Is Big Sur Going to Secede?

This is the place for general discussion and backcountry information.

Moderators: Betsy M, dknapp1

bigsurbob
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:54 am

Re: Is Big Sur Going to Secede?

Post by bigsurbob »

Why was this reposted? It's still ridiculous. :|
User avatar
darkwatcher
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:48 am

Re: Is Big Sur Going to Secede?

Post by darkwatcher »

From: WildBigSur [mailto:]
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 2:45 PM
To:
Subject: About public acquisitions on the coast

Posted by Jack Ellwanger
I've been asked why aren't public acquisitions like Molera good for the character of the coastal community.
On the whole Big Sur is not better by the public acquisitions. Molera, for example, should not be overrun by coyote bush. Once upon a time nature burned the grass prairie, then Indians mimicked nature and burned it to enhance the growth of edible and medicinal plants.

Since then it has suffered at the hands of dairy farming and now neglect by State Parks. People who were part of the community were moved off the land. SP allowed a resident caretaker, waste collection and some community usefulness and conservation caretaking was restored. Then SP moved the resident caretaker and the waste collection out and the neglect resumed. Now it has a lot of overgrown trails, nearly unusable, an empty ranch house which was promised to be a homesteader museum, and a horseback concession which fouls steelhead propagation redds and a river that is steadily deteriorated by neglect with a critical lagoon which is now nearly without its intended function.

About the Funt ranch: He was a contributing member of the Big Sur community. As was Dr. Brazil before him. They gave to community needs and attended meetings. The Forest Service doesn't do that. Same deal with MPRPD which bought ranches and destroyed what could have been affordable housing. Same deal with every property I've seen in the past five years that was purchased by a trust like BSLT, TPL or Redwoods League and flipped to a public agency -by a prearranged deal with a public agency which somehow approved the purchase and without any community involvement. It has been a steady process. I have maps which show the acquisitions since 1980 and will bring them Friday. Overpriced agency acquisitions blow up the market and obstruct all but the rich from acquiring private property.

The affect on the well being and psyche of the coastal community has not been good. People were lost -people who volunteered for the fire brigade, had kids in school, volunteered at the Health center and shopped here - and conservation caretakers were eliminated. The agencies that took the land have not been good caretakers. Just look at the horrendous loss of coastal redwoods from the last fire - almost entirely due to poor forest management by SP and USFS. More than half the USFS budget for Big Sur is for fighting fires. Practically no funds are budgeted for reducing fuels in the forest.

Coastal redwoods are genetically distinct canyon by canyon. I sent you a paper on the subject a year ago - you can find it here: Big Sur Redwoods Preservation.

Our issue is "Do we want to restore and nurture the cultural landscape that is uniquely Big Sur? Or do we want the government to own all the land with token luxury resorts and a few splashes of campgrounds. Do we want a community that has no say over a waste treatment plant that befouls the river and its precious native fishery? Do we want a coast devoid of people who live to express their passion for this rare landscape with art? Do we want a community that has little vibrancy in its citizenship, that has to passively watch public agencies neglect the land they love? I don't think the people of the state and the nation want that.

Those people don't want a place that is close to sacred to them to become a Hearst Castle market brand. They don't want a place that burns with increasing frequency and ferocity which only seems to serve a fire fighting industry. They don't want a place where trails are detached from their lives.

They want a vigorously engaged community which recaptures its vital role as frontline conservation practitioners. They want a place where the community people feel they own the trails, and use them to teach people about the special characteristics of the land. They want a place that lives out its destiny of self sustaining people who live here because it has touched their soul and inspired and activated it creative energy.

It's a place of a great artist legacy - writers, poets, painters, sculptors - who gave the world great works because they worked here. It's a place where botanists and other scientists came to make great discoveries. Big Sur has been the preeminent place of discovery in this continent. We have more than half of all the native plants of California here. More that 200 native plants have their southernmost habitat here. More than 200 native plants have their northernmost habitat here. It's a place where a yucca whipplei graces a coastal mountain alongside a redwood. It's a place of learning to love nature and wanting to protect it by individual and community initiative. It is the place where California came to embrace a vision of protecting and nurturing a landscape because they could become a spiritual part of it. That is a place of independent expression, of personal human growth and the promise of human potential as Esalen has come to symbolize.

As has been proved it is not a place for public agents to practice environmental neglect and who disdains a community that expresses independent spirit. It is not a place for agency employees who don't embrace the remoteness of this place and does not participate in a community.

Historically, Big Sur has been a place where people came to practice love of the land. Where Jaime de Angulo wrote Americans are doomed to lose because they don't have a connection to the land and have killed those who did. Our government has destroyed places where those people lived who did love the land. Big Sur can be the turning point for our government - where it learned to nurture the spirit and energy of a place and the people who loved the land.

It's a place where Jeff Norman grew from back country botanist to chronicler of coastal artists. It's a place where people developed the first land use plan in California and now want to celebrate it's artist heritage because that is the essence of those who chose to be here. It's a place where people who live here want to share it with the rest of the world because knowing it will make them better people who will help make the world better. It is a transcendence that can happen here. It happens all the time. The agents of that transcendence are the independent people of the community.

