Big Sur Information

•July 21, 2018 • 95 Comments

Header Photo, by unknown


For the most thorough and complete guide to Big Sur on the internet see:

Big Sur Visitor’s Guide



New link added to the right under 3 categories: Big Sur/LPNF; Local News; and Representatives Monterey County Government Link


Interactive Highway Map with Mile Markers and slide names is to the right, under “Pages” first one *Big Sur Interactive Maps... if the following link doesn’t work. *Big Sur Interactive Slide Maps will answer any questions you may have about where something is in relation to something else.


(Size for any header photos you may wish to submit it is 760×151 pixels.)

Sunday Photos – 5/19/19

•May 19, 2019 • 3 Comments


This is the only clue you will get. I will be covering the storms, but not much else this week.

Lost Dog – Golden Retrievers, Bentley

•May 18, 2019 • 2 Comments

“This is David Sanguinetti (831-227-8950,  I tried calling the Station, but can’t seem to get anybody to answer the telephone, only long information. We have been dealing with my lost son (found at Big Creek) and dog (still lost).  Thank you for the information on Big Creek.  On Friday, 5/17, Deputy Jesse Villasenor failed in locating our dog Bently.”


The map above was an estimate of the path taken before son found in Big Creek and may not be accurate. Tim Bills at Big Sur Stations says: “Based on your description, it sounds like Steven took the following route:

Kirk Creek Trail to Vicente Flat Camp (5 miles)
Stone Ridge Trail toward Gamboa Trail area (6.6 miles)
Ojito Camp Spur Trail (listed as difficult) (3/4 mile)
This is where he was likely off trail leading into the South Fork of Devil’s Canyon to Canoga Falls and downstream ultimately ending in the Big Creek tributaries and drainage.”
As I understand it, the dog was with the lost son, but they became separated somehow. Son found, dog not. The camp hosts at both Kirk Creek and Limekiln are aware and will keep an eye out, as is Rich at the Hermitage.
Just sent by fathe approx 1 pm Saturday:
Dear Big Sur Kate,

Thank you for the postings.  I did not realize they were up, as I have been searching for my Son and our dog Bently.  I will try to briefly cover what transpired, so that the information is more detailed for visitors in the area:
-Saturday, 4/11, Steven and Bently hiked into the Los Padres National Forest on the Vincente Flat Trail, across from Kirk Creek Campground on Hwy 1
-Monday, 4/13, they got lost on the Ojito trail going into the closed Ojito Trail Camp, off of the Gamboa Trail, west of Cone Peak.
-They ended up on Devils Canyon Creek, and ultimately on Big Creek.  They hiked for 2 days, reaching a point before the first upper falls, where he had to leave Bently because of exhaustion and paw pad injury.
-Steven left Bently on a south side slope of Big Creek, about a hundred yards up, below the base of a couple of trees, on a blue sleeping bag, next to a blue backpack, with what food and water he had left.
-Steven continued down the drainage and water falls, until he came out at the Big Creek Reserve residences at Hwy 1 on Thursday, 5/16
-The Monterey County Sheriff, Search and Rescue, and CHP Helicopter searched the drainage for 10 hours on Friday, 5/17, with no sighting of Bently or Steven’s camping gear.  There is no further planned searching to be scheduled.
-We believe they searched farther down the drainage than where Steven actually left his gear and Bently, because the upper half of the drainage had too much tree cover to see from the helicopter to lower rescuers.
-Bently’s last location would not have allowed him to travel down the watershed because of the falls, and there were some formations that would have made it difficult for him to go back up the drainage.  It is unknown if he could have continued up the side of the drainage to the south or north onto the drainage ridges.
-The picture of Bently, posted on Tuesday, 5/14, is very accurate.  He weighs 55 lbs, is reddish in color, and does not have his collar and identification on.  He has been chipped by his veterinarian.
-If found, please contact:
David Sanguinetti
Thank You for any help you an give.”

Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 5/18/19

•May 18, 2019 • 6 Comments

26 Jun 1958 MPH – Fabulous Big Sur Country Lies South of Carmel

“Oh the south coast’ a wild coast ane lonely…” So goes the opening line of the “South Coast Ballad”, written a number of years ago by Mrs. Harrydick (Lillian Bos) Ross of Partington Ridge in the Big Sur country.

Big Sur, about 30 miles south of Carmel on the Coast Highway, is a good stop-over on the way to the Hearst Castle at San Simeon, another 64 miles to the south.

The loneliness and inaccessibility of the region is described where “the lions still rule the barrancas and a man there is always alone.”

Things have happened in the Big Sur country, however, and more and more people have been attracted to this area above Pacific waters.

As early as 1948, residents there worried about a “building boom” and feared such additions as hot dog stands, cocktail bars and subdivisions.  True, there are camp sites, store, motels and restaurants as well as Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and thousands visit there each summer.  A master plan for the area, however, restricts building and in such sections as Coastland, only large parcels are available.

First Settlers – The first settlers, the Pfeiffer family arrived there in 1869 and others, such as the Posts, came in not long after.

Electricity was carried to Grimes Canyon below Big Sur in 1952, daily mail service began in 1951 and in June of last year dial telephone service was installed.  This latter innovation eliminated the old crank-type phone and enabled residents to dial their neighbors instead of having to meet face-to-face to exchange the time of day.  Prior to that toll stations only were available.

More recently, residents there were faced with a garbage disposal problem and a temporary solution, at least has been found.  Plans to establish a dump area on the ridge above Sycamore Canyon brought loud protest from home owners.  At the present time resort owners have made an agreement with the Carmel Valley Disposal Service to handle their garbage.  Residents will continue to dispose of their own until a satisfactory plan is developed.

Despite such modern additions Big Sur, away from the highway, is still wild and remote.  People living there seek solitude away from the hurly-burly of modern urban existence.  Artists and writers have migrated there to live and work and many of them can boast of outstanding achievements in the creative fields.

Among them are Louisa Jenkins, noted for her mosaic tiles; author Henry Miller; Nicholas Roosevelt, writer, diplomat and gourmet; Brad and Helen Fuller who are, respectively, writer, photographer and actress; Dr. Dryden Phelps, religious philosopher who spends part of his time there and his son, Lyon Phelps, a visitor, who is a New York play producer.

David and Bettina [Betty] Tolerton are long-time residents of Partington Ridge.  He is known for his iron sculpture and ceramics.  Harrydick and Lillian Bos {Shanigolden) Ross are also pioneers of that section.  Harrydick is a sculpture and Shanigolden a writer.

Other Residents – There is Maud Oakes, author of such volumes as “The Two Crosses of Todo Santos”, who does her research in Guatemala under a Bollingen Foundation Grant.  Emile Norman and Brook Clement are famed for their laminating process in plastics and are busy working on new commissions.

There are others, of course.  Some who come to work, some who wish to retire among the majestic stands of redwoods and others who, liking the country, come to seek a means of livelihood.

Residents there, however, are jealously guarding their privacy.  They don’t want the Big Sur country to expand.  They don’t want thousands of people to live there.  The still want I to remain “a wild coast and lonely.”

Amgen’s Tour of California

•May 17, 2019 • 3 Comments

The new header photo (also included below) and the one below of the leaders are both by John Galuszka. Thank you, John.


Vacation Rentals, Tourism, and Big Sur

•May 16, 2019 • 21 Comments

With the Herald article I published Tuesday, and with the public comment period underway for STRs (Short Term Rentals), this seemed like an appropriate topic for today’s post. There is a conflux of issues with the STRs and overtourism here in Big Sur. It is one reason this post is WAY longer than I usually post. There just seemed to be so much to cover in this battle to save our community.

One concern, of course, is that as tourism increases, the spending at our local establishments does not keep pace, this is one of the factors in the equation that must be considered. People who are staying at STRs – Airbnb, etc. – are not staying in our local hotels and motels, which then takes away more business from the establishments when the hotel/motel guests would normally patronize their restaurants and stores and are not doing so. Additionally, local businesses have difficulty finding employees And often must provide housing, if they can, or hire people who have long commutes just to get to work in the service industry. Imagine a Big Sur with no Nepenthe or River Inn or Fernwood or Deetjen’s or all the other local businesses.

STRs take housing away from locals so that the owners of the property can support their inflated purchase prices, or simply make money, and then the businesses have trouble getting and keeping employees. No where is this more apparent to me than down here on the South Coast because it is the area with which I am most familiar.

Staffing for the local school has always been a challenge. Some staff must commute all the way from Cambria, which is especially difficult during road closures.  Others live in trailers on the school property. In speaking with USFS staff at the Big Sur Fire open house, and then Tuesday with the District Ranger, Tim Short, I discovered that  staff housing for the USFS Pacific Valley Station has created a dangerous situation. It does not have the staff  it needs to provide an Engine to this community for fire season. It is hoping to rectify this before fire season completely kicks off, but at this time, there is a housing shortage for any future staff.

Other popular tourist destinations are finding that the Airbnb or other STRs are modifying the nature of the community and in many instances, destroying it.

“The plight of Barcelona shows the damage Airbnb can do, exacerbating urban inequality and freezing out young locals.” (

“Airbnb rentals reduce the supply of long-term rentals in communities, creating economic costs that outweigh the benefits, according to research presented by Economic Policy Institute Research Director Josh Bivens in a new paper. Local policymakers should pay heed, says Bivens, and certainly not change local regulations and tax structures to benefit Airbnb.”

Airbnb and Miami Beach Are at War. Travelers Are Caught in the Crossfire.” ““You get to a point where you feel like you’re living in a hotel room,” said Kathaleen Smarsh, a resident of Flamingo Park. “You don’t know who is coming and going at all hours.”

For me, personally, I am saddened to watch the loss of community that is experienced with the growth of STRs. People bought homes that were zoned residential for the community. Instead, they find themselves grappling with living in a hotel-like area.
Therefore, I wanted to post a reminder to concerned folks to send comments about the STR ordinance in Big Sur.  This post gives everyone time to check out the drafts etc from county. Last day of comments is May 24.
Pertinent links & submission addresses are below:
Vacation Rental Draft Ordinances and associated environmental analysis are available for public view at the following link:
In the link above you will find the following:
  • Notice of Public Availability of Proposed Vacation Rental Regulations [PDF]
  • Draft Ordinance Amending Title 20 (Coastal Zoning) Relating to Vacation Rentals [PDF]
  • Draft Ordinance Amending Title 21 (Non-Coastal Zoning) Relating to Vacation Rentals [PDF]
  • Draft Ordinance Amending Section 7.02.060 and Adding Chapter 7.110 Relating to Vacation Rental Activities [PDF]
  • Environmental Analysis
Vacation Rental (Aka Short-Term Rental) Ordinances (Coastal – REF130043 & Inland – REF100042) 
TO SUBMIT COMMENTS: We welcome your comments on this matter.
To submit your comments by e-mail, please send a complete document including all attachments to: 
To submit your comments in hard copy, please send a complete document including all attachments to the name and address below. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONTACT: Melanie Beretti, Property Administration/Special Programs Manager Monterey County Resource 


And finally, a Big Sur resident’s perspective from the North Coast:

“Continued [from the comments made on my Tourist Tuesday post] – One of the many reasons why none of the 3 categories of Vacation Rentals should be allowed in Big Sur, and why the County should continue to prohibit them is … See TITLE 20 – Definitions – Section 20.06.360 … the short version “Dwellings …. occupied exclusively for non-transient residential purposes.”

