Meeting Reports

Wednesday night’s CWPP meeting was very productive, per the attendees. I will expand on that this weekend. Today, Friday, is the BSMAAC meeting, which I will also report on this weekend, both here, in this post.

COMMUNITY WILDFIRE PROTECTION PLAN

Turn out was decent, for the South Coast. We did have representation from Gorda Mtn., Willow Creek, Plaskett Ridge, Pacific Valley, and Alm’s Ridge. Noticeably lacking was any representation from the Lucia/Harlan/Hermitage section of the South Coast, or Big Creek, which was represented in the last meeting.

One suggestion that Steve Daus seems to be considering is splitting off the South Coast from the North Coast Plan. I did not get a feel for whether that is feasible. One question, of course, is where to divide the coast. One suggestion was N-F Rd. and southward. Of course, that leaves out our Lopez Point and Big Creek neighbors. I would think south of Dolan Ridge might be the answer, but really unsure. Betty, Katee, and I have all sent additional suggestions to Steve via email regarding the draft plan.

Other discussions included the ratings given to different areas based on population densities, ridges, roads, fuel loads (and types) as well as other considerations. Equipping our South Coast fire brigade also was discussed.

Steve also mentioned he wanted to find the previous dozer line maps from the USFS, but was not having much luck. So, I sent him the photos I had taken of the ones I had seen.

iPhoto Library
Chalk Fire

DSC_8355
Basin Fire

Hey, Steve — what can Big Sur Locals do that USFS cannot? Supply you with dozer maps!

It is hard to summarize a two-hour meeting in just a few paragraphs, but these are the main points, from my perspective.

The Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Council Meeting covered much more ground and time, lasting about 3 hours. I will report on that separately this weekend.

Billy Post, the legend

Some of you may have received this email from the Chamber of Commerce, but others not, so I reproduce it here, with permission. Also included was an incredible photograph of Billy Post.

Billy Post
August 24, 1920 – July 26, 2009

Billy Post
A man of the land returns to the land

BIG SUR – The 4th generation of a well known homesteading family, Billy Post was a respected and enormously loved “old timer” in Big Sur. A humble and gentle man, he had an old fashioned sense of courtesy and manners. Billy had a vast love and knowledge of Big Sur, his home and community, its history and environment. He knew every tree and path at Post Ranch, and paid attention to the natural world around him, the wild creatures and plants and especially horses. In his younger days he was able to combine these passions and share his experience with others by offering pack trips on horseback into the Big Sur wilderness. Billy was an expert horseman and wrangler, and was known as a horse whisperer who always gentled, never broke his horses. While in his teens and twenties he drove cattle on the three day trip from Big Sur to the cattle yard in Monterey. After the opening of Post Ranch Inn in 1992, he took guests on nature walks on the ranch and when arthritis claimed his joints he mastered the nuances of an off road Segway to continue his contact with people and nature. In his last years he shared breakfast with guests of the inn, telling stories of the bygone era of his life. Bill had a way of paying attention and taking care of others, of giving them a glimpse of a simpler and quieter time. A man of integrity, he positively influenced the lives of thousands of people with his warmhearted graciousness and generosity.

Named Joseph William Post III after his grandfather and father, Billy was born before there was a highway connecting Big Sur to Carmel. His great-grandfather, William Brainard Post, originally from Essex, CT, was among the first pioneers in Big Sur in the 1860s. His great-grandmother, Anselma Onesmio, was a native Costanoan from Carmel Valley. The family’s two-story home is a registered historical landmark, the last homestead still standing in Big Sur. It was a working ranch, and Billy was put to work at a young age. He drove out to gather firewood as soon as he was able to handle a team of horses (he was so young that someone else had to harness the team for him). Wood stoves consumed a lot of fuel, and keeping plenty of firewood on hand was Billy’s job. He spent time behind the traces of a mule pulling a plow, milked cows, took care of chickens and turkeys, gathered eggs and looked after livestock. He got up at 4:00 a.m. so he could finish his morning chores before the hour-long school bus ride to Monterey. After high school Bill studied animal husbandry at UC Davis. He hoped to become a veterinarian. To finance his education he went raccoon hunting to sell the pelts and bought a bulldozer to grade and clear building sites along the coast. World War II put an end to that dream and he joined the Marine Corps and since he was a crack shot, he became a rifle instructor at Camp Matthews. He spent time in the Pacific at Nagasaki, Okinawa, Saipan, and Tinian, and he was one of the first to see Nagasaki after the bomb was dropped.

