Tourist Tuesday, 10/16/18

There is a good article re the changes to Point Lobos going on to deal with the issues of overuse in the SJ Merc by Lisa Krieger.


POINT LOBOS – Securing a spot at this famed coastal reserve will soon be like scoring a table at Mario Batali’s hottest new restaurant.

In an attempt to reduce crowds at one of California’s most scenic places, Point LobosState Natural Reserve will soon become the first state park to require visitors to obtain reservations at peak times, following the successful example set by the National Park Service’s Muir Woods parking reservation system last year.

Managers of the preserve, famed for its beautiful vistas and miserable parking, say it’s being loved to death. On weekends, as many as 6,000 people per day may visit – more than four-fold the 1,400 visitors envisioned by park planners three decades ago. Because it’s a reserve, not only a park, it is required to have greater protection.

“There’s a finite amount of coastal prairie and tide pools. It can only sustain so much use,” said Brent Marshall, superintendent of California State Parks Monterey District. A test of the reservation system, described in a section of the State Parks’ new general plan, could be started next year.

For the rest of this article, go to:


Car Week Public Meeting with Mary Adams on 7/11/18

How come car “week” is 9 days long? Extra days for set up and clean up? Inquiring minds want to know!

Dear Friends,
The upcoming Car Week (August 18 -26) will bring many visitors and activities to Monterey County. As locals, we balance the positive impacts and excitement with the intermittent frustrations caused by a major international event coming to town.
With the majority of activity set to occur in the Fifth District, I thought it appropriate to host a focused community meeting to help you prepare. In addition to outlining the economic impact to our county, our Car Week Community Meeting will:
  • Overview the comprehensive calendar of planned events;
  • Highlight events permitted by the County of Monterey;
  • Demo Monterey County Connect – your tool for reporting issues and requesting services; and
  • Enable you to ask questions and share your concerns.
Please join me on July 11, 2018 from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. for an informative presentation and lively discussion. We will convene in the Laguan Seca Pavilion, located at 1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway. Representatives from the various organizations involved in readying our community for Car Week will be in attendance.
Mary L. Adams
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
District 5
 Monterey County Courthouse

STR public workshop, 7/11 at 10:30 am

Notice of Public Workshop Monterey County Planning Commission
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Planning Commission of the County of Monterey, State of California will conduct a public workshop as described below.
• Conduct a public workshop to receive a report on Advisory Committee outreach and preliminary consistency of the draft short-term rental ordinance with local area plans; and
• CEQA review to be conducted based on final draft ordinances.
The workshop will be held on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 at the hour of 10:30 a.m., in the Monterey County Board of Supervisors Chambers, County Government Center, 168 West Alisal Street, Salinas, California, at which time and place any and all interested persons may appear and be heard thereon.
We welcome your comments on this matter. The Agency accepts comments via e-mail or facsimile but requests that you follow these instructions to ensure that the Agency has received your comments.
To submit your comments by e-mail, please send a complete document including all attachments to: An e-mailed document should contain the name of the person or entity submitting the comments and contact information such as phone number, mailing address and/or e-mail address and include any and all attachments referenced in the e-mail. To ensure a complete and accurate record, we request that you also provide a follow-up hard copy to the name and address listed below. If you do not wish to send a follow- up hard copy, then please send a second e-mail requesting confirmation of receipt of comments with enough information to confirm that the entire document was received. If you do not receive e-mail confirmation of receipt of comments, then please submit a hard copy of your comments to ensure inclusion in the record or contact the Agency to ensure the Agency has received your comments.
Facsimile (fax) copies will be accepted with a cover page describing the extent (e.g. number of pages) being transmitted. A faxed document must contain a signature and all attachments referenced therein. Faxed documents should be sent to the contact noted below at (831) 757-9516. To ensure a complete and accurate record, we request that you also provide a follow-up hard copy to the name and address listed below. If you do not wish to send a follow-up hard copy, then please contact the Agency to confirm that the entire document was received.
You may submit your comments in hard copy to the name and address below.
Kate Battiato, Management Analyst III
Monterey County Resource Management Agency
1441 Schilling Place, 2nd Floor South, Salinas CA, 93901 (831) 759-6560,

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:


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

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.

What do Venice, Italy & Big Sur, CA have in common?

Several people over the weekend brought my attention to an article in the Guardian, which I usually read in any event. This article, however, is not about the politics I usually read, it is about how tourism is destroying Venice, Italy.


Here is the link to that article: Guardian Article

To entice you to read it, here are a few tidbits:

“Earlier this month an estimated 2,000 Venetians marched against a tourism industry they argue has eroded their quality of life, that is damaging the environment and driving residents away: Venice’s population has fallen from about 175,000 in the post-second world war years to 55,000 today.”

Here in Big Sur, the tourist industry and media accounts are still referring to the same “3 million visitors a year” model that they were using in 1985 when I first moved here. No update on the number of visitors Big Sur is expected to entertain has been provided in the 32 years I have lived here, and it has tripled, quadrupled, or more, in my  conservative estimation, during that time. If Nepenthe is serving 1000 meals a day in normal years, as has been claimed in all the recent news articles, then every single one of the  3 million people coming to Big Sur plus a 1/2 million more, are stopping at that establishment each year, and we know that while Nepenthe is an icon, everyone does not stop there. In fact, most do not.

“… Residents were hoping that Unesco would send a strong signal to the authorities by following through with a threat to place the world heritage site on its endangered list. Instead, the organisation recently granted the city another year to come up with measures to protect its monuments and preserve its fragile environment.

‘It feels as if we’re at a point of no return because it’s already out of control,’ said Beltrame. He would like tourist numbers to be limited, while focusing on improving the quality and promoting the city as a hub for scientific and maritime research.”

Here, we already have the Aquarium, the Marine Sanctuary, and maritime research, and more research on the fragility of our environment, the endangered species that call Big Sur home is needed.

Has the degradation of the experience of Big Sur for locals and tourists alike reached the point of no return here, as well? If we were a UNESCO site,  would we be put on their endangered list?

Come to the Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Council’s next meeting on August 11th, 2017 and share in the conversation. Details and Agenda will be posted when made available.

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!):


Overuse of Big Sur

Here’s one person’s solution. I grabbed this off of FB:


The first agency/residents meeting will take place later this week. Unfortunately, I have to attend a funeral so will not be able to attend. Representative residents from both the North and South Coast will be in attendance.The meeting venue is small, so I don’t believe it will be open to everyone who is interested, at this juncture. At least we are finally getting some dialogue going after last month’s meeting.