Announcements Archive

Accepting public comments for Santa Monica Mountains TMP

posted Apr 3, 2014, 1:32 AM by Webmaster OPEN   [ updated Apr 3, 2014, 1:41 AM ]

01 Feb 2014:

From: Trails <>
Sent: Friday, January 31, 2014 3:20 PM
Subject: Now Accepting Public Comments for the Santa Monica Mountains NRA Trail Management Plan EIR/EIS

Dear Trail Friends:
National Park Service, California State Parks, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority are now officially kicking off preparation of the long-awaited Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Interagency Trail Management Plan (TMP).
Today begins the public comment period for providing comments on issues the TMP Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) might need to address.  Comments are due April 1, 2014.
Please see the attached informational newsletter and public notices for background on the TMP and how to submit your comments.  Please forward this to your friends, memberships, or others who might like to receive this announcement.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Management Team
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Interagency Trail Management Plan

The scramble to keep California State Parks open

posted May 22, 2012, 6:44 PM by Webmaster OPEN   [ updated Jan 10, 2013, 11:19 PM ]

park closures

21 May 2012

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers gathered on Monday to push a new plan to save dozens of California parks slated for closure this year. The plan is the second effort announced this month to provide life-saving funding for state parks. [Read more...]

18 May 2012

Fifteen California Parks Saved By Massive Donation

When the California Department of Parks and Recreation announced last year that a full quarter of the state's parks would be shutting down due to budget cuts, it sparked a massive popular outcry.

Now, only weeks before parks around the state are scheduled to close their gates, a private, nonprofit foundation has announced a wide-ranging series of grants that would keep 15 of those parks open for at least a year. [Read more...]

09 May 2012

With only weeks to go before a full quarter of California state parks are scheduled to shut their gates due to budget cuts, a pair of Golden State legislators have proposed a last ditch plan to keep the spaces open. [Read more...]

Cedar Creek permit proposal up for public review

posted May 4, 2012, 7:34 PM by Webmaster OPEN   [ updated Jan 10, 2013, 11:18 PM ]

Cedar Creek Falls

27 April 2012

The Forest Service has proposed a permit system for hikers going to Cedar Creek Falls. The public has until 29 May 2012 to offer comments as part of the permit review process. [Read full article...]

17 April 2012

Hi all,

We have completed the Draft EA [environmental assessment] for the Cedar Creek Falls project.... Please see the attached PDF document for the Cedar Creek Falls Visitor Permit EA “Notice of Comment Period” letter.

Thank you,
Bjorn Fredrickson
Recreation and Lands Officer
Palomar Ranger District, Cleveland National Forest
760-788-0250 x3327 | 619-717-1923 (cell)

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI) vs. HSHA

posted Apr 20, 2012, 4:57 PM by Webmaster OPEN   [ updated Jan 10, 2013, 11:16 PM ]

&quot;news&quot; icon
* * * Please scroll down for earlier updates.* * *

17 May 2012

Backcountry Horsemen of California

On Friday, May 18th, Congress passed the Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks Backcountry Access Act, which allows the parks to continue issuing permits for commercial packers. This legislation was initiated by the Backcountry Horsemen of California (BCHC) to ensure visitors to the parks would be able to make their plans for this summer and also insure the commercial packers would not be put out of business.

Earlier this year, the Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI) decided that it was necessary for them to discontinue permits for the commercial packers due to a lawsuit that an elitist conservation organization (High Sierra Hikers Association) filed against the parks in an attempt to disrupt commercial activities in the wilderness areas of the parks. When the SEKI notified the packers they would not be able to receive permits, BCHC decided it was necessary to attempt to resolve the issue by getting a law passed that would extend for a period of time the parks could issue permits to the packers.

BCHC contacted Congressman Devin Nunes’ office (whose district covers the parks) and worked with them to develop wording for the legislation, which was completed in a few days and then passed in the House of Representatives by unanimous consent. The bill then went to the Senate, where it was reviewed by the Chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee; and it was determined that the wording of the bill needed a couple of small changes to improve its success for passage in the Senate. The changes were made, and the bill passed in the Senate by unanimous consent. Since it was modified slightly, the bill needed to go back to the House, where the bill again was passed by unanimous consent. Thus a law was established to allow the commercial packers to continue with their work for the next three to four years without interruption.

