A number of roads into Big Sur have been closed to reduce the number of people camping illegally in the area, especially with peak fire season just around the corner. These roads were closed with little notice, effective effect Friday, August 7, through October 19, 2020:
- Forest Road No 20S05.3 (Central Coast (Cone Peak) Road)
- Forest Road No. 22S05 (South Coast Ridge Road)
- Forest Road No. 23S01 (Los Burros (Willow Creek) Road)
- Forest Road No. 23S02 (Plaskett Ridge Road)
The U.S. National Forest Service ordered the closing of four main roads that lead to open space camping, where the threat of wildfires and trash are a problem.
“Another issue that a lot of people seem to be unaware of is that there are no restroom facilities up these roads. We’re seeing an excess of trash as well as human waste, feces, and toilet paper.”
– Andrew Madsen, a spokesperson for Los Padres National Forest Service
Over the weekend, fire crews ran into issues caused by overcrowding as they responded to two campers who overdosed.
Fines will be issued to people who don’t comply. The goal is to protect not only the residents and stunning landscapes of Big Sur but visitors as well.
Big Sur is a rugged and mountainous section of the Central Coast of California between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. It is frequently praised for its dramatic scenery. Big Sur has been called the “longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States,” a “national treasure that demands extraordinary procedures to protect it from development”, and “one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world, an isolated stretch of road, mythic in reputation.”
The stunning views, redwood forests, hiking, beaches, and other recreational opportunities have made Big Sur a popular destination for about 7 million people who live within a day’s drive and visitors from across the world. It is among the top 35 tourist destinations worldwide. The region receives about the same number of visitors as Yosemite National Park but offers extremely limited bus service, few restrooms, and a narrow two-lane highway with few places to park alongside the road. North-bound traffic during the peak summer season and holiday weekends is often backed up for about 20 miles (32 km) from Big Sur Village to Carmel.