A Road like no other, in peril like never before — Highway One & Climate Change

There is a lengthy and interesting article featured in the Washington Post today. The full article can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/interactive/2021/highway-one-big-sur-wildfires-climate-change/

“Feb 27, 2021, Gorda, CA — Life here in this tiny town built on the continent-ending cliffs of the Pacific coast has always had an anxious “when,” not “if,” quality to it. And much of that uncertain fate, season to season and year to year, has been tied to the two-lane road that runs through it.

Highway 1 is a California spectacle, a Depression-era monument to the state’s quixotic ambitions and stunning beauty. It runs from the Orange County surf haven of Dana Point in the south into cannabis-cultivating Mendocino County, carrying heavy traffic over the Golden Gate Bridge and under the bluffs of Santa Monica, where it is better known as the Pacific Coast Highway, on its 650-mile route.

But it is here in the middle, in one of the highway’s emptiest and most awesome stretches, where it is also most in peril. California’s shifting weather patterns are presenting new threats to this exotic road as wildfire reaches into places it has never been, leaving raw landscapes and fresh dangers in its burn path.

Late last month, pounding rains brought a torrent of mud and tree trunks the size of small boats through the narrow culvert at Rat Creek, about 25 miles north of here, where a wildfire had burned just months before.”

As climate change and overpopulation both increase, and https://www.visitcalifornia.com/ and https://www.seemonterey.com/ continue to reach out to encourage more visitation, the threat of wildfire is only going to increase proportionally. We will be facing more and more of these multi-month closures on the highway that is the life blood of not just Big Sur, but of the county and the state as well. That is why when it closes, residents enjoy the silence and peace it brings. We are reminded of why we came here in the first place, and can enjoy it again for a few days, weeks, or months — in road closure season and wildfire season, when the strains put on her resources by visitors are lessened.