We all know why the two categories of “Vacation Rentals” categorized as Short-Term Rentals (STRs) are bad for our small community … its because they both eliminate whole houses, therefore taking away valuable employee housing options.
The Vacation Rental categorized as a Homestay can be rented out by the Night. A revolving door of transient strangers 365 Nights a year. It will also remove employee options. How you ask? Well many of our Big Sur community folk can’t afford to purchase a home, nor can they afford to LTR a whole house, but they can afford to LTR a room in a neighbors or friends home (Not to be confused with a boarding or rooming house). This too is a time-honored way for communities like ours to continue to survive and thrive, a win, win you could say!
So I very much have to disagree with the County. 1st – a Homestay is for transient use, and our dwellings or residential homes are not. They are for residents to LIVE in, not for visiting tourist to VACATION in. 2nd – Homestays are NOT a residential use like some folk would like us to believe, and they too remove housing options in our community.
In the past 6+ years I have reached out to Mayors, Supervisors, Commissioners, Councilman/women and Enforcement Officers in some of our local cities and counties, and as far away as Marin, Sausalito, New York, and a little rural town in Colorado. What I’ve learned along the way is that a lot of areas wish they had never opened the doors to Vacation Rentals! Also that the Majority of Vacation Rentals are in cities, or urban areas where you might be able to enforce a Vacation Rental Ordinance because all the tourist rentals are located on city or county streets (public streets), where they “might” be easily enforced (if you had the means to enforce).
Whereas the Vacation Rentals in Big Sur are on private and shared rds. and usually set back so far that it would make enforcement difficult or more then likely impossible. I mean if PG is struggling with the enforcement of only say 200 or so Vacation Rentals located on city streets within 2 square miles. How will or how can the County Enforce a Vacation Rental Ordinance for the unincorporated county when there are approximately 2,750 sq. land miles (water & city square miles deducted), and a unknown number of Vacation Rentals
 And why would anyone that is already illegally renting out to the transient tourist go out and apply for a Limited STR or Commercial STR License when they can easily apply for a Homestay License, and save money!


If you made it to the end, I would like to thank you for caring, and hopefully, you can now visit the links above and craft a meaningful comment to be considered on Monterey County’s draft STR ordinance.


Msg from Rep Panetta re: Oil Drilling on Public Lands on the Central Coast

•May 15, 2019 • 5 Comments

Dear Neighbor,

The administration just announced a proposal to open over 700,000 acres of public land on the central coast of California to new oil and gas drilling. Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Fresno counties are included in the proposal.

Our community is concerned about expanded oil and gas exploitation on the Central Coast. You can share your opinion of the proposal directly with the Administration during the next 27 days, through June 9, 2019.

Click here to share your public comment here.

Tips for submitting effective comments can be found here.

In Congress, I have cosponsored bills that would prohibit oil and gas exploration and leasing on our public lands and off of our coast. I will continue to fight to protect our public land, ocean, and coastlines so that our communities, country, and future generations can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the Central Coast.

I encourage everyone to speak out and participate in this public comment period.


Member of Congress


This is an official correspondence from Congressman Jimmy Panetta. If you have any questions please contact my office.
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Tourist Tuesday, 5/13/19

•May 14, 2019 • 4 Comments

From our own Monterey Herald, about the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau on their plans for promoting our area:

I would like to point out a few important take-always from this article:

2018 Travel Impacts report: Monterey County visitor spending up 5.8% to $3B

Tourism jobs up 2.8%, total tax contributions up 8.2%, local tax money up 8% over 2017

“The plan for increasing tourism to Monterey County is two-tiered – one, increasing the number of travelers, and two, increasing visitor spending.

“We are focused on both levels – more travelers which will drive up hotel occupancy, which is essential. But we are intensifying our focus on higher-value travelers who stay longer, do more and spend more,” said O’Keefe. “These are typically people who are traveling from further away … and meetings/conference travelers who are very high value.”

The MCCVB marketing officer said a focus on the drive market – those who travel here by car – will be maintained and will never change.”

”According to the report, the county receives the lion’s share of travel impacts in the region with 33%, followed closely by Monterey with 30%, Salinas with 14%, Carmel with 8%, Seaside (including Sand City and Del Rey Oaks) with 7%, Pacific Grove with 5%, and Marina with 4%.”

How much of this income is brought in BECAUSE of Big Sur? I am willing to bet that the majority of it is. How much does Big Sur receive in infrastructure and/or law enforcement to handle it? Very little, is my bet on this end of the equation.

And one thing MCCVB will be concentrating on is bringing in more visitors on the off season, so we can expect summer-like traffic all year.




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