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Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions. Click here for current information and trail notifications »

Temporary Forest Closure & What This Means For OVLC Adopted Trails

By on September 1, 2021 in News

Forest Service trails adopted by OVLC will be closed effective 8/31/21 at 11:59 p.m.

More than 6,800 wildfires have burned a total of 1.7 million acres across all jurisdictions in California, and the National Wildfire Preparedness Level (PL) has been at PL5 since July 14, 2021; only the third time in the past 20 years that the nation has reached PL 5 by mid-July – indicating the highest level of wildland fire activity. To better provide public and firefighter safety due to the ongoing California wildfire crisis, USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region is announcing a temporary closure of all National Forests in California.

The temporary closure includes the Los Padres National Forest and OVLC adopted trails. Pursuant to this order, the following OVLC adopted trails are closed to users from Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. through September 17, 2021 at 11:59 p.m.

  • Rice Canyon (Between the Forest Service Gates)
  • Kennedy Ridge Trail
  • Wills Canyon Trail (Portion connecting Oso Ridge to El Nido Meadow)
  • Pratt Trail
  • Foothill Trail (Forest Service segment)
  • Gridley Trail
  • Fuelbreak Trail

Please use the following OVLC maps to identify the Forest Service boundary and plan your outings accordingly:
Ventura River Preserve Map »
Valley View Map »

For more details about the closure, please visit the official Los Padres National Forest website »

Pratt and Gridley are Forest Service trails adopted and maintained by OVLC to Forest Service standards.

The OVLC manages 27-miles of trails in the Ojai Valley, but in reality, we are part of the larger trail system within the valley. We work in close partnership with the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) so that together we can provide a variety of enjoyable experiences for all users in the Ojai Valley.

There has been a significant improvement since OVLC has adopted the trail segments and associated trailheads, including new signs, trail maintenance, and trash clean up. We have a great partnership that increases our capacity to serve the public.” Diane Cross, Asst. Recreation Officer, Ojai Ranger District.

Factors that led to the temporary closure:

1. By temporarily reducing the numbers of people on national forests, we hope to minimize the likelihood that visitors could become entrapped on National Forest System lands during emergency circumstances.

2. The closure order will also decrease the potential for new fire starts at a time of extremely limited firefighting resources, and enhance firefighter and community safety by limiting exposure that occurs in public evacuation situations, especially as COVID-19 continues to impact human health and strain hospital resources.

3. Due to state-wide conditions, any new fire starts have the potential for large and rapid fire growth with a high risk to life and property. The Forest Service and our partners are absolutely doing all we can to fight these fires and will continue to do so, but the conditions dictate the need for this region-wide closure order.

4. Forecasts show that conditions this season are trending the same or worse as we move into late summer and fall.

5. Although the potential for large fires and risk to life and property is not new, what is different is that we are facing: (a) record level fuel and fire conditions; (b) fire behavior that is beyond the norm of our experience and models such as large, quick runs in the night; (c) significantly limited initial attack resources, suppression resources, and Incident Command Teams to combat new fire starts and new large fires; and (d) no predicted weather relief for an extended period of time into the late fall.

A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual
or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both.
16 U.S.C. § 551 and 18 U.S.C. §§ 3559, 3571, and 3581.

For more details about the closure, please visit the official Los Padres National Forest website »

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