Thursday, September 3, 2009

9/2/09 FCT Task Force Meeting Re-Cap -- Trail Closure Information And More....

Dear Trail Users,

Last night's Front Country Trails Task Force meeting was informative and revealed future trail closure dates on trails affected by the Jesusita Fire. Other topics included: information about the Front Country Trails Coordinator Position, everything you wanted to know about hydromulch, and the September 26th National Public Lands Day event.

The agencies are on the lookout for someone coordinated! The Front Country Trails Coordinator position is now open and the agencies want you to help pass the word. A description of the position can be found by clicking the following link. Other updates regarding the FCT recommendations included a UTAP Trail Assessment update--no known date or specifics could be given to the Task Force regarding the implementation of the UTAP. Trail signs, as previously mentioned, have gone up at most trail heads and 4 more are on the way.

An agency sponsored trail maintenance event will be taking place September 26th. Originally scheduled for the trails affected by the Jesusita Fire, this event has been moved to San Ysidro Trail (and possibly others). Montecito’s trails will be seeing a high volume of use over the next six months and need to be in tip top shape. Volunteers are the key to this happening and people like you can make this a reality. More info can be found by visiting our Volunteer Page.

Some trails affected by the Jesusita Fire will be closing mid September for hydromulching. Agency staff announced the following trail closures and dates.

Jesusita Trail (San Roque TH) -- Closed September 15 - November 12 + future wet weather closures.

Jesusita, Tunnel Trail, and Tunnel Connector (Tunnel TH) -- Currently closed and to remain closed till Spring ‘10.

Rattlesnake Trail -- Closed September 15 - October 12 + future wet weather closures.

Cold Springs Trail -- Not in hydromulch area, no closures planned; possible wet weather closures.

San Ysidro and Romero -- No closures planned.

Reasons for the trail closures include safety and ensuring success of the hydromulch project. Hydromulch is a proven method to prevent massive erosion and sedimentation of fire damaged soils. Hydromulch creates a very thin “seal” over these burnt soils that needs to stay intact for it to be effective. People using the trails may break the “seals” and create catastrophic damage.

FAQ’s About Hydromulch:

Q: Does Hydromulch contain garbage?
A: No, hydromulch is 40% paper fiber, 60% wood fiber + tack and water. Unlike hydromulch that was used in the Gap Fire which did contain small amounts of plastic and other waste products, this new mulch is 100% organic, made to careful environmental standards.

Q: Does Hydromulch contain seeds?
A: No there are no seeds in mulch, it is designed to promote native plants to regrow in burnt areas.

Q: Can I walk or ride on hydromulched ground?
A: As stated previously, hydromulch is applied as a thin continuous layer that needs to stay intact to be effective. Breaking the seal will allow water to get underneath and the mulch will lose effectiveness.

Q: Will the mulch be dropped in creeks and on fire roads?
A: No, agencies revealed that creeks, power lines, roads, and orchards are not to be sprayed with mulch.

Following the fire a "BAER" assessment of the burnt areas was conducted and options to prevent erosion problems and recovery have been identified. All these preventative measures are to ensure those who live in and below the fire area are safe come winter. A study done by UCSB last year examined the effects of erosion and possible flooding in the Mission Canyon area following a fire. View the results HERE.

Next FCT Task Force meeting will take place December 2nd, at the County Board of Supervisors Hearing Room.

Please pass this information on to anyone you know that uses the trails.

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