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Los Padres Forestwatch

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Anti-Fracking, Environment, Land Resources Conservation, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Protection of Endangered Species

Mission: ForestWatch is a community-supported nonprofit organization focused on protecting the Los Padres National Forest, from the famed Big Sur coastline to the majestic Sespe Wilderness near the Los Angeles County line. We use community involvement, scientific collaboration, and legal and policy advocacy to protect and restore the wilderness landscapes, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation opportunities in this spectacular area for the benefits they provide to current and future generations.

Results: From our beginnings in 2004, Los Padres ForestWatch has worked tirelessly to protect the Los Padres National Forest and other public lands throughout California’s central coast region. We’ve built a solid track record of success over the years, becoming one of the most effective community-supported conservation groups in the country. And we couldn’t have done it without you—our members, volunteers, and supporters—who have been with us every step of the way.

From stopping oil drilling and fracking, to protecting forests from logging, and to safeguarding our region's wildlife, we're proud of our accomplishments. For a complete listing of how we've made a difference, visit our website at https://lpfw.org/fifteen-years-of-conservation-victories/

Geographic areas served: Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and western Kern counties along California's Central Coast.

Programs: Advocacy & monitoring: Tracked development and resource extraction proposals throughout the Los Padres National Forest, the Carrizo Plain National Monument, and other public lands throughout California's Central Coast region. Submitted comment letters, filed appeals, met with land management agencies, collaborated with scientists, and conducted on-the-ground monitoring and surveys to protect land, rivers, plants and wildlife.

Public education & outreach: Informed local communities about the value of our region's public lands, the threats and challenges facing these wild places, and opportunities to better protect these areas. Distributed information via our website, monthly e-newsletter, quarterly membership newsletter, press releases, film screening, art shows and public events.

Voulunteer habitat restoration: Enlisted 199 volunteers who contributed a combined 1,489 hours of service on 25 projects to restore degraded habitat areas in and around the los padres national forest. Conducted microtrash cleanups at 11 sites, resulting in removal of 3,427 lbs of microtrash that is harmful to young condors. Organized 1 fence removal project on the carrizo plain, resulting in removal of miles of fencing to give pronghorn the freedom to roam. Performed 5 tamarisk removal projects to eradicate this highly invasive plant from forest watersheds. Conducted 1 population survey of bighorn sheep in the sespe wilderness to help monitor and ensure the species' survival. Conducted 2 cleanups of illicit marijuana grow sites to remove remnant trash and irrigation tubing.

Community Stories

122 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hi, my name is Lucas and I am 9 years old. Los Padres Forestwatch does lots of things, like helping save California condors. They also help stop oil drilling in the Los Padres National Forest because it hurts wildlife. They also organize really good hikes. One time I went on a hike that Forestwatch organized with Congressman Carbajal. It was really fun because he let me talk about the wildlife that lives in the creek in Rattlesnake Canyon on the hike. Forestwatch also helps clean up trash everywhere they go. One time we were looking for fossils in the Los Padres National Forest and we saw a big pile of trash. We stopped and picked up the trash. Also I did my first backpacking trip in the Los Padres National Forest. So it's important to protect the wildlife so that other families can have the same opportunity as I did. So I really hope everyone can support Forestwatch.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been both a donor and volunteer with Los Padres Forest Watch for about 19 years. What I admire about this organization is their devotion to preventing encroachments by economic interests that can damage the Los Padres National Forest--wherever these threats emerge. This California forest runs from the Los Angeles County line northward to just below Monterey, California. Los Padres National Forest holdings are found in four separate locations comprising of about 1,740,000 acres. It is the second largest National Forest in California. Forest Watch is alert to any potential threat to Los Padres. This National Forest holds five Wilderness Areas and the Condor Sanctuary in its southern-most region. Though it is based in Santa Barbara, it has allies throughout the regions where this National Forest is found.

When any threats are proposed by the Federal Government or private businesses that desire to enter the Los Padres National Forest for mining, logging or other business purposes, Forest Watch takes action---contacting its supporters to send letters to the relevant Federal officials and objecting to these potentially damaging plans for the Los Padres National Forest.
Moreover, when such threats arise Forest Watch supporters provide monetary support to
give Forest Watch the ability to contact National Forest officials and explain their objection to potential damaging business activities in the Los Padres National Forest. And, Forest Watch calls on its supporters to write their own letters to the Los Padres National Forest Supervisor.

