The Woolsey Fire has burned almost 90% of the parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and the Park Service has surveyed the damage to Western Town in Paramount Ranch — the only unit of the National Park Service dedicated to telling the story of America’s film industry.
Paramount Ranch served as the starting point our popular “From Colorado to Korea” hike on the former set of Dr Quinn Medicine Woman. Paramount Ranch has been an active filming area since 1927, with more than 300 films, commercials, television shows, and web videos shot in the park. Even during shoots, the public was allowed to access the park and potentially get a chance to see Hollywood at work.
The Damage to Western Town
Western Town is – for all intents and purposes – gone. The vast majority of the structures built as sets, including two from the original Paramount Ranch built in the 20s and a building used as a residence by an on-site ranger were burned to the ground.
Two buildings that survived the fire were the train station built for “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” and a church built for “Westworld.”
Rebuilding Western Town
If you are interested in volunteering in any capacity in the Santa Monica Mountains once these agencies are ready for your help, please fill out this Jotform — https://form.jotform.com/83166857030155 — and tell them you are with Hiking With Dean hiking group. Once the region is safe for volunteers, the NPS get in touch with you. They will also keep you informed about volunteer opportunities as they arise, but not until after Jan 7. Follow NPS instructions in email.
Let’s get out there to give our Santa Monica Mountains a little TLC as they heal!