Tourist Tuesday, 4/3/18

I took  a closer look at thepresentation MCCVB made at the last BSMBAAC meeting. While I can see the need for a “Destination Master Plan”  for Monterey County, I think we need a separate and community oriented, implemented, and managed Sustainable Destination Stewardship Program/Plan for Big Sur. In discussions with Tammy Blount of MCCVB, she has agreed that a separate, “special” forum should be held for Big Sur. I look forward to working with Tammy and finding a common vocabulary which will strengthen our sense of community here in Big Sur – the crown jewel of Monterey County.

A “Master Plan” reminds me too much of dystopian novels like 1984, Brave New World, Handmaiden’s Tale, Soylent Green, etc. Personally, I think the Sustainable and Stewardship components of any plan are critical to how we approach the issue of sustainability of both the community and the environment of Big Sur as tourism continues to increase exponentially. The focus needs to shift from making money to sustaining the sense of place, in my opinion. Making money is only relevant if it is used to enhance the experience – not profit from it. I also see that Big Sur needs a bigger voice in any planning endeavor.  Big Sur needs to take the lead in any efforts to “market” her unique beauty, and if necessary, tell others she is not for sale. Several members of the board of CPOA are willing and delighted to work with us on creating an entity for such a purpose.

Naming, to me, helps to define, refine, and focus our goals so we don’t get distracted from the purpose we have for going forward, obtaining financing, other backing, and instituting meaningful change to save our community and place while we share it with visitors. Also, it will help establish the roles of all our various governmental and non-governmental agencies who claim a stakehold in Big Sur by helping them to fulfill their management plans and see the many ways each is compatible with the others. We need to get away from the singularity which defines each government agency and begin to see our Big Sur Coast as a holistic entity, entitled to the protection she needs and deserves.

Here is a quarterly event that MCCVB hosts that addresses this issue:

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The above is a screen shot, so the registration button is not “live.” Here is a link you can go to to register for the Sustainable Moments marketing forum: Sustainable Moments Quarterly Forum. I have signed up to attend, and will report back after the Forum. Marcus Foster has also indicated he is interested in attending. I would encourage all of you interested in the future of Big Sur and her tourism component to come to this forum to listen, learn, and contribute, if appropriate. Big Sur is the driving force behind tourism for the entire Monterey Peninsula. It is time we have a bigger voice that is heard.

Next week, I will seek out information on how to work with and organize all the diverse stakeholders present in Big Sur. Thanks to others in the community with whom I have had conversations, I am convinced that the MCCVB is NOT the appropriate entity to spear head an issue to preserve and protect Big Sur, and am looking at a whether a disinterested outside consultant might be the way to go, along with formulating a non-profit Big Sur entity capable of grant-writing, funding a consultant, fund-raising, organizing, and implementing a long-term plan that incorporates all the various interlocking pieces that comprise Big Sur and make her who she is. If you want to be a part of this process, please let me know how you see yourself contributing, either in the comments or via email to kwnovoa@mac.com

I had not intended to make this portion of my blog a full-time endeavor, but that is what it is becoming. Big Sur needs protecting and all of us must become proactive in this. All the individual concerns we have: bathrooms, traffic, degradation of the wilderness, camping, enforcement, tourists who drive Highway One (poorly), but don’t spend here, preserving our community, work-force housing, our history, protecting our environment and so much more are pieces of this much larger puzzle. Join us in becoming a part of the solution, instead of just bitching. Let’s save the love of our lives and our home, Mama Sur.

Fire Restrictions – LPNF

Although we entered level 1 restrictions just last Wednesday, fuel levels are becoming critical and today we are raised to level 2 restrictions, which include banning the use of any charcoal fires outside developed campgrounds.

GOLETA, CA, June 20, 2017…In response to the increasing potential for a wildland fire start, Los Padres National Forest officials announced that Level II fire restrictions will be implemented throughout the Forest effective immediately. These restrictions will affect the use of campfires, stoves, smoking materials and internal combustion engines, and will remain in effect until the end of fire season in late autumn.

Effective immediately, the following restrictions will be in effect:

· No open fires, campfires or charcoal fires will be permitted outside of developed recreation sites or designated Campfire Use Sites (list attached), even with a valid California Campfire Permit. Lanterns and portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel will be permitted, but only with a valid California Campfire Permit, which are available free-of-charge on the Forest website and at any Forest Service office. Forest visitors must clear all flammable material for five feet in all directions from their camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times during use.

· Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or a designated Campfire Use Site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

· Internal combustion engines may be operated only on roads or designated trails. This restriction is in effect year-round. Please make sure your engine is tuned, operating properly, and has an approved spark arrester.

“The moisture levels are approaching a critical threshold. Combine that with warm temperatures and high winds and we have all the ingredients for fire starts,” Los Padres Forest Fire Management Officer Carrie Landon said. “The most important thing is for forest visitors to be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution when conditions are ripe for a wildfire.”

For a list of Developed Recreation Sites and Campfire Use Sites in Los Padres National Forest, or further information regarding Fire-Safe Camping, visit www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf or contact the Forest Service district office nearest you.

Fire Restriction in LPNF

Issued late Wednesday afternoon.

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I suggest locals print out a copy of this (or more for distribution) and carrying them with you. Highlight the $5,0000 fine. Also you might wish to make it a habit of taking photographs of the vehicles camped along the side of the road, particularly on Nacimiento, making sure the license plate is visible. Make sure your camera and/or phone are set to date stamp these (either in Metadata or on the photo itself) and keep these for a couple weeks before dumping them, just in case they are needed. Let’s all hope for a safe and quiet summer.

