Suggestions to Start a Conversation on tourism in Big Sur…

I was commenting on an ad run on FB for a Conference for Safe Food which depicted the Bixby Bridge. This is the ad:


As a result of comments on my post of this ad, I was able to refine several ideas I have had for a while and a few emerged…some are not new, but perhaps they provide a different slant or focus. For what it is worth, here are my thoughts, the last of which we honestly need to pursue.

Our mantra should be: “Everyone wants to make $$ off of Big Sur, but no one wants to put $$ back into Big Sur to handle these issues.” (Most Big Sur businesses are the exception.)

Maybe Big Sur needs to get some of this advertising revenue from MoCo and MCCVB, and/or the conferences being promoted, etc, specifically set aside so that we can institute solutions, like more enforcement, infrastructures, – like parking and bathrooms, etc. or create and design a taxing revenue on each vehicle that actually drives this road? Or use the money so we can institute data gathering so we can determine what is the maximum capacity is and then shut it down when reached? Lots we can do, but it all requires money, even educating requires money…Everyone  wants to make $$ off of Big Sur, but no one wants to put $$ back into Big Sur to handle these issues. Who will be the first?

As to why we can’t make Highway One a toll road –  because we would need to get a special legislation through the Sacto legislature as California roads cannot be made toll roads UNLESS there is an alternative. The GGB was created before this, and a special district set up specifically for the bridge. The one toll road I know about was created in OC. A private company and Cal Trans built and imposed a toll road in conjunction with each other. It took travelers on a lesser used, and therefore less crowded route, toward Laguna Beach. Trust me, I have looked into this. It is an obvious solution, but one that is fraught with difficulties.

In order to make Highway One a toll road, since there is no alternative route people can take and still see the coast, we need to get special legislation through in Sacto to exempt Highway One from Carmel to Ragged Point. We might be able to, as there is precedent. For example, Pacific Valley School got Special Legislation passed to create an exemption specifically for it in the Education Code for a 4 day school week as a Necessary and Small District, as did Leggett Schools, due to our isolation, and road closures. We could follow that example and lobby for special legislation in order to protect the environment and our community, now that this road has become a destination of itself and on global Bucket Lists. This would be a very long, difficult process with many questions that would need to be addressed before it is even begun.

Perhaps, either Big Sur needs to incorporate or it needs to create a Special District, which is what Sam Farr has advocated for a while now, or a specific non-profit so that we can have an entity to represent our interests and make this happen. Let’s have a conversation about these ideas and other solutions we might have. Big Sur is known for our creativity. Let’s get creative!

(Tuned in tomorrow for one suggestion regarding financing these or other projects.)


8 thoughts on “Suggestions to Start a Conversation on tourism in Big Sur…

  1. As a brainstormer-mountain top roller shaker;get things done’r; communicator; referee and instigator … your my nominee to have your name on the next Big Sur bridge build…or maybe more befitting- ‘ KATE’S CROSSING ‘ – My love 2U – Canyon

  2. i agree, something must be done, i am a tourist coming there for fifty years plus. never left trash in a pullout. or anywhere. i cannot even bear to visit my beloved yosemite. it is also trash littered everywhere and breaks my heart. no one ever did these things years ago. disgusting.

  3. Special District… Sensitive Natural Environments! Non-profit as business? History lesson from Eselen Institute was not a good steward of the environment. The last feels potentially like a trade-off between legal constrictions and free expression. (Love our Local Artists… alive and well & living in Big Sur)

  4. Last time we visited we ended up hauling a trunk full of trash that was dumped at the camp we went to. *sigh*

    I’d hate to see it a toll road. But congestion pricing needs to happen somehow; making the Big Sur path into some sort of State Park with associated fees and license plate readers and billing… Yeah, it’d need the state, but anything for funding seems to need to.

    The trick is to catch those who can afford to spend the most without catching those who can’t. Which is the biggest problem of most congestion pricing.

  5. At a MINIMUM, this will take a 2 prong approach…(yes – VERY simplified) the public, legal side, which Big Sur is lucky to have “someone” 😉so familiar with that. The other, equally important approach is what can Big Sur do NOW while waiting for the wheels of progressive to warm up. In the direction of fact gathering, we (I mean you… a Freudian heart slip) … might want your own source of verifiable, unadulterated data. Something like this might work and “Like all of our products, the PicoCount 4500 is designed, developed, and manufactured in the USA.” Always good!

    product info

    package cost

    IMO get a package, familiarize yourself with both hardware & software, and if this is something you want to pursue, I have no doubt that the common sense that abounds in Big Sur will be able to add more counters (your gonna need more than one…) in a “financially advantageous brilliant display of

    This link shows it being used. Appendix A pg 147

    Hell – seeing how this thing doesn’t need a power source… and it can probably ding a phone when “hit”… that might be kinda handy in monitoring access points that are out of view…. uhm 🤔

    Just looked at the website a bit more and I will tell you this. I was quite impressed with the tutorials and help files. One of the better designed ones I’ve seen. Written for the end-user, the customer. Looks like someone actually used their brain….

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