Reno, NV - On this windy day, the park just below Windy Hill isn't attracting a big crowd. But the few who are at Bartley Ranch Regional Park Thursday morning are glad to see it's back open.
"With the fires, the park was closed indefinitely and I've been waiting anxiously for it to reopen," says Barbara Marquand, a runner at the park.
She used to run the trails there several days a week, but now, she'll have to pound the pavement, since the three trails are closed: the popular Flume trail, Quail Run Nature trail, and portions of the Ranch Loop trail. About 21 acres of the 58 acre park were blackened during the Caughlin Fire.
"A lot of the stabilized soils in those slopes are now destabilized," says Colleen Wallace Barnam, a district manager for Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space. "It's really important that we keep people off those trail systems until we can be certain that no large boulders, trees, and what-not are going to be falling."
The public's safety is the main concern, but park officials say they're also worried about erosion, especially now that it's December.
"We're going into our rainy season if you will, our wet season," says Wallace Barnum. "Knowing that we could potentially have mud slides, we don't know what that landscape is going to do."
While crews have blocked off the areas in the park that are off-limits, they're still stacking up the vegetation that's been destroyed.
"It's good to see that we're getting back on our feet and moving forward and I'm sure they'll have the rest of the park opened as soon as it's safe and we can enjoy it again," says Barbara Marqueand.
Park officials say rehabilitation at Bartley Ranch is already underway and is expected to last until the Spring.
Some good news is that the amphitheater at the park was not damaged in the fire.