SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Los Padres National Forest Rangers will have a grand reopening of River Road on Saturday morning in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The campgrounds from first crossing at the Santa Ynez Recreation area up to the Red Rock day use picnic area on River Road was closed for 7 months following the Rey Fire and massive winter rainstorms.
“As you’ll be able to see when you come through here, there were literally tons and tons of material across First Crossing. 6 to 8 feet of sediment, boulders, dirt," said Pancho Smith, district ranger for Los Padres National Forest.
The wildfire caused major devastation and the rains that followed loosened the soil and carried debris down. Forest rangers kept the roads and campgrounds closed because it was not safe. Now that the area has been cleaned up, Rangers will reopen the area Saturday at 8:00 a.m. Rangers are inviting the public to camp in the forest for the holiday weekend.
“Looking forward to it being open starting tomorrow and all summer. I imagine it’s going to be an extra blessing to be able to go to the big swimming holes and go all the way back and see the changes," said Steve Kuhn, a Lompoc Resident.
Areas like Upper Oso and Buckhead Ridge will not be open for visitors. Crews are still trying to clean up that area.
“The Oso Creek jumped out of its bank up there and went through the campground and did a tremendous amount of damage. It washed some giant holes into the campground. [It] washed a lot of sediment in there. There’s two picnic tables buried. Just the top of the picnic tables are sticking out of the mud," said Smith.
Click here for more information on the Los Padres National Forest.