When the devastating CZU Fire blazed through the Big Basin Redwoods, it destroyed much of the state park’s infrastructure and closed the area indefinitely. It also revealed a historic site that may provide some context for the region’s history.
A hidden bunker was revealed in one of the severely burnt area of the redwoods, leaving many to wonder what it could be used for. In the 1800’s, the use of dynamite for road construction and the removal of large stumps was common in the area. That’s why local historians believe it was a storage facility for explosives.
“I recognize the kind of explosives storage facility in the photograph,” said California Powder Works Historian Barry Brown to the San Lorenzo Valley Post. “In our area, in the 19th century, it was common for certain industries and municipalities to keep explosives on their property for regular use.”
The different companies developing the region in the 1800’s needed a safe space to keep their large quantities of explosives, and a bunker in the middle of the redwood forest was typically a safe place. The massive tree stumps of the ancient redwoods were blown out of the ground, a task unable to be completed by men or even horses. With all that said, it’s impossible to know the true purpose of the bunker.
Although much of the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the oldest park in California, will remain closed indefinitely, unburned portions are set to reopen on Memorial Day weekend.