10000 Ojai Rd
Santa Paula, CA 93060
Santa Paula Canyon in the Los Padres National Forest is home to the Punchbowl, one of the finest swimming holes in Southern California and a local scenic wonder. The canyon is home to a large community of riparian and chaparral plants and wildlife native to this region. And it’s also home to an oil drilling operation. For many years, the County of Ventura and the U.S. Forest Service have tried to find a balance between the rights of the drilling company and the needs of citizens who wish to enjoy the canyon and its waters.
Enter CFROG, Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas, whose mission, as their name implies, is to make sure that oil and gas activities in Ventura County are only allowed when the environment and public health are protected. CFROG and environmental partners (Center for Biological Diversity and Los Padres ForestWatch) are claimants in a lawsuit against Ventura County and Carbon California (part of Colorado based Carbon Energy Corp. who just purchased the lease from California Resources Corp.) regarding an expansion of oil and gas activities along Santa Paula Creek and the Punchbowl Trail. One of the issues in the action involves the County’s failure to fully comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by not assessing impacts on the endangered California Condor and Steelhead Trout. They expect a decision in the suit by the end of the year.
I will lead a Nature Hike to the Punchbowl with a stop at the drilling operation to learn about its effect on the local ecology. 50% of the proceeds from this hike will be donated to CFROG, earmarked for Santa Paula Canyon.
We will meet at 9 a.m. at the entrance to Thomas Aquinas College, also coordinating 8:30 a.m. carpools from Ojai and Santa Paula among the registrants as parking is limited on Highway 150 (Ojai Road). At 9:00 we will start shuttling people up to the trailhead. CFROG staff will hike with the group as far the drill pads, less than 1 mile in, and give a short talk there about the issues. Those who are able to hike the full distance will continue with me to the Punchbowl, returning to the trailhead by 4 p.m. The complete round-trip hike is 7 miles.
The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62-and-older, and $15 for students 13-18. Kids 5-12 can go free, one per adult, by prior arrangement. No dogs or smoking, please.
Filed under: on March 21st, 2017