Los Padres Forest Watch is six people strong. All of them are devoted to preserving our local National Forest and work long hours, attend many meetings, and use their long experience
in preserving National Forest land from development. Of course there are many of us who support Los Padres Forestwatch because it has been able to prevent turning our local forest
into mines, lumber sources, and a host of other money making private enterprises. I, for one,
appreciate having Los Padres Forestwatch as the whistle-blower for my local National Forest.
May it continue its difficult but important work to keep Los Padres National Forest wild and beautiful and untainted by oil rigs, mines, and lumbering in the high country of our local forest!

Tom Lowe

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Lo Padres Forest Watch is a tremendously effective and important organization. I have been a member for three years, and have engaged with them on numerous issues and campaigns to protect the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument. Again and again, LPFW does what needs to be done to protect these national treasures, including extensive research, analysis, community engagement, press, effective commenting, and law suits when needed. LPFW is also lean, "down-to-earth," and uses every dollar well. From every perspective they are a great and worthy nonprofit.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It’s energizing to have Los Padres ForestWatch in our community making an impact. Their outreach efforts have been successful in engaging youth in outdoor experiences and conservation. They also establish meaningful partnerships with leaders in conservation and advocacy which helps further the environmental mission.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a current supporter, donor and former board member of Los Padres ForestWatch I've had the opportunity to experience first-hand the commitment of this organization in protecting and preserving something irreplaceable - the Los Padres National Forest. The threats are many and include oil and gas drilling, commercial logging, unauthorized target shooting, degradation of habitat and water quality.
Efforts to limit harm and work toward evidence-based, pro-environmental policies means being able to learn of the latest threats and and being able to collaborate with many other groups. The leadership and staff of LPFW have shown such abilities again and again over the years.
Sustaining LPFW also requires fund-raising, frequent communication with and events for members and also outreach. An example of the latter are recently added Spanish-language hikes forest hikes lead by LPFW guides.
Over the 15 years of LPFW's existence the organization hasmanaged to do all this and to grow. Along with staff and myriad volunteers, Jeff Kyper, the executive director, deserves considerable credit for this.
Here's to the continued success of a wonderful organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I live in a conservative town. Conservative here means something different that conservation, like in my BA in environmental Conservation. Los Padres Forestwatch was a game changer for me because I began to meet like-minded people at their events. I visited one of their booths at Los Olivos days and saw some old friends of mine- maps! Then I began to follow connections from Los Padres Forestwatch on Instagram and I’ve been learning about native species. LPFW has really opened me up to new things and brought me back to nature.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Los Padres Forestwatch is a fantastic organization that effectively supports and protects one of our most treasured resources. They protect the back yard of Santa Barbara County in a multitude of ways and are excellent at educating and mobilizing the public about our present and future issues. We always love to attend their educational and motivational events and seminars as volunteers and as supportive, involved members of our community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a Conservation Legal Intern for the Los Padres ForestWatch during the Summer of 2019.
I'm so lucky to have had this experience. The people that work there are caring, kind, and committed to the environmental protection of the Los Padres National Forest. In my time here, I learned a lot about environmental law, legal correspondence, Google Earth/GIS mapping, and the different species of plants and animals that live in the Los Padres National Forest. I also got experience conducting legal research and writing literature reviews. Each project I worked on felt like an opportunity to learn more about my backyard. The welcoming atmosphere of this office really helped me grow as a sustainability professional.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a Conservation GIS Intern with Los Padres ForestWatch in Summer 2019, I was fortunate to be able to work alongside the ForestWatch staff to protect plants, wildlife, and public lands on the Central Coast of California. This local nonprofit is well-informed on topics such as chaparral ecology, forest management, and wildfire preparedness, and strives to ensure that decisions affecting the the Los Padres National Forest and its ecosystems are science-based. With a passion for environmental education and community outreach, Los Padres ForestWatch provides youths with meaningful outdoor experiences and organizes volunteer trail clean-ups and naturalist-led hikes. The internship opportunities at Los Padres ForestWatch allow undergraduate and graduate students to learn about how a nonprofit uses science and advocacy to protect the health of national forests that benefit us all. The ForestWatch staff are knowledgable, approachable, and dedicated to protecting the Central Coast's fragile natural heritage.

Donor

Rating: 5

Los Padres ForestWatch has been nothing short of pivotal in the protection and preservation of our national forest land. A highly credible organization with an authentic and committed environmental mission. It is a privilege to have them protecting our community. It also is a privilege to support their excellent - and crucial - work. I wish that every community with federal forest at risk had a similar nonprofit making all the difference for current, and future, generations.

