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Author Topic: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park  (Read 2173 times)

Max Rockatansky

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CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« on: August 20, 2020, 11:45:34 PM »

One of the earliest articles that I wrote upon joining Gribblenation was regarding CA 236 through Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  CA 236 is one of the few remaining State Highways with a single lane segment and generally has a scenic disposition.  That said, the reason I'm posting this article update isn't on the tidings of good news.  Yesterday much of Big Basin Redwoods State Park burned in CZU August Lightning Complex Fire:

https://www.gribblenation.org/2017/02/disaster-tourism-road-trip-park-2.html

To that end the initial damage reports are not optimistic and cite that the majority of the historic structures have likely been destroyed.  Big Basin Redwoods State Park is the oldest in the California State Park System and carries significant historic value.  CA 236 interestingly has a very historic history itself having been created in two segments; Legislative Route 42 from Waterman Gap in 1913, and Legislatively Route 44 in 1917.  The Big Basin Highway was functionally completed circa 1921 when concrete arch bridges were built over Boulder Creek on Legislative Route 44.

The Big Basin Highway would go on to become part of the original alignment of CA 9 in 1934.  Political interests in the late 1940s seemed to have spurred pushing CA 9 off of Big Basin Highway on the more direct Legislative Route 116 from Waterman Gap south to Boulder Creek.  The first reference I could find to CA 9 being realigned off of Big Basin Highway was during late 1951.  Big Basin Highway would go on to be reassigned as CA 236 during the 1964 California State Highway Renumbering.
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DTComposer

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2020, 11:53:21 PM »

I've got a lot of friends evacuated from that area right now, and you're right, it doesn't look good. That said, redwoods are pretty durable, and at least for now a lot of the trees seem to be intact:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/exclusive-look-first-view-inside-what-is-left-of-big-basin-state-park-in-the-heart-of-california-wildfires/

For what it's worth, the 1948 USGS topo map has CA-9 signed on its present alignment:
https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/ht-bin/tv_browse.pl?id=a9567925049a986262282f8d3bb65341
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2020, 12:06:31 AM »

I've got a lot of friends evacuated from that area right now, and you're right, it doesn't look good. That said, redwoods are pretty durable, and at least for now a lot of the trees seem to be intact:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/exclusive-look-first-view-inside-what-is-left-of-big-basin-state-park-in-the-heart-of-california-wildfires/

For what it's worth, the 1948 USGS topo map has CA-9 signed on its present alignment:
https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/ht-bin/tv_browse.pl?id=a9567925049a986262282f8d3bb65341

Took me a couple a couple tries but I got the article open, that's not good but still appears to be somewhat optimistic from the earlier reports I saw. 

What's killing me with some of these early Sign State Routes is that there was a huge disconnect between the Division of Highways was publishing in regards to field signage.  I get it that the Auto Clubs were involved with early signage, but even the CHPW are incredibly crappy at documenting alignment shifts or brand new Sign State Routes. 
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sparker

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2020, 06:57:11 AM »

I've got a lot of friends evacuated from that area right now, and you're right, it doesn't look good. That said, redwoods are pretty durable, and at least for now a lot of the trees seem to be intact:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/exclusive-look-first-view-inside-what-is-left-of-big-basin-state-park-in-the-heart-of-california-wildfires/

For what it's worth, the 1948 USGS topo map has CA-9 signed on its present alignment:
https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/ht-bin/tv_browse.pl?id=a9567925049a986262282f8d3bb65341

Took me a couple a couple tries but I got the article open, that's not good but still appears to be somewhat optimistic from the earlier reports I saw. 

What's killing me with some of these early Sign State Routes is that there was a huge disconnect between the Division of Highways was publishing in regards to field signage.  I get it that the Auto Clubs were involved with early signage, but even the CHPW are incredibly crappy at documenting alignment shifts or brand new Sign State Routes. 

I've spent much of the last couple of days helping to evacuate a good friend from his Redwood Estates home; while today the wind has died down and there's no immediate threat, one significant offshore wind shift and CZU could cross Skyline Blvd/CA 35 as well as CA 9 -- and be right in his back yard!  So most of his valuable items (he collected old books) are in my garage and front room!  But SB CA 9 traffic is being turned back at CA 35; it had been diverted to NB 35 but fire incursion in the Sky Londa area has prompted closure there as well.  But both CA 9 and CA 236 are shut down from the summit down to Boulder Creek, which itself has been subject to an evacuation advisory.   This particular area hasn't burned in decades, so there's a lot of underbrush that's effectively tinder!
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2020, 09:21:05 AM »

I've got a lot of friends evacuated from that area right now, and you're right, it doesn't look good. That said, redwoods are pretty durable, and at least for now a lot of the trees seem to be intact:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/exclusive-look-first-view-inside-what-is-left-of-big-basin-state-park-in-the-heart-of-california-wildfires/

For what it's worth, the 1948 USGS topo map has CA-9 signed on its present alignment:
https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/ht-bin/tv_browse.pl?id=a9567925049a986262282f8d3bb65341

Took me a couple a couple tries but I got the article open, that's not good but still appears to be somewhat optimistic from the earlier reports I saw. 

What's killing me with some of these early Sign State Routes is that there was a huge disconnect between the Division of Highways was publishing in regards to field signage.  I get it that the Auto Clubs were involved with early signage, but even the CHPW are incredibly crappy at documenting alignment shifts or brand new Sign State Routes. 

I've spent much of the last couple of days helping to evacuate a good friend from his Redwood Estates home; while today the wind has died down and there's no immediate threat, one significant offshore wind shift and CZU could cross Skyline Blvd/CA 35 as well as CA 9 -- and be right in his back yard!  So most of his valuable items (he collected old books) are in my garage and front room!  But SB CA 9 traffic is being turned back at CA 35; it had been diverted to NB 35 but fire incursion in the Sky Londa area has prompted closure there as well.  But both CA 9 and CA 236 are shut down from the summit down to Boulder Creek, which itself has been subject to an evacuation advisory.   This particular area hasn't burned in decades, so there's a lot of underbrush that's effectively tinder!

Thatís something I noticed in Big Basin the last two times I hiked it, the underbrush was excessively thick.  I noticed while reading the CHPW that there was a fire around the era in the late 1940s which the Division of Highways somehow intervened in via break.  I was reading on a friendís Facebook page that the Lick Observatory almost burned and fire had lapped CA 130. 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2020, 02:56:48 PM »

Found a Rand McNally Map which shows CA 9 on LRN 116 between Waterman Gap and Boulder Creek in 1940.  That leaves a short window from 1937-1940 when CA 9 was pushed off of Big Basin Highway:

https://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~281126~5515446:Road-map-of-California?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:california%20road;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=375&trs=449
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kkt

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2020, 11:14:56 AM »

I've got a lot of friends evacuated from that area right now, and you're right, it doesn't look good. That said, redwoods are pretty durable, and at least for now a lot of the trees seem to be intact:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/exclusive-look-first-view-inside-what-is-left-of-big-basin-state-park-in-the-heart-of-california-wildfires/

Thank you for posting the link to the story.  I had a lot of great times at that park.  Glad there's reason to think some of the trees will survive.
I hope to visit again in a few years, and again farther in the future.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2020, 11:25:18 AM »

I've got a lot of friends evacuated from that area right now, and you're right, it doesn't look good. That said, redwoods are pretty durable, and at least for now a lot of the trees seem to be intact:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/exclusive-look-first-view-inside-what-is-left-of-big-basin-state-park-in-the-heart-of-california-wildfires/

Thank you for posting the link to the story.  I had a lot of great times at that park.  Glad there's reason to think some of the trees will survive.
I hope to visit again in a few years, and again farther in the future.

FWIW while the loss of historic structures sucks it likely will be a net win for those Redwoods.  The Redwoods need fire to have their cones open which spreads their seeds.  The Redwoods shown in the article are likely largely going to survive.  A lot of the older Redwoods in Big Basin already had a ton of fire scars from the past.  The benefit to the forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains will be all that undergrowth being cleared out for new growth. 

What I can say after recently revisiting the Nelder Grove after a major fire two years ago is this the Forest tends to start recovering fairly quickly.  The Sequoias were still there and were largely still alive.  That fire was not far off what is being seen in the Santa Cruz Mountains right now. 
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kkt

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2020, 11:54:31 AM »

I've got a lot of friends evacuated from that area right now, and you're right, it doesn't look good. That said, redwoods are pretty durable, and at least for now a lot of the trees seem to be intact:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/exclusive-look-first-view-inside-what-is-left-of-big-basin-state-park-in-the-heart-of-california-wildfires/

Thank you for posting the link to the story.  I had a lot of great times at that park.  Glad there's reason to think some of the trees will survive.
I hope to visit again in a few years, and again farther in the future.

