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September 25, 2020

Monterey County closes Toro Park indefinitely due to wildfire damage

SALINAS — Toro Park will be closed indefinitely due to extensive damage from the wildfires, Monterey County announced Wednesday night.

The county park, located 6 miles from downtown Salinas, is currently being used as a base camp for Cal Fire and was already closed to the public. The county said there is no reopening timeframe, as much of the park sustained damage from the River Fire.

“Right now it is closed to the public due to its use as a Cal Fire base camp, but after firefighters leave the area, it will have to remain closed because of extensive wildfire damage, which will take time to assess and repair,” said Monterey County Communications Coordinator Maia Carroll.

Fire suppression repair work is currently taking place, with dozers being used for water bars and rolling dips. Some of the dozer lines are also on existing vehicle travel trails, such as Ollason.

“A complete damage assessment needs to be done to determine what is needed for recovery, but not all areas of the park are accessible yet,” Carroll said.

Monterey County Parks Department staff will work with Cal Fire to make the necessary assessments as soon as it is safe to do so, Carroll said. In addition to erosion control, parks staff will also assess the entire trail network and open space area for next winter.

Toro Park’s 4,756 acres are used by thousands of visitors for recreation each year. The park includes equestrian riding trails, softball fields, volleyball courts, playgrounds, horseshoe pits, mountain biking and more than 20 miles of hiking trails.

The River Fire, which is currently 58% contained, has burned 48,732 acres and destroyed 30 buildings south of Salinas as of Thursday morning.

Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk
Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers education, government and general news for King City and occasionally for the surrounding communities in South Monterey County.

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