Tourist Tuesday, 2/20/18

Going back to last week’s article, how will we define the character of this place called Big Sur. Who and what is she? What defines her? Those questions and more we need to ask ourselves so that we can come up with a plan for sustainable tourism.

This is the path that the Galapagos is also taking – sustainable tourism. They figure they are at the limit, at a little under a 1/4 of a million visitors a year. As islands, it is easier to limit the number of tourists they allow to go there. And that is what they are doing, in order to protect a fragile and unique environment, where Darwin developed his theory of Natural Selection.

Galapagos fights temptation of lucrative mass tourism

“Keeping a tight lid on tourism is the way the South American country has preserved this volcanic string of 19 large islands, dozens of islets and rocky outcroppings.
Authorities wage this fight as world tourism grows and grows—it was up seven percent last year—and they must resist the temptation to let in hordes of visitors, their pockets bulging with dollars.
‘The Galapagos are the crown jewel, and as such, we have to protect them,’ Tourism Minister Enrique Ponce de Leon told AFP. ‘We must be drastic in caring for the environment.’”

The 26,000 residents and stewards of the Galapagos (and you can’t become a resident until you have been married to one for 10 years) have defined the character of this special place thusly:

The environmental, social and biological features of this place—which is like no other—forces us to set a limit, to manage tourism in terms of supply, rather than demand,” said Walter Bustos, director of the Galapagos National Park.

The character rests on the uniqueness of the environmental, social, and biological features which are not found anywhere else. Could the same could be said of Big Sur? although the South Island of New Zealand does share some of our environmental features, our biological and social features are different.

How do you define the “character of place” that is Big Sur??

Read more at:

(Next week we go back to the Destination Stewardship model and explore areas that might work here.)



~ by bigsurkate on February 20, 2018.

4 Responses to “Tourist Tuesday, 2/20/18”

  1. I am in the middle of “Big Sur: The Making of A Prized California Landscape.” As a relative newcomer, I didn’t realize that Big Sur has been struggling with tourism since Hwy 1 opened. I also didn’t know Hwy 1 was once in danger of becoming a four lane interstate highway. It’s a great read.


  2. My life in Willow Creek was 1970-78. Spending those years on the Plaskett side, above Hobbit, with a view of the sea, shaped who I am in profound ways. I had to walk in and my nearest neighbor was Ed Jones at Hobbit mine, down in the canyon. I spent lots of time alone. Once a week it was my turn to walk to the mailbox down Willow Ck road. Twice a month I would walk to the road and hitchhike to Rio Road for groceries. (Lost my car in the Salmon Creek fire). In 1972 you could wait five minutes for a car to pass. The interior roads were a mystery to most outsiders. There was no pampas grass. The energy of a wilderness facing the sea is like no other. It took me four days after any town trip to slow down and again feel in sync with the energy of the place. I became again part of the smell of sage and that profound silence. This place is a gift for any human respectful and open enough to watch and accept what is given. I carry within me a bright river of fog filling the canyon below on moonlit nights, Stellar jays taking charge through the pine trees, and eye Flies making summer outside a bother. Shared space with coyote, raccoon, fox, clans of boar occasionally passing through. Look up.. a red tail hawk is calling, cabin shaking storms full of Wind Dragons will remind you who is boss. Three times in ten years I woke to rare and total quiet of snow on the ground. For those few of us who have become part of this, the encroaching of so many humans is both troubling and potentially tragic. A human perspective. I think we, who are part of this land, must do all we can to protect, to educate, to preserve. Big Sur doesn’t have a point of view. It’s life is measured in eons. Change is ongoing. Every time the road goes out I am reminded Sur will be here long after we are gone.


  3. Thanks for sharing your memories, Jean. How are you healing, btw?


  4. Beautifully written, Jean. You described the essence.


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