BOULDER CREEK, Calif. - Big Basin State Park in Santa Cruz County will partially reopen Friday, almost two years since wildfires roared through the Boulder Creek park.
"We’re excited to be able to welcome visitors back on a limited basis as we near the two-year anniversary of the fire," California State Parks Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chris Spohr said in a statement.
More than 97% of the park was destroyed by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in August 2020, including the park headquarters, campgrounds, and housing for park rangers.
Surrounding communities were also devastated, and almost 1,500 homes were lost. One person died.
Big Basin is the oldest state park in California.
The area was originally the homelands of the Quiroste and Cotoni tribes, ancestral relatives of today’s Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. The park was acquired in 1902.
Before the CZU Fire, the park had miles of trails — which served hikers and equestrians, linking Big Basin to Castle Rock State Park and the eastern reaches of the Santa Cruz range — and hundreds of campsites.
But as of Friday, the park is still not fully open.
Visitors will be limited to the Redwood Loop and about 18 miles of fire roads near the park core.
Reservations will be available online at Big Basin Redwoods State Park or by phone (831) 338-8867.
Most spaces will be available by up to 60 days in advance, while a limited number of reservations will be released three days before the visit date.
Initially, 45 spots will be offered daily.
Pre-registration is required. No day-of, drive-up entry will be available.
Entry is $6, plus a $2 reservation fee, and will provide day-long access to the park. State Parks day-use passes, and other park entry programs will be honored, including the recently expanded Golden Bear Park Pass, which provides free access to State Parks for families receiving CalWORKS benefits and others.
BOULDER CREEK, CA - AUGUST 22: Smoke hangs low in the air at Big Basin Redwoods State Park as some redwoods are still on fire on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 in Boulder Creek, CA. The CZU August Lightning complex fires tore through Big Basin Redwoods Stat
BOULDER CREEK - AUGUST 20: The Big Basin Redwoods State Park Headquarters & Visitor Center is burned to the ground during a blaze in Boulder Creek, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. (Photo by Randy Vazquez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News v
BOULDER CREEK, CA - AUGUST 22: Smoke hangs low in the air at Big Basin Redwoods State Park as some redwoods are still on fire, like this one that fell across the road on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020 in Boulder Creek, CA. The CZU August Lightning complex f
Pete Piringer / @mcfrsPIO