California State Parks' Chris Spohrer talks to reporters at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
California State Parks Santa Cruz District Superintendent Chris Spohrer talks to reporters at Big Basin Redwoods State Park about recovery plans.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )
Latest News

Morning Lookout: A reimagined Big Basin and SC Shakespeare forges ahead

Greetings, folks. Today is Friday, May 27, and it’ll be another day of May gray for many coastal folks, with temps in the 60s, with the sun peeking out and highs approaching 80 in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Do you want to help us tell our county’s important stories? You can do just that by becoming a Lookout member as we continue our spring membership drive. Because of member support we have been able to explore big topics, with in-depth coverage on homelessness, the CZU fires, the fentanyl crisis, election coverage and our ever-expanding Community Voices opinion forum. We could not do this work without our members. Become a member today and get 20% off membership with offer code spring — click the image below.

Thursday was a hopeful day at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, with our Hillary Ojeda among reporters getting a briefing on its upcoming limited reopening and plans for reimagining California’s oldest state park in the wake of 2020’s CZU Complex fire.

It’s also a new era of sorts at Santa Cruz Shakespeare, which is back for a full season at DeLaveaga Park this summer — but, as Wallace Baine reports, without late festival founder Audrey Stanley.

Housing, particularly affordable housing, was the focus this week as representatives from Santa Cruz County, its four major cities and UCSC outlined what they’ve done and what’s in the works — and Grace Stetson has the takeaways.

And today marks the debut of another part of our Community Voices opinion forum, letters to the editor. Measure D and questions about a flag on a Central Fire District truck are first up, so keep reading for more on that and how to submit your own letters.

Friday headlines, coming at ya:

Reimagining Big Basin: Following CZU fire devastation, what should the park become?

State Parks District Superintendent Chris Spohrer speaks at Big Basin Redwoods State Park
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The devastating CZU Complex fire that burned 97% of Big Basin Redwoods State Park is giving way to new growth — and new plans, including tribal involvement, as the 120-year-old park comes back to life. Here’s what Hillary Ojeda heard there Thursday.


Santa Cruz Shakespeare, sans Audrey, gears up for big new season

Santa Cruz Shakespeare artistic director Mike Ryan
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and “Twelfth Night” artfully describe the shipwrecked times we live through and present new work from a Santa Cruz playwright this summer, all while saying goodbye to the company’s longtime icon, Audrey Stanley. Get a preview from Wallace Baine.

MORE FROM WALLACE: Read all of his columns here

Cities, county and UC Santa Cruz outline their housing plans

A look at what will soon be the fourth location of Santa Cruz Community Health
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

At the Housing Santa Cruz County forum Wednesday, hosted and co-sponsored by Lookout, local officials explained what’s been done and what’s on the drawing boards. Grace Stetson has takeaways from the event.

RELATED: Affordable Housing Month gets into the affordability nitty-gritty (Lookout)

Make your voice heard with letters to the editor

The latest feature of our Community Voices opinion section debuts today with the first letters to the editor, with one Santa Cruzan weighing in on Measure D and another questioning the flag on the grille of a Central Fire District truck — with the chief’s response. Read the letters here.

WANT TO SOUND OFF? Email us at
FROM THE EDITOR: Read Jody K. Biehl’s vision

Weekender: Sleepy John’s goodbye, Carlin remembered and a full June ahead

Whether you’re looking for the latest from Santa Cruz’s arts and entertainment scene, plotting out your social calendar this long weekend and beyond or looking for local trivia, Wallace Baine is here for you. Check out this week’s newsletter here.

LOOKOUT’S FULL EVENTS CALENDAR: BOLO, your place to go for things to do


Student Lookout: Great scones, top vintage shops and a Santa Cruz sea monster

picture of scones
(Instagram @cafedelmarette)

The academic year might be wrapping up, but Student Lookout is still going strong with great deals for students, food tips and event recommendations. Find it all here.

Here’s why scientists aren’t ‘crazy scared’ about monkeypox

The palms of a monkeypox patient in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1997.
(Brian W.J. Mahy / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

To the public, the monkeypox outbreak has echoes of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But scientists say it’s not the same at all. Our partners at the Los Angeles Times report.

LOCAL COVID PICTURE: Call it a ‘swell,’ not a ‘surge’: Proms, graduations and out-and-about Santa Cruzans drive increased, but flattening, COVID numbers (Lookout)

➤ Want more? Check out our Job Board.
Hiring? Post a job.
*NEW* Buy job board bundles of 4 or 8 to save 25%. Redeemable at any time; get your bundles here.

Around the county ...

CHP imposes maximum enforcement period for holiday weekend (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Taylor’s Office City closing doors in Watsonville (The Pajaronian)
Suspect arrested after hours-long standoff with law enforcement in Seaside (KSBW-TV)
Golden State Warriors earn trip to NBA Finals, extend historic postseason home winning streak (SFGate)

That’s plenty for your plate to start the morning. And we’ve got more on the way, including a packed edition of Lily Belli’s Eaters Digest, so bookmark our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep tabs throughout the day. If you’re enjoying our coverage, please tell your family and friends about our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, where they can sign up for all the newsletters and alerts we offer. You can also keep tabs throughout the day

To ensure you’re staying informed about all the goings-on in Santa Cruz, please consider becoming a Lookout member if you’re not already. Our content isn’t possible without community support.

Have a great Friday and a safe, relaxing long Memorial Day weekend! I’ll see you back here Tuesday.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz