Wilderness Ethics

Z’s comment on my “I am not a cop …” post got me thinking. I have lived up here in the midst of the National Forest — the wilds of Big Sur — for 14 years. (25 in Big Sur) Half of those, alone — if you don’t count my guard dogs. Anyway, the fire news has slowed considerably, so this morning’s post is devoted to one of my pet peeves.

The sense of “entitlement” is very real, and was clearly evident in that group of six from Santa Cruz who explained to me, “We’re from Santa Cruz, and we’ve been coming here for ten years!!” And their point is?? That “entitles” them to go around a USFS barricade? (I did not confront them, again. I might have lost it, and done something stupid. Besides, I have the evidence, in photos, if needed.)

I have had people climb my gates, lift their bikes over and continue on because they feel they are “entitled” to trespass on private land that is posted. One bicyclist, refused to believe that this was private property, accusing me of erecting gates and the other trappings of a homestead on government land!! What planet are these people from? Amazingly, many of these people are from either Monterey Peninsula or Santa Cruz.

One time, it was a group of Hmong hunters from San Jose. My dogs alerted. It was very early, very foggy, and I did not see them until they were about 20 feet from my front door. Being hunters, they all had guns. Another time, a group of hunters set up camp on my private property, just outside my gate. They pointed a gun and threatened to shoot my dog. That time, the MCSO DID come, in full on riot gear, with assault weapons. MCSO said the hunters were extremely polite, and would I agree to let them leave in the morning when it was light? Ha. The hunters were polite to the armed, uniformed MCSO, but extremely rude and obnoxious to me, an aging single unarmed woman and worse, to my dogs, so no, I want them off my property NOW, in the dark.

I have literally hundreds of stories of people thinking they are “entitled” — and not just on forest service land, but on private property. Once, on another piece of property where a friend was caretaking while the owner was gone, this couple from LA just walked on down, was wandering around the back of the house to the deck overlooking the Pacific. “What are you doing?” we asked. “Oh, we just wanted to see the view.” “We wouldn’t dream of going into your backyard without your permission. Why would you think it is okay, here?”

Big Sur has always had a love/hate relationship with her tourists. Tourism is our primary economic resource base. But it seems as if more and more of them come with this ‘tude that makes loving them a real challenge. And *I* don’t work in the tourist industry!

I have a sign in my cottage that says, “The more I get to know some people, the more I like dogs.”

Buggy-eyed and blurry taled


Whimsical is my theme for today, and NO, I did NOT misspell “tailed” — I’m all “taled” out. I hope I made you smile when you checked my blog today!!

Some of you may recognize this classic landmark in Carmel. If not, why don’t you find it? (HINT, it is NOT in the 1 mile downtown proper.)


Update re BAER meeting tonight to be posted when received, probably tomorrow. Meanwhile, it is once again, smokey as hell up here on Top of the World. Other news posted periodically throughout the day below as they become available.


A link to the Tassajara Fire Monks 101 photos of the defense of the center is provided to the right, under “photos.” Unbelievable shots! I highly recommend that you take a look. Well worth your time. And we think we are brave??


Six National Forest Picnic Areas on Big Sur Coast to Reopen July 18

BIG SUR, CA…The Forest Service announced today that it will reopen six sites along the Big Sur Coast for day use only, effective Friday, July 18. All of the sites are west of Highway 1 and include Pfeiffer Beach, Mill Creek, Sand Dollar, Jade Cove Beach, Willow Creek and San Carpoforo Beach. Camping is prohibited in these facilities. Wood campfires and charcoal barbecues are prohibited, but gas stoves are permitted.

All other lands within the Monterey Ranger District, including all lands east of Highway 1, will remain closed to the public until the Basin Fire emergency is concluded. The closure prohibits public entry to all national forest lands, trails, roads and recreation sites. The closure applies only to Los Padres National Forest and does not affect private lands within the national forest boundary nor any State Parks land.


Ret Capt Mike’s comments re departing Deitrich

firefighterblog has a wonderful wrap-up on the quiet departure of IC Commander Mike Deitrich from the Basin Complex Fire leadership, and some of his public relations blunders, including the Apple Pie incident and the Tassajara Zen Center abandonment. I highly recommend that you take a look, if you have not done so, yet.


(Don Case) Finding a bowl-buddha

Don Case, sorting through the rubble of his home. Photo (and title) by Joyce Duffy. (Thank you Joyce!)

Joyce asked me to “pass this around” and so I am posting it here. It so poignantly captures the heartbreak of loss, I was honored that she asked me to share it. Feel free to leave Don Case, Panny, Josh, Neva, and Joyce Duffy your messages in the comment section (just click on comments), and I will make sure she sees each one of them and will notify her of each new post. Namasté, my friends and family.