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One of California’s biggest draws is the exquisite scenery in its state parks, national forests and other related natural sites. But because of the waves of storms that have dumped a year’s worth of water on drought-plagued lands in a matter of weeks in some spots, various outdoor recreational areas remain closed.

Especially hard hit was Los Padres National Forest, which is almost 60 miles (97 kilometers) away from Santa Barbara by car.

Damage there was so bad that a 60-day closure was ordered for four ranger districts (Monterey, Santa Lucia, Santa Barbara and Ojai). The Mt. Pinos District was not in the order.h

The order was issued on January 13 because of “extreme winter weather events in early January that caused flooding, debris flows, bridge, road and trail failures.”

On Tuesday, a tweet posted by Los Padres showed some of the damage that was still being assessed.

It’s possible there will be a reprieve on the 60 day decision.

The closure order said that it would be “superseded or terminated when conditions and recreational access improves.” Los Padres got more 100% of its annual rainfall along with high-wind damage earlier this month, the forest’s website said.

On top of that, stretches of the roads to get to the national forest are compromised.

Other closures in California

California’s state park system also took a big hit from the deluges, and some of its sites are closed.

Twenty one state parks, beaches, reserves and related sites were fully closed as of 6:45 p.m. PT January 24, and another 40 places were partially closed.

The damage and the closures have been widespread.

Some of the closures included El Capitán State Beach in Santa Barbara County and Limekiln State Park in Monterey County, some 165 miles (265 kilometers) away on a partially closed highway.

Click here for the most current updates from the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

Other kinds of full and partial closures

Sometimes, sun and water cooperate to make the "Firefall" event, in which sunlight strikes at a certain angle to make Horsetail Fall appear to glow like lava.

It’s not just the recent wicked winter rainstorms that have closed down natural areas. Others are closed for more normal seasonal weather, previous weather events or both.

At Death Valley National Park, an access road to a trail head is partially closed because of snow. And “many other roads remain closed due to damage and debris from major flooding this summer,” according to park management.

Meanwhile, Devils Postpile National Monument, near Yosemite National Park in the heart of the Sierra Nevada range, is closed for the long winter season and is only open during summer months.

Speaking of Yosemite, you’ll need a reservation to drive into the park on February 10-12, February 17-19 or February 24-26 because of the popular “Firefall” event at Horsetail Fall.

With so many partial and full closures, you should check the status of any state or national park before committing to travel plans.

Top image: Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California. Photo via Adobe Stock.

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