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California La Brea fire area/ Colson public tour 5/23

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For anyone who would like to see the La Brea fire damage (and the reason that colson canyon has been closed for nearly 2 years) please try to attend this:

DSCN0758.jpg

Sorry for the pic but I just caught wind of this about an hour ago and this was the fastest way to post up.

I will be attending and will take as many pictures as possible, though I do not know how far the FS will actually let us into the burn/closure area. If you would like to attend but lack a 4wd, let me know, as I may have an empty seat or 2 depending on wether or not my wife would like to go.

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I'm incredibly interested LetterJ, but that pic doesn't didn't come through. What exactly is this "public tour" and does it give me a reason to 4x4 as well as check out Colson??

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Go figure. Two working days notice for an all-day tour that takes place during working hours on a Monday. Considering my employer expect 2 weeks notice prior to taking personal/vacation hours off and my supervisor hates when employees call in sick on Mondays/Fridays, my chances of making this tour are small.

Still, it doesn't hurt to ask.

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yesterday's "tour" into the fire closure area was dissappointing to say the least. Every question that I or any other posed to the forest service was skirted around and not actually answered. The condition of the road down rattlesnake canyon is easily passable by a passenger car down to la brea canyon. Once in the bottom of the canyon, you must immediately drop into the creek and cross (as it has ALWAYS been) this can be done in a 2wd with high clearance with an experienced driver or easily in a 4wd. The OHV community was well represented there and I believe the forest service was expecting everyone to be shocked at the roads condition but the reality of it was that it was in no worse condition than other local "level 2" roads in the area.

The way it was explained to us was that rattlesnake canyon was a "level 3" road and had to be maintained accessible to a passenger car and la brea canyon was a "level 2" road and designated "high clearance" and was a legal OHV shared use road. Thinking about the road designations, I asked what a "level 1" road was and was informed that level 1 is administrative use only. So then I asked what ohv and 4wd trails were categorized as and was told they are also level 2. My question remains, why is la brea canyon not open in it's current condition if it is categorized the same as the stairsteps at pozo or the north/west end of shaw ridge trail which both require specialized vehicles/equipment to pass through?

One of the local news crews rode along and did a short story: http://www.ksby.com/news/recreationists-upset-over-road-closures-in-los-padres-national-forest/ video here: http://www.ksby.com/player/?video_id=11390

I did not get many pictures of my own, as we were not led very far in so there was not much damage to be seen. I will try to post what little I have later today.

Edited by TheLetterJ

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In my 27 years in this area of the forest (not to mention my father's 54 years or my grandfather's 75 years of outdoor recreation in this exact area) I have NEVER seen a single steelhead in the trickle of a creek that runs through la brea canyon. The red legged frog also supposedly resides here and vehicles crossing the creeks will supposedly disturb sediment and wreak havoc on their ecosystem. Hmmm... hasn't the exact area in question been completely full of ash/sediment for the last 2 years (much more than any vehicle could possibly kick up) and both endangered species have tolerated that with little/no affect? I asked how one vehicle crossing the creek compares to a herd of cattle stomping in and out of it and defecating in it as they please? FYI there are most definately still cattle ranchers operating in this area. It seems as though all questions were answered with the typical "papers need to be pushed" answer and that nothig can happen until third party environmental impact studies are completed (which have yet to be started.)

The section of road between Miranda Pines to just below buckhorn ridge (where a gate already exists) remains closed with no eta of reopening even though there are no creek crossings as this is mostly a ridgeline road, so the environmental impact on water dwelling species should bear no weight on the closure of this road. If this section were to reopen it would grant access to almost all of the ohv opportunities in the area such as buckhorn ridge, bear canyon, horseshoe spur, kerry canyon, horseshoe camp, and brookshire camp. This section of road has ruts deep enough to swallow your average 4wd but the path of the road remains and grading of this section should fall under road maintenance with no environmental impact studies nor approval from the army corps of engineers necessary IMO, but the forest service says otherwise.

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