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USFS - Los Padres National Forest

As one of the volunteers on the Los Padres I'd like to write this letter in support of the grant application.
Through the efforts of Los Padres we've seen tremedous improvement in the condition of the trail system.  Also we've seen the results of restoration efforts with the fencing and rehabilitation of illegal routes, as well as maintenance of some limited sections of  ML 2 roads to allow access for the many users of the forest, including mtn bikes, horses, hikers, recreational mining, and the many uses on the Los Padres. All of these efforts need to continue in the face of loss of federal funds due to anticipated budget cutbacks.
I am not sure why a planning grant was not submitted by the LP this year. We always have eligible projects, but with all the activity on the Forest it is understandable that working up another project with limited staff this may not have been possible
I'm most familiar with the SLRD, but I want to express support for the other districts as well, especially the MPRD that has an extensive system and only limited volunteer support. The MPRD has one of the best OHV systems anywhere and it needs additional funding to bring the trails up to condition after a period of limited maintenance.
I see that the Santa Barbara Ranger District has not applied for OHV funds.  There is some opportunity on the SBRD that it would benefit from grant funding.
The ORD has only one trail, but it is an important one.  The ORD has been consistent in submitting excllent grant requests every year in spite having only limited opportunity.  This is due to being a District that is almost entirely wilderness.
Regarding the SLRD we are  fortunate to have excellent District support in the form of committed full time OHV staff as well as seasonal workers funded from OHV grants.  This continues to be an effective workforce. The seasonal workers have been capable and effective and have provided work during  the weekday which is difficult for volunteers.  They have been innovative and have found new ways to address problem areas and have added a missing dimension to our program.  We have highly effective recreation staff that has been exceptional in their ability to handle the volume of grant related paperwork and field work, issuing event permits on a short timeline, all the while handing complex NEPA documents. None of this would be possible without OHV grant support.
Due to the large amount of damage due to wet weather this year there is need for the hand crew on the district.  Extensive damage to the Kerry Canyon and Bear Canyon trails will need to be repaired and these trails are not accesible to mechanized equipment. I have personally surveyed Kerry Canyon and verified this is the case.
We are also in support of an increased law enforcement presence.  This is an important aspect of any OHV program and has been limited at best in the past. We hope grant funding will provide for more of a law enforcement presence.
Some changes should be made to the SLRD Education Grant application. This is an innovative program that has undergone evolution since its inception as we have found what works and what doesn't.
1. The Oceano dunes Beach Race was not held last year and the future of the event is uncertain. It should be removed from the list of events for the time being.We hope to hold this event again in the future.
2. The orientation ride events have experienced limited attendance, therefore these are now held as poker runs which have been very popular.
3.  We have experienced difficulty organzing the school outreach programs due to scheduling problems and school funding reductions.  Curriculum time is heavily impacted and we are researching alternatives such as after school programs.
4. We have experienced difficulty holding a booth at Farmer's Market attendance due to new insurance requirements for exhibitors imposed by the City of San Luis Obispo. We are working with the city to address this.
5. Tread Lightly courses are scheduled separately by Tread Lightly.  We plan to have a course in the coming year if possible.
6. We have utilized volunteers are part of a wet weather management program overseen by the District with Dr. Poff serving as consultant.  This has proven to be a superb educational opportunity, raising user awareness of the effect of wet weather on trail structures, trail design and virtually all aspects of OHV management.

Thanks for your consideration. [Bruce Whitcher - 4/4/11]

We are writing in support of the USFS/Los Padres application for OHV funding.  We live in the Colson Canyon/Tepusquet area in Santa Barbara county.

The Los Padres National Forest provides recreational opportunities for everyon -- bikers, equestrians, hikers, and off-roaders.  Grant funding will assist LP Forest staff in ensuring that the resources available are used appropriately and that future generations will be able to enjoy what we have now.

As equestrians, we practice ‘leave no trace’ techniques in order to ride and camp responsibly.  Unfortunately, not all forest users take the same approach.  We are not opposed to offroading in those portions of the forest set aside for this purpose.  But, we do see that OHV use creates management issues both for law enforcement and vegetation management personnel.

In recent years, a nearby section of the forest closed to OHV use has been damaged despite efforts by USFS personnel.  We would hope that some grant funding could be used in the Santa Lucia district to eliminate illegal offroading in Colson Canyon and to protect and revegetate portions of Colson Canyon campground and the area known as the 'slabs' (an old administrative site just east along Colson Canyon road from the campground).

The OHV grant will give our Los Padres forest staff funding they need to provide recreational space for off-roaders and ensure that these areas are properly conserved.  It will also help them take steps to limit illegal offroading and damage to resources.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this process. [Dave and Lil Clary - 3/16/11]