Closing down nature…

Here is my most recent article for Voices of Monterey Bay:

Like many popular remote communities that serve as gateways to wilderness areas, Big Sur residents feel the strain of people who need a natural experience after being cooped up in their homes during the pandemic.

So the decision last week by the U.S. Forest Service to shut down trails and roads in the Los Padres National Park stirred up an outcry on social media.

The order to shut it down came April 16 and is set to expire on June 1 unless reissued. On April 17, the USFS, the local California Highway Patrol and a sheriff’s deputy put out signs, cones and closure notices for the trailheads and roads.

Only hours after putting up the sign and cones at the bottom of Willow Creek, someone came along and tossed all of them into the poison oak, presumably to make retrieval more difficult.

The next day law enforcement was busy on all the roads and trailheads, ticketing for violation of the forest closure order. According to the federal code, violations of the order are punishable by fines of up to $5,000 per person (or $10,000 for an organization) and/or imprisonment for up to six months.

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