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Sierra Club San Luis Obispo

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Morro Rock, Home of the Peregrine Falcon


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at Work

Bishop Peak Work

Fence Removal on Carrizo Plain

California Department of Fish and Game and the Bureau of Land Management are removing old fences on the Carrizo Plain National Monument and on lands owned by Fish and Game. The fences are left over from cattle grazing on this land. Antelope cannot or will not jump over fences so their grazing area is restricted and their fawns can be captured by coyotes.

Volunteers from the Sierra Club and other organizations are doing much of this work under agency supervision. Work parties from the Chapter tackled this huge task on several occasions, most recently in November 2005. Most of the photos below were taken in April, that's why the Carrizo is so green.

Fence Removal
Hard Working Crew


Fence Removal
Barbed wire can get heavy. Tom and Willie work together here.


Fence Removal Fence Removal Fence Removal
Volunteers and Agency supervisor


Fence Removal
There's nothing like the Carrizo for silence and open skies





Welcome to the SLO Trail Volunteer Program

Welcome to the SLO Trail Volunteer Program. This program is intended to aid the U.S. Forest Service, California State Parks, County of San Luis Obispo and local cities with trail and camp maintenance and upkeep. The volunteers report on current trail and camp conditions and help maintain sections of trails as required. This program encompasses northern Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County, and southern Monterey County.
Past and current projects:
  • Bishop Peak and Felsman Loop Trails (adopted by the Sierra Club)
  • Poly "P" Trail
  • Eagle Rock Nature Trail
  • Irish Hills
  • Chris King Trail Dazes
  • Santa Margarita Lake Loop Trail
  • Salmon Creek Trail
  • Cruickshank Trail Restoration
  • Carrizo Plain
  • Junipero Serra Trail
  • Vicente Flat Trail
  • Ongoing maintenance during regular outings

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Trail Watch Basics

What we look for:.
  • Trail Usage - Trail usage furnishes information to the Forest Service about what's happening in the backcountry, such as the number of people, horses, dogs or stock animals using a trail.
  • Backcountry Camps - Our area has many back country camps. A volunteer will note the name of the camp, whether it has been used recently, trash lying about (i.e., old sleeping bags, tin cans, tarps, etc.), report on damage to existing facilities, or whether new facilities have been added to the camp since our last visit (i.e., fences, tables, fire pits, nearby springs or water sources, tools left in camp). If this is your first visit, you will note the current conditions of the camp.

  • Trail Conditions - Trail conditions are very important to the Forest Service. Below are suggestions of what to look for on the trail. Do make an effort to note the location as accurately as possible.
    • Damaged signs.
    • Washed out bridges.
    • Downed trees across the trail.
    • Washed out sectionsl.
    • How overgrown the trail is.
    • Is the trail (tread) wide enough, or is it falling away?
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Report Writing & Contact Info


Once you have gathered all you information, you will be writing your report in letter form. Be as precise as possible but avoid excessive verbiage. Report even if your information is sketchy or incomplete, because any letter is better than nothing. The Forest Service needs to hear from the public. They need to know that we are using the national forest, and they need to know about maintenance issues, especially in these days of reduced budgets and cuts in staff. Below is a sample letter.

Sample Trail Report to U.S. Forest Service
July 11, 1998

Steven Dean
Monterey Ranger District
406 S. Mildred Ave.
King City CA 93930

Subject:  Silver Peak Wilderness, Salmon Creek Ranger Station to Buckeye Camp Trail Report, July 11, 1998

Dear Steven:

This is a report on the 3.0-mile section of the Buckeye trail from Salmon Creek Ranger Station almost to Buckeye Camp


Our group of 9 people had a great time overlooking the blue pacific.

We saw a single Bow Hunter on this weekend, near the junction Salmon Creek and the Soda Springs junction turn off.

Trail Conditions:

The 1st ½ mile of Trail from Salmon Creek Ranger Station is in very poor condition. The winter rains have created a large trench down the middle of the trail. The vegetation is beginning to cover much of the trail, as well as many snags. We cut out and removed four snags of large trees across the trail, but a few still remain. There are still several areas where trees need to be removed. 

When we reached the ridge, the spring growth had obscured the trail making it hard to follow. As we reached the chaparral, the trail became quite clear and free of brush, all the way to the Soda Springs Trail Junction. 

From the Soda Springs Trail Junction, the tread of the trail is in relatively good shape for about a mile. But the spring growth has definitely encroached on this trail making it hard to walk on the trail. Reaching Soda Springs Creek, the trail deteriorates rapidly, with deerweed and poison oak covering much of the trail. On this section of trail we did remove two downed trees from the trail and moved one large oak to make the trail passable.

We traveled another half mile along the trail almost reaching the top, but unfortunately the spring growth, deerweed, and poison oak made the trail impossible to find. When we did find a short section, a large oak tree had fallen over the trail. We tried to cut it out, but a rattlesnake prevented us from doing this. The switchbacks here were completely covered with heavy brush.

We never made it to Buckeye Camp as we have in years past. The brush was just too thick, and even those of us who knew where the trail should be decided it was not worth trying to continue up the trail.

As you have seen the trails in the Silver Peak Wilderness are in very poor condition at this time. If I had to prioritize work in the area, I would start with Salmon Creek Trail to Dutra Flats, Estrella and Lion Den Camps, then work on the Cruickshank Trail to Silver Camp and onto Lion Den, and finally the Soda Springs trail to Buckeye Camp continuing onto Cruickshank Camp, then on up to Alder Creek. These trails hold a lot of history to many residents in the area and should be restored if at all possible.

Steven, I don't know our exact plans yet, but Carlos and I are thinking of putting together a weekend outing to do trail maintenance in the area. Do you think we could stage our group at the Salmon Creek Ranger Station, by camping out in the back of the house or in some other area if necessary? We are tentatively thinking of Labor Day weekend, September 5, and 6, 1998. In any case keep up the good work.


Gary S. Felsman
San Luis Obispo CA 93405


  • Los Padres National Forest Monterey County

  • Steven Dean, Wilderness Ranger
    U.S. Forest Service
    Monterey Ranger District
    406 S. Mildred Avenue
    King City, CA 93930
  • Los Padres National Forest San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties

  • Wilderness Ranger
    U.S. Forest Service
    Santa Lucia Ranger District
    1515 Carlotti Drive
    Santa Maria, CA 93454


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Crews at Work


Silver Peak Wilderness

Carlos, Gary and Darlene work on a large tree 
on the Upper Cruickshank Trail, 
Memorial Day weekend.

It took us two hours to remove this tree.
We made four  separate cuts using bow saws, 
a rock bar and picks.

In all, we removed 15-20 trees of various sizes
along the Upper Cruickshank Trail.

After a hard days work rest is in order
Full moon rising over Lion Den Camp
Gary on the cleared trail.
Darlene gives Carlos a break
Gary next to a fallen tree.


Carlos the Boulder Remover Jim tackling a tree
Carlos removing rocks on the 
Salmon Creek to Dutra Flats Trail
Jim cutting a log near 
Villa Creek Camp.



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Santa Lucia Chapter of the Sierra Club
P.O. Box 15755
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406.
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85 Second St., Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105-3441, USA.
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Explore, Enjoy and Protect - Santa Lucia Chapter hike in Machesna Wilderness
Machesna Wilderness hike
April 2002
Photo by Gary Felsman