On August 23, 2020, the Soquel Demonstration State Forest and portions of the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park were closed due to the CZU Lighting Complex, resource drawdown, and hazardous fire weather. As of September 17, 2020, these areas are reopened. Additional closure periods may be necessary throughout fire season as conditions warrant.
The State of California recognizes the importance of outdoor activities and exercise during this challenging time of COVID-19. As such, CAL FIRE Demonstration State Forest staff are working with local officials on a regionally-driven approach to increase access to recreating.
While stay-at-home orders may be modified, it does not mean things are going back to normal. It is critical that Californians continue to stay close to home, practice physical distancing, and avoid congregating with others outside their immediate household to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, CAL FIRE is asking that visitors at Demonstration State Forests adhere to the following guidelines to keep you and our staff safe:
- Stay Clean:
- Bring and use your own soap, disinfectant supplies, hand sanitizer, paper towels and toilet paper.
- Bring plastic table cloths for picnic tables that can be disposed of or taken back home for washing.
- Pack out what you pack in:
- Pack out all trash wherever possible to minimize the amount of trash staff must dispose of at the campsite, trailhead, or other facilities.
- Practice Physical Distancing:
- Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more
- Do not gather in groups larger than currently recommended by the local county.
- Stay Informed:
- Visit CA GOV for the latest information on COVID-19.
- Check the local city and county reopening guidelines for additional regulations and safety procedures.
- When arriving at a Demonstration State Forest for camping or other recreation activities, be sure to follow any posted signs or verbal direction from CAL FIRE staff.
Santa Cruz County COVID-19 Information: http://santacruzhealth.org/HSAHome/HSADivisions/PublicHealth/CommunicableDiseaseControl/CoronavirusHome.aspx
Area: 2,681 acres
Elevation: 450 - 2,400 ft.
Precipitation: 44 inches per year
Temperature: Max: 90 F - Min: 32 F
Soquel Demonstration State Forest is situated in the Santa Cruz Mountains along California's central coast. Originally part of a Mexican land grant, the property was logged by several different owners prior to the State taking ownership in 1988. Today, the Forest provides the public access to the beauty of the coastal redwoods and the wildlife found in this habitat type.
Located along the east branch of Soquel Creek and including portions of Amaya Creek and Fern Gulch Creek, the Forest contains redwood, mixed hardwoods, and riparian ecosystems. Soquel is geologically active, with the San Andreas and Zayante Faults passing through the property. Associated with the Forest's geologic activity are several natural springs and small marshes found in closed depressions, known as sag ponds.
Soquel is unique because it is the only State Forest located near large urban areas. Its proximity to the metropolitan centers of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Area provide excellent opportunities for "hands-on" forestry education and outdoor recreation while demonstrating a "working forest" to the public.
Visitors enjoy hiking, bicycling, picnicking and horseback riding. There are no restrooms and no developed water sources in the forest so please bring your own drinking water. Hours for use are dawn to dusk; day use only. Horses and mountain bikes need to stay on trails or roads. Pets are welcome but must be on a leash. No smoking or fires of any kind are allowed in the forest. No firearms or motorized vehicles are allowed in the forest. Electric bicycles (including all classes) are not allowed