Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 5/4/19

Monterey American Aug 31st 1916

A big smoke on the Coast Ridge north of Cone Peak and the Gamboa Trail was reported almost simultaneously by E. E. Murry on the Jolon road and by Ranger Abbott from Pine Ridge and Guard Bixby from Chew’s Ridge Lookout.  Supervisor Merrill telephoned to Guards William Twitchel and Ed. Burns, who hurried to the scene, while Ed. Dutton dispatched to men from Jolon with provisions.  Later Jim Stanley followed up with reinforcements.  According to the latest reports the fire has covered about fifty acres, but it is believed to be under control.

(Provided by Sylvia Trotter Anderson)

Big Sur Fire 45th Anniversary Open House

Contact: Chief Matt Harris, 831.667.2113 or email



Big Sur Fire Hosts Community Open House at Station 1

Celebrating 45 Years of Emergency Services in Big Sur

Big Sur, CA – Big Sur Fire (BSF) announces a Community Open House celebrating its 45th Anniversary of serving Big Sur Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 1 pm until 4 pm at Station 1 (47900 Highway 1) in Big Sur.

Big Sur Fire was formed in 1974 to provide structure fire protection for the residents and businesses in the Big Sur area.  BSF now provides both structure and wildland fire protection, along with rescue and emergency medical response for the Big Sur community and its over 5 million annual visitors. BSF remains an all-volunteer company, with about 25 members, responding to an area which covers almost 60 miles of coastline along Highway One.  

May 4 also marks the celebration of International Firefighters’ Day – a time where the world’s community can recognize and honor the sacrifices that firefighters make to ensure that their communities and environment are as safe as possible. It is also a day in which current and past firefighters can be thanked for their contributions.  The program honoring all current and past Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade members (the original incorporated name) will be held at 2: 30 pm.  Former BSF Firefighter John Handy will be the Master of Ceremonies for the event.  

Big Sur Fire will have its apparatus on display and firefighters are available to answer questions.  The day will include photos with fire apparatus; demonstrations of fire equipment; and lots of good food provided by Big Sur’s finest.  Donations are coming from Treebones; Esalen Institute; Coast Gallery & Café; Deetjen’s; Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn; Big Sur Bakery; Big Sur Taphouse; Fernwood; and Big Sur River Inn.

“We are so fortunate to have the support from our Big Sur community for this special 45thAnniversary Celebration.  Post Ranch Inn and all of the fine restaurants in Big Sur have made this day possible, Big Sur Fire Chief Matt Harris said. “We look forward to seeing many of our old friends who have participated in the Brigade over these past 45 years.”


Park and Shuttle will be at Post Ranch Inn.    


The mission of the Big Sur Fire is to provide dependable fire protection and emergency services for Big Sur with teamwork, respect and integrity.  

Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 4/27/19

Dec 30th 1931 MPH- Six Members of Marooned Party Rescued

Fighting their way on foot over seventeen miles of muddy trail, six members of the party marooned since Saturday in the coast country reached the southern end of the Carmel-San Simeon highway yesterday and were brought to Pacific Grove last night by auto.

They were George Harlan of Lucia, his three sons, Gene, Donald and Stanley; a nephew, Gilbert Harlan, and Marion Hall of Watsonville.  Five members of the party, Mr. and Mrs. A. Victorine of Pacific Grove and Mrs. Bertha Harlan and Phyllis and Blanche Harlan, remained in the coast section and are staying at a ranch house near Gorda, northern terminus of the highway being constructed from the south.

They are in no danger, according to Mrs. George Harlan and Mrs. Eva Smithers of Pacific Grove, who accompanied the rescue party which brought the six men and boys to Pacific Grove last night.  Plenty of food and fuel is available at the highway camp nearby and several ranch houses in the vicinity, the said. They are expected to ‘come out’ as soon as roads are repaired.

Much difficulty was experienced in driving up the Carmel-San Simeon highway from San Simeon, Mrs. Harlan said.  Nine large slides were passed in a fourteen mile stretch below the Gorda camp.  The road, she said, is out in many places, a number of fills having been washed away, making the highway passable only on foot.  Even horses were unable to get by the washed-out fills.

Until Friday night, when the big week end storm started, about ten inches of rain had fallen in that vicinity.  The figure was believed doubled during the storm.

The Harlan family left Pacific Grove this morning to spend a few days with friends in San Jose before returning to their home at Lucia, which is located on the coast, half way between Gordaand Slates.  [reported on same page that Little Sur had about 18 inches of rain since before Christmas]

(Provided by Sylvia Trotter Anderson)

Earth Day 2019

From the River Inn:FC054C65-265E-4EBE-A39C-98ABFF79AD00

Tips for visiting the Sur with care:

We all love the rugged and wild beauty of Big Sur. It is something that after 85 years of being in business, even the River Inn is continually surprised at how dynamic and special each sunrise and sunset can be. With Earth Day approaching on the 22nd of this month we are putting out a reminder to make memories and take photos but
leave no trace…
What does that mean?

 1. Big Sur is beautiful and rugged. Big Sur is not littered with public restrooms, they are located at the major state parks. The drive can either seem wonderful and picturesque or stressful because you are looking for a restroom. Don’t make your poor planning a mess on the coast, the land in Big Sur is no place to defecate.

2. The wildflower blooms across the state have been fantastic but in many places folks have been ignoring trail signs and disrespecting the wildlife by leaving the trails and even laying on the plants themselves, which, besides ruining the view for folks this year it can also damage the plants to the extent that it hinders future spring blooms.

3. Though we have had a great rainy season, the fire danger is always present. There are plenty of places where you can enjoy a fire, make sure that whenever and wherever you light a fire it is an approved campfire spot.


