State Parks Closure Planned

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Location: California Coast Range

Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by Boon »

The people working behind the information desk at Big Sur Station are not the ones at fault, in my opinion. With the exception of one rather uninspired kid a while back, over the years I've found them to be very interested in helping in any way they can. Unfortunately, the management in charge doesn't give them the information they need to fully do their job, so their help is limited. The facility is a joint venture between State Parks and the USFS with the intent of providing information pertaining to the recreational use of the lands of both agencies. I believe that the information available about any of the State Parks in Big Sur is most likely up to date and accurate because they have the largest and most engaged presence there. With the exception of the fire crew, the USFS has only one person in a back office at Big Sur Station who seems to care little if at all about wilderness, recreation or the backcountry and who in the past has actively worked to prevent the VWA from supplying timely trail condition information to the public there. It's a regrettable situation.

The trail conditions pages and forum on the VWA website are the best resources for current backcountry information available, and Mike's suggestion below to just keep an internet-connected computer behind the desk with the pages bookmarked is the best I've heard. Heck, it's just using basic information technology and they get the info for free. But again, it's up to management to recognize this and act on it. I wonder if they're reading this...

Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by guest »

Ha, ha ... "Where is Big Sur?" is a loaded question. One friend, before she answers, always asks "What part are you asking about?" Usually, people are referring to the Valley.

According the the Big Sur Land Use Plan, it runs from Wild Cat in Carmel Highlands, down to the MoCo/SLO county line, and 5 miles inland. The Big Sur zip code, doesn't start until sometime after Palo Colorado Canyon Rd., which is 93923, Carmel, but 93920 runs all the way south to the county line, I believe, but definitely down to Gorda. Ragged Point, in SLO, considers itself part of Big Sur. So where is Big Sur? A whole show based on that question is happening at the Henry Miller Library this weekend. Or was it last?

Where is Big Sur to you?
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K Vandevere
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Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by K Vandevere »

Yikes ...

I would have thought that expecting people in an "Information Center" to have access to the most basic and rudimentary facts (like whether or not the Forest is open) wasn't all that much to ask. I see now I was wrong.

Thank you, commenters, for opening my eyes to the fact that getting anything right these days is just too complicated and that getting erroneous information from official sources should simply be considered part of the excitement of the Wilderness experience. Those who complain are obviously just whiners and weaklings who have no business in "our" wilderness anyway. Heck, they're probably the same losers who've humiliated themselves for life by missing the flowers! ;)
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Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by sweetbird »

It really just boils down to taking personal responsibility for one's decisions when going into nature. Walking with a backpack full of gear into the wilderness isn't like going to the mall in some posh upscale suburb where you know what to expect based on looking at the mall directory. Water can always be found at the mall and you know the only hazard you'll encounter when walking from Macy's to PacSun is a pukey child or an old person who isn't watching where they are walking.

Now, no matter what someone tells you about trails conditions, water availability, or the weather, you have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That means, take into account the severe drought conditions CA has faced over the past 3.5-4 years. Take into account that maybe not all the trails have been trimmed after the minimal rains poured over the charred, and now very fertile, remains of some of the most massive wildfires the area has seen in 30-40 years. Which brings up another side question: where were all of you when the wildflowers this year made the brightest and most spectacular appearance Big Sur has ever seen (Billy Post confirmed this)????? And you didn't even have to go into the backcountry to see them..... haha to you, cause I got to see 'em.

Also consider that you are expecting realtime stats and condition reports from people who only make 10 dollars an hour. You should be happy that they are even there to answer your calls. Pretty soon, that might not even be available, so cherish the "marginal" information you're getting from a live person while its still there. And if I was making 10 dollars an hour, I'd be apathetic to exaggerated complaints, too. I know other people who have gone out into the backcountry and have been fine. Yeah, they got the odd poison oak rash, some scratches, and were challenged, but they were stoked to have been surrounded by mostly unadulterated beauty, which some of you seem to be taking for granted. The imperfection of nature is what makes it so special and if you can't handle yourself on established trails, you should stay home and put your feet into a hard-plastic kiddy pool in the backyard and sit under an umbrella so that "nature" doesn't getcha!
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Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by mikesplain »

