Guests who don’t know better

These two shots were taken yesterday by Tony Shelfo. He stopped and talked to the one couple. Yes,  that is the spot of the Fergusson Fire last week. And yes, they were setting up camp on a road upon which camping is not allowed. On the other, we need to send ALL smokers to the military where they will be taught to field stip their cigarette butts and pocket the filters.



It is a very difficult situation. We – those of us who live here – have been on high alert for fires, floods, road closures, etc. for coming up on a year. Temperatures are unbelievable (90 inside my house as I type this at 8 pm last night) and tempers always flare with the heat. It is exhausting to live in this state, worried about the next careless, clueless, or uncaring visitor to come along. Just planning and executing a town run for supplies is exhausting. Add to it, the tension of knowing our world is basically “cut off” and yet visitors are coming here thinking that the rules or even that the need for rules does not apply to them. There is a complete and utter disconnect between some of our visitors and any consciousness at all as to what we have been thru and what we are going through. It is hard, if not impossible, to welcome visitors right now. We are too fragile, the land is too fragile, and our visitors are so uncaring in the general.

Some of you will read this and will honor what I have written and will trod gently and be mindful. Others will come here in a big truck pulling an even bigger trailer going down Nacimiento putting others and yourself in danger, as Tony experienced yesterday,  completely careless, clueless, and uncaring, about anyone but yourself. The sad thing is, you will not even be aware of what you are doing, and why we won’t welcome you. I can only hope you don’t damage us, this land, or even yourself. May Big Sur work its spiritual magic on you causing you to WAKE UP from your mindless sleep before you further damage her.

29 thoughts on “Guests who don’t know better

  1. While we don’t have fire starters/campers (mostly) up here in the Highlands, we are experiencing a similar unconsciousness at Pt. Lobos (Which is packed full on weekends/holidays/and even weekdays these days). People parking IN THE ROAD. Ugh! It’s crazymaking to become aware of how incredibly entitled people can be…and how unaware of their surroundings! I’m sending you lots of prayers for safety and patience (when appropriate) and strength! Let’s hope we all get through this summer with a minimum of disasters! Fingers and toes crossed.

  2. Please forward this message to all tv and radio stations here and in the Bay Area. Let’s flood all of them with your message.

  3. Unbelievable! For 1% of the cost of the Soberanes fire you could pay a 25 year salary to have a patrol unit in Big Sur to keep us safe and write citations for all the illegal and stupid behavior we see almost everyday. The word would get out on social media that just because your not in the city there are still laws/rules to follow. If you don’t it will cost you $$$. Then maybe we who live here could sleep a lot better!

  4. Kate: if you, or anyone on the “island” wants me to do a town trip for them and bring in supplies, let me know. I lived on the Plaskett side of Willow for 8 years and know the drill. Message Jeanne Alkire on FB.

  5. Such people are not ‘guests’ (as the header states) – they’re invaders and should be treated as such. Maybe roadblocks manned by locals are necessary – the ‘authorities’ wouldn’t like it, but it would draw their attention closer to the problem. Just sayin’.

  6. Big signs, even hand made….Protect our People! Protect our Land! One small spark can burn us down. ACT CARINGLY PLEASE.

  7. Thanks, Jean. The drill is a bit complicated now by the traffic, convoys, etc. but appreciate the offer. Sometimes, we just need to get out, get a burger or in King City, a nice Mexican lunch, as well as supplies. You are very kind to offer.

  8. Actually, Martin, the Acting Superintendent of the LPNF was given a tour and got to experience first hand the horrific traffic jams on Nasty-Fergy and the problems when a large truck met an Asian driver on a very narrow portion of the road, and the Asian driver had great difficulty backing up. Not an easy thing to do on that narrow, windy, road. He completely agrees with a camping ban on Nasty-Fergy

  9. They decided to camp there because it was already burnt? While they ignored the no camping sign, I guess they were kinda thinking. >_<
    As for the cigarettes… my personal pet peeve…
    Yes – police your butts! Less for me to pick up.
    FYI – I smoke but I do NOT litter! (ya – I'm working on it)
    Not only is it littering and a fire hazard… they are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic, and do NOT decompose. It takes @ 12 years to break down (that is NOT the same as decomposing!) to the size that will look like food to little fish, which are eaten by bigger fish which often end up on your dinner plate.
    Think of it this way..
    Ever have a pet fish? You sprinkle the food and it floats? That's what broken down plastic OF ALL TYPES looks like to fish…food!

  10. I just hope they allowed us to do our regular hikings there as regulars cuz we leave around and as locales we love to feel the magic of those places around the year!!!!

  11. For the last five years, I’ve phoned the various fire departments in the spring to ask them to put up the Smokey the bear signs….we had one at CV Road during fire season for decades. We also need one at Rio and highway one. They are up in Pebble and Cachagua. This year, I asked Yuri in Mary Adam’s office to contact the fire chiefs asking again…thinking that political power might accomplish my goal. One of the Chiefs/commanders, my guess Cypress or CALFIRE, said, ” I’d we do, they’ll steal them, or paint a joint on Smokey”. Even if they were stolen and needed to be replaced, it would cost a lot less than $200,000,000.00. I told Yuri I would paint out the joint if they were defaced. And or, the international no campfire sign. If we spent a bit on education, I believe the behavior would improve…I know we will always have miscreants.

  12. while i do have family who live in big sur, i fail to understand the ignorance and the complete selfishness and uncompassionate nature of these tourists, {of which i have been sternly reminded i am still considered a tourist, as i am not a “local”, regardless of the fact i have been coming here for fifty years. but,hey, i get it, i come, i go, i do my utmost to remain anonymous. part of what makes big sur what it is after all. ] However, under no circumstance, in no place whatsoever, would i leave trash, start a fire or anything else in such an irresponsible manner! I f i were there and witnessed these things taking place, i would do more than just take photos. i would douse their fires, force them to pick up not only their own but others trash and who knows what else, i am completely disgusted by the disregard for the safety of the people, wildlife and the beautiful land we have the privilege to enjoy not only in big sur but in so many areas of California. I have done this before and have no intention to ever stop these foolish people from their stupid behavior. Confrontation of idiots has never been a difficulty for me. I have grown far too tired of picking up after others messes all over the beautiful treasures California holds, yet these fool disregard with impunity. All of us must become more proactive in this. It is the only way to put an end to at the very least, most of this bad behavior and disregard for our safety and resources.

  13. in addition, this situation has become even further out of control. with no monitoring of the road, people are just moving the barricades and going through. i have already been made aware of at least four homes that have not only been burglarized, but have been found with people staying in them. property owners are having extreme difficulty just accessing their land and homes in the first place, but to find it has been invaded and looted and occupied as well is irresponsible on the part of public officials all the way from the governor’s office to every public official along the line all the way to cal-trans and law enforcement. this is a state declared disaster area. and yet, EDD is cutting off unemployment benefits to those affected. THIS IS A COMPLETE AND UTTER DISGRACE AND THEY SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED FOR THEIR ACTIONS IN THIS MATTER. OR SHOULD I SAY … INACTION. THIS IS DISGRACEFUL!



    Also, several of these idiots have had to be rescued from various spots. Frankly, I do not think they should bother doing it. They are obviously too stupid to live if they have ignored miles upon miles of road closure signs, come to the barricade closing the road, made the stupid choice to move it and go through anyway, because the rules just do not apply to them because they are special and entitled. RIGHT. Do not waste the time or effort on them. THEY RISK THE LIVES OF OTHERS DUE TO THEIR OWN STUPIDITY AND ARROGANCE, ENOUGH! they are too stupid to live and it would be a benefit to the gene pool overall if they did not reproduce more like themselves. do not waste anyone’s time on these fools. they are undeserving. And if anyone thinks that cruel, i really do not care. i have witnessed far too much of this moronic behavior over the years and and sick to death of it. these idiots are a waste of space. they are breathing air that could be far better utilized by someone with greater sensitivity and intelligence. Not to mention one who truly did not believe the universe revolved around THEM.

  14. I totally agree that having visitors in the Big Sur region is especially complicated right now what with fire season just getting started and after a long year of catastrophic wild fires, slides, and long-term road closures making travel in and throughout this area most difficult for locals. But let’s be honest here — some of the comments in this thread are patently stupid and offensive.

    Do we really want to refer to these visitors as “invaders”? After all they do support your local business when they come here. Granted they may not think wisely (if at all) when it comes to following the law regarding illegal camping or lighting an illegal campfire — we all the know the inherent risks of that.

    But, really — are some of you people so shortsighted as to think of these people as invaders? Invaders to what? They have as much right to visit Big Sur as any of you have to visit other parts of the country or world.

    Do those among you who are so quick to call these people “invaders” feel the same way about people who come into this country illegally? Are they not also invaders who actually do come here and consume benefits at the expense of the public trust?

    Let’s keep this conversation on a decent level and refrain from referring to outside visitors as “invaders”. It’s offensive and sophomoric.

  15. you’re missing the point keep_ventana_free there is only one road in and out now. No easy access to fight a fire or another disaster. People are responding this way because their lives and way of life is in danger. The danger is caused by “invaders” those who do not know the ways. I can see where the term came from. support of local biz does not equal the value of the lives there…ya know people.

  16. I was just told a story about an inexperienced driver pulling a camp trailer over NF, getting stuck on a tight curve unable to maneuver, and causing an hours-long blockage. I personally saw two being pulled in last Friday and I wondered whether they had any prior thought or plan on how to turn around if they needed to. Talk about what will happen during emergencies on the only road out. NF is getting to be like Sycamore Canyon road. Maybe the campground concessionaire put a traffic monitor at the top of the coast ridge. Ha!

  17. I agree with you keep ventana free that some of these comments are a bit harsh. I also want to feel free to travel in my country to its beautiful places. But you know, I do my research before I go somewhere to find out if it’s open, or safe, or will accommodate my vehicle. And if I run into a road closure or a convoy of grumpy locals trying to get through the inconvenience of being in a disaster area, I get out of the way or turn around so as not to be a nuisance. I sure don’t make a campfire if I am forced to sleep on the side of the road or dispersed in the National Forest. Otherwise I believe my behavior would seem invasive.

  18. @’keep-ventana-free’; I used the term ‘invaders’ because the people I am referring to are exactly that considering the situation that currently exists in the Big Sur area. Certainly, during ‘normal’ times, they are – and should be – welcome since they bring needed income to the businesses in the area (such as Ventana) but they have no business being there at this time when access and fire safety for locals is so critical – and I am writing particularly of those who have absolutely no clue regarding the problems and hazard they may be creating. By the way, I do not live anywhere near Big Sur, but I have visited many times in the past (bringing $$ to the local businesses) and hope to again someday, but certainly not until the area (and the people who live there) have undergone some healing.

  19. Hi to all of you Hi 1 residents. My heart goes out to all of you. I have traveled your beautiful road many times. Going to Esalen or to Cambria enjoying the most beautiful road of our state. I can relate in a very small scale because I used to live on Croy Rd, Santa Cruz Mountains . We went through 2 huge fires in the early 2000 years. We were evacuated and many of our friends lost their homes and property was destroyed by the fires. It breaks my heart to think of all the wild and domestic animals losing their beautiful sanctuary. Please everyone unless you live or HAVE to go there stay away! ¡ ! Let the workers get their work done. It is hard enough without having outsiders to worry about. Praying for all of you and yours.

  20. Wondering if CalTrans would be willing to post signs restricting the size/weight of vehicles on N-F? Might discourage some of those folks pulling or driving motorhomes and trailers. Fran Wolfe’s post makes a lot of sense to send some of these pics and narratives to the media north and south so it gets out more to the general public what is happening with houses being broken into, traffic messes and illegal camping and campfires. The word needs to go beyond those interested enough to read your blog, Kate. These are unusual times for those of you dealing with these careless, selfish people on a daily basis. Fingers crossed no one gets hurt or worse on N-F or that another fire is started same way as last year. Then everything WILL be shut down…a disaster for everyone.

  21. Patti, I understand, but the problem I have is that if a wider audience knows of this, more people might try to do the same, knowing there won’t be any issues with Law Enforcement. We are trying to change that, and I think that change is on the way and that a law enforcement presence will be felt shortly.

  22. Good point, Kate.
    In the meantime, thank you for your amazing way of expressing yourself and being such a force of change with all your efforts.

  23. When I came back home later that same evening, around 11pm., there was a group of 4 twentysomethings with one SUV trying to camp on that very same pullout!! They even had their pallet blanket OVER the asstray fire pit! I sent them back over the mountains to the Naci creek area. There was no one else illegally camping on Naci and about 4 dispersed campers along Naci creek with NO fires; I was happy to see, or not see, that!

  24. Big Sur Kate: I’m sympathetic to your concerns having owned property in Garrapata and Palo Colorado. Unfortunetly, these people “are awake ” and just don’t give a damn about your habitat. The sad thing is, more and more of these people will enter and create more degredation. All you can do is try to monitor and record who comes in and goes out so you can hold the accountable person (s) responsible. Best of luck-

  25. I have been looking at the pictures posted of the traffic jams happening there on Highway 1. I’d like to ask them where in the heck they thought they were going? I think most of them must have seen the ROAD CLOSED AHEAD signs. Maybe they can’t read. If they want to see the heart breaking pictures of the devastating land slides affecting you all, why risk their lives and the lives of others ? I am not the smartest person in the world but I know when to avoid a bad situation. The trash left behind makes me wonder what their yards and street must look like. 😡 Some day Kate, I would love to cook a nice Mexican dinner for you. You care about about your environment and the people that live in Beautiful Big Sur. However long it takes to restore Highway 1, I will wait and look at the pictures I have taken in the past to remind me of the best times I’ve spent there visiting. Heart felt prayers to you and yours who are trying to keep your sanity during the tuff times ahead.

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