Tourist Tuesday, 4/30/19

“In 1904, the city of Barcelona received a petition for development from Eusebi Güell, an industrialist and a patron of the arts. Güell had bought a tract of land on the flank of Muntanya Pelada, or Bald Mountain, which rises above the plain that extends to the city’s port. Güell had ambitious plans for his hillside property: it was to be designed by Antoni Gaudí, the celebrated architect, with sixty houses set on the bosky grounds. Güell’s business model, which required prospective residents to invest in the project before their houses were constructed, was flawed, and only two were ever built. But the grounds were completed. Serpentine paths twisted up the hillside, and at the center of a spectacular bifurcated staircase there was a fountain in the form of a lizard, its skin composed of mosaic shards in blues and yellows.

The development was sold to the city in 1922, four years after Güell’s death, and became a beloved public park, with the lizard as its icon. In time, Park Güell proved too beloved for its own good, and by 2013 nine million visitors were traipsing through it annually. “The Park has almost stopped being used as a park,” a municipal report noted at the time. It had become, instead, a “tourist place.” That year, in an effort to mitigate the damage and crowding caused by so much foot traffic, the city introduced a fee to access the park’s “monumental core,” which includes Gaudí’s staircase, and also limited the number of tickets sold to eight hundred an hour.

From the local government’s perspective, the change was a success: the year after the restrictions were introduced, the number of visitors fell to 2.3 million. Still, the flow remains constant. When I arrived at Park Güell at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in February—hardly peak season—I couldn’t get in for another two and a half hours. When I finally entered the monumental core, at a cost of ten euros, it was as bustling as Coney Island’s boardwalk on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and Instagramming admirers formed a mob around Gaudí’s lizard.


Some twenty million tourists descend annually on Barcelona, which has a population of just 1.6 million people. (New York City receives three times as many visitors but has more than five times as many residents absorbing the influx.) A lot of factors have contributed to the throngs in Barcelona. Policy decisions in Madrid, and in Catalonia, encouraged a boom, and framed it as an economic-survival strategy, especially after the global financial crisis of 2008. City officials successfully sold Barcelona to the international market as an especially fun European destination, with good weather, pretty beaches, lively night life, and just enough in the way of museums and architecture to provide diversion without requiring an onerous cultural itinerary.


Currently, one and a half million visitors stay in Airbnbs in Barcelona annually, and although five times as many people book rooms in traditional hotels, the company is influencing what the city feels like, especially for permanent residents. There are almost twenty thousand active Airbnb listings in Barcelona. Even in residential neighborhoods, the sounds of dozens of wheelie suitcases rattling over the cobblestones after an 11 a.m. checkout—and of late-night revellers sampling the bars that have sprung up to cater to them—have become as reliable as the bells of the Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s unfinished drip-castle cathedral.


Airbnb, aware of the growing hostility toward it, has begun working more closely with local governments. Among other things, it has introduced an online tool that makes it easier for the city to identify hosts who are breaking rental laws.”


For the rest of this article see:

USFS approves expedited commercial logging project in Condor habitat, 4/29/19

Forest Service Approves Expedited Commercial Logging Project in Condor Habitat

Trees of all sizes will be on the chopping block as part of the project.

Goleta, Calif. – Yesterday, the Forest Service announced its approval of the second of two commercial logging projects in the Los Padres National Forest. The approval of the 1,600-acre project along Tecuya Ridge comes just five months after the agency authorized an adjacent 1,200-acre project allowing commercial logging in Cuddy Valley at the base of Mt. Pinos.

The agency fast-tracked both projects without preparing a standard environmental assessment or environmental impact statement, instead declaring that the projects were excluded from environmental review under a loophole in the National Environmental Policy Act. A full environmental review examines potential impacts to plants and wildlife as well as alternatives to the proposed activities. The normal review process also provides more transparency and opportunities for the public to weigh in with concerns about the project.

The logging area provides prime habitat for endangered California condors. According to condor tracking data provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nearly fifty condor roost sites occur within a half-mile of where trees will be cut and removed. These roost sites are typically large dead or live trees that are used by condors for resting overnight between long flights. Federal standards require a minimum half-mile buffer from condor roosting sites to protect them from disturbance, given their sensitivity and importance in condor survival.

Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 4/27/19

Dec 30th 1931 MPH- Six Members of Marooned Party Rescued

Fighting their way on foot over seventeen miles of muddy trail, six members of the party marooned since Saturday in the coast country reached the southern end of the Carmel-San Simeon highway yesterday and were brought to Pacific Grove last night by auto.

They were George Harlan of Lucia, his three sons, Gene, Donald and Stanley; a nephew, Gilbert Harlan, and Marion Hall of Watsonville.  Five members of the party, Mr. and Mrs. A. Victorine of Pacific Grove and Mrs. Bertha Harlan and Phyllis and Blanche Harlan, remained in the coast section and are staying at a ranch house near Gorda, northern terminus of the highway being constructed from the south.

They are in no danger, according to Mrs. George Harlan and Mrs. Eva Smithers of Pacific Grove, who accompanied the rescue party which brought the six men and boys to Pacific Grove last night.  Plenty of food and fuel is available at the highway camp nearby and several ranch houses in the vicinity, the said. They are expected to ‘come out’ as soon as roads are repaired.

Much difficulty was experienced in driving up the Carmel-San Simeon highway from San Simeon, Mrs. Harlan said.  Nine large slides were passed in a fourteen mile stretch below the Gorda camp.  The road, she said, is out in many places, a number of fills having been washed away, making the highway passable only on foot.  Even horses were unable to get by the washed-out fills.

Until Friday night, when the big week end storm started, about ten inches of rain had fallen in that vicinity.  The figure was believed doubled during the storm.

The Harlan family left Pacific Grove this morning to spend a few days with friends in San Jose before returning to their home at Lucia, which is located on the coast, half way between Gordaand Slates.  [reported on same page that Little Sur had about 18 inches of rain since before Christmas]

(Provided by Sylvia Trotter Anderson)

The Story behind California’s Powerful Coastal Commission

From UC Berkeley News: (

No feature defines California like its 840 miles of coastline.


And that’s no accident, said Todd Holmes, a historian with the Bancroft Library’s Oral History Center who has long studied California’s coast.

“There’s a reason we don’t look like Miami or the Jersey Shore,” Holmes said. “It is because of the California Coastal Commission.”

Holmes is the creator of a new podcast from the Oral History Center about the commission, a powerful — sometimes controversial — state agency created by voters in 1972 to protect California’s iconic coastal redwoods, golden beaches and rugged cliffs.

Each of the 15 episodes will examine a particular moment in the commission’s history, from efforts to preserve San Francisco Bay to a fight over the Hearst Corporation’s plans to build a golf resort in Big Sur.

“So much of what the commission does you don’t see,” Holmes said. “All these developments that didn’t happen.”

The project started when Holmes and his colleagues began to interview the men and women involved in the creation of the commission for the Oral History Center, which collects firsthand accounts of major moments in California and global history.

Holmes realized the long interviews could be crafted into a narrative about the commission’s work.

“This way, people can hear the story of why the coast looks the way it does,” he said.

The first episode, about a fight over development at Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz, is available now, and the remaining 14 episodes will be posted over the next year, Holmes said.

Eventually, he hopes placards along the coast will point people to the audio histories.

“You could be in Santa Barbara and hit a QR-code with your phone to listen to a story about the fight over offshore oil drilling,” he said.

Every Californian has a connection with the coastline, said Holmes, who grew up outside of Sacramento and still remembers spending a day on a Los Angeles beach with family when he was four years old.

They picnicked, played in the water and gathered together to watch the sun go down before driving home.

“I’ve been a fan of sunsets ever since,” he said. “There is no better place to watch a sunset than the California Coast.”

Listen to the first episode on the Oral History Center’s page

Big Sur Marathon

Today’s Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2019

District:            05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa

Cruz Counties

Contact:          Susana Z Cruz (bilingual) or Colin Jones

Phone:            (805) 549-3138 or 549-3189



MONTEREY COUNTY (CARMEL/BIG SUR) – The Big Sur International Marathon will take place along Highway 1 on Sunday, April 28 beginning at 7:00 a.m.

