GOLETA, CA - With a winter storm approaching, Los Padres National Forest officials are reminding the public to plan accordingly if they intend to visit any of the popular "snow play" recreation areas on the Forest this coming weekend. The storm could bring snow-covered and slippery roads, rock slides, trail washouts, possible flash floods and other hazards.
The Forest strongly encourages visitors to take the appropriate steps to ensure personal safety in the event you or your party become lost or stranded, including:
- Contact the Forest Service office nearest your destination for current conditions. Many forest roads are closed during significant weather events; some are closed for the winter.
- Check local weather reports.
- Take a map of the area with you and know how to read it.
- Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of fuel.
- Check your tires and windshield wiper blades.
- If you're visiting high elevation areas where snow is possible, make sure you have chains.
- Bring an extra set of dry clothes, a warm jacket and hat, gloves, and appropriate footwear.
- Pack extra food and water.
- Bring a flashlight with fresh batteries, a first aid kit, and a shovel. These items could prove critical in the event of a change in weather, a vehicle breakdown, or other unexpected situation.
- Leave your itinerary and expected time of return with a family member or friend.
- If you become lost or injured, stay calm and get out of the wind if possible. Stay put! Do not wander. Searchers have a better chance of finding you faster if you remain near your planned route.
- Cell phones are helpful, but do not work in many areas of the forest.
Visitors are reminded that an Adventure Pass is required for all areas of the Forest, except the Monterey Ranger District. With potentially significant snowfall forecast for lower elevations, "snow play" recreation areas such as Figueroa Mountain and Mt. Pinos could experience high visitor traffic. The public is encouraged to drive slowly and carefully, always stay on the road, and be aware of oncoming traffic when visibility is low. Vehicles should only be parked in areas where they do not block the roads.
Contact the Forest office nearest to your destination prior to departure for current conditions:
Monterey Ranger District (King City) – (831) 385-5434
Santa Lucia Ranger District (Santa Maria) – (805) 925-9538
Santa Barbara Ranger District (Los Prietos/Santa Barbara) – (805) 967-3481
Ojai Ranger District (Ojai) – (805) 646-4348
Mt. Pinos Ranger District (Frazier Park) – (661) 245-3731
Source: Los Padres National Forest Press Release