Monterey County Visitors Bureau Response

Hi Kate

Thanks for sharing this feedback. And I’d also like to thank you for sharing with your followers the list of things we are doing to support responsible tourism in Big Sur ( One of the main points of that list was to illustrate the wide range of ways we are trying to support the businesses in Big Sur and the people they employ – but do so in a way the emphasizes respect for the environment and the people who live in Big Sur.

As much as we are doing to maintain balance, there is always room for more ideas and collaboration. So appreciate your sharing this latest comment. Some feedback on that:

· Bixby Bridge – clearly we know people are going to take pictures. So much of our messaging is designed to encourage people to be safe and smart. To use proper parking/pull-outs and be cautious at all times… We’ve posted such messaging in our social channels, stress this with travelers who come to our Visitor Center and among other things on our website, we have a Dos & Don’ts page for Big Sur on our website that further elaborates on this.
· On the line of copy about “sleep under the stars” – this was vague so we made more specific and refer directly ‘sleep under the stars… at Fernwood Resorts’. This has been updated in our material.
· One of the comments in today’s post ( was whether MCCVB was directing people – on purpose or inadvertently – to private property. We certainly do not do this, in fact, we ask travelers to be respectful specifically of private property. But we’ll look at our messaging to see how we can further emphasize.

Again, we appreciate your sharing the outreach we are doing with your followers as well as receiving critical comments so that we can address. In fact, we’ve gone to great lengths over the years – not just related to the road closure – to ensure we are not ‘disconnected with Big Sur’. But there is always opportunity for more and better connectivity. So please feel free to reach out to me directly anytime with any suggestions.

Given that Big Sur is one of the most iconic and beautiful places on Earth, we know people are going to travel to experience it. The question is how can we make them more respectful tourists – that is a top priority.

Please let me know of any further questions/suggestions/ideas. We’ll take all the collaboration we can get…

Many thanks

Rob O’Keefe

Thanks, Rob for being so receptive. Now, if we could just find ways to get the “on the ground funding” we need for porta potties, trash collection, and patrolling to prevent campfires and illegal camping. Anything you can do in that regard, we would be very appreciative of, because no matter how much educating we try to do, it will not reach probably more than 1/2 the people it needs to reach. Of the 4000 people a day who contact you, how can we know how many don’t bother?

MoCo Visitor’s Bureau’s disconnect with Big Sur


This is from the brochure the vistor’s bureau was handing out when the TapHouse trail opened to visitors on July 1st.

Do you see the problem here?? There IS NO legal camping south of the bridge until Limekiln State Park, some 25 miles south, and until just recently, it was ONLY accessible to locals and deliveries through Paul’s Slide. So, where are these visitors being directed to? One reader found hikers with overnight packs hiking Clear Ridge. Another, found hikers who climbed over the private gate and proceeded up the private road at Coastlands. And Marcus, quoted below, has several times found campers on the property he caretakers. This is where the visitor’s bureau is direcing visitors, purposely or inadvertently – our back yards.

I sent a copy of the below reader’s comment (thank you Marcus) to the Bureau’s 3 top marketing managers yesterday, but as of yet, have had no response. I wrote to Mark, Rob, and April at and sent this:

“”Just to point out the disconnect the County Visitors Bureau has with the realities in Big Sur. They are advising people to stop at Bixby Bridge and take pictures when there are 20 parking spots and 200 cars trying to park there on weekends. Maybe that’s a bad idea? Also, on their 4 page brochure they were handing out to tourists on the Southside ,when they opened the trail, the second paragraph was telling people “to stay for an unforgettable sunset and sleep under the stars” when there is not one legal campsite to do that. Dangerous!”

Feel free to send them your concerns, as well.