Horseshoe Bend – Arizona’s Bixby Bridge

•September 13, 2018 • 10 Comments

Michael Chatfield sent me this excellent article. The second half of the article outlines the solutions they are implementing, including fees for parking and viewing the phenomena.

HORSESHOE BEND — In simpler times (before social media), Horseshoe Bend was a quiet yet spectacular stop along a lonely stretch of highway in northern Arizona.

Visitors would wander in from U.S. 89, just south of Page, Arizona, either because they’d heard of the dramatic bend in the Colorado River from locals, or noticed the small sign pointing the way and reacted quickly enough to make the sharp turn.

They would take a sandy path to an overlook where the land dropped away steeply to reveal a canvas only nature could paint — an emerald river hundreds of feet below, tracing a graceful arc at the bottom of sharp-edged cliffs.

A few hundred people might stop each day during the summer road-trip season. In winter, maybe just a few dozen.

But those languid days are long gone, lost in the exhaust fumes of the tour buses, party vans and SUVs that choke an area never meant to hold so much glass and steel. Each day they disgorge thousands of visitors, many from China and Germany and France and Japan.

2 million visitors expected in 2018

for the rest of this article, and the solutions they are implementing, see:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/arizona/road-trips/2018/08/09/horseshoe-bend-scenic-hike-near-lake-powell/587733002

For additional article on bigsurkate re Bixby Bridge issues, see:

Nightmare at Bixby Bridge in Big Sur

Volunteers Needed – Arroyo Seco

•September 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment

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Public Hearing re TID to fund MCCVB

•September 12, 2018 • 12 Comments

TID is the Tourist Improvement District tax which is collected by the cities and the counties and given to MCCVB to market the area for tourism. This dovetails with what I posted yesterday. You will recall that MCCVB gets a significant or major part of their financing for marketing our area from the various TIDs. There are 3 “zones” with differing pricing. There is no description of which zones are for what areas, or how those determinations are made. Two hearings, both at 7 pm at the City of Monterey Council Chambers, the first on September 18th and the second at which the tax will be imposed on October 16th.

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Tourist Tuesday – Tourism in MoCo, 9/11/18

•September 11, 2018 • 9 Comments

Overtourism, like overpopulation, is a global issue. Big Sur is not alone with this problem. I have brought you articles demonstrating this problem for almost a year. I will be cutting back on bringing these to you for Tourist Tuesday. I am still resolving what I will cover on this issue, and how.

One of the lines in the last article about social media and tourism that caught my eye, which is a good lead-in to this article is this: “Do governments need to do a better job managing their tourists, spending more money on enforcing laws, permit systems, sustainability, and infrastructure — rather than tourism marketing?”

Infrastructure is what many of us have been arguing since 2016 and our first “overtourism” meeting at Treebones in May of that year. We are always told there are no resources to support the infrastructure we have been clamoring for; increased enforcement bathrooms, parking permits, etc. Let’s look at that claim.

To begin:

Here is the budget of the MCCVB for 2018-2019:

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Here is a closer look: between Jurisdictional Income and TID/HID income Monterey County gives the MCCVB $2,000,000 a year.

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As well as the annual report of the MCCVB for 2017-2018:

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To put this in perspective, with the money MoCo gives MCCVB each year it could fund TEN deputy sheriffs at Jesse Villasenor’s level, that includes salary, overtime, other pay, and benefits. (Here is the link for: Jesse’s salary)

The next time our county tells us they don’t have the money to help Big Sur with its overtourism problem. Point to this. They do. They have simply prioritized bringing in more and more tourists rather than provide for a meaningful experience for them.

But we need to think Statewide, not just county. It is a state highway, patrolled, by state employees. The entire state depends on us and this stretch of road to meet its tourism goals, as was amply demonstrated when other areas were closed due to fires. Yosemite and Big Sur are now tied for yearly number of visitors. See California (link here)

I will provide additional research and information on the tourist industry in MoCo and California in another installment of Tourist Tuesdays, but no longer will I be doing them each week due to the time needed to research what I write. Maybe I will be make this a monthly column, will see where it leads us…

 

State Transportation Commission to hold Town Hall meeting in Gonzales

•September 10, 2018 • 2 Comments

LOCAL OFFICIALS WILL EXPRESS NEEDS TO STATE TRANSPORTATION COMMISSIONERS AT GONZALES TOWN HALL MEETING”

MONTEREY COUNTY – The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) announced that commissioners from the California Transportation Commission will be here on September 19-20 to meet with local officials and residents to discuss current and future transportation needs that address safety improvements and the economic vibrancy of the region.

