Los Padres National Forest
The Los Padres National Forest (LPNF) spans nearly two million acres in the Coast and Transverse Mountain Ranges of central and southern California. Stretching across almost 220 miles north to south, the LPNF encompasses land from the spectacular Big Sur coast in Monterey County to the western edge of Los Angeles County. Among the most biologically diverse national forests in California, the LPNF is uniquely situated within one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and contains a wide variety of distinctive habitats and ecosystems. It is the stronghold of species like the California condor and one of the last refuges of the Southern California Coast Steelhead.
The Zaca Fire in 2007, the Piru Fire in 2003 and the Jesusita Fire in 2009 were noteworthy wildfire events affecting the Los Padres National Forest. Combined, these three fires burned over 280,000 acres of national forest lands and left a significant impact on the landscapes, watersheds, and ecosystems of the region. The Los Padres National Forest has partnered with NFWF to restore the watersheds and ecosystems affected by these three fires. NFWF will invests in projects that provide sustainable and lasting ecological benefits, promote ecological resilience to future wildfire events, improve the forest’s capacity to identify and address resource management issues stemming from these fires, and repair critical infrastructure such as trails, roads, and fuel breaks damaged by the fire, particularly where they have a discernable connection to the goals of ecological restoration.
Examples of current restoration priorities include:
- Improve forest health through management practices such as stand thinning, invasive species eradication, or revegetation
- Employ strategies that both restore past conditions and maintain and strengthen ecosystem and wildlife populations’ resilience to future fires and changing environmental conditions
- Target restoration and protection within subwatersheds or geographic areas critical to maintaining species such as, steelhead, California condor, and bigcone Douglas-fir
- Develop tools and information for the Los Padres National Forest and its partners that provide immediate benefits for effective planning of resource management actions, evaluating success, and guiding future restoration
- Repair or decommission non-natural features and infrastructure (e.g. trails, fuel breaks, etc.) impacted by the fires
- Foster opportunities to educate the public, engage youth in conservation, and promote the cultural and environmental value of the Los Padres National Forest