As this bill passed through these houses of Congress, an unusual amount of bipartisan support was developed; and many varied organizations and individuals spoke out in favor of continuing the work of these commercial packers. This massive bipartisan support is highly unusual in these times of conflict in government. This proves that when the public recognizes an injustice and need for levelheadedness, they can overcome issues that are caused by a small number of people who intend to regularly disrupt our lives with unnecessary lawsuits.

27 Apr 2012

Sequoia, Kings Canyon to keep pack animals

Read more here:

House Democrats and Republicans agreed on legislation directing the National Park Service to issue permits for 2012 and 2013 to keep commercial equine packing operations open in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for at least the next two years while a wilderness plan is completed.  [Read full article...]

Read more here:

24 Apr 2012

California Democrats propose that Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee support legislation that would give the Park Service authority to issue permits for commercial horse pack trips in designated wilderness in the parks. The proposed legislation would allow "the small businesses who manage the pack and saddle stock to continue to operate this season [at historical levels]. The court’s ruling did not determine that the horses and mules had caused any harm to the park, only that the National Park Service had not conducted a legally required study. The legislation...would allow the Park Service to continue issuing permits for the next year while the agency finalizes the necessary studies."

17 Apr 2012

This is an update on the current crisis for the SEKI commercial packers and a request for help.

Please contact both California senators (contact info below) and ask for their help in this matter.
A few talking points could be:
  • Your own experience in the backcountry with saddle and/or pack stock.
  • Commercial packers bring revenue to the state by providing a unique experience.
  • Current use in wilderness areas has not damaged the area.
  • Agencies such as the US Forest Service, California Conservation Corps, BLM, and other private groups depend on commercial, private, and recreational packers to support trail work in the wilderness and other backcountry areas. The packers haul in tools, equipment, food, and water; AND they pack out the trash from the groups.
  • If packing is scaled down or banned, all trails will suffer from lack of maintenance, as it will be impossible to supply crews or individuals. Also, by riding the trails, they are kept open.
  • The banning of all stock will severely limit the public's use of their public lands. Very few individuals and families are physically able to wear a heavy backpack and hike long distances. No one with any disability would be able to venture into the wilderness.
Senators' contact information:

Barbara Boxer - (D - CA)
(202) 224-3553
Web Form:

Dianne Feinstein - (D - CA)
(202) 224-3841
Web Form:

Attached are two other documents to provide background information.

Thank you to everyone for your help.

Terry Jorgensen, Public Lands Chair
BCHC—San Diego Unit

09 Apr 2012

Last week BCHC sent an individually addressed letter to all of the commercial packers that we believe work in the Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks [attached BCHC letter to SEKI packers]. In that letter BCHC advises that they will support the packers in their struggle with the decision by and action by the parks to shut down their operation in the National Parks.

Please help these packers. This situation is the initiation of a major offensive to the elimination of our use of public lands. Please send a letter to the Supervisor of the parks and tell her that shutting down the operations of these packers will affect the general public as a whole, and it has enormous consequences to the use of these parks by the public and is not the right thing to do.

Send this information to everyone you know who should help. And then send a letter to the parks and tell all of your horse and mule friends to send a letter. We need your help, now.

Mail to:

Karen Taylor-Goodrich, Superintendent
Attn: Wilderness Stewardship Plan
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, California 93271

Thanks for your help.

Bob Magee
Vice President - Public Lands
Backcountry Horsemen of California

05 Apr 2012

Attached is a copy of the High Sierra Hikers Association (HSHA) Webpage describing some of the things they are advocating regarding stock use in the SEKI (Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks).

