Planning a tenting journey to Huge Sur? Except you ebook reservations at one of many space’s established campgrounds, you can face a stiff positive.
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors on July 26 handed an emergency ordinance quintupling the positive for unlawful tenting within the Huge Sur space from $200 to $1,000 per day, efficient instantly.
That charge hike signifies that penalties for unlawful tenting now match the fines levied for littering within the space, in response to a county workers report.
Indicators alerting guests concerning the fines will price about $6,000 to create and set up, county workers mentioned.
“Monterey County has had an present tenting prohibition from Carmel River to the San Luis Obispo County line for a few years,” mentioned Sarah Hardgrave, chief of workers for Monterey County Supervisor Mary Adams.
That prohibition contains tenting alongside the scenic 72-mile stretch of Freeway 1 that winds by way of Huge Sur.
It’s additionally unlawful to camp alongside the primary 3.5 miles of any aspect highway maintained by Monterey County, in response to Butch Kronlund, government director of the Neighborhood Affiliation of Huge Sur.
His group is without doubt one of the organizations that’s been gathering information to assist persuade the supervisors that increased unlawful tenting fines are essential to defending the shoreline.
Hardgrave mentioned the impetus for rising the fines “got here from the legislation enforcement businesses that defend the Huge Sur coast, with the priority for public security and the chance of wildfire.”
“Residents have documented quite a few unlawful campfires together with unlawful tenting,” she mentioned.
By rising unlawful tenting fines, Monterey County hopes to “strengthen the prohibition on roadside tenting to be extra of a deterrent, as a result of the prevailing positive was lower than the price of a campground,” Hardgrave mentioned, particularly when factoring in an extended keep.
Whereas a keep at a state-run campground can price as little as $35 an evening, these spots usually replenish months upfront. And charges at luxurious amenities are a lot costlier — such because the campsites at Treebones Resort, which price at the very least $105 an evening with a two-night minimal keep required. The resort’s famed yurts start at $360 an evening.
In January, Monterey County workers reported to supervisors that unlawful roadside tenting within the space has “created a constant an rising public well being and security concern for the group, significantly relating to campfires, disturbed habitat and littering, and the potential for forest fires.”
“These dangers are presently heightened given the drought and elevated touring resulting from COVID-19 pandemic restrictions being lifted,” workers mentioned within the report.
In line with Kronlund, 100 to 200 autos per night time “are utilizing the aspect of the highway for his or her campsite,” with extra on vacation weekends.
“We’re seeing nationwide park degree visitation, however we don’t have the infrastructure that nationwide parks have,” Kronlund mentioned. “When individuals begin portray outdoors the traces, treating this lovely place just like the Wild West, it places an actual burden on that infrastructure.”
Monterey County’s considerations about unlawful tenting come after years of devastating fires
The 2016 Soberanes Hearth was began by an unlawful campfire. That fireside burned a complete of 132,127 acres and 57 houses over 82 days, costing $236 million to place out.
The fireplace burned 57 houses and killed a bulldozer operator.
Unlawful campfires sparked two wildfires over the July 23-24 weekend, Kronlund mentioned.
Crews with Huge Sur Hearth, Cal Hearth and the U.S. Forest Service shortly contained the blazes whereas they have been nonetheless small, mentioned Matt Harris, chief of the volunteer Huge Sur brigade.
In line with Kronlund, Huge Sur residents recurrently clear up mounds of trash and stomp out campfires left behind by unlawful campers.
They’re additionally compelled to cope with well being hazards. Aside from amenities at eating places, state parks and campgrounds, there are not any public restrooms within the space, Kronlund famous.
Some leisure automobile customers dump wastewater from their holding tanks by the aspect of the highway, he mentioned
“I stay subsequent to the freeway,” Kronlund mentioned. “I’ve obtained individuals tenting outdoors my driveway nightly. It’s not OK to make use of this panorama as a latrine.”
Anyone who lives within the space “is a extremely fortunate son of a gun, and we all know it,” he added. “Now we have a duty to take care of this unimaginable useful resource.”
This story was initially printed July 29, 2022 10:52 AM.