Debbie Hale, the Executive Director of TAMC, said, “This is a great opportunity for us and for them. It’s not often that we get a visit from the Commissioners; and with this visit, they get to hear directly from the community about what our needs are in Monterey County, which are often different from those in more urban communities.”

The Commission is the primary decision-maker for California funding of transportation projects. According to Ms. Hale, “The Commission allocated $19 million to the Imjin Parkway project through SB 1 funds and they will be able to fund US 101 improvements south of Salinas if the new gas taxes remain in place.”

On Wednesday, September 19, TAMC, the City of Gonzales, and a coalition of Central Coast transportation professionals will host a town hall meeting with the Commissioners from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. at the Gonzales City Hall, 117 Fourth Street, Gonzales. During that meeting, commissioners will be given an overview of transportation needs that include the movement of agricultural goods, transit services, and the importance of US 101, a north-south freight corridor which serves not only businesses in California but national and international markets as well.

Presenters at the town hall meeting include the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner and representatives from TAMC, the City of Gonzales, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments, Monterey County Farm Bureau, Monterey County Vintners and Growers, Monterey-Salinas Transit, and Caltrans District 5.

After the meeting, the commissioners will review the Gonzales’ Alta Street Project, which was Monterey County’s first major project funded by revenues from Measure X and the gas tax (SB 1), followed by a tour of the Taylor Farms facility in Gonzales.

On Thursday, September 20, Commissioners will take a guided bus tour along some of most congested roadways to learn about Monterey County projects designed to address safety and congestion. These projects include: US 101 south of Salinas, Highways 1, 68 and 218, Imjin Parkway, and the Rail Extension to Salinas.

Upcoming Events

•September 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

*After two postponements, 2016 by the Soberanes Fire and 2017 by the Mud Creek road closure, the 25th Annual Big Sur Jade Festival – October 5, 6, 7 – is set to be held at Pacific Valley School. More to follow as the event approaches.

*The 70th Anniversary of the Big Sur Grange will be held:

On Saturday September 15th, 2018 gather with your friends and neighbors to Celebrate 70 years of community engagement at our Big Sur Grange! 3-8pm. We are preparing long harvest tables beside the river, and so much more………

It’s a Potluck Picnic- Bring a bountiful savory dish for dinner. Bring your own place setting; plate, fork, and knife.

Homemade sparkling drinks and iced teas will be available for sale.

It’s a Pie contest – Enter a sweet pie into the contest! Judges will be tasting for flavor combinations, texture, originality, beauty and more! Try something new or bring a well-loved classic. Once the winners are chosen – the pies will be our dessert! All entries must arrive before 5pm.

It’s a farmer’s market – Come and gather your weeks groceries, fruits and vegetables will be on sale from Halls Organic Farm and local gardens.

It’s for all ages – Big Sur Park School will have some harvest craft activities for the young ones.

It’s wonderful acoustic bluegrass wafting through the redwoods – Local favorites Eliot’s Haircut will play during the picnic.

It’s a Contra Dance – Caller Claire Takemori and Musicians John Weed and Tyler Weed, will be leading all ages in circle and line dances in the hall after dinner.
Looking forward to seeing you there, please help spread the word up canyons and down ridges!

On Sunday September 16th

The Grange board will host a delicious pancake breakfast and a presentation by the Big Sur Historical Society.

“Revealing and remembering stories from 70 years at the Grange.”

Come at 9:30, breakfast will be in the hall at long tables. The presentation will be offered during breakfast from 10-12. Bring your memories to share.

Seating is limited so we ask that you reserve your seats ASAP by emailing kendramorgenrath@gmail.com with the amount of seats you would like. We will collect the $10.00 per seat at the door.

Photo Sunday, 9/9/18 – Early 1900’s topos

•September 9, 2018 • 2 Comments

These are the 3 of Big Sur – North to South (click on the image to open the high-resolution PDF)

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