You may have noticed the FOREST CLOSED electronic sign that was recently placed there by the County. I was pleased on my early morning hike up Painted Cave Road to find the perfectly sized electronic sign displaying FOREST CLOSED. I have been working for some time with the LPNF and Santa Barbara County to get electronic signs for East and West Camino Cielo for vital alerts at key locations in our area. The signs could display a number of alerts: NO CAMPFIRES; RED FLAG ALERT; ROAD CLOSED (say for example, with storm related road damage, snow, etc.)
I was so pumped to see the sign on Painted Cave Road that I drove up to see if a similar sign was on East Camino Cielo, and there wasn't one. I then drove up to where East Camino Cielo meets Painted Cave to see if there was an electronic sign, where Camino Cielo gets closed sometimes. There was no sign.
To my dismay, I did find sprawling dispersed camping activity at the large turnout, just above Painted Cave Road. I saw for the first time in our Forest a site resembling some streets in Oakland. Have you seen this for yourselves? I reluctantly understand that dispersed camping is allowed under current LPNF policies. So, perhaps, little can be done to limit this type of large-scale dispersed camping activity. However, since the Forest is currently closed, I hope a LPNF patrol can enforce the closure, especially with Labor Day Weekend starting this weekend. They are now aware of this situation and have assured me someone will speak to these campers.
I have made contact with the LPNF and SBC to thank them for the sign. It would be great for MET members to thank Gary Smart with County Signs for putting the electronic sign on Painted Cave Road at GSmart@cosbpw.net. Hopefully, we will get a couple more. Stay safe!