Berkeley parks

Parts of Big Basin Redwoods State Park will reopen this summer

Nearly two years after a massive wildfire ripped through Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains, parts of the park are set to reopen this summer, allowing visitors to return to its ancient redwood forests. coastal.

About 97% of California’s oldest state park burned down in August 2020 when the CZU Lightning Complex fire tore through Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.

The fire burned for more than a month, covering 86,000 acres and killing one person. It also damaged or destroyed nearly all of the park’s buildings, campgrounds, and trail systems, and burned nearly all of its ancient redwood forest. But these forests are recovering.

“Nearly all tall old redwoods show regrowth, with green needles sprouting from blackened trunks and branches,” officials said in a statement. Press release.

The return of full access to the park is expected to take several years. But Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chris Spohrer said the park will be open for limited days this summer, starting July 4.

The exact reopening date will be made public in June with a link to the park’s new online reservation system, Spohrer said. Reservations will be required for all parking lots.

Visitors will also be able to take a Metro bus from Santa Cruz on weekends, which will not require a reservation.

Approximately 18 miles of fire roads will be open to the public for hiking and biking, along with two loop trails that will be accessible from park headquarters.

News of the reopening comes as state park officials announced the exit from the Reimagining the Big Basin Vision Summarywhich outlines plans to rebuild the 18,000-acre park with a view to prioritizing the health of the forest while allowing visitors continued access.

“Although the impacts of the CZU Lightning Complex fire on the park were tragic, the forest is incredibly resilient and regrows,” California State Parks Superintendent Armando Quintero said in a statement. “Now is our time as stewards of Big Basin Redwoods State Park to increase forest resilience and equal access for all Californians, and to honor the deep history that makes this park so iconic.”