In the aftermath of the wildfires that devastated Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest state park will be closed for 12 months. The recent wildfires in Santa Cruz and San Mateo wreaked havoc on much of the park, with the historic park headquarters, ranger station, nature museum, gatehouse, campground bathrooms, and multiple park residences destroyed. Due to their durability, the fires caused the evacuation of campers, visitors, and staff.
Although most of the redwood trees are expected to survive thanks to their thick bark and a chemical composition that makes them highly resistant to fires, given the amount of burned vegetation and fallen tree trunks, it will be quite some time for the park to be safe to visit again. To ensure the safety of guests, park officials are taking extra precautions and closing the park for one year before allowing visitors to re-enter.
All campgrounds in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties’ state beaches will also be temporarily closed to reserved camping, though at least September 8.
Mark Shatter, the park’s chief marketing and communications officer, told Lonely Planet, “Reports are that, despite significant burning to some trees and felled trees, some of the iconic old growth, including the Mother and the Father of the forest trees, is still standing. We know redwoods thrive on fire, but Big Basin is a magical place where millions have stood in the shadows of these ancient giants — many for the first time. Those memories aren’t lost, but Big Basin as we knew it will be forever transformed.”