Big Basin Redwoods State Park endures as one of California’s most iconic natural landscapes. In the aftermath of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire that burned much of the park and destroyed nearly all facilities, the long-standing commitment to protecting old growth and stewarding natural lands will be reinvigorated. Park stewardship, based on scientific and Indigenous knowledge, will foster forest health and create opportunities to connect visitors of all backgrounds and abilities with redwood forests for generations to come. The park will be welcoming and accessible, offering new transportation options, diverse recreational opportunities, and inclusive storytelling that will evolve as the forests recover. While ecosystem health and quality visitor experiences may be defined differently over time, they will always serve as the measures for Big Basin’s success.
The Reimagining Big Basin project included engaging the public and stakeholders in defining a renewed vision for Big Basin. The devastation caused by the CZU Complex Fire in 2020 prompted the need to revisit this shared vision with consideration to resources and infrastructure conditions as well as to the changing climatic conditions. The Reimagining Big Basin project helped to reconnect stakeholders and the public with the park by providing updates on the park’s conditions and recovery efforts, providing informational and educational resources regarding the challenges and opportunities of reestablishment, and seeking input regarding the vision for the park’s future. This approximately one-year planning process has culminated with the Vision Summary document that confirms a vision for the future of Big Basin and guide the planning efforts necessary to reestablish full recreational access to the park to the public.
The Reimagining Big Basin Vision summary resulted in the development of eight guiding principles to guide all future planning at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
They are presented in the Vision Summary, and also described below:
The health of old growth redwoods and sensitive resources will be the primary consideration for park reestablishment and ongoing planning, design, and management. The forest lifecycle and resource management needs, especially as we face changing climatic conditions, will inform planning and design decisions, helping to guide expectations of the park experience. Facilities and high-use areas will be located away from old growth redwoods and other sensitive resources and sited to facilitate sustainable forest stewardship and protect opportunities for provocative nature experiences.
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Reimagining Big Basin visioning process! Completed outreach and engagement efforts as of July 2022 are described in the Compendium of Community Engagement below, and there will be more opportunities to participate in future planning efforts.