When he returned home to work on the ranch he helped build the Rancho Sierra Mar café and campground. He was employed for many years as a highway electrician for Caltrans. Bill wed in his middle thirties, and the next few years saw the birth of his two girls, Gayle and Rebecca. When that marriage ended, he raised his daughters alone. Then he met Luci Lee, a business woman and mother of two daughters, Nancy and Linda. In 1969 Billy married Luci, his sweetheart and the love of his life. Together they created a new family with their four daughters. In 1973 they returned to Big Sur to help his ailing parents. After their passing, Billy’s family moved into the home he had built for his parents, now called the Post House. Later they moved to Carmel Valley.

As a man who lived most of his life far from town, Billy could fix, make-do, and repair practically everything. He loved equipment that could shape the earth. He operated heavy equipment before and during World War II, built roads, cut fire lines, and prepared land for construction. All the tractor work in the development of Post Ranch Inn was done by Billy, and he operated the bulldozer, backhoe, and the auger that set the foundations for the inn.

Very committed to his family, Billy was a true and devoted partner to his wife Luci. They were always together and traveled extensively. He was very close to his sister, Mary Fleenor, and after her death, Bill, who hadn’t been able to finish college, put Mary’s estate into a trust to pay the educational expenses for eleven children of family and friends. He performed in many Big Sur Revues, loved to square dance, was a founding member of the Big Sur Grange and the Big Sur Historical Society, and was an active member of the Monterey Elks Lodge and Monterey Model A Car Club. He had a private pilot’s license and delighted his family by flying them on trips with their dog, Tini. Billy donated a site on the ranch for the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Department to build their firehouse, which was named in memory of his father.

He was preceded in death by his daughter Nancy Downing. He is survived by Luci, his beloved wife of 40 years, three daughters; Linda J. Lee of Seaside, Gayle Forster of Marina and Rebecca Post of Olympia WA, seven grandchildren; Pamela Patterson (Rick), Gregory Paley (Maria), Anna Vargas, Gabriel Forster (Jessica), and Richard, Shane and Daniel Forster, and seven great grandchildren; Jessica, David and Julian Paley, Paley and Madison Martin, and Rafael and Jade Vargas.

For the large family of employees at Post Ranch Inn, Billy was a treasure. He represented the strongest redwood on the ranch. With his passing, it is as if a giant tree has fallen. On his walks Billy always pointed out the new sprouts and small trees growing in a circle where an old tree had once stood. So too, his loving legacy will live within his large circle of family and friends. The spirit of a wonderful man has flown through the window of the Ventana mountains. Billy Post will be loved, remembered and missed by all who knew him. Memorial donations may be sent to the Big Sur Grange, the Big Sur Health Center, the Big Sur Historical Society or the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade. For information or to leave comments or remembrances, see http://www.JWPost.com The website will be active Wednesday, July 29.

Family and Friends will gather at Post Ranch Saturday August 1 from 2 to 6pm
for a celebration of Billy’s life. Please carpool, parking is limited.
.

Two meetings this week

The first is the CWPP — Community Wildfrire Protection Plan — meeting. The South Coast one is Wednesday, July 29, 7-9 pm at the school. The North Coast one is Thursday 7-9 at the Lodge. A draft of the preliminary planning document is being circulated. I sent it to all on the South Coast, and some on the North Coast, for which I had email addresses. If you want to see it, but did not receive a copy, send me an email at kwnovoa@mac.com

DSC_0249

This old fire engine never did work the types of fires we see, but she sure is a beaut, isn’t she?

The second meeting is the Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Council on Friday, July 31, from 10-1 pm. This is the agenda:

10:00 a.m. I. CALL TO ORDER Congressman Sam Farr

II. ROLL CALL AND INTRODUCTIONS

III. APPROVE MINUTES OF May 22, 2009

10:15 IV. PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS

10:25 V. OLD BUSINESS
1. Update on Los Padres National Forest Rep. Sam Farr
Big Sur Management Unit Line Item
VI. NEW BUSINESS

1. New Code Enforcement Ordinance Tim McCormick, County Building
2. Prospects for Broadband on the Central Coast Arlene Krebs, Central Coast Broadband Consortium
11:00 VII. REPORTS FROM MEMBER AGENCIES

(please bring written report)

Big Sur Resident Member
Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
Coast Property Owners’ Association
Monterey County Planning and Building Inspection
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District
California Coastal Commission
Caltrans
State Parks and Recreation
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
United States Forest Service
27th District, State Assembly
15th District, State Senate
United States Congress

12:30 p.m. VIII. REPORTS FROM OTHER AGENCIES

1:00 IX. NEXT MEETING ON November 13, 2009

(10:00 a.m. Pfeiffer Conference Room, Big Sur Lodge)

1:05 X. ADJOURNMENT In Memory of Bill Post

Passing on of an original

CPOA sent this out today as an email. I am saddened at the passing of Bill Post, a descendent of one of the original homesteaders in Big Sur. The announcement of his passing includes some of the Post Family history, which is always fascinating to read, particularly for those in love with Big Sur, but not particularly knowledgeable about the history.

I took this last year of the original Post Ranch homestead. To create something a little different of this much-photographed historical building, I used the “Orton Effect” on this photograph.

Post Homestead

Dear Friends,

Bill Post passed away last night. Born in Big Sur to a homesteader family, Bill’s passing marks the end of an era for the Big Sur Coast.

Native American, a wise and kind and gentle soul, the Gentleman of Big Sur will be missed and remembered by all who knew him.

Gary Koeppel

The following is excerpted with credit to the Post Ranch Inn regarding the history of the Post Family:

Post Ranch Inn began with a handshake in 1984, but the history of the area goes back much further. Carbon dating indicates the Costanoan Indians inhabited the region for more than 3,600 years. Most of the Indians eventually succumbed to disease introduced by soldiers and missionaries, and Big Sur remained relatively devoid of inhabitants until the 1860s, when the first western pioneers arrived on the scene.

William Brainard Post, an 18-year-old Connecticut Yankee, stepped off a ship in Monterey in 1848. A spirited explorer and entrepreneur, W.B. Post spent his early years on the California coast hunting grizzly bear and deer. He later traded in his buckskin and became a businessman, starting the first grain warehouse in Moss Landing and the first butcher shop in Castroville.

In 1850, W. B. married Anselma Onesimo, of Costanoan descent, with whom he had five children. When he took out a claim on 160 acres of land in Big Sur, he became one of the region’s first homesteaders. With the help of his sons, he built a cabin. The red New England-style house, a registered historical landmark, still stands on Highway 1 across from the entrance to Post Ranch Inn. The Post family raised cattle and hogs and exported apples from a thriving orchard.

W.B. and Anselma’s youngest son, Joe, married Elizabeth Gilkey, a neighbor of Cherokee descent, and eventually bought up claims from both of their families, accumulating nearly 1,500 acres, including the area of Post Ranch Inn. Together the adventurous couple ran the ranch and acquired the wilderness around Big Sur. Their son Bill continued the family tradition of leading trips and working as a cowboy and rancher.

While carrying mail from Monterey to Big Sur, Bill met Irene Fredericks, a city girl whose romance with Bill turned her summer visit to Big Sur into a lifelong stay. The couple opened Rancho Sierra Mar, a small resort and café near the Post family home, which they ran with their two children, Billy and Mary.

Bill Post has been in Big Sur most of his life, and there were many chores on the self-sufficient homestead. After serving in the Marine Corps in WW II, Bill came home to run the ranch. He was raising two daughters on his own when he met and married Luci.

Over the years, it grew difficult to hold onto the old style of ranching. In the early 1980s, a close friend and neighbor approached Bill and Luci with the idea of turning the land into an inn that would preserve the integrity and history of the Post family’s property. After shaking hands on the deal, they sealed the Post partnership with a shot of Jack Daniels, which has since become the Inn’s unofficial drink. When an agreement was signed years later, the partnership bought Bill a tractor, which he used to do nearly all the excavation and grading to build the Inn.

The Inn has been a Post family project in more than one way. It was Bill’s idea to honor the early history of Big Sur by using the ranch cattle brands as the logo and naming each guest room after Post family and friends. Luci put together the library. The late Mary Post Fleenor ran the Rancho Sierra Mar café until it closed in 1972. On its opening night, the new Sierra Mar restaurant was dedicated to Mary.

