The Invisible Burden of Tourism, part 4

Before I continue on with my planned post in the series about the invisible burden of tourism, I wanted to mention the last 10 days of Car Week. Some of the people whose opinions I value felt that the traffic was not as bad as could have been, and that the events seemed well organized. Others, found that the events were not the problem, they were car races on streets and highways which were very dangerous, tourists misbehaving into the wee hours in downtown Carmel, and an increase in crime and driving under the influence. What I have heard few talk about is the damage to the environment. What is the effect of this opulent passion with vehicles on our air and water? How does cancelling school for the excessive display of wealth and vanity affect the children? When are we going to ask the hard questions about being home to this kind of an activity? I must admit, I, who only ventured out once, to SLO, was pleased that it was spread out over the entire Peninsula so that everyone had the opportunity to be affected by these past ten days. What was your experience? Please share in the comments below.

Continuing on with this series, the idea Professor Epler Wood presented was: The idea is to make tourism pay its own way to the benefit of everyone.

So, how do we do that? The first thing we do, of course, is to collect the data necessary. To do that, we need to get all parties to agree to the importance and necessity of obtaining this data, and to agree on a method of doing so. There is no need to reinvent the process. We can learn from other destinations, as we are doing from Hawaii, and we can bring in experts that know what we face and what we need.

On the day I started this series, 7/18/19, I presented an idea to several officers of the CABS Governing Board that I got from an article Lisa Kleissner posted on tourism. It quoted Epler Wood extensively. So I got out my copy of her book Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet, and had an ah-ha moment.

This ah-ha moment came from some pieces I put together into a new and different pattern. I knew that MCCVB had received the additional monies they asked for from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on two conditions, one of which was to establish the shuttle service to Pfeiffer Beach that had been operated as a pilot project. I also discovered via Community Association of Big Sur that agreement between CABS, USFS, and Park Management could not be reached to run this service. I did not know the amount of money allotted. (I subsequently discovered it was $40,000, a mere ink stain compared to MCCVB’s income.) THAT money, now not needed for the shuttle, had to be returned to MCCVB, and could not be used for anything Big Sur. that was allotted for the shuttle should be now used to present a workshop or seminar by MCCVB, open for free to the entire Peninsula community —

Butch Kronlund, Executive Director of CABS later informed me that in the recently passed county budget, of the monies allocated to MCCVB, we were successful in obtaining $150,000 allocated specifically for Big Sur out of the $900,000 additional monies MCCVB was requesting. That is 1/6th of the additional monies, which were on top of the original budget monies requested monies by MCCVB. At the end of this month, I am attending MCCVB’s annual luncheon in which they issue their yearly income and expenditure reports as well as the projections for the following year. I attended it last year at their invitation, but this year at my own. I will be blogging about those monies after that luncheon.

I now continue with the article from

While figures proclaiming the number of visitor arrivals or tourism jobs have become common yardsticks for assessing the health of a local tourism industry, the study finds that destination managers often ignore other vital metrics. 

Those include each individual traveler’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, wear and tear on local infrastructure, threats to biodiversity and demand for land and housing.

Failure to confront these hidden costs is starting to degrade the customs, culture, monuments, natural resources and other assets that make these destinations so appealing to visit in the first place.

In Barcelona, visitors swarm beaches and other beloved attractions, transforming places long loved by residents into virtual no-go zones for locals. Residents are being driven out of Venice as 30 million annual tourists bombard the Italian city, stampeding streets, sidewalks and canals and skyrocketing the price of rent. Poorly behaving tourists on Easter Island have made a mockery of the island’s indigenous culture, climbing on giant moai statues and posing with them for nose-picking photos

To turn this scenario on its head, governments and the travel industry must reinvest a higher percentage of tourism revenues into the destination, the study concludes. The first step toward achieving this requires destination managers to uncover the full cost of hosting each individual visitor. Only then can stakeholders figure out how to pay for those costs.

When such costs go ignored, the study finds that residents are forced to foot the bill. Or worse, the bill doesn’t get paid at all.

The idea is to make tourism pay its own way to the benefit of everyone.

