No Trails around failing Bridge

Lots of speculation and rumors about walking trails to avoid the bridge, and have nothing but rumors (and lots of requests) re a west side option (the “old” bypass is as threatened as the bridge, so not possible) and a path through Rancho Rico would be a private option, if even possible, but this is the official word from State Park re the east side option:

“I have heard a great deal of talk these last few days about the possibility of finding an alternate path downhill of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and through the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park campground. I’d like to take a moment to address this.

State Parks has and continues to be a supportive partner here in the Big Sur Community. Through the years, we’ve housed fire camp through several major wildfires, provided space for community meetings, participated in multiagency trainings, participated in fundraisers, etc. We’ve demonstrated flexibility and initiative when safe and appropriate. We are providing parking at the Pine Ridge parking lot for those trapped on the other side of the bridge. We recognize the plight of our community members and would like to offer help in ways that we are capable of providing.

We have also entertained the potential of finding an alternate path around the bridge but ultimately we have rejected this as a workable plan. All potential avenues would take the public through areas ravaged by instability. The creeks that flow down from Ventana Inn or Pfeiffer canyon into the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park campground have resulted in massive debris flows these last several years resulting in significant damage to park infrastructure and the Pine Ridge Trail. These debris flows continue with every storm we encounter. Any path around the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge leading to the campground would lead people directly into these dangerous areas. The north slope of Pfeiffer Canyon and the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge itself are all poised to come down directly into the campground and into the path of foot traffic should we allow access. We find this to be an unacceptable risk. We are taking this situation very seriously and consider it life-threatening.

Trailblazing is not permitted or advised. People found within Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park will be subject to citation or arrest. The relevant code section is Penal Code 409.5(c) – entering a disaster area, a misdemeanor. We do not relish the thought of citing our fellow community members but we do what we must to keep others safe.

For anyone thinking of entering these lands, please consider the tax on resources you would be causing if you sustain an injury. Our responding agencies are already spread dangerously thin.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration.

Matthew Khalar
Supervising State Park Ranger
Big Sur Sector- Monterey District”

5 thoughts on “No Trails around failing Bridge

  1. Oh great. So if you try to get around you’ll be cited and possibly arrested? Not a positive message.
    Secondly, years of accumulated debris? How is it the collected debris was allowed to collect if it presents a hazard to park visitors?
    I find the press release cold, bordering insensitive.
    Make a path. State parks have at their disposal dozens of inmate hand crews looking for contract work.
    Here is how the release should have read.
    — We are drafting plans for a foot path around the damaged bridge. We have called in hydrologists, geologists and other ‘ists’ to come up with a way for affected residents to cross the creek. We expect a plan for action within 48 hours.–

  2. I think the issue is that the area where a trail would go is directly below the bridge. In other words, the same slides affecting and hovering above the bridge are the ones threatening this drainage area. There’s a ton of sediment, trees, etc. waiting to drop. Excess debris is both above and in the park area, both natural fall and vegetation loss from previous fires.

    It sucks, but it would suck more for all that (plus the bridge itself) to dump on someone crossing below.

    (Also, don’t know anything about these dozens of inmate hand crews… CalFire can contract them for fires but I don’t think anything to do with state parks.)

    What would be a safer, more feasible option would be the northern path through Rancho Rico area….

  3. BSG — CalFire inmate crews do work in state parks in the off season and even during fire season. My crew was assigned to Big Basin in the off season. They work hand in hand on repair and maintenance projects. It may be too unstable right now to place crews on the ground.

  4. I remember when we were “trapped” on Partington in 1983. We were allowed to cross the “private option” on foot, once a week (out at 9AM and in at 5PM on Thursdays only). This was at the property owners permission, but there weren’t as many of us then as there are in this current situation.

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