Jen M-
are you sure you asked for the location of BIG SUR???
Such a question is pretty ambiguous & I could certainly understand anyone's inability to answer it!
"Monterey County Placenames" dedicates an entire page to the name,
which can be construed to mean the coast between the Carmel River & the Monterey County Line,
the Big Sur River Valley
or ZIP code 93920.
In all cases you were already there when you asked!
But you mention a 10 mile hike...
Jen M

Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by Jen M »

I agree. I recently asked the Rangers where Big Sur was and nobody could give me a clear answer. Only after doing some research online was I able to determine that the 10 mile stretch of trail leading to Big Sur is actually closed.
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Betsy M
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Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by Betsy M »

When you hike in the Ventana, you tend to get in the habit of asking people you meet where they've been, what kind of conditions they found. The trails are not maintained in a way that you can count on their being they way you remember, and between fires, windstorms, snow, and heavy rain, there's a lot that can happen to a trail. Personally it wouldn't occur to me to ridicule someone for asking a question about a trail, and it sure wouldn't seem unreasonable for the people who get paid to sit behind a desk to be able to offer helpful information in a courteous manner. They should be able to provide a range of suggestions to tourists, to locals, to people who have no idea what the phone number is in King City, or where to find online information. They especially should know what trails are open, what ones are closed, and whether the National Forest is open or closed. Most people do not travel with their laptop just so they can check to see trail conditions as they drive down Highway 1.

Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by AdamT »

State Parks hires seasonal employees, it's not a year round job Vauxil. So you don't get local people working there that know 100% of the info. You get employees who have to learn it. What question is it that they can't answer? What question do you need to ask about the Ventana that you just couldn't have gone online and found the answer in two seconds? Most of the people that walk into the station just want to know where a good hike is or a beach, maybe a place to camp. So the tourist are lucky because the employees learn those answers right away, and the tourist gets directed to a good hike at Molera, or Pfeiffer Big Sur. If you have a detailed question about the backcountry you should just ask here and you'll get the answer. Or maybe if you have a forest service question you should contact King City or Golita office since they make and change the info and don't bother calling the station to tell them.
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Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by mikesplain »

Actually, many areas within Big Sur State Parks east of Highway 1 ARE closed,
but due to hazardous / post-fire conditions, not budgetary reasons.

AdamT, please check yourself-
telling someone to "shut your loud mouth",
implying that a volunteer trail worker "deserved" (note correct spelling)
to be given false information by tax-funded employees?
& then daring to mention "respect for others"???
Take a few seconds & consider the hypocrisy in these statements.

Now consider this-
I recently received a trail report from someone who went for a hike
on a recommendation from Big Sur Station.
She described a harrowing experience of wading through deadfalls,
running out of water and even coming close to serious injury.
When she returned home & called
to warn Station employees there of the hazardous conditions
(I quote directly-)
"The people at Big Sur Station were totally apathetic and unresponsive.
They wouldn't even agree to not tell people to take the trail!?!"

I'm certain that most of the folks working at Big Sur Station
DO take their jobs seriously and ARE doing the best they can.
But what you don't know CAN hurt- you & others;
especially when it comes to travel conditions
in a wilderness area completely re-shaped by fire.

The most frustrating thing to me is that it doesn't need to be this way.
The trail reports page on this website has, hands down,
the most current trail conditions,
and it's absolutely free!
Surely Big Sur Station has an internet connection!?
Why not bookmark
& when someone inquires about an unfamiliar trail-

Every month or so,
a volunteer drops in at Big Sur Station
& places VWA trail crew brochures in a prominent location.
(These brochures feature the aforementioned URL with current conditions.)
Yet every time I get there, the brochures are nowhere to be found

Does anyone have a better solution to this disconnect???

Re: State Parks Closure Planned

Post by Vauxil »

So, I guess you are saying that they are specially screened to know nothing and come here for the summer? Glad to know that the USFS /state parks are putting top men on the job - at a location that you previous mention as being central to thousands of lost tourists each year - lucky for the tourists that they are directing - that they have no direct knowledge of the area they serve.

Your message also seems to imply that all state parks are closed - they are not. Even the state parks that are proposed to be closed for budgetary reasons are not likely to close until labor day - ... -be-closed

I think that the bottom line is that the people at the front desk should be informed as to which trails and parks are open, and their information should be up to date and reliable.
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