28 Mar 2012

There was a lawsuit filed by the High Sierra Hikers Association (HSHA) against the National Park Service (NPS) attempting to stop packing in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI). In January 2012, the Judge ruled that the NPS did violate the Wlderness Act, and there is a hearing scheduled for late May to determine what action should be taken. In the meantime, the Supervisor of the SEKI has notified all of the commercial packers that they are not authorized to operate in the SEKI.  [See attached letter.]

In the response by the NPS to the lawsuit, the NPS has suggested that they might in the future set aside "stock free" areas within the parks as a part of the development of their Wilderness Stewardship Plan. This would be a move that would have negative effects on recreational stock use in the parks.

The High Sierra Hikers has made a motion to the court that the judgement for the NPS violation of the Wilderness Act should be to shut down all stock use in the parks.

Either of these actions could set a precedent for wider restrictions of stock use in all public lands. This lawsuit has potentially huge consequences for stock use into the future.

Bob Magee
Vice President - Public Lands
Backcountry Horsemen of California

Cedar Creek Falls reopening 01 Apr 2012

posted Mar 31, 2012, 9:54 PM by Webmaster OPEN   [ updated Jan 10, 2013, 11:14 PM ]

Cedar Creek Falls
Effective Sunday, April 1, 2012, the Cleveland National Forest is opening the east access to Cedar Creek Falls located near Julian, CA off of the Eagle Peak Road.  The west access to Cedar Creek Falls and surrounding area, located in Ramona, CA off of the Thornbush Road, will remain closed in order for the following to take place:
  • We are progressing but not finished with new management rules for west access. We estimate a final decision concerning the west access will be made in summer 2012.
  • The west access is difficult to manage as almost unlimited parking takes place throughout the subdivision, and is adjacent to a residential neighborhood that was impacted by unregulated use last year.
In contrast, the rural east entrance has comparatively less parking and therefore less visitation. Opening the east entrance also allows for hunter access with spring turkey season in full swing.

For those using the east entrance please be aware of the following:
  • The “difficult” 7 mile roundtrip trail is recommended for advanced hikers only!
  • Parking is limited, and vehicles blocking road access will be towed at owner’s expense.
  • Alcohol possession and use in the area including the falls is prohibited.
  • The cliffs surrounding the falls are closed to jumping and diving (swimming is allowed).
  • Visitors are not required to have a permit at this time.
  • Law enforcement agencies will be on site to enforce these rules.

The Forest Service is continuing to work with partner agencies and interested public groups to develop measures that provide for the safety of visitors and quality of resource base. The original closure was put into place on July 9, 2011, and ran through November 8, 2011. A new closure order was implemented that extended the closure through April 1, 2012.  On March 30, 2012, new Forest Orders were issued that allowed for the east access to be opened, while the west access remains closed.  The new Forest Orders also provide for the  banning alcohol use at the falls, and banning jumping and diving from the cliffs that surround the falls.


Ben York 1924 - 2011

posted Oct 31, 2011, 8:51 PM by Martin Jorgensen   [ updated May 9, 2012, 12:31 PM by Webmaster OPEN ]

Ben York
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of our own: Ben York. Ben was a member of the San Diego Unit and a true leader, mentor, and friend to many. Our deepest condolences are extended to his family.

Dr. Ben York, Jr. of Alpine, CA came to the end of his earthly trail and hung up his spurs on Wednesday, October 19, 2011. He was born September 3, 1924 to Ben and Marion Bunnell York in Pleasanton, CA. He graduated from Amador Valley High School and served honorably in the U.S. Army in World War II. He wed Adeline Wright on August 30, 1952 and celebrated 53 anniversaries before her death in 2006. He attended University of California - Davis, where he earned a B.S. and M.S. in Animal Husbandry in 1950, ‘51 and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1955. That year he opened York’s Animal Clinic in Brawley, CA and professionally cared for large and small animals for over 30 years. He retired to Alpine in 1987 and pursued many interests.

