The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (LA County Parks) received confirmation by Fire officials that the Nature Center at the Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area burned by the Bobcat Fire. The area is still considered a hotspot and not safe. The facility will be closed until further notice.
LA County Parks had been closely monitoring the situation. Earlier in the week, the animals from the sanctuary, including snakes, tortoises, Ruth the barn owl, and Twig, a screech owl, were evacuated and the staff was relocated for everyone’s safety.
Remarkably, the wildlife sanctuary structure, which is the staff’s office, appears to have survived, with several pinyon pines, junipers and manzanita trees surrounding the facility. LA County Parks will assess the conditions of the rest of the structures and further damage when its safe to access the site.
“We are deeply saddened of the loss of the Nature Center at the Devil’s Punch Bowl Natural Area. It was truly a gem of education for our youth, local community and residents of the County,” said Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation Director Norma Edith García-Gonzalez. ” The residents in the affected neighborhoods are in our thoughts, and we support the firefighters that continue to work tirelessly in the multiple fires.”
The Devil’s Punch Bowl Nature Center that burned opened in December of 1963. From school field trips to community education programs, LA County Parks has been offering access to museums, native wildlife-animal exhibits, astronomy with telescope presentations, geology sessions, and park history tours. LA County Parks also hosts the Junior Ranger Program for the local youth.
The Devil’s Punch Bowl Natural Area is located in the northern part of the San Gabriel Mountains, along with the Pearblossom, Juniper and Valyermo communities. It is one of the Department’s most popular facilities and a beloved natural area visited by over 130,000 park guests each year. It is a unique 1,310-acre geological wonder where visitors bird walk, mountain bike, hike, enjoy horseback rides, stargaze, and moonlight cycle. The facility offers a variety of services such as amphitheaters, multipurpose rooms, equestrian staging areas, hiking trails, and a library. The 7.5-mile round-trip trail heads through a deep canyon formed by the runoff of large quantities of water from the higher San Gabriel Mountains. It offers spectacular uptilted rock formations created by layers of sedimentary rocks, a landscape of Joshua trees, California Junipers, Pinyon Pine Woodland and Desert Chaparral shrubs while observing the variety of wildlife.
For more information and updates, visit the LA County Parks’ website at parks.lacounty.gov and follow @lacountyparks on Twitter and Instagram, or @parks.lacounty.gov on Facebook.