Leo Carrillo, MCSP Campgrounds Remain Closed Into the New Year

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Fog rolls over the burned mountains of Malibu Creek State Park.

An unprecedented amount of parkland—under both state and national purview—burned in last month’s Woolsey Fire.

Now, a number of agencies, including the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA), Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), California State Parks (CSP) and National Park Service, look to the recovery process, alongside many homeowners in the area.

Despite the devastation, a number of local natural areas have been reopened, as confirmed by CSP Angeles District Superintendent Craig Sap in an email with The Malibu Times

The areas include: 

• Point Mugu State Park—all areas

• Leo Carrillo State Park—Pt. Dume staircase, beach areas

• Malibu Creek State Park—day-use areas, backcountry areas

• Point Dume Natural Preserve & Beach

• El Matador, La Piedra and El Pescador beaches

• Malibu Lagoon

• Adamson House

Leo Carrillo State Park suffered significant damage to its campground, backcountry trails/roads and day-use areas. The Leo Carrillo Junior Lifeguards lost their shed—and all their equipment.

“As far as Leo Carrillo, the opening of the campground and day-use parking areas will be largely dependant upon the rain and debris issues,” Sap said, adding the reopening would likely be in March if future rain events are “manageable.”

Parts of MCSP were reopened on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The reopen date for the campgrounds, however, was still up in the air.

The Malibu Creek campgrounds have been closed since late June, following the murder of 35-year-old Tristan Beaudette, who was shot and killed in that area. The shooter had not yet been identified when the Woolsey Fire burned through Malibu.

“With regards to the traditional visitor-serving areas, there are many distressed or failed trees that need to be removed. They are blocking trails and roadways and this process is labor intensive and will take time to remove,” he explained.

Structures—including the employee residences, Sepulveda Adobe, Red House, White Oak Barn and Reagan Ranch, which housed offices for law enforcement and facilities operations—were destroyed in the fire. 

Officials are looking to put up temporary structures to aid staff members and help continue park operation, but—similar to residents—have hit roadblocks while securing permits.

“In the meantime, we have applied for an emergency coastal development permit with LA County Planning … but unfortunately, it is taking more time than we would have liked,” the superintendent said.

As for the Santa Monica Mountains, around 30 miles of trails, bridges and retaining walls burned in the fire. 

On social media, rangers said, “Many are asking when trails will re-open. Sadly, we don’t know. Our concern is safety. Since the Woolsey Fire, hazards have increased 100-fold.”

As reported earlier in The Malibu Times, 88 percent of federal lands and 47 percent of SMMNRA burned in the fire.

Multiple MRCA properties, including Charmlee Wilderness Park, Escondido Canyon Park, Sara Wan trailhead at Corral Canyon Park and Liberty Canyon trailhead, remained closed due to fire damage.

As for City of Malibu property, Trancas Canyon Park and Malibu Equestrian Park have been closed indefinitely due to debris and damage. Malibu Bluffs Park reopened just last week, on Dec. 12.

The MRCA shared a park status document, which contains information for its parks as well as those of California State Parks and National Park Service. For more information, visit bit.ly/ParkStatus.