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.”
Yup.

3 thoughts on “Wilderness Ethics

  1. Great post. I have had them walk right into my house. Un believable the nerve of some people. I’m glad you made them leave in the dark. Screw em! It was good seeing you the other day. Love you.

  2. Tresspassers aren’t only in Big Sur or upper Carmel Valley. Even here in Pacific Grove inour quiet little neighborhood in Del Monte Park, we have had unwanted visitors. A couple from Europe apparently liked the look of our hidden garden and patio with a gate that reads [NO Tresspassing – Beware of Dogs] from down on the street. My husband and I had been out shopping for the afternoon and we drove up, got our dogs out and proceeded through our closed gate to find the couple sitting there like happy campers. Our dogs went crazy and near attacked them both, but for them we fortunatly had kept them on leash. The couple were feeding our local squirrels and jays (which we don’t do). At first we thought they might have come at my brother’s invite, but realizing right off they could barely speak english we knew they were intruders. After trying to explain this was a private home and they had to leave, they got indignant. We finally had to lunge our dogs at them to get them scurring out of our yard. Sometimes people can just be stupid. 😛

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