Donor

Rating: 5

We are proud supporters of the Los Padres Forest Watch and appreciate all that the organization does to protect our wildlife and wilderness throughout California!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5


Los Padres Forest Watch is an effective, well-informed, non-profit. They accomplish so much for an organization of their size. From direct action, volunteer events, education, participating in government agency processes, to - when needed - litigation, this group is firing on all cylinders.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Los Padres Forestwatch (LPFW) is a key, citizen-based habitat and environmental protection organization that has proven to be critical in protecting local Nature in the coastal mountains of central California. There are continual threats to the Los Padres National Forest that LPFW has successfully addressed through community action and legal means. We have been honored to partner with LPFW on several projects and have always been impressed with the staff's professionalism and dedication.

Since the Los Padres National Forest is primarily composed of native shrubland, not forest, the public is generally misinformed about the federal land's natural attributes. As a consequence, land management projects are often developed that are destructive to native plant communities and the animals that live there. LPFW keeps an eye on such developments and responds quickly to either stop the damage all together or facilitates a compromise that reduces the environmental impact.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Los Padres Forest Watch is an incredible non-profit organization that protects our natural wilderness. Santa Barbara’s vast chaparral beauty has been the backdrop of my youth, and now my children’s. Protecting this landscape it is of the essence… especially in this day in age!

LPFW has created a presence within the Santa Barbara community that is far reaching with a diverse range of opportunities for all to become involved. These opportunities range from
volunteer clean-ups by becoming a “weekend warrior”, to partnerships with local companies that build community e.g. Deckers Brands.

Through their community outreach my daughter and I, had the opportunity to participated in a “Tacos and Trails” event during Latino Conservation Week. It was a wonderful event that brought a number of the Spanish speaking community together, fostering the importance of conservation and love of the outdoors.

I greatly appreciate how LPFW engages the local community in defending the natural beauty we call home. I am a proud supporter of LPFW, and will continue to participate and advocate for this amazing organization.

Donor

Rating: 5

Great outfit, doing the good work of keeping public lands public and accessible for all of the Central Coast. They have also been key in the ongoing revitalization of the California Condor.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Los Padres Forest Watch is truly an exceptional nonprofit. We have volunteered with the Los Padres Forest Watch for two years, and they continuously go over and beyond to get volunteers excited for the volunteer opportunities they offer, that you almost feel like you aren't volunteering at all! LPFW truly cares about our forests and their volunteer outings. My two children who are 8 and 9, love volunteering with LPFW. In my opinion if you can get kids excited about picking up trash and saving the earth early on a Saturday morning then you are exceeding as a non profit.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

LPFW is a phenomenal organization that serves in protecting and conserving our forest. I was introduced to LPFW during Latino Conservation week. LPFW sponsored a Tacos and Trails event, in which the organization left a lasting impression with me by educating myself and the generations to come about the public lands in our own backyard and how we can do our part to maintain them in order to be able to enjoy them for the years to come. I truly appreciate LPFW’s commitment to the public lands and community involvement through diversity. I hope to volunteer with LPFW in the future or attend their events.

Gloria S.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Los Padres Forest Watch is an amazing organization. I had the pleasure of attending a caminata/hike with LPFW a few months ago. I was able to connect with folks who are learning and growing and getting informed on ways to get involved in our local Forrest. I appreciate the outreach efforts that LPFW takes to plant the seeds of land stewardship to members of the community who aren’t always included in conservation conversations.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LPFW take a thoughtful and community-oriented approach to conservation work. It's always a pleasure to help out with forest clean-ups and learn from the hard-working team. Thank you all for your service!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Los Padres work tirelessly to protect my community for those of us that live here as well as thousands who travel here every year to experience the beauty of Los Padres national forest. Their work is critical, and I support them 100%!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I really admire the effort that LPFW puts towards its outreach being diverse and inclusive. My first cleanup with the organization in Ojai was not only a learning experience but it was fun, welcoming and one of the main reasons why I continue to work with the organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Los Padres Forestwatch does stellar work! Most recently, I went on a roadside/creek cleanup near the Thomas Fire scar, where we recovered well over 1100 pounds of waste, including tons of broken glass, rusty car parts, and much more. I was impressed by the dedication of the volunteers, as well as the organization and leadership of the conservation director and team. I've volunteered for a number of conservation agencies and other nonprofits, and can wholeheartedly say that the Los Padres Forestwatch is first rate!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization of cleaning event with very friendly and knowledgeable staff

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Very community-oriented nonprofit that is doing good work to protect the LPNF. The staff is full of passionate, determined workers and are always cheerful, even when times are stressful. The community is lucky to have such a great nonprofit working to protect the beautiful public lands right in our backyard.

