Crews this weekend swarmed the rugged hillsides of Deukmejian Wilderness Park to backfill trails and remove debris in preparation for a grand reopening Saturday.
Blackened canyons, charred branches, concrete barriers and other water-diverting devices — consequences of the deadly Station fire and ensuing winter storms — have largely been replaced by shades of white, yellow, green and purple.
The Station fire tore through nearly all 709 acres of the park, clearing plants and trees that help to absorb water and hold soil. Woody-stemmed plants are expected to return alongside the mustard, lupine and phacelia.
But for all of nature's resilience, loosened rock and miles of eroded trail have delayed much of the park's reopening until next year. Senior park naturalist Russ Hauck and more than 100 volunteers have spent the past few months readying the lower portion of the park.
Area residents and wilderness enthusiasts have spent the weekends clearing castor bean, tree tobacco and star thistle, which often lays dormant for years, pulling the nonnative plants from their roots and stashing them away so as not to spread seeds.