Fire-scarred Big Basin Redwoods State Park to partly reopen

Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County will partially reopen to the public on July 22 for the first time since a wildfire tore through its towering old groves in nearly two years. before.

The closure of the popular summer destination is necessary to hasten the restoration of the 18,000-acre grasslands, steep canyons, and redwoods scenes that have inspired millions since the park’s inception. California’s oldest was founded in 1902.

“The changes to the Big Basin are profound,” California State Parks Santa Cruz Superintendent Chris Spohrer said in a statement, “but the forest is beginning to recover and it’s amazing to see the evidence.” ants.”

“We wanted to share the restoration process with visitors,” he added, “including the story of what happened, the condition it is in today, and plans to re-imagine the park.”

Due to a lightning strike, the CZU Lightning Complex fire burned through Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties in August 2020, killing one person and scorching more than 86,000 acres — including most of the park’s redwoods.

An estimated 1,500 of the park’s historic buildings – including headquarters, motels, nature museums, shops, rangers campgrounds, and park residences – have been damaged or destroyed. cancel.

The park, which normally attracts about 1 million visitors a year, still has no electricity, water, toilets, phone service or buildings.

The fire killed thousands of trees, including Douglas’ first tree. But the park’s main attractions – the 300-foot tall and more than 1,000-year-old old redwoods – persist and continue to grow.

The partial reopening coincides with the reopening of Highway 236, the main road through the park.

The day-use booking system allows visitors to explore the popular Redwood Loop Trail, as well as 18 miles of approved biking and hiking trails, officials said.

Big Basin’s day-use reservation system, operated by the nonprofit Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, is available online or by phone at (831) 338-8867.

Officials say pre-registration is required. Initially, 45 spots will be offered daily, with an admission price of $6 plus a $2 reservation fee for full-day park entry.

State Parks day passes and other park access programs will be honored, including the recently expanded Golden Bear Park Pass, which provides free access to state parks for members of the public. families receiving CalWORKS benefits. Fire-scarred Big Basin Redwoods State Park to partly reopen

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