“In nature, nothing exists alone.”
— Rachel Carson, 1962

Nature’s gifts to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that remain to be discovered. Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.

The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides to name a few. The impacts are far reaching.

If we do not act now, extinction may be humanity’s most enduring legacy. Here are some quick facts on the current wave of extinction and additional information about this problem here.

All living things have an intrinsic value, and each plays a unique role in the complex web of life. We must work together to protect endangered and threatened species: bees, coral reefs, elephants, giraffes, insects, whales and more.


The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action.

Earth Day Network is asking people to join our Protect our Species campaign. Our goals are to:

  • Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
  • Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
  • Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
  • Encourage individual actions such as adopting plant based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.



Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 4/20/19

Nov 24th 1916 Monterey American – Forest Trails Being Improved

Persons who travel frequently in the mountains of the Santa Lucia range within the Monterey National Forest will no doubt remember the “sore spot” in the Gamboa Trail on the seaward side of the main coast ridge just over the summit.  The trail crosses north of Cone Peak, dips down into a fork of Big Creek, and then climbs up again to “La Jollita,” running for a distance of about two miles on grades ranging from twenty-five to forty percent.

Since many of the people on the Monterey coast are obliged to pack their supplies in and driver or pack their produce out by this route, the steepness is a serious matter.

Forest Supervisor H. G. Merrill has secured authority from District Forester Coert Dubois in San Francisco to rebuild this stretch of trail on a grade of about fifteen per cent, provided the land owners who are interest will co—operate.  Already George Gamboa, Aaron and Paul Harlan, Santo and Tim Boronda and Ty Dani have pledged themselves to help and Ranger Robert Finley, who is in charge of the Forest Service trail crew, says he will have the project completed by New Year.

(Provided by Sylvia Trotter Anderson)

Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 4/13/19

Sep 4th 1958 MPH Coast Picnic Area Fenced Off In Wake of Litterbug Invasion

The Litterbugs have done it again!

As a characteristic “thank you” for the hospitality of Steve Patterson, landowner down the coast highway at Garrapata Creek, picnickers and merrymakers have littered his property with broken glass, beer cans and garbage, have dug up plants and cut down trees for firewood.

Patterson’s patience and that of neighboring property-owners have been exhausted, according to Dale Cox, litter control officer in the county sheriff’s office.  Patterson is now fencing off the land, putting up “no trespass” signs and barring all campers and picnickers from the premises.

“If this wanton thoughtlessness of a few litterbugs continues,”said Cox, “fewer and fewer recreational spots, public and private, will be open for people to enjoy.”

Cox would like to see a county-wide committee appointed to assist in an education program to combat the litterbug.

“Where such an educational program has been set up,” he pointed out, “the problem has been reduced by half. The saving to the taxpayer is an important item, too.  It is estimated that over $50 million of the taxpayers’ money is spent annually in the United States to clean up after the litterbug.”

Big Sur Saturday Tidbits, 4/6/19

Sylvia Trotter Anderson has sent me a number of historical articles she has run across in various early newspaper reports, so I am starting this new Saturday tidbits column for a few weeks. Here is the first one.

You think your town trips are challenging? I don’t want to hear it. Listen to this account:

Sep 4th 1958 MPH – Peninsula Parade by Prof. Toro

Shopping Day.  This month’s issue of the Big Sur Roundup is, as usual, full of fascinating items, including one by M. W. {Marge Welch, I think} about how the Big Sur folk used to get their shopping done in the days when Big Sur was really wild.

“During the homesteading days of the Harlans, Danis, Lopezes, Smith, Wheatons, Bedales and others of the Lucia area, supplies which were needed were brought in by boat.” Reports M. W.

“This ‘boat landing’ was preceded by a trip to San Francisco by Mr. Wilbur Harlan the elected buyer for the community.  With a list from each family of supplies to be purchased, Mr. Harlan would set out on horseback for King City, which was the nearest railroad town.  From there he took the train to San Francisco and then began the lengthy process of filling the many and varied orders.  After the purchasing was completed, Mr. Harlan would make the necessary arrangements in chartering a freight boat to take the supplies from San Francisco to Lucia.”

Aaron and the Mule.  “In a few days, the ‘Santa Cruz’ or the ‘Bonita’ would be nearing its destination, blowing its whistle along the line to let all know that the unloading was soon to begin. After reaching Harlan Rock, the freighter would lay out about one fourth of a mile from shore and the supplies would then be brought in by small boast to a platform which was suspended over the water by a cable, the cable running from the steep, rocky shoreline out to the Harlan Rock.  This mode of transportation from the small boat to a ‘high and dry’ spot on shore was constructed and installed by Mr. Harlan and Mr. Gabriel Dani.”

“After the platform was loaded from the small boat underneath, Mr. Harlan (who named the platform and supervised the loading) would give out with a mighty “Ho!” which was a signal to his son Aaron and mule who were waiting on the nearby beach.”

Bringing Home the Bacon. “The mule, attached to the platform by a heavy rope, was then directed by Aaron to proceed steadily and cautiously up the beach so as ‘not to upset’ the precious cargo which it was slowly pulling to shore.  This was a delicate operation and Aaron prided himself on the fact that he was able to handle the mule in such a manner that never by jerks or sudden stops did any of the supplies (or Mr. Harlan) go careening into the water.  As the cargo was unloaded from the platform, it would be placed in family stacks or piles and most always covered and left for the night. “

“The next day the families would come with their wagons or pack horses for the last sate in ‘bringing home the bacon’.”

Oh, yeah…all day every week or two is so tough. We are wusses compared to earlier times. Next week? Litterbugs. Sound familiar?