Crystal Cove State Park has closed nearly all its land to the public due to soot in the air from the ongoing wildfires in the region, park officials said today.
The park, which extends on the coast between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, closed its entire backcountry area early Monday morning, locking the gates to more than 2,000 acres of wilderness. The beach area remained open to the public, although peace officer Joel Yamasaki said turnout had been low for the last two days.
On Tuesday, the one entrance on Pacific Coast Highway that leads to the backcountry was locked, and Yamasaki said the trails had been posted with signs informing the public that the park was closed.
“We’re going to remain closed as long as the red flag conditions are implemented,” he said. “It’s going to be evaluated, obviously, day by day.”
Lynn Fails, the park’s special events and film permit coordinator, said Crystal Cove would be hit financially by the closure, as it would lose the business of regular customers who paid a $10 daily admission fee.
“We have a lot of people who are regular users, hikers, bikers and campers,” she said. “They count on us.”
According to the California State Parks website, 16 parks are closed throughout Southern California due to the wildfires. Crystal Cove and San Onofre State Park are the only ones closed in Orange County, with the rest in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties.