Bad news and good news about Point Mugu State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains.The bad news is that the much of the park was burned in a recent wildfire. The good news is that hardworking park crews have repaired the major campground, safety-checked the trails, and the park reopened on Memorial Day Weekend, just three weeks after its closure by fire.
The minute I heard about the fire, I began worrying about Point Mugu State Park. In early May, the Springs Fire burned through the Santa Monica Mountains from Newbury Park near Highway 101 to Pacific Coast Highway.
I guessed my favorite place to hike in the wild west end of the mountains was going to get scorched, but getting clear news reports from the L.A. media is not easy. It’s not that the reporters aren’t professional or good at their jobs, it’s just that when assigned to cover a fire they are inevitably urban-oriented and obsessed with the danger to structures.
While the Springs Fire was quite some distance from Malibu proper, that didn’t stop the reporters from speculating about the threats to celebrity homes. I found myself turning down the volume on the TV and by just watching the images—great video by the way, thank you camera-persons—was able to figure out that the wildfire whipped right through the park.
In fact, Springs Fire blackened some 28,000 acres of wildland, including 12,000 of the 14,000 acres in Point Mugu State Park, and a majority of the park’s 70 miles of hiking trails. My guess is that the park’s chaparral and native grassland communities will recover quickly from the fire. And the hiking will be soon as good or better than ever.
Hikers and many other fans of the park have been volunteering in droves to help with recovery efforts, and park administrators are appreciative of the support. “We’re touched by the outpouring of support from the community and their desire to help,” said David Szymanski, superintendent of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in a statement. “We’ll need everyone’s help to ensure the recovery goes as smoothly as possible.”