FWIW while the loss of historic structures sucks it likely will be a net win for those Redwoods.  The Redwoods need fire to have their cones open which spreads their seeds.  The Redwoods shown in the article are likely largely going to survive.  A lot of the older Redwoods in Big Basin already had a ton of fire scars from the past.  The benefit to the forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains will be all that undergrowth being cleared out for new growth. 

What I can say after recently revisiting the Nelder Grove after a major fire two years ago is this the Forest tends to start recovering fairly quickly.  The Sequoias were still there and were largely still alive.  That fire was not far off what is being seen in the Santa Cruz Mountains right now. 

I know it's a life cycle... but it's a long cycle.

I'm really glad I took the time to drive through there last time I was in the Bay Area, a couple of years ago.

It might be an interesting study opportunity for biologists on the recovery of old growth redwood after a particularly hot fire.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2020, 12:52:23 PM »

I've got a lot of friends evacuated from that area right now, and you're right, it doesn't look good. That said, redwoods are pretty durable, and at least for now a lot of the trees seem to be intact:
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/08/20/exclusive-look-first-view-inside-what-is-left-of-big-basin-state-park-in-the-heart-of-california-wildfires/

Thank you for posting the link to the story.  I had a lot of great times at that park.  Glad there's reason to think some of the trees will survive.
I hope to visit again in a few years, and again farther in the future.

FWIW while the loss of historic structures sucks it likely will be a net win for those Redwoods.  The Redwoods need fire to have their cones open which spreads their seeds.  The Redwoods shown in the article are likely largely going to survive.  A lot of the older Redwoods in Big Basin already had a ton of fire scars from the past.  The benefit to the forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains will be all that undergrowth being cleared out for new growth. 

What I can say after recently revisiting the Nelder Grove after a major fire two years ago is this the Forest tends to start recovering fairly quickly.  The Sequoias were still there and were largely still alive.  That fire was not far off what is being seen in the Santa Cruz Mountains right now. 

I know it's a life cycle... but it's a long cycle.

I'm really glad I took the time to drive through there last time I was in the Bay Area, a couple of years ago.

It might be an interesting study opportunity for biologists on the recovery of old growth redwood after a particularly hot fire.

If anything I can foresee the park being closed for a year or more.  That would give the State Park Service sometime to identify new tree growth and adapt the trail system around it.  CA 236 probably will he reopen as a through eventually but I would say close it at the Park Boundary until Big Basin is ready to reopen.  Like you said it is a good opportunity for the State to study how a old growth Redwood forest recovers from a fire.  Hopefully the state will take to heart some of the lessons methods the National Park Service and National Forest Service utilizes for proscribed burns.  I wonder sometimes if the State Park budget is really all that healthy given how these fires often get started on their lands that have huge undergrowth.  Given how many State Parks were up for the chopping block less than a decade ago or how many rely donations to stay afloat now I see some reason for concern in the Stateís ability to manage their lands appropriately. 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2020, 11:56:44 PM »

Looks like mixed to good news:

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Somewhat-positive-update-on-Big-Basin-structures-15523019.php

There is still plenty of green at the top of the canopy, that fire wiped out all that excess underbrush.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2022, 11:40:41 AM »

Seems Big Basin State Park is about to reopen:

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-05-28/a-historic-california-redwood-park-will-soon-welcome-visitors-two-years-after-devastating-fire

The Caltrans Quickmap still shows the one lane segment of CA 236 with no estimated reopening.  The article was in unclear if the reopening included the one lane segment of CA 236. 
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kkt

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Re: CA 236 and Big Basin Redwoods State Park
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2022, 04:56:11 PM »

Seems Big Basin State Park is about to reopen:

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-05-28/a-historic-california-redwood-park-will-soon-welcome-visitors-two-years-after-devastating-fire

The Caltrans Quickmap still shows the one lane segment of CA 236 with no estimated reopening.  The article was in unclear if the reopening included the one lane segment of CA 236. 

Oh, good!  Looking forward to it.
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