As the Thomas Fire is declared officially 100% contained, our community is shaken by yet another terrible natural disaster. The devastating flooding in Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria, and Matilija Canyon has claimed lives and property. Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy. It is frustrating that there is so little we can do except stand by and let the emergency personnel do their work.
In difficult times like these, we here at ForestWatch find solace in nature. Consider getting outside and taking a therapeutic opportunity to reconnect with loved ones while remembering what we have lost and all the things we still have that are worth fighting for. Find silence and clarity along a mountain stream, beneath an ancient oak tree, or atop a summit. Or simply take time to notice the clouds, the birds, or the wind on your skin. Come back with a clear mind, a rejuvenated outlook, and the wisdom needed to face a new day.
Much of the Los Padres National Forest will remain closed for the foreseeable future due to the effects of the Thomas Fire. However, much of the forest is still accessible. We encourage you to take some time to hit the trail and explore the beautiful places so dear to our own hearts.
Places in Santa Barbara County like Figueroa Mountain and the San Rafael Wilderness are still open and were relatively untouched by wildfires last year. Explore the bigcone Douglas-fir groves along the Davy Brown Trail or the spectacular scenic diversity of Manzana Creek — both just a short drive north of Los Olivos. Or perhaps the views of the ocean and Channel Islands from Gaviota Peak will enliven your day.
In Ventura and Kern Counties, you can still access parts of the Sespe Wilderness and all of the Chumash Wilderness near Mt. Pinos. Venture through the large stands of pines at higher elevations or hike the rugged chaparral-covered backcountry.
Take a trip to visit Big Falls in the Santa Lucia Wilderness near San Luis Obispo or hike the coastal trails of Big Sur. Every view is simply breathtaking in these areas in the northern part of the Los Padres.
No matter where you go, you can find solace in the comforting sights, sounds, and smells of the forest or your own backyard. Let yourself be renewed and reminded of why our corner of the world is so special — and so resilient.
Our community has come together over this tragedy. Together we will find ways to make a difference.