Government needs to sell land back to community interests. It also needs to innovate programs that put private people on its lands to be caretakers. Our community needs to create an organization that can give sellers an option, and to partner with public agencies to enhance the community's interest in the success of the whole community. Together we need to build alliances of trust to actualize a future for the Big Sur coast that was imagined in the Big Sur Visioning process.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WildBigSur
is a community email information network about cultural and natural history news and comment. You may remove, or add your email address from this list at anytime by sending an email with "remove" - or "add" in the subject line to <>
To post an event or a story, please send to: , or reply to this email with "post" in the subject line for consideration.
WildBigSur is a project of PelicanNetwork
el-guapo
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:17 am

Re: Is Big Sur Going to Secede?

Post by el-guapo »

How do you plan to pay for a fire and fuels management plan Jack, out of residents pockets? And it's more like 95% fed owned and managed. Considering the designation of Ventana and Silver Peak as wilderness, we're lucky they allow private property at all.
LOCAL unlike Jack Elwanger

Re: Is Big Sur Going to Secede?

Post by LOCAL unlike Jack Elwanger »

Jack, Jack, Jack...how do you live with yourself? You must be a miserable guy. Good luck.
bigsurbob
Posts: 17
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:54 am

Re: Is Big Sur Going to Secede?

Post by bigsurbob »

Where do you live Jack? Does your employer ever contract with government agencies? :roll:
bigsurkate
Posts: 60
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:43 am

Re: Is Big Sur Going to Secede?

Post by bigsurkate »

:lol:
User avatar
darkwatcher
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:48 am

Is Big Sur Going to Secede?

Post by darkwatcher »

From: CoastalHabitat <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2010 01:37:21 -0800
To: WildBigSur <>
Subject: A community stewardship
All,
Should we form a community stewardship to save Big Sur?
To protect what is left and regain some of what we have lost?
In the 1980s this community won the battle to thwart nationalization of the Big Sur Coast.
But 20 years after the community effort to create California's first Coastal Land Use Plan it seems like the war is being lost.
Twenty years ago about half of the Big Sur coastal zone was owned by a government agency. Today, some say it is now more like seventy-five per cent. That means there has been a fifty per-cent increase of government ownership of Big Sur coastal land in the last twenty years.
Land gets purchased by large land trusts after a deal has been made for a government agency to buy it from the trust. People who had lived on the land volunteered for the fire brigade have to move away. Their kids were in school. These people who were part of the social fabric and spirit of the community are gone. They were replaced with government agency bureaucrats who don't become part of the community.
Now there are fewer people in the cultural landscape. Traditional community activities have been suspended because there is not enough live human energy to keep them going.
These were the caretakers. They are being eliminated from the coastal community.
The first land use plan was achieved by local residents who wanted to protect this coast from a commercial invasion. As the pioneers and homesteaders who preceded them on the coast, these private people were practitioners of conservation. Later when government agencies took over more land in the name of conservation, these lands were at the mercy of well meaning but ambivalent visitors.
You can look at the lands as viewshed that has been protected. But the integrity of the landscape, the well being of the habitats are not being protected. As government loses money it loses its ability to protect these habitats lessens.
Poor forest management has caused a worsening fire regime. Each big fire gets worse and more historic community resources get lost. Rare endemic treasures such as the coastal canyon redwood groves and being lost. (See Redwood Protection <http://www.pelicannetwork.net/bigsur.redwoods.htm> .)

With a community stewardship we could own land, manage parks, create community resources such as the Coastal Trail and a community trail (and manage and maintain the trail, and police it, and provide interpretive services as guides, packers and hosts which all mean jobs for locals), establish community facilities such as a meeting and interpretive center, convert mismanaged lands to community resources such as a community garden.
Over the past few weeks we endured a government funded move to create "interpretive services" for the Big Sur Highway One corridor. It was a classic kind of situation where the consultant borrows your watch to tell you what time it is. An outside consultant landed a big government grant to interpret what we thought the world should know about Big Sur. Most people in the community who knew about this wondered why our community didn't get a grant to figure that out. I got tired of being asked by this consultant what we thought and told him in a letter to buzz off. I shared the letter with a few people in our community. They asked me to share it with you. It is attached.
It has probed me to think the Big Sur community needs to protect itself and nourish our cultural landscape. This concept originated with others who have given a lot to this community, care greatly and are visionaries. I've just listened. And I know what I've seen.
Should we meet privately to discuss the idea?
Jack Ellwanger

For the purpose of this discussion I will eliminate people who I know don't live in Big Sur. If you don't live in Big Sur and get one of these letters anyway, please don't reply. This discussion should be just among Big Sur residents (including most of the northern Santa Lucias, no?).
I will set up a separate email network if you want to discuss it online.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WildBigSur
is a community email information network about cultural and natural history news and comment. You may remove, or add your email address from this list at anytime by sending an email with "remove" - or "add" in the subject line to <> <mailto:>
To post an event or a story, please send to: , or reply to this email with "post" in the subject line for consideration.
WildBigSur is a project of PelicanNetwork <http://www.pelicannetwork.net/>
Post Reply