Big Sur State Park remains closed

“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: 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.

Good luck!

6 thoughts on “Big Sur State Park remains closed

  1. I really don’t understand the State’s stance when it comes to their ‘pet projects’ and projects like the State Parks system that brings lots of revenues. Its OK for governer Arnie to want to push through his ‘fast train system’ (a 9 billion dollar project) to be built with the bailout monies (even though the feds have warned him that the money MUST be used to keep or create new jobs), yet we watch Arnie put everything else on HOLD everywhere their were forest fires last season. I think its time to start pushing to vote OUT Arnie & his minion. 😛

  2. Kate,
    One of the issues that is going to become much more to the fore is illegal camping and campfires. Each evening I have seen groups with backpacks taking to the beach. Sadly USFS does not have the law enforcement resources to deal with the problem and I think we are going to see littering and fires from camp sites increase. These campers will not only be tourists but also the newly homeless trying to find a safe place out of town to shelter.
    Park campgrounds used to be a safe, inexpensive alternative for these unfortunate folks.

  3. Firefox, you are so right. With the continued closure of the State Park, private and federal campsites will fill up and people will be camping illegally all up and down the coast, camping and building fires in inappropriate places. This is always true, to a degree – people wishing to save money, get away from the crowds, or see places most don’t — but I think it may be exacerbated by the State Park closure.

    We have a sort of domino effect going on, and I suspect a busy fire season beginning in a couple months.

  4. This sure seems like the perfect “shovel ready project” that the stimulus money is supposed to be used for. Relatively little money with large return.

  5. I agree with Firefox too. We have seen a growing population of homeless setting up camps in the forest near our home. The other night to police went to several to force them out because they had fires going. We are talking about the forest in the Pebble Beach area which is a residencial area. One of the squatters was a family of five. I really felt sorry for them, but camping out with a fire in an already dry forest is dangerous to them as well as us. I’d rather have seen these squatters on the beach, at least it wouldn’t create a forest fire. Sorry for my rant.

  6. Anybody know if day hikers will be able to walk through the State Park campground area — the trees there are great redwood specimens, and a relatively easy day hike for a family with young chilluns. Thanks for any insight.

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