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.

To read the rest of the article, see:

7 thoughts on “Closing down nature…

  1. The people who live outside the Big Sur area that are angry about the closures are not seeing that they are the reason why every trail, beach and dispersed camping road in Big Sur is shut down. The hypocrisy of blaming residents for not wanting visitors is insane. Do they think we who live here don’t want to drive a mile or two from our houses to go hike at Molera State Park or a National Forest Trail? That is what the “stay at home order” states to help not spread the virus. To recreate close to home or in your neighborhood! The reason all of this got shut down is people were coming here from San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Los Angeles, etc. and were causing large crowds that made it impossible to social distance. So due to the fact that all these selfish people were still treating Big Sur like a destination area ruined it for the residents here to get outside and recreate at our local parks and trails. Thanks for blowing for all of us who actually live here!!! This behavior also potentially brings this virus to our small community who are taking this pandemic seriously and staying home!

  2. It seems to me that a much
    More reasonable closure, tailored to the problem, would be to ban all camping. That way those who live in Monterey county, but maybe not in Big Sur, can still use the PUBLIC LANDS they have paid tax dollars for for our daily recreation. Big Sur folks love any reason to keep out anyone not from Big Sur and enjoy the public land all on their own. We know you all are still enjoying the trails.

  3. I am thinking perhaps just banning vehicles so that hiking, backpacking and bicycling can still take place, but the banning of cars would take care of the dispersed camping issues.

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