To achieve this, the “Invisible Burden” study suggests local governments create a global trust or revolving fund account with apolitical leaders to finance the preservation of destination assets. (To be continued.)

TAMC report for next week

MONTEREY COUNTY – Here are the major scheduled road and lane closures for Monterey County from Sunday, August 18 through Saturday, August 24 – newest information is in red.Please keep in mind that construction work is weather-dependent. 

Highway 1: Ragged Point, Big Sur: August – September  
Highway 1 will be closed from north of the San Carpoforo Creek Bridge to south of the Ragged Point Inn during the evenings from 9 pm until 5 amThese overnight FULL highway closures will occur, Sunday night through Friday morning to allow for the construction of the foundation of a viaduct. Emergency vehicles and local residents will maintain access during these overnight closures. Motorists will also encounter one-way reversing traffic control within the project limits,  Monday – Friday, from 5 am –  until 4 pm.

Highway 1: San Luis Obispo County Line – Lime Creek Bridge, Big Sur:  Aug.19– Aug.22   
One lane closure and one-way traffic controls will be in place along northbound and southbound Highway 1 between the San Luis Obispo County Line and Lime Creek Bridge for mowing work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Highway 1: Bixby Creek Bridge – Hurricane Point: August 19 – August 21  
One – way traffic controls will be in place on northbound and southbound Highway 1 between  the Bixby Creek Bridge and Hurricane Point for slope repair work along the highway from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Highway 1: Rocky Creek Viaduct –  Hurricane Point: August 22 – August 23  
One – way traffic controls will be in place on northbound and southbound Highway 1 between  the Rocky Creek Viaduct and Hurricane Point for guardrail repair work along the highway from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Highway 1: Carmel – Santa Cruz County Line: August 18 – August 24
Alternating lane closures and intermit ramp closures will occur along northbound and southbound Highway 1 between Carpenter Street in Carmel and the Santa Cruz County Line for striping work on the road and ramps; and one-way traffic controls will be in place on portions of the highway between Highway 156, the Elkhorn Slough Bridge and the Santa Cruz County Line, in the evenings, Sunday  – Thursday, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Highway 68: Pacific Grove – Monterey: August 20 – August 23   
One nighttime lane closure and one-way traffic controls will be in place along eastbound and westbound Highway 68 between Piedmont Avenue and Highway 1 for drainage work in the evenings, Tuesday – Thursday, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Highway 101: East Market Street – Boronda Road, Salinas: July 23 – August 22   
Full-time ramp closures will occur along northbound and southbound Highway 101 between East Market Street and Boronda Road for the first phase of ramp reconstruction work at the following locations beginning Tuesday, July 23 through Thursday, August 22:

  • The northbound US 101 off-ramp to North Main Street will be closed Tuesday, July 23 through Monday, August 12.  Motorists may detour by using West Laurel Drive to North Main Street.
  • The southbound US 101 off-ramp to East Market Street will be closed beginning Monday, July 29 through Friday, August 16. Motorists may use John Street to northbound US 101 to the off-ramp at East Market Street.
  • The northbound US 101 on-ramp at North Main Street will be closed beginning Friday, August 2 through Thursday, August 22. Motorists may detour by continuing on North Main Street to West Laurel Drive to northbound US 101

Highway 101: Alta Street/Old Stage Road – Little Bear Creek Bridge, Salinas: Aug. 18 – 23  
Nighttime lane closures will occur along northbound and southbound Highway 101 between Alta Street/Old Stage Road and Little Bear Creek Bridge in Salinas for paving work on the roadway and ramps from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.    

Highway 101: Broadway Street  – Jolon Road, King City: August 19 – August 22
One lane closure and full ramp closures will occur northbound and southbound Highway 101 in King City between Broadway Street and Jolon Road for survey work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Highway 101: San Antonio River Bridge: August 20
One lane closure will occur  along northbound Highway 101 at the San Antonio River Bridge in King City for tree work from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

August Fire Predictions

Despite a wet winter, California again faces an above-normal chance for large wildfires as the state heads into late summer and fall. That’s according to a monthly report issued Aug. 1 by the predictive services branch of the National Interagency Fire Center. Heat — a major player in the devastating wildfires of the last two years — and the timing of autumn winds and rains will determine precisely how perilous the 2019 wildfire season becomes.

