It’s been two years since the Carr Fire blazed through the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, burning approximately 90 percent of the popular Northern California park. While many destinations in the park have reopened to the public, popular hikes like Brandy Creek Falls, Boulder Creek Falls and Shasta Bally remain closed.
So how long will these popular outdoor spots stay closed? We have a tough answer to that question. In a recent social media post, Whiskeytown officials said they probably won’t be open for another three years.
“Due to post-Carr Fire environmental hazards and safety concerns, it will still take significant work and time to repair and reopen trails and primitive roads that remain closed,” read the post. “Realistically, we are looking at one to three more years minimum.”
So why is it taking so long for these spots to reopen when place like Whiskeytown Falls and Crystal Creek Falls are already open? It has to do with the erosion damage on the hills of Shasta Bally. Here’s the explanation from Whiskeytown officials:
“Soaring 5,000 feet above Whiskeytown Lake, Shasta Bally is the highest mountain in the park. Shasta Bally also has highly erosive soil. With the organic layer of soil as well as vegetation burned on places of the mountain at historically unprecedented levels, there is simply not a lot of material holding soil in place. Due to this, when significant amounts of rain came down during the winter after the Carr Fire, numerous sections of trail were washed out and many handrails and footbridges were destroyed. While the park’s trail crew has been working hard on restoring and reopening frontcountry trails, once enough vegetation regenerates on Shasta Bally that major erosion and debris flow threats subside, the crew will turn to the backcountry. Thousands of work hours will be needed to restabilize these trails, restore them, and make them safe.”
It’s tough news, but imperative to keep this region of Whiskeytown closed for visitor safety. Looking for some things to do in the meantime in the park? You can try kayaking on the lake:
Or even a visit to one of the two open waterfalls:
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine