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Big Basin's bouncing back.

Nature has been unkind to Big Basin Redwoods State Park lately. Storms the past three winters caused mudslides, felled centuries-old trees, damaged the water-treatment plant, and knocked out some two dozen trail bridges. But California's oldest state part, some 30 miles southwest of San Jose, is bouncing back in style.

At our press time, the parkhs 65 miles of trails, extending from the Santa Cruz Mountains to the ocean, were all open, and all major bridges were back in place. If you haven't been to Big Basin in the past few years, you'll find some trails renamed, a new rim trail and campground, and new land acquisitions.

Park rangers and volunteers took advantage of a four-month closure of the park in early 1982 to repair and rename some trails; pick up a map at park headquarters. The new Lane-Sunset Rim Trail gives hikers access to the knobcome pine and chaparral of the park's northern rim, with a trail camp at the 5-mile mark of the 12-1/2-mile loop route from park headquarters.

You can help work on the trails by joining volunteer crews April 28 for the park's annual Trail Day. For details, write or call the Trail Information and Volunteer Center, 2253 Park Blvd., Palo Alto, Calif. 94306; (415) 324-8482.

Because of storm damage, only 75 of the 188 car-camping sites are open, and some of the seven trail camps (six sites per camp) may not have adequate drinking water. For the latest information, check with park rangers at (408) 338-6132. Make reservations through Ticketron for car campsites, through the park for trail camps; things can get busy the week before Easter.

As you hike this month, look for wildflowers among the redwoods, especially along creek banks; a good nontechnical guide sold at park headquarters is Plants of Big Basin Redwoods State Park and the Coastal Mountains of Northern California, by Mary Beth Cooney-Lazaneo and Kathleen Lyons (Mountain Press, Missoula, Mont. 1981; $6.95). To learn more about the park's natural history, join a ranger-led walk at 2 or a campfire program at 8:30 on April 14 or 21. Big Basin gets bigger with new land acquisitions

In an effort to protect watershed surrounding the park and to connect Big Basin with other nearby parks, more than 5,000 acres have been added in the past 15 years, thanks to purchases by the state, the Save-the-Redwoods League, and the sempervirens Fund. Last December, a 20-acre parcel near the park's acquisitions fund; call (415) 968-4509 for information.

To reach Big Basin, take State Highway 9 from Los Gatos or Santa Cruz, then veer west on narrow, winding State 236 for about 8 miles to park headquarters. If you're traveling south on U.S. 101 or Interstate 280, take State 85 south, then turn west on State 9 in Saratoga and drive about 13 miles to State 236.
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Title Annotation:California
Date:Apr 1, 1984
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