A couple of days a week you can find Bill at breakfast at Sierra Mar. You are invited to join him and view his photographs of the old family homestead and cattle ranch. What better way to learn about a place than with someone who has been exploring it for more than 80 years?

—— End of Forwarded Message

CPOA Board
info@cpoabigsur.org
Serving the Big Sur Coast for over 45 years.

BSVFB Fundraiser

Some of you may have seen this today, put out by CPOA, but for those who did not, I am reproducing it in its entirety. An evening in Monterey is hard for South Coast folks, but any North Coast folks might be interested. For others, who cannot attend, but would like to donate, the BSVFB makes it easy. Click on their link to the right, and when you get to their home page, there is a donate button that goes through paypal. Takes just a few minutes, or seconds, depending on your internet speed. (Sorry, the pictures did not come through in the copy & paste.)

It’s a Happening!

It’s been a year since the Basin Complex Fire.
Tom and I wanted to do something
so we’re organizing a benefit for the
Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade
5PM – 7:30PM
Thursday, August 6th
at Wave Street Studios

774 Wave Street, Monterey

It’s a reading and an interview

and an art show

and a celebration

Gary is pouring wine (Pinsoni Vineyards & Winery)

and Tom and Nepenthe

are cooking up lots of treats.

Bubbly will flow courtesy of McIntyre Vineyards

Hospitality and service will be provided by Big Sur Food & Wine Festival

You won’t want to miss it!

Tickets are $50 per person.
Make your check payable to Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade.
30% of all art sales go directly to the Brigade, too.
Space is very limited.
Call 831/646-9000 now to make a reservation or to sponsor the event

P.S if you have to miss it, catch it on line at livenetworks.tv from 6PM-7PM.
P.P.S Call Wave Street at 831/ 655-2010 for directions.

Journal excerpt, August 2, 1972

” Yesterday there was big fire at Jack Flat’s. It burned most of it up. It leapt the road and landed on the trees and started up the hill. It burned 3,000 acres. The Rangers say that by the time it stops 10,000 acres will be burned. Today it burned all the Pfeiffer Falls area. About 1,000 people had to be evacuated out of the park itself. Now it is going fast into the mountains where no human lives are in danger. I don’t know but there must be at least thousands of dead animals out there. At Nepenthe Restaurant, thousands of ashes flew on to the terrace. The ashes are gone but its pretty dusty! They have closed off the highway so the equipment can go through. Overhead I can hear the air tankers (planes, jets.) A few days ago we went to a flea market in Moss Landing. I got a doll-flower bowl. Holly got a surprise.”

Well, I was not yet 9 years old when I recorded these first impressions of the 1972 Molera Fire. What I remember now is sitting in the Hopkins pool on Partington Ridge watching the smoke billow up before we knew what was going on. Later that winter, there were terrible mudslides. The river rose up and cars were washed downstream below River Inn. I was in third or fourth grade. I remember we went down to Big Creek and planted trees to replace the ones that had burned. It seemed like they would never grow back.

During the Basin Complex Fire last summer, we talked about how things would be later, when the fire was out, when we were home again. But talking about the way it would be after the fire while the fire was still raging was eerie and unsettling. Would we be able to go home again? Not everybody did. What would we see when we made that drive south for the first time? I know I cried from Molera to Nepenthe the first time I made that drive home, after the mandatory evacuation had finally been lifted.

During that intense period of fire and aftermath, I felt incredibly grateful to the men and women who were fighting the fire. I wanted to do something to thank them. But most of my energies went into getting my life back on track, working on getting my studio up and running in Monterey, Chi’s wedding, helping Emily find a new apartment in Santa Barbara, and finally closing my studio and coming home again. Time passed, life went on.

Now it’s been a year. It’s time.

Please join me in thanking all the men and women of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade and Auxiliary by attending our upcoming fundraiser for the Brigade at Wave Street Studio August 6th. Come for the reading, the wine, the cause. Stay for the conversation, the connecting, the community-building.

It will be an evening to remember.

