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Deal Creates Permanent Public Access To Scenic Trail, Falls In Los Padres National Forest

Public access to Matilija Falls in Ventura County to be made permanent under deal with private property owner

A popular waterfall in the Los Padres National Forest will once again be open to the public, thanks to a deal worked out by a community group, and a landowner.

Matilija Falls is a scenic wilderness area in Ventura County’s mountains northwest of Ojai. Access has been an issue for years, because a trail that’s the only way to get to the falls passes through private property. A community association called Keep Matilija Falls Open has been fighting for access, a battle that’s even led to court action.

The agreement will create permanent public access to the falls and trail improvements. It also opens the door to a possible deal for a land trust to buy 80 acres of the property which would be deeded to the U.S. Forest Service.

It’s expected work to plan the rebuilding of the trail, and doing the work will take about 18 months. Los Padres ForestWatch and Keep Sespe Wild were among the groups involved in the effort to work out a deal.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.