Survey: #50 Work1: #50 Work2: #19 Work3: #18 Survey2 : #16 Work4 : Log Camp

July 24-25, 2005 - Vicente Flat Trail Logging Project

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Trip Leader's Report


The Vicente Flat Trail is one of the medium usage trails within the Ventana Wilderness (Los Padres National Forest - Monterey Ranger District). It is also one of the Focus Trails on the District. Over the past several years, a large number of trees, ranging from a few inches to more than four feet in diameter have fallen on the trail, causing damage to the trail, hazard to hikers, and utterly blocking pack stock from all but a couple miles near the coast. In addition, on that lower section, substantial sections of the trail have been pushed as much as 20 feet below the original alignment, mostly through growth of vegetation pushing the tread downhill.

(Survey - May 16, 2005) Mike H and I (Robert P), surveyed the trail from the Cone Peak Road down to Highway 1. We collected data which is tabulated in the Survey Document linked on that webpage. GPS info is available in Garmin (.gdb) and MapTech (.txf/.mxf) formats by request. While our main goal was to document the logs down on the trail, we did also note other issues such as brush, slumped tread and storm damage. Some minor brushing and clearing of small logs (<6") was accomplished on this trip. Updated (7/25/05) Survey in .rtf format The survey is a Rich Text Format (.rtf). It can be viewed on a large monitor, or printed out in landscape orientation on legal size paper. Original (5/16/05) Survey is here.

(Logging - June 11-12, 2005) The first logging trip was the weekend of June 11 and 12, 2005. Base camp was Espinosa Camp, ~3 miles in from the coast. All logs between the coast and Espinosa Camp were removed, and substantial work between Espinosa Camp and Vicente Flat Camp was accomplished.

(Logging - June 25-27, 2005) The second logging trip was the weekend of June 25 through 27, 2005. Base camp was Vicente Flat Camp, ~5 miles in from the coast. All logs between Espinosa Camp and Vicente Flat Camp were removed, and substantial work above Vicente Flat Camp was accomplished.

(Update - July 9-10, 2005 - Logging) The third logging trip was the weekend of July 9 and 10, 2005. Base camp was Vicente Flat Camp, ~2 miles in from the Cone Peak Road. All logs that created substantial obstacles for backpackers above Vicente Flat were removed.

(Update - July 15, 2005 - Survey) The second survey was on July 15th, 2005 as a downhill dayhike the length of the trail. Minor brushing and long-handled pruner snipping of poison oak was undertaken, mostly above Hare Creek. New deadfall was pruned back. No change in general trail conditions

The fourth logging trip was July 24 and 25 (Sunday & Monday), 2005. Base camp will be on the flat near Log #17 (slightly more than a mile from the Cone Peak Road). All logs that don't require additional equipment or personnel have been cleared from the trail, and the entire length of the Vicente Flat trail is now passable for trained stock.

Trip Details and Commentary#12 recut

Trip Announcement

Robert Parks' personal commentary

With only half a dozen project logs left, and only two cuts over 20 inches, this trip should be a bit easier. Virtually all the logs are well grounded and shouldn't require large amounts of prep work.

We had 7 obstacles to tackle, the largest being the two simple recuts of Log #12. None of the logs had major complexity, either in cutting or preparation. I was hoping to finish the logging Sunday, and do cleanup/tread/brushing on the hike out Monday, which we did.


We carried similar gear to previous trips: a 6' crosscut saw, a 3.5' one-person crosscut saw, a 21" pruning saw, large axe, camp axe, a macleod and shovel, and clippers and small folding saws. The shovel and macleod were cached from the previous trip.

Highlights#12 clear

Log #4 - A minor log, but this upper section of a pine tree caused a tread diversion. Easily cut and pitched over the side. Tread restored.

Log #5 - A wishbone log, with cracked boles. As it turned out, once we cut the separate boles, we were able to remove one where it was cracked off just above the wishbone, allowing us to roll the rest of the log off the trail.

Log #6 - Another minor log that, after some trimming, was lifted off the trail.

Log #7 - After we cut the lower section off, the top section slid down and grounded. We elected to leave it, as it is clear of the trail.

Log #12 - A a result of poor planning on the previous cuts, we had to cut the log section in two so we could move it off the trail, as well as cutting another section off the uphill end of the log. All trail encroachments were then cleared.

Log #13 - Fairly easy grounded logs

Log #14 - Another wishbone log, the broken minor bole above the wishbone was removed using a pry lever. This allowed access to cut the other single bole. Then, the ends of the break just below the wishbone were trimmed so the log could be rolled off the trail.

Log #15 - Fairly easy grounded logs. Vicente Flat Trail Logging Project completed at 4:45pm, Sunday, July 24, 2005.

Logs and Cutting

Each log (obstacle) may contain several boles or other work. 8 obstacles were cleared on this trip, with about 230 diameter-inches of cutting (170 along Hare Creek, and 60 between the creek and the Cone Peak Road). Two optional logs (150 diameter-inches) remain for additional equipment work.


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Trail map with route and log numbers

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Detailed Image - 785 x 1327 (223K)

Detail of work area

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Vicente Flat Trail Logging Project - July 24-25, 2005 / Robert Parks / / revised November '05