be submitted by mail, and in person. I have been in the office while a local resident of the Tepesquet area voiced some concerns about illegal target shooting. Though that is not in the scope of this proposal, locking everyone out may give their desired outcome. We cannot condemn an entire group due to one bad example.
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  19. The Letter J

    The Letter J Long timer

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    Alright, I'm official. I hand delivered my comments/proposals today along with maps showing the alternatives (including your satellite image Chris.) I submitted the text online as well, and it is now up on the project's page.

    I did mention to Melody that there are still a few glitches (like the 29 page comment on the Dakota pipeline?) and that those individuals are still wanting their actual comments to be considered.
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  20. dman

    dman Long timer

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    My comment is up on the FS site and is complete and correct.
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