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Toro Park prepares to reopen after River Fire

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. (KION) Eager visitors will soon be able to visit Toro Park, once the gates open in April. The popular Central Coast recreational facility is preparing to once again host outdoor enthusiast and family outings after the River Fire burnt through it last August. Since then, crews have had their hands full removing damaged trees and cleaning trails, while still carrying out the day to day operations. But their hard work is about to pay off.

Bryan Flores, Administrative Operations Manager said,"Were making preparations to have events and reservations whether it's somebody's birthday or wedding reception, bike race, cross country race and Spartan."

Staff was heartbroken to see the park go up in flames, then witness the aftermath it left behind. The cleanup has been a significant undertaking, especially with limited staff, volunteers and wild hogs tearing up portions of the park.

Flores continued, "We had COVID which impacted park use, then the fire. Then everything that has happened after the fire, erosion and landslides. And that will continue to happen for the next couple of years."

The fire also uncovered a significant amount of garbage, such as bottles and cans left by visitors, lying next to where bushes once were. Though the burn scars remain, the surrounding hills are turning green, flowers are blooming, and wildlife is returning. As you get ready for your next visit, keep in mind the land is still fragile.

Flores stated, "Don’t litter, stay on trails. Be respectful, don't pick the wild flowers, and don't sit in fire damaged trees to get that selfie shot."

Easter is typically the largest non-event day at Toro Park, followed by Mothers Day. They would have liked to been open on Easter, but its just not possible given what still needs to be done. However, the park is planned to reopen before the end of April. By that time 99% of the trails will be ready for use.

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.

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