I found myself breathing in and out more easily tonight, Sunday night, than I have in a long time. I am relaxing. My shoulders are coming down from my ears to their more natural position. The USFS closed the four most popular roads in Big Sur on the South Coast. And we breathe a breath of relief.
I live on one of those roads — the one that had 2 fires in June. COVID has changed things everywhere, and here is no exception. There are those who are angry. They feel entitled to camp and party and off-road in what was once a pristine area of Big Sur. Since COVID, it has been much more like downtown LA or SF — before the COVID. I understand humanity has thinned out in these metropolitan areas. I think they all came here.
The road closure is for safety and road preservation. Three of the four roads have been destroyed by more traffic than the roads were designed to support, and by people trying to drive on a 4×4 road in a two-wheeled drive car. The roads can’t take that. They dig holes, trying to get unstuck. They block the roads for emergency vehicles and residents trying to get to work or just to town for supplies.
What this news story linked below does not talk about is the silent disco with hundreds of people present on one ridge, with no toilet facilities and no trash facilities held on Prewitt only two weeks earlier. This one blocked roads to residences and to places where illegal campfires are created on the weekend.
Our Fire Captain, Marcus Foster, and the USFS Public Information Officer. Andrew Marsden, explain the problems well in this news story. The two overdoses on Prewitt Ridge this past Saturday night demonstrated so clearly how dangerous it is for both residents and visitors as well as to Big Sur herself.
And in the good news department, I got this this morning in response to my email to the USFS:
“We will be amending the order from a “road closure” to an “area closure” to assist with enforcement. We’re also in the process of purchasing gates that can be installed on each of the four roads.”