Vanessa B.4

Donor

Rating: 5

We love Los Padres Forestwatch! They are genuine and hard working people who protect the most important asset we have, our land, air and water surrounding our home. Their efforts are transparent and successful. We are so grateful for their team!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work with Jeff and the team at LPFW through 1% for the Planet. LPFW is an approved nonprofit partner in excellent standing. My role at 1% for the Planet is to advise our members - both businesses and individuals - on giving strategies. I often recommend LPFW as a fantastic regional partner for our members on the central coast. I'm particularly impressed with LPFW's ability to track ongoing policy issues, rally the community and take action as needed. LPFW leverages the best available science and spatial data, to fight for protection and responsible access to some of the most spectacular landscapes along the Central Coast. LPFW is a well-respected advocate and conservation leader in the region, and I'm happy to offer my support of their work.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am awed by the work that LPFW is doing, especially combatting expanded oil and gas drilling on public lands, which are literally in my backyard,

Donor

Rating: 5

LPFW is truly a champion for our Public Lands in Santa Barbara County and beyond. They are focused on protecting these open spaces and take a no-nonsense approach to accomplishing that mission. I've had a chance to partner with them on a few projects with a common mission and they are easy to work with, professional, and transparent. At a time when public land and wilderness seems to be under attach from multiple fronts, we need strong non-profit groups like LPFW more than ever to fight to preserve these areas for future generations.

Donor

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Los Padres ForestWatch several years ago and have been a supporter ever since because it is a vitally important and responsive advocate for public lands in California’s Central Coast. Due to growing federal pressure to open access for oil and gas development on our public lands, LPFW has been on the front lines to protect and defend key watersheds and animal habitat. This wouldn’t be possible if not for LPFW’s strong leadership under executive Jeff Kuyper, the excellent and hard-working staff, and a strong cadre of dedicated volunteers and supporters.

Having spent many years, hiking, backpacking and exploring the diverse beauty of Los Padres National Forest and the San Rafael Wilderness, I am extremely grateful for LPFW’s work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Really love volunteering with these guys! They do great work keeping our hiking trails clean in the Los Padres National Forest.

Anna D.2

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Los Padres ForestWatch fills an important role as the only not for profit organization focusing solely on protecting the entire Los Padres Forest. Their work includes important tasks such protecting our aquifers threatened by oil development, ensuring public access and habitat protection for endangered species.

We discovered the organization in 2015 and have been supporters since. The LPFW staff lead by Jeff Kuyper works efficiently on a relatively small budget. I am grateful for the hard work put in by the staff and volunteers to preserve our beautiful land and wilderness for the generations to come.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Los Padres Forest Watch has, from its beginning, been a powerful advocate for the rare and special habitat of the Carrizo Plain and the Carrizo Plain National Monument. The Carrizo Plain represents the last 5% of the once vast San Joaquin grasslands habitat and is the home numerous endangered species. LPFW has consistently worked to protect this critical habitat.

The organization has a great team. LPFW Executive Director Jeff Kuyper has decades of legal and advocacy experience. He and the LPFW team are a consistently effective voice for the preservation of the immense and beautiful Las Padres Forest and surrounding wildlands.

There are never enough voices working to preserve our wildness areas for the benefit of all of us. Los Padres Forest Watch fills an important niche in advocating for these rare and beautiful places.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a multi-year volunteer with LPFW, I am consistently impressed by the passion and dedication this small staff of three and its board of directors exhibit in their fight to protect and preserve the wilderness areas of the Los Padres Forest. From organized volunteer trail clean-ups to filing lawsuits against harmful fracking and oil exploration efforts and building a letter writing petition to save the Carrizo Plain National Monument from federal designation threats, the LPFW team courageously stands to keep our neighboring forest areas wild, scenic and environmentally unscathed for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. I have helped with the execution and operations of several fundraiser events and through these interactions, I have come to more deeply appreciate the value and importance of Los Padres ForestWatch, and heartily encourage others to support their efforts to keep our backyard forest alive and well!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This nonprofit tries to protect our National Forest, including the land, water & air. Thanks LPFW.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I learned about Los Padres ForestWatch soon after my family moved to the Santa Barbara area, through their dynamic membership and fundraising events and strong track record of proven results in their mission to protect and preserve the Los Padres National Forest and other wilderness areas in our community. The commitment of the staff and the dedication of the volunteers is immediately apparent as the organization has a very loyal following that returns year after year to support their hard work. The ForestWatch has built a strong and consistent reputation as a committed and effective environmental organization. Not only is the ForestWatch a resource for learning about the forest and public lands and the issues facing their preservation, but a force for good as the organization engages us in ways that we can actually contribute to these efforts through a variety of volunteer and participation avenues -- trash site and invasive species removals, helping with community and fundraising events, and providing ways to have our voices heard in advocating for the continued protection and preservation of wildlife habitat and wilderness open spaces throughout the Central Coast region.