Leo Carrillo State Park Partially Reopens • The Malibu Times
Leo Carrillo State Park will partially reopen this weekend after being closed for nearly a month following flooding on Thursday, Dec. 30. The overflow caused the evacuation of five to six inches of rain and the evacuation of 50 campers that morning.
Leo Carrillo State Park officials posted an update on social media announcing the reopening of the South Beach parking lot and the beach access underpass.
According to parks and recreation officials, campgrounds and vehicle access in North Beach remain closed at this time.
For more information on Leo Carrillo State Park hours, directions, trails, and camping, visit parks.ca.gov.
Original story published on January 6
50 survivors of intense flooding in Leo Carrillo
The campground and beach parking lot are closed until January
By Judy Abel, special for the Malibu Times
California state park campers and employees were caught off guard last Thursday when a torrent of rain swamped the Leo Carrillo State Park campground. 50 people were rescued early Thursday in a downpour that dropped five to six inches at the northern Malibu campground that was charred in the 2018 Woolsey Fire.
Flood advisories were issued by the National Weather Service in late 2021 for Orange County, but “not for Los Angeles or Ventura counties,” said Jerry West, acting superintendent of the Angeles District of California state parks. “This event was not planned by all parties,” West explained.
By the time flash flood warnings were finally issued in the early morning hours, minor flooding was already occurring in the campground. With the help of the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the American Red Cross, 50 people were evacuated from Leo Carrillo during Thursday’s storm. About 70 other campers on higher ground remained at the site which was inundated with mud and debris that washed into Arroyo Sequit Creek. “The remaining campers were self-sufficient in their RV,” West said. “Due to the flooding of the campground, their exit was blocked anyway.” The remaining campers were reported safe and no one was injured. They couldn’t leave until the crews could redirect the water and clear the mud from the roadways. The last of the campers left on January 4.
A closure order is now in effect for Leo Carrillo Campground until the end of the month.
West told State Parks he doesn’t want the public or prying eyes because “we have crews that work with heavy equipment. We are still evaluating the conditions.
Most of the campsites along the base of the Arroyo Sequit are completely washed away, buried in two to three feet of “deposits or material that has been deposited” that has been carried by the creek, according to West.
“Fortunately, we had the help of Cal Trans and LA County Public Works to come in with heavy equipment” to clear the mud from the area. However, the Leo Carrillo South Beach parking lot in front of the kiosk is still closed due to mud covering its access.
“It was completely buried in the sediment. The trail that goes under the Pacific Coast Highway was also buried in sediment. Additionally, the road that provides access to the North Beach Lot, which passes over the Arroyo Sequit and under the bridge, currently due to tidal activity and high water levels, has been submerged. . Until the stream stops flowing. It will likely remain closed,” West said.
State Parks asked the California Conservation Corps for help with the manual labor needed to clear the area after the ground dried. Campsites need to be reclassified and repositioned with picnic tables and fire pits to get Leo Carrillo back up and running.
“Once it is safe for the public to return, we will likely open up part of the campground while we continue to do the work,” West said. “It’s going to take a while before we can reopen the whole campground. This will not only look at the damage that has occurred, but also determine how we can deal with the sites. We don’t know yet if they are completely lost at this point.
Since the Woolsey Fire destroyed much of the vegetation at the campsite and cleared the undergrowth in the area, it appears that these conditions contributed to the leveling of the creek causing the flooding.