Big Basin Redwoods State Park was California's first ever state park, established in 1902. And for many of us in the Bay Area, it's a beloved place.
So when the CZU Lightning Complex fires raged through the Santa Cruz mountains, scarring the trees and razing the historic Visitor’s Center, there were a lot of feelings — even though it looks like the majority of those majestic trees are going to be just fine.
Some of Big Basin's redwoods are over 300 feet tall, and potentially as ancient as 2,500 years old. Those big, beautiful trees witnessed weddings, family reunions, first camping trips and so much more. So we asked you for your treasured memories and photographs of Big Basin on KQED News' Instagram, so we could showcase them here.
Scroll down for more, and to read about how California's increasingly devastating wildfires might affect special places like Big Basin. (Some submissions have been lightly edited for length and clarity.)
Big Basin is so near and dear to our family's hearts. Exposing nature to our boys of color is our way of breaking social barriers and constructs. They’ve learned to love and respect nature which in turn they can apply to their fellow human. —Jessica Vans (Instagram: @cocovans123)
The wildfires pouring smoke into the Bay Area are a painful reminder of our state's relationship to wildfire. The redwood trees have survived hundreds of fires — forestry experts estimate there was a fire every nine to 25 years based on samples from the trees themselves — but the effect of these fires on humans is often painful and scary.
We have always loved the power of the California redwoods, but there was something special about that park. [On our first visit] my mom also invited one of my friends to join us camping. My friend took my mom up on that offer ... We had a great time just being in the beauty, walking the trails, sipping coffee by the fire under the redwoods. She and I were married four years later. Big Basin will always have a special place in my heart.
— Nick (Instagram: @minusnick)
And these fires are different from what California saw historically.