Trails are designed to hold up under a lot of hard use and abuse . However, when they are not used properly they can fall apart. A common problem us trail maintenance groups face is when people decide to "cut switchbacks" to save a little time and or make the journey more challenging.
This particular switchback shown below(Jesusita Trail) has been a favorite of hikers to cut for years. Tree limbs have been placed to discourage cutting but they have all been pushed aside in order to cut. In the last six months this trail has gone from about a foot of usable tread to non-existent. It is going to be a major repair to fix this section of trail and probably cost in the thousands of dollars.
The trail is now a dangerous and has a six foot drop to the trail below. If on this trail, be careful and NEVER CUT A SWITCHBACK!
Within the 8000 + acres burned by the Jesusita Fire contained some of Santa Barbara's beloved and historic trails. These trails including Arroyo Burro, Jesusita, Tunnel, Rattlesnake, and West Fork of Cold Spring all played an important role in the development of our city and continue to be enjoyed by thousands every year.
We are proud to present photographs showing the recovery of the Jesusita Fire on our mountainsides along some of these historic trails. Taken over the past 5 years you will see the hillsides collapsing upon themselves with "dry ravel" to grassy undergrowth to the rebirth of the chaparral so commonly found associated with the front country. To some, these hillsides may appear to have achieved a full recovery but the photos show that there is still quite a bit of growth yet to go. Until the recovery is complete, every wind storm blows over dead trees killed by this fire every rain storm brings unwanted rock and mudslides from the fragile hill sides above.