This event will begin in Big Sur and will end at Rio Road in Carmel.

Traffic on Highway 1 will be restricted from 6:00 am until 1:30 pm from Sycamore Canyon Road to Carmel Valley Road. During this highway closure, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will use the northbound lane to lead caravans of traffic in alternating directions at three different intervals during this time.

The CHP will also manage a closure for left turns from Carmel Valley Road onto southbound Hwy. 1 from 3:30 am until 1:30 pm.

Approximately 4,700 people are expected to participate in this marathon with another 3,000 participating in shorter events.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway work zones.

To find out further information about the marathon, please call (831) 625-6226 or visit the official race website (


For more information on this project and for traffic updates on other Caltrans projects in Monterey County, residents can call the District 5 toll free number at 1-877-448-6771 or

can visit our website at:





# # #



Jim Shivers

Caltrans District 5

Public Information Officer

(805) 549-3237

We welcome your feedback:

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Tourist Tuesday on a Wednesday, 4/23/19 (A day late)

From the World Travel & Tourism Global Summit:

SEVILLE, Spain — As the travel industry prepares for a world facing overtourism and concerns about environmental sustainability, the goals of tourism ministers and marketers are changing.

For example, Fred Dixon, CEO of New York’s official marketing arm, NYC & Company, said at the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit here earlier this month that his organization has shifted the way it measures success.

“We got caught up in the race for bigger numbers,” Dixon said. “We realized over time that the true metric for tourism is the economic and social impact on the community: job development, economic impact, neighborhood impact. If you don’t bring locals with you when you’re invigorating or building a destination, you’re missing an important part of the equation.”

Marketing success, Dixon added, is not “just about visitor volume. We as an industry should grapple with that more.”

Steffan Panoho, head of Auckland Tourism, echoed that sentiment. He said that over the past two years, New Zealand’s largest city realized it needed to revise its tourism strategy to incorporate “destination management versus just pure destination marketing.”

“Traditionally, we’ve talked about visitor numbers and arrivals and hotel nights,” he said. “Now, we have a whole new set of imperatives: sustainability and looking after our communities. There’s a whole new set of metrics we have to look at and quantify before we can make a call on whether we’ve been successful.”

For the rest of this article see:


Earth Day 2019

From the River Inn:FC054C65-265E-4EBE-A39C-98ABFF79AD00

Tips for visiting the Sur with care:

We all love the rugged and wild beauty of Big Sur. It is something that after 85 years of being in business, even the River Inn is continually surprised at how dynamic and special each sunrise and sunset can be. With Earth Day approaching on the 22nd of this month we are putting out a reminder to make memories and take photos but
leave no trace…
What does that mean?

 1. Big Sur is beautiful and rugged. Big Sur is not littered with public restrooms, they are located at the major state parks. The drive can either seem wonderful and picturesque or stressful because you are looking for a restroom. Don’t make your poor planning a mess on the coast, the land in Big Sur is no place to defecate.

2. The wildflower blooms across the state have been fantastic but in many places folks have been ignoring trail signs and disrespecting the wildlife by leaving the trails and even laying on the plants themselves, which, besides ruining the view for folks this year it can also damage the plants to the extent that it hinders future spring blooms.

3. Though we have had a great rainy season, the fire danger is always present. There are plenty of places where you can enjoy a fire, make sure that whenever and wherever you light a fire it is an approved campfire spot.


“In nature, nothing exists alone.”
— Rachel Carson, 1962

Nature’s gifts to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that remain to be discovered. Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.

The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides to name a few. The impacts are far reaching.

If we do not act now, extinction may be humanity’s most enduring legacy. Here are some quick facts on the current wave of extinction and additional information about this problem here.

All living things have an intrinsic value, and each plays a unique role in the complex web of life. We must work together to protect endangered and threatened species: bees, coral reefs, elephants, giraffes, insects, whales and more.


The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action.

Earth Day Network is asking people to join our Protect our Species campaign. Our goals are to:

  • Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
  • Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
  • Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
  • Encourage individual actions such as adopting plant based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.