With most trails reopened, green shoots growing and animals returning, Sugarloaf Ridge State Park is the place to be to see the land recover from wildfire.

The park—operated by Sonoma Ecology Center on behalf of the California State Parks system—has reopened all but two trails and is open to the public every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“Sugarloaf is currently the only public park in our region where visitors can walk through twice-burned areas and see the land recovering,” said SEC Executive Director Richard Dale. “That means extraordinary sightings such as Whispering Bells, a native wildflower that only appears after wildfire, popping back up again—for the second time in just three years!” The fire-followers reach full bloom in late March or early April.

Visitors will enjoy seeing native grasses and trees resprouting too. And SEC’s “critter cams” already have captured footage of black bears and other animals returning to the park.

The quick reopening of most trails following the Glass fire was only possible thanks to the incredible help and support of our volunteers and donors. Thank you!

“The dedication of our supporters is just incredible,” said John Roney, park manager and a Sonoma Ecology Center employee. “Thanks to them, the reopened Sugarloaf is now the focal point for seeing fire recovery first hand.”

Volunteer trail crews continue to meet on Thursdays at the park, and other socially distanced events—including a fun iNaturalist challenge—are available. However, Sugarloaf’s campgrounds will remain closed until health officials lift the county’s shelter-in-place order.

For public safety, all social distancing protocols remain in effect, including wearing a mask and maintaining a distance of at least six feet with anyone not from the same household. To minimize exposure, park operators recommend purchasing and printing out a parking pass in advance.

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Caption: Earthstar (Astraeus) fungi photographed by iNaturalist user Alex Hill.