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California Colson Canyon area update since La Brea Fire (2009)

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Does anyone living in the Sisquoc / Santa Maria area have any person insight into the Colson Canyon OHV closure? I'm specifically wondering about the Kerry Canyon trail (30W02) but I'd be interested in riding anywhere in the Colson Canyon area again. Any input would be awesome.

 

It's been years since I've posted on Thumpertalk, feels good to log in and post again.

Edited by SBMX

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The short story is that Colson/ La Brea are still closed to OHV use. Bear Canyon Loop is open, Horseshoe switchbacks are open and the North/West portion of Kerry is open (but "dead ends" where it crosses private land) Miranda Pines Road is blocked off (can't go any further South) where it meets Buckhorn Ridge Trail. The only legal access into the area is from Sierra Madre Road at 166.  PM incoming.

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You are the man J, thank you.

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Hey everyone, I am trying to spread the word that the LPNF has finally released their proposed "restoration" plan for the Colson Canyon La Brea fire area.  Unfortunately the proposed plan is not to reopen the trails to motor vehicles as we have all been hoping and patiently waiting for (for 8 years now!)  The proposed plan is instead to permanently close the road to vehicles and reclassify it as non motorized access only!  As well as close many of the area campgrounds including Colson.  However, there is an open public comment period until May 21 2017.  

Please go to this link below where you can read the full proposed plan and also leave your comments letting them know that we would like to have the trails reopened fully for motor vehicle access.  

We need everyones help so that the ranger district understands that having recreational vehicle access to this area of the Forrest is important to the public. 

 

https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=50298

 

thank you

-Jon

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Just a reminder: the Forest Service is having a public "open house" TONIGHT from 4-7pm, this is an opportunity for us to voice our concerns. Please come if you can!

1616 N. Carlotti Dr.

Santa Maria, CA 93454

 

If you haven't submitted a comment yet, please do so at https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=50298 You have until 5/21/17 to speak up, or forever hold your peace.

Edited by TheLetterJ

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Could you please provide some updates as to what was talked about at the open house?  I was not able to attend unfortunately but am curious as to what they said, how they responded to the public outreach (we have over 115 comments now on the proposed action, every single one in favor of reopening the trails by the way.  Great job!) 

 

Please fill me in!

 

thanks

 

-Jon

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The short story is that they are open to alternative proposals that are sustainable (won't require constant/excessive maintenance.) They are well aware that the public is opposed. Pitch forks and torches won't reopen anything, well thought out solutions might. Alternatives that minimize water crossings would be a good start. Like it or not, endangered/threatened species exist in the area, and we need to accomodate. No amount of funding will change that, so start thinking of how we can come up with a solution that satisfies their needs as well as our own.

 

 I arrived prepared to give a 5 page speech, but instead, I refrained and will alter my comments to not only include the reasoning behind my opposition, but also include new alternative proposals.

 

I'm glad to see that every FS employee recognized me, and most already knew me by name. I feel that maintaining a positive relationship with those involved in this project can only help our interests. I may visit again this week to try to get a little more information on a few very specific areas of concern, and verify locations of private parcels within the forest, before getting too deep in my new proposals. You can submit as many comments as you like.

 

Just to get your wheels turning... don't forget that roads and trails that are open to ohv use/mixed use can get green sticker funds that forest roads don't have access to for repair/maintenance/construction. 

 

I did make it well known that I want to be actively involved in this project, and I feel that we are well represented.

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Great thank you for the update.  I would also like to be involved in any efforts to reopen the roads.  Please keep me informed of any updates you hear and i will do the same.  I am upset i was unable to attend the meeting but oh well.  

The endangered species thing is a crock.  I have read NEPA reports on the exact ares in question and their finding was that there have been no steelhead present in la brea creek for many decades and it is highly questionable as to whether the creek could even support the species due to the seasonal nature of the water flow.  As for the red legged frog, none where found in la brea area.  In fact, the only place in the LPNF where the red legged frog was found anywhere near a motorized vehicle rout was on one road at RockFront.  So basically, the two endangered species they always mention dont even live in the area. 

My alternative proposition was to re-designate it from a forrest rout to a OHV Trail.  less maintenance would be required, and even repairs would be minimal because they could just rate the trail a higher difficulty according to the condition.   Hell make it a Jeep black diamond.  I do think that it should remain open for all vehicles though, not just motorcycles, because i would like to retain vehicle access to the camp sites in the area.  I did not even think about the green sticker funding thing, but that is great.  Even more reason why the road should be redesigned. 

-Jon

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I would still like 4-wheeled access too, as I'm sure that users from all forms of recreation would. By far, my family's favorite campsite is Wagon Flats, and I don't think my 3 year old, or my 6 year old, or my wife, or my dogs, or even myself, are up for the required hike to get there.

 

La Brea Canyon Road was shared use prior to its closure. As you said, assign it a difficulty rating and apply for green sticker funding. Maintenance and funding solved. But we still need to address our slimey friends.

 

The specific findings from NEPA reports are one of the pieces of information that I'm still after. I've got a suspicion that a perimeter was just drawn around a "general" area and designated as critical habitat, much like the La Brea "burn" area was not all burned. I have not dug too deep on the steel headed trout issue, but I have found evidence that suggests they have not been present later than the early '70's (possibly late '60's)and they were planted/introduced to the area for sport fishing in the 1930's... not native. The seasonal nature of the creek could not support them.

 

You can always visit the Forest Service office in person during normal business hours to discuss these things with them.

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I find it laughable that ranchers can still run cattle in the area, all making water crossings and trampling the suspected 'endangered species' habitat with impunity.

This is accomplished by the ranchers leasing the area for fractions of pennies per acre. Money talks....maybe designating the area as OHV and bringng in those funds will sway the powers to open it back up because it is a more lucrative option.

 

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That is one of the topics that will be included in my proposals. Please elaborate on it and submit a public comment. 

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13 hours ago, TheLetterJ said:

That is one of the topics that will be included in my proposals. Please elaborate on it and submit a public comment. 

Comment submitted....

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Public comment period closes this Sunday! If you would like to hand deliver your written comments, today is your last day. I know that there have been some hiccups with the webpage (check out Chris Owens' last comments, and Joy Griffin's... obviously a website related error), so I intend to hand deliver mine today as well as submitting them electronically.

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Well, with the Alamo Fire burning out of control is this area, it will be 10 more years before we, the public, are able to access these public lands with a vehicle. However, ranchers will still be able to run cattle and vehicles at will.

 

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As far as I can tell, the Alamo fire did not travel far enough East to overlap into the Colson/La Brea area at all. Though it never got closer than about 5 miles from me, I could see the flames from my house on Friday and Saturday! 

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This is exactly why I bring a cow whenever I ride now.  Cow trumps Red Sticker. 


Jeff wins the interwebs again.
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UPDATE:  USFS just released a major update to the proposed project more than a year after the initial comment period.  After all the comments expressing the desire to keep riding trails open, they have released 4 alternative plans.  Alternative plan 3 is to reopen all the roads that were closed after the fire to their original status.  This is the plan we want!  Link bellow. 

Please go to the project page and submit a comment in support of plan 3 to reopen our riding trails, camp sites and 4x4 roads!!!

Link to the project page: 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50298

Link to the Environmental Assessment which explains the alternative plans

https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/www/nepa/105174_FSPLT3_4389324.pdf

 

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