Might want to print and carry this, too:

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LPNF Closure modified

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GOLETA, CA, December 8, 2016…Los Padres National Forest officials today reduced the Soberanes Fire closure order to the area that burned during the fire, effectively reopening the southern portion of the Monterey Ranger District to the public. Forest Service law enforcement officers will strictly enforce the closure order, which carries a penalty of $5,000 and/or six months in jail. This order will expire Dec. 4, 2017.

The new Soberanes Fire Closure Area begins at the northwest corner of Section 1, Township 17 South, Range 1 East, Mount Diablo Base and Meridian and continues east following the National Forest boundary to its intersection with Camel Valley Road. The closure then continues south and east along the Forest Boundary to its intersection with private property in Section 31, Township 20 South, Range 5 East, continuing south and east along the Ventana Wilderness Boundary paralleling the western edge of the Arroyo Seco/Indians Road to its intersection with Escondido Campground. The closure then continues west along the Lost Valley Trail to its intersection with the North Coast Trail via the Lost Valley Connector, then north along the North Coast Trail to its intersection with the North Coast Ridge Road. It then continues north and west along the North Coast Ridge Road to its intersection with State Highway 1, then north along State Highway 1 to its intersection with Palo Colorado Road and east back to the starting point, as shown on the attached map.
Closure of the fire area aims to help ensure that members of the public are not injured within the fire perimeter, and allows for the scorched landscape to begin the rehabilitation process.
For more information, visit the Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.
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Fascinating Reading on Big Sur Land Use by the Los Padres Nation Forest, 1977

It is quite the lengthy document, which can be found here: Los Padres Big Sur Land Use If this link does not work for you, google it. Google books has digitalized it, and for those with iPhones or iPads, we can save to our “iBooks.” For those of you who use the devil’s spawn (just kidding, sorta) I have no clue. But to give you a taste on the topics we have been discussing, here are a couple of paragraphs: (remember this was prepared FORTY YEARS AGO!):

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Goal of zero human caused wildfires?

Sounds impossible? It is not. My friend, Barbara Sparhawk found one USFS Ranger District which has achieved this goal. The leading cause of human fires is abandoned campfires, which have seen a tremendous increase down here on the South Coast.

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“Over the last three years, we have had a specific, written goal of reducing human-caused wildfires on the district to zero for an entire calendar year,” said Quentin Johnson, fire management officer for the Tusayan Ranger District. “Given that the district receives millions of visitors each year because it is located immediately adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park, we knew this would be an incredible challenge.”

….

The district’s success in 2014 was due largely to focused fire prevention efforts beginning almost 15 years ago that have chipped away at the leading cause of human fires on the district – abandoned campfires. Specifically, district fire prevention specialist Bob Blasi worked to gain compliance in dispersed camping areas and issued citations when necessary. With increased early-morning patrols, an extensive signing program, visits to local schools, Smokey Bear’s presence at local events, and a consistent prevention message for more than a decade, Blasi was able to systematically reduce the number of abandoned campfires and, therefore, the overall number of human-caused wildfires.

….

“Because of the support of fire managers, Kaibab National Forest leadership, the community and public, we have been able to go beyond just re-introducing fire into the ecosystem, to take it to the next level and demonstrate how when fire is managed responsibly, it becomes an integral part of obtaining desired forest health,” Blasi said. “This is the proof in the pudding. The more fire treatments we are able to successfully implement, the better chance we have of reducing and ultimately eliminating unwanted human-caused fire in our part of the forest.”

While focused fire prevention efforts have decreased the number of abandoned campfires in the Tusayan area, the challenge of eliminating all human-caused fires will continue. Each fire season brings a unique set of challenges including millions of new visitors to a popular tourist destination.

“If I were to designate one goal for the future, it would be that this record never last 50 years again,” Blasi said. “Eliminating human-caused fires is attainable through education, prevention and good stewardship.”

Monday Morning’s illegal campfire list

Much more ticketing, educating, and anguish for today. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? (Peter, Paul, and Mary – Where have all the flowers gone?)

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17 illegal campfires on the South Coast Sunday morning

I just don’t understand this … It is hotter than Darwin, as dry as the Mojave and people are having campfires? What is wrong with people?? And people wonder why those of us who live here don’t want any dispersed camping? Being constantly on edge that someone is going to “accidentally” burn us out is nerve wracking. This is absolutely nuts. I give up. We can’t educate those who don’t want to be, and they WAY out number the ones who do.

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Fire Restrictions

NEWS RELEASE

Los Padres National Forest
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Madsen (805) 961-5759
Twitter: @LosPadresNF

Fire Restrictions Take Effect in Los Padres National Forest

GOLETA, CA, June 13, 2016…Due to extremely dry vegetation and an increasing fire danger, Los Padres National Forest officials announced that Level III fire restrictions will go into effect beginning tomorrow, June 14, 2016. The following restrictions will be rigorously enforced until this Forest Order expires:

Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of Los Padres National Forest except for designated Campfire Use sites; however persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are allowed to use portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of designated Campfire Use Sites. California Campfire Permits are available for free download from the Los Padres National Forest website (http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf). You must clear all flammable material for a distance of 10 feet in all directions from your camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times when it is in use.

Recreational target shooting is prohibited in all areas of the National Forest unless specifically authorized by a special use permit with the Forest.

Hunting with a valid State of California hunting license during open hunting season is exempt from this restriction.

Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the national forest except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated Campfire Use Site.

Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order on roads and trails specifically designated for such use. (This restriction is in effect year-round.)

A list of designated Campfire Use Sites is attached. For further information regarding current conditions and safety tips, contact your nearest Forest Service office or visit the Los Padres National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.
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