Public Lands Issues of Concern to BCHC Los Padres Unit

Here folks, is what we are up against, this is a quote from a person who believes that humans should not be a part of the the natural environment, these people don't want you or your horse on American Public Lands
Richard H. Stafursky Project Manager at Species List Forest
The SPECIES FOREST is a forest of, by and for all the other species of plants, animals, fungi and soil microbes in that place. The species are not the stakeholders; they are the original occupants. It is their forest. Our national forest service must first and foremost return the species' forest complete and save it now. This 21st century and we begin the process of return with Sequoia National Forest. A species forest is the healthiest forest and best for the climate. After all. Earth is the Species' Planet.

Grover Beach Parking

When the proposed hotel goes in at the West end of Grover Beach,  equestrians will lose the current parking lot, The developer and the city of Grover Beach have designed a new parking area dedicated to equestrian parking on the south side of Grand Avenue.    As of right now, it appears that the California Coastal Commission will deny the construction of the new dedicated equestrian parking lot as it will impact dune habitat.  Equestrians need to make the case that this parking area is needed for equestrian use of the beach

Equestrian Staging Area
  The site for the Equestrian Staging Area will consist of 37,500 sq. ft. and will be located south of West Grand Avenue .
  The Equestrian Staging Area will provide sufficient parking of up to fifteen (15) truck and trailer combinations.
  The Equestrian Staging Area will feature an all-weather surface for a parking area.
  The site will provide a safe, reliable, and separate staging area for equestrians.
  The site will preserve and enhance equestrian access to the beach, which was first established in 1982.
  The site will improve rider safety by eliminating the current practice of equestrians riding across a hard surface road to gain access to trails and the beach.
Talking Points - Grover Beach Lodge and Conference Center
Equestrian Staging Area
Page 2
  The site will establish an equestrian staging facility that is separate from all other park uses.
  The proposed site is immediately adjacent to the Grand Dune Trail Head and will provide direct access to the beach.
  Equestrians have offered to assist with trail maintenance and policing.
  The Equestrian Staging Area will encourage continued access and use of the beach by equestrians.
  The proposed Equestrian Staging Area consists of severely degraded central dune scrub. The project is dominated by non-native ice plant. Despite the presence of some native vegetation, the area does not function as a viable dune habitat. The dune topography is degraded by invasive vegetation and uncontrolled public access.
  The proposed Equestrian Staging Area is on State Parks property and has been determined to be the most appropriate location by State Parks and their biological staff.
  The area immediately adjacent to the Equestrian Staging Area would benefit from the implementation of a Dune Habitat Restoration Plan that would restore other degraded dune areas at a ratio of 2:1. Restoration of other degraded dune areas would enhance the habitat value of the dunes in the area.
  Trail redundancy adjacent to the Equestrian Staging Area would be eliminated.

My Presentation To The Coastal Commission.

I testified to the Coastal Commission on January 10, 2012:

Good morning Commissioners.

I am Richard Waller   the 1st Vice President of the Backcountry Horsemen of California with  3,000 members in the state.

I serve as the Project Director of the Backcountry Horsemen of California, Los Padres Unit with 400 members who live in our local area.

Our mission is  to insure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use. 

We recommend that the Coastal Commission approve the proposed equestrian parking and staging area.

Riding on the beach can only be done on a few beaches in  California. Equestrians come from around the state to ride here.

The beach and dune trails fill an important need for equestrians. During the Winter when the mountain trails are muddy or snowed in, or in Summer when intense heat lays on our Coast Range the beach provides one of the few areas that can be safely and comfortably be ridden.

Equestrians have become the red haired stepchild of our public lands. We appear to rank at the bottom of all decisions on public land use.

If the state can host 3,000 acres and 6 miles of motor vehicle beach and dune access, it can surely give equestrians an acre to park on.

Please write letters to the following individuals, make sure that any letter sent to Mary Shallenberger is CC'ed to Dan Carl, and additional CC to Rob Perrault, City Manager of Grover Beach is a good idea, so he can keep track of what is being said.

