SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) So far, the Sempervirens Fund and Save the Redwoods League have raised $543,000 in donations from around the world for Big Basin Redwoods State Park's wildfire recovery, the organizations said.
Big Basin, California's oldest state park, was at the center of the CZU Lightning Complex fires that burned in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. The organizations said the fires burned over the entire park and destroyed almost all of its buildings and infrastructure.
The fund recently issued its first disbursement of $200,000, which is expected to help with staffing and equipment costs for removing hazard trees. The organizations said doing this will help the park prepare for winter storms and allow for more access to the park to assess the the damage.
Part of the funding is also set to help California State Parks start long-term planning for rebuilding Big Basin. The process of rebuilding the park's operations and infrastructure is expected to start next year.
“State Parks is grateful for this outpouring of support and the ongoing partnership with people who care so deeply about Big Basin,” said Chris Spohrer, Santa Cruz District Superintendent for California State Parks. “This initial funding will allow us to access the backcountry, inventory damages, continue hazard mitigation and take the first steps toward recovery.”
The park is closed until further notice due to the extent of the damage caused by the fires.