California’s oldest state park is now officially damaged to the point of no return. Thanks to wildfires caused by lightning strike, Big Basin Redwoods State Park is too dangerous for visitors to walk through.
Park officials confirmed the news on Tuesday (September 2) after governor Gavin Newsom toured the desecrated park.
The remains of the once-verdant park are now too hazardous for visitors to make their way through. The visitor center, lodge, and nature museum burned down in addition to several redwood, fir, and oak trees. Thanks to the wildfires, the park is effectively in ruins.
It’s all the direct result of blazes that raged on near Santa Cruz. The weakened trees are likely to fall at any moment. Parks district Superintendent Chris Spohrer believes this poses a threat to potential visitors.
“If this is not a gut punch, then you’re truly not conscious as a human being,” Newsom said of the disaster.
It’ll be a lengthy process trying to discern which trees are in danger of falling as well, according to Spohrer. He believes it could take a year or more to return the park to a safe, functional level.
The fires first broke out around August 17, sparked by a lengthy lightning storm. The inferno grew into a massive disaster that ended up forcing around 200,000 people to evacuate throughout different areas of California.
Collectively, the fires that have been burning through California since August 15 have destroyed about 1.48 million acres, or about the area of the state of Delaware.
There’s no indication as to when Big Basin Redwoods State Park will reopen for business to the public as of yet. There’s a lot of work before the park returns to its previous state. There will likely be additional updates as restoration work commences soon.