In August, the higher-risk zones are mainly in the inland valleys and foothills in the northern part of the state. By October, the danger zone extends up and down the coast and into the mountains.

Experts sometimes refer to two separate fire seasons in California: summer wildfires fed by heat and fall wildfires driven by winds.

For the rest of this article, see:

Partial Forest Closure order effective 8/4/19 and Map

Also, here is the official press release. Note South Coast Ridge Rd is closed to Chalk Peak as well.

GOLETA, Calif. – Los Padres National Forest officials today issued a forest order closing the Mill Fire area on the Monterey Ranger District to the public effective tomorrow, August 4. Forest Service law enforcement officers will strictly enforce the closure order, which carries a penalty of $5,000 and/or six months in jail. The order will expire when the Mill Fire is fully contained and controlled.

The emergency road closure of the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road (Forest Road 22S01) begins at its intersection with State Highway 1, in the eastern edge of Section 26, Township 22 South, Range 4 East, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian, then continues east for approximately 16 miles to the Los Padres Forest Boundary at Fort Hunter Liggett at the northwest corner of Section 32, Township 22 South, Range 6 East and as shown on the attached map (Exhibit B).

The emergency road closure of Central Coast/Cone Peak Road (Forest Road 20S05.3) begins at its intersection with North Coast Ridge Trail (Forest Trail 3E10) in the northwest corner of Section 1, Township 22 South, Range 4 East, then continues southeast 6.6 miles to its intersection with Nacimiento-Fergusson Road in the southwest corner of Section 17, Township 22 South, Range 5 East.

The emergency road closure of South Coast Road (Forest Road 20S05.4) begins at its intersection with Nacimiento-Fergusson Road in the northwest corner of Section 20, Township 22 South, Range 5 East and continues southeast approximately three miles to where the pavement ends near Chalk Peak in the center of Section 28, Township 22 South, Range 5 East.

The emergency trail closure of Kirk Creek Trail (Forest Trail 4E21) begins at its intersection with State Highway 1, in the northeast quarter of Section 26, Township 22 South, Range 4 East and follows northeast for approximately 7.5 miles to its intersection with Central Coast/Cone Peak Road in Section 7, Township 22 South, Range 5 East.

The emergency trail closure of Mill Creek Trail (Forest Trail 5E12) starts at its intersection with Nacimiento-Fergusson Road in Section 25, Township 22 South, Range 4 East and continues three miles to its intersection with Central Coast/Cone Peak Road) in Section 20, Township 22 South, Range 5 East.

Dispersed campfires are strictly forbidden in Los Padres National Forest. Violators face a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail and may also be liable for paying restitution for fire suppression costs—which can run into millions of dollars—for a wildfire started by an illegal campfire.

###Los Padres closure order bars public from Mill Fire area

What are we suppose to do?

Yes, traffic is horrific and dangerous on Highway One. I avoid going north, but could not do so Friday and Saturday and I got to experience it once again. (I stayed in town Friday night.) One positive I noticed is that the work Cal Trans and State Parks did at Julia Pfeiffer Burns works! No more madness, craziness, and dangerousness. Now, traffic is funneled smoothly into the parking lot there at the State Park off highway. There is a lesson there.

But I did not want to address this issue today, instead, I would like to address an even more serious one. I just wrote two articles for Voices of Monterey Bay on this uniquely summer tourist issue, which permeates all the back country. The subject is illegal campfires. A neighbor asks, what are we supposed to do?

A neighbor sent me the following text Saturday night, which I got Sunday morning. I am going to forward it to all that I can think of, but I also wanted to post it here and on social media:

“Last nite there were 3 illegal campfires. I told all 3 parties it was illegal. The 1 near […] put theirs out. The 1 […] ignored me and the party on Chalk Peak told me to fuck off & get the hell out of here ! I called 911 on them which is a joke! They don’t know who to contact. What are we suppose to do?”

Good question. I will send it to everyone I can think of and see what they have to say. In the mean time, continue reporting matters like this, but be careful not to put yourself at risk.