Special: Big Basin on the Mend
Contributed by Visit Santa Cruz County
People the world over are looking to 2021 to be a year of healing — from division, disease and, here in California, a devastating wildfire season. Nowhere is that truer than in Santa Cruz County, where five blazes ignited by a dry lightning storm on the morning of August 16 tore through the mountains, destroying nearly 1,500 structures and burning more than 86,000 acres. Nearly all 18,000 acres of the beloved Big Basin Redwood State Park were scorched in what came to be known as the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire, including the park’s precious 4,400 acres of old-growth redwoods and the park’s headquarters built in 1936, which burned to ash along with almost all the other buildings on day two of the fire.
Upon news that the park had burned, social media lit up with messages of sorrow and remembrance from redwood lovers across the country. Big Basin, people were saying, was gone forever. A terrible loss had occurred, and we would have to learn to live without the beauty of California’s first state park.
But the eulogies for Big Basin’s redwoods were premature. Two months later — the very next breath, in Mother Nature years — tiny green sprouts had burst into sight throughout the forest. Along the redwoods’ huge blackened trunks and exposed roots, tender shoots started coming up, no bigger than moss at first but destined, some of them, to become enormous branches or maybe even big trees themselves someday, should the parent tree not survive. (Scientists have predicted that 10% of the old growth trees in the park will perish as a result of damages sustained from the fire, leaving 90 percent to carry on, battle-scarred but alive.)
Click here to read the full article from our friends at Visit Santa Cruz County.