New Map Feature: CalTopo

Head over to the maps section to create your own custom topo maps thanks to CalTopo. Zoom in to the area, calculate distances, elevation loss/gain, and so much more. Need a simple topo map of the area with trail mileage? CalTopo can do that too. All for FREE! Another cool feature is to export the map as a JPEG or Geo-referenced PDF. Yes, you can print out beautiful hard copies too. Check it out!

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Trail Report: South Manter to Manter Meadow, Woodpecker, and Manter Trails

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Photo provided by Dan Hall

User Dan Hall reports in on trail conditions from his trip into the Domeland Wilderness. The trip was on May 18, 2018. Here is what he has to report. A link to his photos follows the report.

Trail 34E37 – South Manter Trailhead (at Big Meadow) to Junction with Woodpecker Trail

Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. There are some brushy areas developing, but the trail is still easy to find and hike.
Regarding blowdowns across the trail, there are 4 in this section of trail, all in the Wilderness area and ranging in diameter from 8 to 18 inches. One is located on the downhill portion of the trail well before Manter Meadow and is pushing hikers and stock to cross through a small meadow to get around it; that routing is sure to cause environmental damage. The next one heading down toward the meadow is a problem for stock getting through and will be time consuming to saw out. See the photos for both of these blowdowns. Regarding the other two, hikers and stock can get around them without problems or environmental damage.

Trail 34E08 – Woodpecker Trail to Manter Creek & Trail
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts, nor are there any brush problems or blowdowns across the trail.

Trail 34E12 – Manter Trail east to Little Manter Meadow
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts, nor are there any brush problems or blowdowns across the trail.

Photos link -> HERE

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Wildfire: Wood Fire Contained

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Photo from InciWeb

The Wood Fire started near the end of May and is now 100% contained at 96 acres as of June 16. Here is the exact report from InciWeb.

Thursday, June 14, 2018: Woof Fire is 100% contained.

Photo (above) depicts the hazardous fuels (needle cast) “cleared” from the forest floor, after the Wood Fire passed through.

Fire “containment” is achieved by a complete line built around the fire perimeter, which can be a combination of roads, handline built by firefighters, dozer lines, etc. As line is built/completed on the fire, progress is reported in a percentage (%) figure. Thus, 100% containment equals the fire spread has been stopped and a line has been built completely around it.

Next, fire personnel work for “control”. Control comes after (sometimes weeks) containment. It is during this time smokes may show from the interior of the contained fire.

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The wildfire is located near Woodpecker Meadow, south of the Sherman Pass Road. No closures are announced on the website. However, it is recommended to avoid the area until conditions get better. Plan accordingly.

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Wildfire: Wood Fire

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Photo from public webcams on Bald Mountain Lookout

Wood Fire May 31, 2018 Update

(The lighting caused Wood Fire was discovered May 22, at approximately 11:10 a.m. The fire is located in the Domeland Wilderness near Woodpecker Meadow, west of Bald Mountain and south of the Sherman Pass Road. The fire is burning in needle cast and some scattered timber story. Approximately 50 Forest Service firefighters are on the scene.)

Thursday, May 31 was a successful day patrolling and securing the edge of the fire, the fire is holding at 96.5 acres. Firefighters located a spot fire a 1/8th of a mile south of the main fires edge that was 1.5 acres. Hotshot crews were able to get it lined and secured and mopped up.

Fire behavior was active in unburned pockets of fuels, and single tree torching could be seen in the interior, dead and down fuels on the fire are consuming 80-100 percent and as the days go by there will be less and less smoke impact.

Due to its remote location in the Domeland Wilderness, fire crews are working to “confine and contain” the fire. The confine and contain strategy gives crews the opportunity to monitor the fire from a safe distance while allowing the fire to burn naturally within a designated area.

To reduce the impacts associated with fire suppression activities in wilderness areas, fire managers are using MIST (Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics) as much as possible. The steep, rugged terrain of the Domeland Wilderness is inherently treacherous to firefighters.

Closures are only on the Woodpecker Trail at that time for public safety. More information can be obtained on the InciWeb site.

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Sherman Pass Road is Open!

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Photo courtesy of panamintvalley.com

Ready to get into the Domelands while the weather isn’t so hot? You can do so on the west and northern access points. The Sherman Pass Road is now open!

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National Trail Day – June 2

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Mark your calendar for June 2 as it is National Trail Day! There are various way you can participate this year from simply just going on a hike to maintaining trails to special trail events and more. You can also donate financially to the cause and get some swag in return. To learn more, you can check out American Hiking Society website.

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Last Survey of 2018

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The last snow survey results are in for 2018! May is the final survey for the area. Unfortunately the results are bad. The Kern River Basin is at 13% of normal for this time of year. If you are wanting to find sheets of snow, you’ll need to get high in elevation.

Anything less than 10,000 feet to be exact had no snow on the course. About half the snow survey sites reported zeros or “no snow” for the month. This does not mean people passing by won’t see a patch or two of snow at lower elevations. It is just not enough snow to record on the actual snow courses. If you did not know, these snow survey courses have been surveyed in the same spots for decades.

Going into the summer backpacking season, make sure to note your water sources. If you head out into the wilderness, please consider sharing a trip report or sending in info on where creeks were flowing. This will help others going out to plan accordingly. It is greatly appreciated.

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Free: Backpacker Magazines

Some may already know this, but here it is for those who do not. If you are interested in reading through older Backpacker Magazines, then you are in luck. Google has archived dozens, if not hundreds, of the publisher’s magazines. Best part? They are free for you to enjoy. Great way to “go back” to a time period to see the best gear for that season, how trails were being shown, trips that are still viable today, and more. Enjoy!

Google Books’ Archive of Backpacker Magazines (2009 and older)

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Video: Domeland Camping Trip

Curious as to what parts of the Domeland Wilderness looked like this winter? Well a couple users and their dog spend two nights and 3 days finding out. It is a short video, but enjoy the scenery of a mid winter day in the Domeland Wilderness.

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A Half Average Snow Report

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The important April 1 snow survey results are in…well most of the stations have reported their findings to the State of California’s CDEC. What are the results? For the Kern River watershed, the snow pack sits at 49% of normal. A nice jump up from last months norm, but not enough to hit at or close to our average snow pack conditions.

What will this mean for the summer backpacking season? Potentially one could see dryer conditions, lower flows in perennial creeks, lower lake levels, and a higher risk of wildfire danger. Users will need to plan their water stops accordingly and share information (hopefully share it with DLW!). If the wildfire danger is elevated to certain levels, as we have seen in the past, this could eliminate camp fires for wilderness users. Stove use has been allowed even in fire restrictions. It is not certain when and if this will happen, but the past years of drought show a continual use of fire restrictions applied to the National Forests and Parks up and down the Sierra Nevada mountains.

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