Remember to keep the letters factual and professional as you are representing the Backcountry Horsemen of California.

Ms. Mary Shallenberger
Chair California Coastal Commission
45 Fremont Street
Suite 2000
San Francisco CA 94105
Dan Carl
Deputy Director
Santa Cruz Office
California Coastal Commission
724 Front Street
Suite 300
Santa Cruz CA 95060-4508

Local Issues

Stony Creek Road
over  60 years since the CCC built the Stony Creek Road in the 1930's,  the road was open for public travel to the end of the road at the now closed Stony Creek Campground.

Sometime in the last 10 years or so, the Huasna Land and Cattle Company, known as the Huasna Ranch closed the road with a massive gate which has been backed up on the newly surveyed property line with a barrier constructed of T posts and wire.

Visitors who use the road can be stopped by ranch employees. If the ranch employees do not see them, but see their  parked vehicle they can  find a note on their vehicle upon return stating that their license number has been turned into the Sheriff's department.

There are a number of individuals working on re-establishing access to the road.

There is a potential drawback for the ranch to the intransigence of the ranch to considering access.  If  a court order at some point in the  future orders the road open, it will be open to  everyone, including the mechanized vehicles that caused the damage  that resulted in the road closure in the first place.

I, in a letter to the ranch owners made the case that opening the road to non motorized use, hikers, equestrians,  mountain bikers  would  be a benefit to the ranch. Putting boots and hooves and eyes on the ground, watching out for motorized vehicle trespass, which currently occurs.

The ranch owners were not interested in my argument.  We are seeing motorcycle tracks from the ranch into the Garcia Wilderness, this is a concern for us, as the motos destroy waterbars, including the many that Dennis Vaca  and the CCC's have put in on the Caldwell Mesa Trail.

If you have photos  and or accounts of use of the Stony Creek  road or Stony Creek campground taken prior to 1972, and you would like to submit them to me in support of opening the road under prescriptive easement laws, please do so.

Santa Cruz Trail, a danger to Equestrians.

The Santa Cruz Trail from Upper Oso to Little Pine Mountain is the only equestrian access from the upper Santa Ynez Canyon and Los Prietos Ranger Station into the San Rafael Wilderness.  The trail is narrow and ascends steeply along steep slopes.

The trail has become popular as a downhill bombing run by mountain bikers who pedal up the Buckhorn Road and descend the trail.  This can have fatal consequences for man and horse startled by a rapidly moving mountain bike.

Horsemen have pretty much given up riding into the wilderness along this trail due to the danger.  There have been efforts to reach a compromise between mountain bikers and horse groups to eliminate this risk without much success.

Santa Barbara Trails Council under the direction of Otis Calef will present a proposal to the Forest Service banning mountain bikes from the trail until after 2:00 PM. This will allow equestrians time to ascend and clear the trail before facing bicycles.

Otis has asked BCHC, Los Padres Unit to support this effort.

Letter to Representatives supporting HR 1996

Something Great!

April 2013

28, Author Ed Vernon and the Santa Margarita Historical Society will share with us the research what went into his book, “Asistencia Santa Margarita de Cortona”. 2:30 PM at the Santa Margarita Community Hall on the corner of I and Murphy Streets in Santa Margarita.
Cheri Roe 227-4931
Cost: $5.00 - benefits the Santa Margarita Historical Society
Edward Vernon has traveled extensively in Baja California and written about its Missions. Mr. Vernon says, “It was a natural extension of that work to take up the Asistencia. After visiting the Santa Margarita Ranch in 2010 with the California Missions Study group I found that the existing documentation on the Asistencia was often incomplete and sometimes inaccurate. With the help of architect Don Sharpe and photographer Bell Dewey I have been able to gain a better understanding of this wonderful piece of historic architecture.”
Mr. Vernon will use a visual presentation to share with us his work then answer questions for audience members about the Asistencia.