Self Reliance Foundation Study

I have mixed feelings about the project proposed below, and am trying to crystalize them before I render a response, but I thought others might be interested in doing so as well, so I quote from an email I received below:

Do forward this on to all interested folks, or get me their contacts, as we want no stone unturned in terms of seeking community input for this effort, even those who might be opposed to it!
Self Reliance Foundation 1201 Connecticut Ave, NW, Ste. 700, Washington, DC 20036, 202.496.6046

Self Reliance Foundation is conducting a feasibility study for new, innovative, user-friendly ways to explain the historical, cultural, and environmental values of the Big Sur Coast and State Highway Route One scenic byway, from Carmel to south of the Hearst Castle.

One of the aims of this effort is to solicit and incorporate ideas about both content about Highway 1, as well as the best systems for delivering it from people like yourself—community activists, businesses, and organizations who have a love and concern for the Big Sur/San Simeon region.

We’d like to learn from you and your membership about what sort of information you consider to be critical to visitors’ understanding of this region.

We’d also like your thoughts on the ideal way to convey information about the Highway 1 scenic corridor to travelers. Today the range of delivery systems varies from educational signs at Caltrans’ designated pullouts, Web pages, and paper maps, to GPS and phone delivered information, low-power short-distance radio transmissions, and other modalities.

Our initial ideas include a website modeled on the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce site that will allow visitors to plan trips from south-to-north and north-to-south, and that will have tabs for environment, history, culture, safety, and other features. We plan to produce content in English and Spanish to serve California’s diverse constituencies.

We will be exploring a range of systems. The website would allow visitors to download information to cell phones and automobile navigation devices. We also may recommend the installation of very small low-power radio transmitters at the northern and southern entrances to theRoute 1 Big Sur Coast Highway and Route 1 San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway so that drivers with older vehicles can also access information. (This would not require construction of any towers).

Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts on this venture at 415 /902 0019, or share your views via email, writing me at To gain your valuable perspective on these topic, I am available to meet with you or your organization in person or to speak with you over the phone.

7 thoughts on “Self Reliance Foundation Study

  1. Kate does this mean as I interputed it as a way to induce even more ‘tourists’ to the coast/Big Sur or does it mean they are trying to get educated people or edicational groups to visit & study the different and diverse tera-fauna and lifestyles? It seems confusing to me and something tells me its just another sales group trying to push tourism down the Sur’s long throat.

  2. This appears to be geared toward tourists, looking for a way to educate them about the history, ecology, and cultural aspects of the coast, as I read it. I am afraid it might be designed in such a way to increase tourism, which is good for the businesses, but rarely appreciated outside the tourist industry. One aspect we could use to our advantage is to educate tourists about trash, respecting the land, private property, spreading pampas grass, wildfire dangers, mudslide problems, etc. and all the other things of which we complain. On the other hand, I’m not sure when we reach maximum capacity, particularly during the summer months, or how we combat that.

    I am thinking that eventually, we might have to establish kiosks at both the north and south ends, charging a fee and providing information for entrance to Big Sur. These fees could go toward providing trash and recycling centers, as well as educational materials. It is also a way of making sure our Highway is maintained, given the dismal state of California’s budget. Just a thought I first heard proposed back in 1985, over 25 years ago. Perhaps Is it an idea who’s time has come? I don’t know the answer.

  3. Wasn’t the 1985 proposal when Pete Wilson was trying to Federalize Big Sur? Something we fought tooth and nail against. I remember Kenny Wright and a group going to Washington D.C. to protest the whole thing. Could have my dates wrong, only going on memory.

  4. K Wright did not go to D.C.-It was the Rep. and the friends of Big Sur,keeping the Dem.from trying to federalize Big Sur-Pete Wilson was not and is not a Dem.??????? and truth gets twisted once again.-P.Chamberlain went to D.C.

  5. Actually, Ken, Pete Wilson DID introduce the bill to federalize Big Sur. Articles were carried in the Washington Post, as well as October 9, 1984 in the Monterey Herald. A group DID go to DC. I believe, but am not sure, that Alan Perlmutter was part of that group. Whether it was Kenny Wright or Pat Chamberlain, I do not recall, but I do recall sitting around Jim Josoph’s large table with a group of other people planning the strategy to defeat this bill. So, the truth was NOT twisted, just a lack of memory about who went to DC.

    Here is a link where you can view an archive of a Monterey Herald article on the subject, which clearly credits Pete Wilson with the LAST (of several) failed attempts:

  6. ” WASHINGTON, March 6 /PRNewswire/ — Sen. Pete Wilson announced today that he will introduce legislation to protect the Big Sur by designating a 140,000-acre stretch along the Monterey County coast as the Big Sur National Forest Scenic Area.

    “The purpose of this bill is to protect for future generations the unparalleled scenic vistas of the Big Sur coast,” Wilson said. “Big Sur is one of the most breathtaking, awe-inspiring areas of the United States, and it deserves special recognition and protection.”

    Wilson’s bill would bar additional development on federally owned lands within the designated scenic area and prohibit oil and gas development along … “

  7. Thanks for posting this Kate. To clarify, I am working for a non-profit organization that got a grant to write a feasibility study to improve interpretive education related to the history, culture and environment of California Route 1. This is funded by the US Department of Transportation. Recommendation will be made, and I will include the thoughts and concerns of all stake holders who send me responses, but I can not include the concerns of persons who do not respond. I am not psychic!
    One goal of the research that I am engaged in is to survey the community to learn what is vital information to transfer to visitors, and learn if there are unmet needs what they are and how to meet them. if there are no needs or the community members do not think expansion of interpretive services is appropriate or warranted, do let me know.
    Self Reliance Foundation is not a sales group trying to push tourism down the Sur’s long throat, as one writer above asserted. Check out the web page of the Foundation to clarify that.
    Kate, I hope if there are those followers of your fine blog with opinions that they will voice them, send them my way so I can include their views in my report. Thanks!

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