The Forest Service has closed much of the Monterey Ranger District in the northern section of Los Padres National Forest due to the 2016 Soberanes Fire and the resulting damage. The devastating fire burned at extremely high temperatures for more than 3 months, with the rugged and remote terrain making it difficult for fire fighters to put the fire out. In addition the heavy winter rains have washed out many roads and trails as well as entire campgrounds.
The closure is in effect to prevent additional fires and help the forest recover from the fire. The Forest Service is working diligently to restore access where possible and rebuild the recreational facilities after the devastating fire.
Other Area Closures
The closure of the Monterey Ranger District campsites and trails is in addition to the recent State Park closures in the Big Sur area by California State Parks for similar reasons. Additionally, the heavy rains have contributed to the failure of a bridge and land slides on Highway 1, which caused the closure of a large section of the highway. This has cut off access to other sites that were previously not impacted by the Ranger District closure.
The Forest Service closure order is effective from December of 2016 through the end of 2017. It is not known when the campgrounds and recreation sites in the California State Parks will reopen, but we should expect that these sites will not reopen fully for the 2017 camping season. It also will likely take many months for CalTrans to reconstruct the failing bridge on Highway 1, which could reduce access to Los Padres National Forest into next year.