Redwoods red carpet: Muir Woods National Monument announces reopening date

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Muir Woods National Monument, a venerable 558-acre preserve in Marin County whose towering redwood trees have attracted hikers for more than 100 years, will reopen Monday.

The famed park near Mill Valley, first set aside for protection in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, last year drew 900,000 visitors. It closed March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As with the reopening of Yosemite National Park two weeks ago, park managers plan to limit crowds to no more than 50% of normal using a reservation system as a way to promote social distancing. Although Yosemite’s day-use reservation system is new, Muir Woods’ isn’t. In 2018, Muir Woods become the first national park unit in the United States to require reservations year-round for all vehicles entering the park as a way to reduce overcrowding on the narrow, winding roads near the park.

“Muir Woods is a special place, unlike any other within the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Laura Joss, superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes Muir Woods. “We are delighted to welcome visitors back.”

The park will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. To make a reservation, go to gomuirwoods.com

National parks officials say that although the visitor center at Muir Woods will continue to be closed, and shuttle bus service to the park via Marin Transit suspended, restrooms, trails, the cafe and gift shop will be open. People who walk or bike into the park do not need reservations.

As part of National Park Service policy, visitors are not required, but are strongly encouraged, to wear face coverings, particularly when they come into contact with people outside their family while at the park. Rangers and other staff will be wearing face coverings.

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Muir Woods is the latest prominent redwoods park to reopen in California. In recent weeks, facilities at Big Basin Redwoods state park in Santa Cruz County, Redwood National Park in Humboldt County, and numerous state parks between Santa Cruz and the Oregon border that showcase the primeval trees have reopened. A few popular redwood parks remain closed, including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Monterey County.

Redwoods can live more than 1,000 years, and are the world’s tallest living species, towering at times more than 300 feet high.

“Access to open space and redwoods parks is critical to our resilience and recovery,” said Sam Hodder, president of Save the Redwoods League, an environmental group based in San Francisco. “There is a direct link between access to the outdoors and public health. Now more than ever, with everything our country is going through, we need our protected lands.”

Hodder noted the importance of visitors to act responsibly as parks reopen — picking up their trash, wearing masks in crowds, and following park rules.

“Parks are the only game in town right now,” he said. “No one is getting on planes to travel abroad, no one is sitting in movie theaters or going to the ballpark. The entire pent-up recreational demand of 40 million people in California, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News

      

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