A life-long horseman and mule packer, Dr. York was known for being the first American to ride from Mexico to Canada on the 2,638 mile Pacific Crest Trail in one season. He made that trek when he was 68 years old and so enjoyed it that he made it again at 72. A devout Christian, he served as an elder for several Churches of Christ over his lifetime. He was active in many community groups, among them are: California Veterinary Medical Association, Rotary, Pacific Crest Trail Association, Backcountry Horsemen of California, Toastmasters, Los Senderos, Imperial County Sheriff’s Posse and Optimists. He used his skills as a general aviation pilot to fly gravely ill patients to treatments for Angel Flight. He traveled extensively and, while making an around-the-world trip at the age of 80, he suffered a massive stroke in Siberia. Despite the difficulties that resulted, he remained involved in many activities and enjoyed making friends.

Predeceased by his wife and brother, Marshall, he is survived by his dear sister, Barbara Sargent Johnson (Haywood) Manchester, NH; beloved children, Victoria Gabbard (Tom) Charlotte, NC, Valerie Watts (Ed) La Mesa, CA, Ben York III Gilbert, AZ; and precious grandchildren, Matthew and Megan Gabbard, Chelsea and Shelbea York. The family is especially grateful for the compassionate care of Denis Rees, Cristina Leal, Bill McConnell, Dr. Donald Adema and Avalon Hospice staff.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 5 at 11:00 am at La Mesa Church of Christ, 5150 Jackson Drive, La Mesa, CA 91942. Contributions would be welcomed by Pacific Crest Trail Association, La Mesa Church of Christ,, or your favorite charity.

Old Coach Trail opening in Poway 08 Oct 2011

posted Oct 6, 2011, 5:44 PM by Martin Jorgensen   [ updated Apr 21, 2012, 3:57 PM by Webmaster OPEN ]

Press Release, for Immediate Release

A Regional Trails Network for San Diego County
The First Step

Contact: Leana Bulay, San Dieguito River Park, (858) 674-2275 x 14 or

All hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians* are invited to join the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, The City of Poway, The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy, and the County of San Diego for the opening ceremony of a new trail segment.

Jim Cunningham, City of Poway Council member and San Dieguito River Park Board member will lead a 10 mile hike from the Trans-County trail south of Poway, through the Poway trail system to the Old Coach North staging area in the San Dieguito River Park where the hikers will participate in a ceremony to commemorate the new trail connection.

The ceremony will be held at the Old Coach North staging area (click here for map) at 12:00pm Saturday, October 8, 2011.
Comments from participating organizations will take place with a Ranger led walk to follow. Light refreshments will be provided.

The San Dieguito River Park, in cooperation with the City of Poway, has established a north/south trail linkage between the San Dieguito River Park Coast-to-Crest Trail and the Trans County Trail through the City of Poway Trail system. The new linkage almost doubles the length of continuous regional trail system available to trail users by joining the 23 continuous existing miles of the San Dieguito River Park system to the 14 miles of the Trans-County system through 8 miles of the Poway Trail system. This regional trail overlays the City of Poway neighborhood trail system which includes 55 miles of linked trails providing regional trail access.  

Established in 1989, the San Dieguito River Park is a 94,000-acre open space greenway of regional significance in San Diego's North County, stretching more than 55 miles from the ocean at Del Mar to Volcan Mountain near Julian, and home to a diverse array of sensitive animal and plant species, many of special status. The River Park aims to protect the natural and cultural resources, sensitive lands and waterways in the San Dieguito River Valley and provide compatible recreational opportunities for hikers, bikers and equestrians. For more information, including trail maps and activities, visit
Under the Oak Trees on the Old Coach Trail, January 2011.
The San Pasqual Valley, photographed from the Old Coach Trail, January 2011

Grand Opening Ceremony for Newest
Trail Section
Old Coach Trail Link
to Coast to Crest Trail
Noon on Saturday October 8

The ceremony will be held at the Highland Valley-Old Coach staging area at 12460 Highland Valley Road, Escondido, CA 92025.
Click here for map.

Comments from participating organizations will take place with a Ranger led walk to follow. Light refreshments will be provided.

All hikers, bicyclists and equestrians invited!


Although the event will commemorate our new linkage between the San Dieguito River Park Coast to Crest Trail and the Poway Old Coach Trail, equestrian access will be limited to two miles from the Highland Valley - Old Coach Staging Area due to a major bridge failure at Sycamore Creek. The bridge repair will take 8-12 months before full access to the Poway Trail System can be achieved. 

For Equestrians who would like a longer ride, we suggest staging at one of two other larger staging areas along the Coast to Crest Trail – either San Pasqual Staging Area at Bandy Canyon Road and Hwy 78, or the Sikes Adobe Staging Area on Sunset Drive and riding to the event at the new Highland Valley-Old Coach Staging Area. Click here to see a map with the staging area locations identified.

San Dieguito Riverpark Website:

Green Valley Horse Camp closed from 02 Oct 2011 till 01 Jul 2012

posted Sep 29, 2011, 11:09 PM by Martin Jorgensen   [ updated May 23, 2012, 3:19 PM by Webmaster OPEN ]

From: "Ernest" <>
Date: September 28, 2011 6:30:41 AM PDT
Subject: Green Valley Horse Camp closed until JULY 1, 2012!

CEA [Cuyamaca Equestrian Association] lacked focus this year, concentrating on keeping/getting trails opened for equestrian use. Now I think we have something to focus on! Read below:

Cuyamaca—All seasonal employees are being laid off as of Sunday, October 2nd. Green Valley Campground and Day Use, Granite Springs Campground, and the Green Valley Horse Camp will close on the 2nd. It will stay closed until July 1, 2012. Anyone who had reservations will be given a choice of either a refund or change their camping site to Paso. There is one exception, and that is John Sproule will stay on until the end of November when Los Vaq will close.

Palomar—All seasonal employees are being laid off as of Sunday, October 2nd. The Palomar Family Campground and the Group Camp will close on the 2nd. It will stay closed, as Palomar is slated for full closure as of July 1, 2012. Anyone who had reservations will be given a refund.

Los Vaqueros Service Weekend (5-8 May)

posted Mar 17, 2011, 11:32 AM by Martin Jorgensen   [ updated May 10, 2011, 12:28 AM ]

*08 Apr 2011 update: This event has been canceled due to a broken water main in the campground that, unfortunately, will not likely be able to be repaired in time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Please join the San Diego Unit of Backcountry Horsemen of California for a great weekend on 5-8 May (Mother's Day weekend). We'll have you home in time for dinner Sunday! We'll be hosting our annual Los Vaqueros Service Weekend in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. This is our annual opportunity to contribute service to our group equestrian campground and trails in Cuyamaca, while we camp the long weekend in a kickoff to the mountain camping season there.

Twin Flames BBQ will be cooking dinner for us Saturday night and breakfast on Sunday morning! This will give us plenty of time to get rides in.

Cost for the weekend is $30/member, which includes the two meals and one corral. Extra corrals are $10 each, as available. You must be a Backcountry Horsemen member to participate. If you're not a member, please download a membership application and join us!

The deadline to register is 28 April 2011.

Please download the attached flier, which includes further details and the registration form.

California Column to stop in Blair Valley

posted Mar 17, 2011, 10:30 AM by Martin Jorgensen   [ updated Mar 29, 2011, 11:12 PM ]

In the spring of 1862, more than 2,000 federal soldiers—mostly California volunteers, with a small contingent of U.S. Regular artillery—set out from southern California to assist in repelling a Confederate invasion of New Mexico Territory.

This march, about 32 miles in length, will be reenacted and follow almost exactly the historic path taken by these men as they hiked through northern San Diego County along the Southern Overland Trail. You will have an opportunity to experience a portion of this epic trek and interact with the soldiers as the California Column marches over Little Pass into Blair Valley around noon on Friday, March 25th.

You can also visit with the "soldiers" at their overnight camp at Vallecito Stage Station (Vallecito County Park—Highway S2, mile marker 34-35) on that Friday night and Saturday morning before 10:00am. Stay at the Stage Station for the rest of the day Saturday and share in the interpretive events for Vallecito Days 2011 (25-27 March).

Please see the attached flier for more information.

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