Starting a conversation …

I started a new page entitled “When tourists enter the wilds …” I invite you to read it and join in on the conversation. You can send your ideas privately, if you choose, and I will add it anonymously.

I am hoping we start envisioning and sharing solutions for a problem that continues to worsen. We cannot ban tourists (although some of us would like to), some of them are too dumb to be educated, and I’ve been told I can’t shoot them (well, no one has really TOLD me, but its a good guess), so what options do we have? I posted a couple of solutions being used in the preserves of India, and another for the Conservancies of New Zealand. One solution offered by a reader is the implementation of wilderness schools which serve to educate and elevate would-be enthusiasts. Wish we could require that of all who enter here. I will continue to search for other ideas and solutions, and I invite all of you to do so as well, and add it to that page or email it to me.

On another stream of consciousness, Sue, the garden seed goddess and distributor from SLO is sending her 2008 veggie seed packets to Tassajara, and flower seed packets to the BSVFB for distribution to the houses which were burned. She is also trying to get donations of garden tools from her retailers that she can send, as well. A simple act of kindness and compassion to demonstrate, at least to me, that there are kind human beings in addition to the yayhoos I meet back in the wilds.

Tomorrow, I will post the time of the 7/31 meeting with John Bradford, USFS and a proposed agenda. Suggestions/changes welcome.

For the seed goddess, Sue:

Wilderness Ethics

Z’s comment on my “I am not a cop …” post got me thinking. I have lived up here in the midst of the National Forest — the wilds of Big Sur — for 14 years. (25 in Big Sur) Half of those, alone — if you don’t count my guard dogs. Anyway, the fire news has slowed considerably, so this morning’s post is devoted to one of my pet peeves.

The sense of “entitlement” is very real, and was clearly evident in that group of six from Santa Cruz who explained to me, “We’re from Santa Cruz, and we’ve been coming here for ten years!!” And their point is?? That “entitles” them to go around a USFS barricade? (I did not confront them, again. I might have lost it, and done something stupid. Besides, I have the evidence, in photos, if needed.)

I have had people climb my gates, lift their bikes over and continue on because they feel they are “entitled” to trespass on private land that is posted. One bicyclist, refused to believe that this was private property, accusing me of erecting gates and the other trappings of a homestead on government land!! What planet are these people from? Amazingly, many of these people are from either Monterey Peninsula or Santa Cruz.

One time, it was a group of Hmong hunters from San Jose. My dogs alerted. It was very early, very foggy, and I did not see them until they were about 20 feet from my front door. Being hunters, they all had guns. Another time, a group of hunters set up camp on my private property, just outside my gate. They pointed a gun and threatened to shoot my dog. That time, the MCSO DID come, in full on riot gear, with assault weapons. MCSO said the hunters were extremely polite, and would I agree to let them leave in the morning when it was light? Ha. The hunters were polite to the armed, uniformed MCSO, but extremely rude and obnoxious to me, an aging single unarmed woman and worse, to my dogs, so no, I want them off my property NOW, in the dark.

I have literally hundreds of stories of people thinking they are “entitled” — and not just on forest service land, but on private property. Once, on another piece of property where a friend was caretaking while the owner was gone, this couple from LA just walked on down, was wandering around the back of the house to the deck overlooking the Pacific. “What are you doing?” we asked. “Oh, we just wanted to see the view.” “We wouldn’t dream of going into your backyard without your permission. Why would you think it is okay, here?”

Big Sur has always had a love/hate relationship with her tourists. Tourism is our primary economic resource base. But it seems as if more and more of them come with this ‘tude that makes loving them a real challenge. And *I* don’t work in the tourist industry!

I have a sign in my cottage that says, “The more I get to know some people, the more I like dogs.”