Wednesday, July 18 , 2018, 4:22 am | Overcast 64º


Some Front Country Trails to Reopen Wednesday

Some trails remain closed for cleanup and stabilization work

The U.S. Forest Service, Santa Barbara County and the city of Santa Barbara will reopen several trails closed since May 5 because of the Jesusita Fire. Effective Wednesday, open trails will include Rattlesnake Trail, West Fork of Cold Spring Trail, and the Jesusita Trail from San Roque Road to Inspiration Point.

“Tunnel and Tunnel Connector trails, and the eastern leg of the Jesusita Trail from Inspiration Point to Tunnel Trail will remain closed due to additional cleanup and stabilization work that needs to be done over the next couple months to aid in the recovery efforts for the Mission Canyon area,” Santa Barbara County Parks Director Daniel Hernandez said.

A temporary no-parking zone along portions of Tunnel Road limits traffic in the area while demolition, clearing, erosion control and utility work occur. The temporary parking restrictions will continue until further notice.

“The other trail segments being reopened are in good condition now,” said Kerry Kellogg, the recreation, wilderness and trails manager for the Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest. “Agency crews, with the help of more than 100 volunteers last month, made repairs, and we’re happy to announce that the trails can be used once again.”

Trail users are encouraged to access the reopened trails from San Roque Road for the Jesusita Trail western segment; from the Las Canoas Road trailhead opposite Skofield Park for Rattlesnake Trail; and from the Mountain Drive and Gibraltar Road trailheads for the West Fork of Cold Springs Trail.

Visitors are cautioned to be mindful of ground conditions, including “some slides of stone ravel (small rock debris) during the summer as these trails initially may have a slightly less stable base,” Kellogg said. “Hikers will also notice less vegetation and very little shade.”

Given the harsher conditions, hikers, bikers and equestrians are still being asked to consider other locations for recreation, he said.

Agency staff also stressed the importance of avoiding off-trail activities. “Off-trail activities can damage the soil, engender erosion, and for those reasons they are unacceptable,” said Assistant Director Jill Zachary of the Santa Barbara Department of Parks & Recreation. Rampant off-trail activity could lead to some trails being closed again, she said.

Task force representatives said a June 13 volunteer trail maintenance day that attracted more than 100 participants was a helpful factor in reopening the trails. Additional volunteer trail days are likely to be scheduled in late summer or autumn before the rainy season. For more information, contact Kellogg at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.967.3481 x 231.

Joe Pasinato is a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest.

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