“No timeline is in place to reopen the eastern part of Pfeiffer Big Sur Park and the site of the campground.” KSBW-TV reports tonight.
This is a complex issue that is at the forefront of everyone’s mind in the Big Sur Valley, where businesses rely on the influx of campers to fuel its summer economy. It consumed much of the public discussion at the BSMAAC meeting on Friday, March 20, 2009. Many local business owners are thinking creatively to come up with solutions to reinstall the bridges needed to open the Park, and have recruited politicians Able Maldonado’s office, Sam Farr, and Dave Potter, among many others, to assist in this project.
The state budget fiasco is a continuing problem and is behind the failure to open the State Park. The monies to fund the rebuilding and reinstallation of the two bridges are not available. The State Controller, John Chiang, continues to stop and start payments to independent contractors almost daily, based on the amount of money in the states’ treasury. The website for the Controller’s Office is: http://www.sco.ca.gov/ however, in reviewing it, the information does not appear as up-to-date as that provided, at least for those of us doing appointed indigent appeals, to us on almost a weekly basis from the Administrative Office of the Courts. I have not found a source of similar information for the bridge contractors, although I am sure they have something similar.
As an independent contractor for the State of California, who provides a constitutionally-mandated service, I am only too aware of the lack of payments to people like myself, and those that have contracted to build and reinstall the bridges. If I could stop work when payments stop, I would. That is what the bridge contractors have done.
Based on all that I’ve read, unless Big Sur itself comes up with some very creative ideas, the park is not likely to open by the beginning of the summer tourist season on Memorial Day. And if the State of California does not come up with long-term budget solutions, quickly, there is no telling when the Big Sur State Park WILL reopen.
One thing that has become clear this Spring Break week, is that with the State Park closed, private campgrounds, as I predicted a month or two ago, are becoming crowded, and lodging here is becoming more and more difficult to find without prior reservations. I suggest anyone interested in visiting Big Sur make reservations far in advance. In fact, one might want to make reservations first, then plan the timing of your vacation here.