According to a press release sent out yesterday by Jill Zachary, assistant Parks and Recreation director, Rattlesnake Trail and the San Roque side of the Jesusita Trail will be open again for use starting today. Rattlesnake, Jesusita, and Tunnel trails were significantly damaged as a result of the Jesusita Fire and were closed in September during the County of Santa Barbara aerial mulching program and to allow for trail restoration work.
With oversight by Kerry Kellogg, wilderness and trails manager for Los Padres Forest, the trail restoration work was funded through the Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) Program. A Santa Maria-based team of California Conservation Corps (CCC), Los Padres Hotshot Crew, and the Santa Ynez Helitack Crew worked for almost three weeks to repair trails in the Jesusita burn area.
Key to this work effort was special training provided by Garrett Villanueva, a Forest Service trails engineer from the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit with expertise in sustainable trail construction and maintenance. Volunteer trail leaders who participated in a day-long training session with Villanueva in mid-October also contributed to the trail restoration work and are positioned to support ongoing trail restoration and maintenance efforts in Santa Barbara’s front country.
As a result of this work, the agencies will open Rattlesnake Trail and the Jesusita Trail from the San Roque Road trailhead to Inspiration Point.
Although trail improvements were complete throughout the Jesusita Fire area, the Tunnel side of the Jesusita trail, Tunnel Trail, and Tunnel Connector will remain closed until spring 2010, due to the need to protect the areas that received aerial hydro-mulch.
Trail users are reminded to always exercise caution and consideration. Trails in the burn area remain subject to erosion and periodic rock debris, and will present unsafe conditions during wet weather. Remaining on the designated trails will reduce the potential for damage and additional erosion. The front country trail management agencies also stress that trail etiquette practices in consideration of all trail users will contribute to positive trail experiences.
The Forest Service, City of Santa Barbara, and the County of Santa Barbara, along with a network of trail volunteers, will continue to monitor the trails through the 2009/2010 winter season. Additional trail work to address restoration needs may be needed after rain events. Trails may be closed in the future if wet weather presents significant concerns about trail safety. The public will be notified of any future changes to the trail system.