Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, which suffered burns across 80 percent of its acreage in the destructive October wildfires, reopened Thursday to large crowds that filled the parking lots even though portions of the park remain closed.
Hikers could enjoy 10 trails — two of which also allow mountain bikers — while bridges, steps and routes are restored on six others. Those will each reopen as staff and volunteers can complete the work.
In the meantime, the three year-round trails remain closed to horse riders while their stability is tested after bulldozers used to clear scorched vegetation left them softened. Camping at half of the park’s grounds will be restored starting Feb. 15, with the rest opening April 15, when park staff say loose rock from the ridge will no longer be a factor.
Park Manager John Roney said visitors should prepare to see areas of the popular park scarred and bare from the fire. Even so, new shoots are starting to take hold and the regeneration process is underway.
“We had a lot of extra volunteers here today to get things tidied up and ready to go,” said Roney. “The reason we were able to open was the huge number of volunteer hours to build bridges and repair trails.”
Until camping starts back up in two weeks, the park will maintain abbreviated hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. After that, normal operating hours will return to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
For more information, visit sugarloafpark.org.
You can reach Staff Writer Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @kfixler.