Erin
831/646-9000 or 667-2454
CPOA Board
info@cpoabigsur.org

Lavender Coast

I have to get my notes together, and write a summary of the Wildfire Protection Plan meeting last night … I have the photos of the Ripplewood/Library garden to upload to my computer … I have to work, but am distracted by the beautiful summer day … but in the meantime, here is a stunning watercolor sent to me by the art teacher at Pacific Valley School, Dave Allen. I am going to use it as my banner for a while, as it is just so beautiful.
lavender sunset2

7/6 2008 vs. 7/6 2009

Last year, the road had been closed to all traffic for the 3d day. This year, all campgrounds are full, and there are lots of people visiting establishments up and down the coast. It is so good to see. Keep on comin’ y’all.

I took a couple shots of the gardens at Ripplewood near the Big Sur Library today. Will post one or two tonight or tomorrow.

Personal update: Dakota continues to improve. While there is still a large “gap,” the inside is healing up nicely. No outside off a leash until completely healed. Mom was moved to a rehabilitation center Friday night. So far, she’s happy there. I don’t expect that to last.

July 5th 2008

On this date, bigsurkate was born (the blog, not the person). Thanks to all my readers for your comments, your contact, and for making this so much fun!!

Last year on July 4th, Big Sur was on lock down — a ghost town. This year, Big Sur was packed. Events were held at almost every venue. Cars lined the highway at Esalen, HML, Nepenthe, Spirit Garden, River Inn. Every where one went, crowds were enjoying music, food, drink.

What a difference a year makes.

YAY! I reached 100K “hits” today for my 1 year anniversary, with no small help from my son, Brendon Shave, and thanks to all of you this past year.

July 4, 2008

July 4, 2008 – I cannot find my notes, and I did not write in my journal for much of July, as I was far too busy, but I started my blog one year ago tomorrow, so some of the story about last Independence Day was reported then. I am recreating the day, based primarily on a memory with holes in it – swiss cheese holes – a moth-eaten sweater. I also have no photographs taken that day, at least that I can find. The road was closed, as previously posted.

When I first got a copy of the 409.5 memo on 7/4, I called OES (Office of Emergency Services), and they had a Commander Teter of the MCSO call me back. When I got no satisfactory explanation about the issuance of the memo, other than it was to “educate” the Big Sur community about the power the MCSO had, I was furious. The MCSO was flexing its muscles and declaring a police-state in Big Sur, and fully intended on arresting who ever got in their way.

It was a holiday. Everything was closed. What could I do? The only places open were newsrooms. Having lived and worked in Monterey County, much of that in the justice system, I knew I needed to go outside of the county. I called the LA Times newsroom and the SF Chronicle newsroom. I posted something on surfire2008.org. Before my post was removed from surfire2008, Deborah Schoch, a staff reporter from the LA Times called. After speaking with her for some time, I got her phone numbers, and said I’d pass it on to a member of the Curtis family who was not in Big Sur, and if they wanted, they could pass it on to Micah and Ross. This resulted in more phone calls, and more long conversations with Curtis family members and LA Times reporter, Eric Bailey. Only a few days later, he and Deborah Schoch published a 3-page article about the police state in Big Sur. It is still accessible at:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-backfire7-2008jul07,0,3314737.story

This was the start of the battle between Big Sur Locals and the Mike Kanalakis, Sheriff of Monterey County. Kanalakis also made the mistake of taking on Cachagua in Carmel Valley. Both were big mistakes.

Thanks to Jim Kimball for archiving posts from surfire2008 and other sources, we have an excellent record of all that happened on this day last year. It was a busy day, with reports from locals coming in up and down the coast all day long. Let’s not forget what it was like to live in this police state from July 3, 2008 to July 8, 2008, when the road opened to locals and their employees, and July 11, 2008 when the road opened completely.

Go to this link, and scroll down. It is arranged as all blogs tend to be, with the older posts first, or backwards chronology. Just scroll down to July 4th and start reading. It is fascinating:

http://www.surcoast.com/Info_Update_OLD.html

July 3, 2008

July 3rd, 2008, one year ago today, the MCSO issued its infamous memo.

sheriffevacinfo

All our representative’s offices were closed for the long week-end. I am convinced to this day that the timing was purposeful. Can’t call Dave Potter’s office, can’t call Sam Farr’s office. Who can I connect to change this newly created “police state” in Big Sur. LA Times & San Fran Chronicle both come to mind. So, I call them. I provided the same story, but the LA Times was the most interested. Then, Ross Curtis got arrested.
(To be continued tomorrow.)