One of California’s greatest draws is the exquisite scenery found in its state parks, national forests and other related natural sites. But various outdoor recreation areas remain closed because of the storm waves, which in some places have dumped a year’s worth of water on drought-stricken countries in a matter of weeks.
Los Padres National Forest, which is nearly 60 miles (97 kilometers) by car from Santa Barbara, was particularly hard hit.
There, the damage was so severe that a 60-day closure was ordered for four ranger districts (Monterey, Santa Lucia, Santa Barbara and Ojai). The district of Mt. Pinos was not in the order.h
The order was issued Jan. 13 because of “extreme winter weather events in early January that caused flooding, debris flows, bridge, road and hiking trail failures.”
On Tuesday, a tweet posted by Los Padres showed some of the damage, which was still being assessed.
It is possible that there will be a grace period for the 60-day decision.
The closure order said it “will be replaced or terminated as conditions and access to recreational opportunities improve.” Los Padres received more than 100% of its annual rainfall earlier this month along with heavy wind damage, according to the forest’s website.
In addition, sections of the roads leading to the National Forest are at risk.
California’s state park system was also hit hard by the flooding, and some of its sites are closed.
Twenty-one state parks, beaches, reservations and associated sites were fully closed at 6:45 p.m. PT on Jan. 24, and an additional 40 locations were partially closed.
The damage and closures were widespread.
The closures included El Capitán State Beach in Santa Barbara County and Limekiln State Park in Monterey County, about 165 miles away on a partially closed highway.
Click here for the latest updates from the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
It’s not just the recent nasty winter rainstorms that have closed natural areas. Others are closed due to normal seasonal weather conditions, previous weather events, or both.
In Death Valley National Park, a trail access road is partially closed due to snow. And “many other roads remain closed due to damage and debris from major flooding this summer,” according to the park administration.
Meanwhile, Devils Postpile National Monument near Yosemite National Park in the heart of the Sierra Nevada is closed for the long winter season and only open during the summer months.
Speaking of Yosemite, you need a reservation to go to the park on February 10-12, February 17-19, or February 24-26 for the popular “Firefall” event at Horsetail Fall.
With so many partial and full closures, you should check the status of a state or national park before committing to any travel plans.
Pictured above: Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California. Photo via Adobe Stock.