Monday, October 14, 2013

Bummer -- Can't Talk to a Real Person at Big Sur State Parks and Point Lobos now

I've lived in the Monterey area, off and on, since I was a college student in 1981.  I've lived here permanently since 1995.  Up until recently, you could call the ranger's booth at Point Lobos State Park and speak to a real, live, friendly staffperson (or volunteer) without a phone tree or any kind of detour or hardship.  The phone was 831-624-4909, and I could call to see if the limit of divers had been reached or if there was still room for another dive team to go (Point Lobos State Park has great diving, and they limit divers to 15 teams per day).  Point Lobos has often been called the crown jewel of the California State Park System, and it deserved the designation.  The park rangers (thanks Jerry Loomis, Glen McGowan, Chuck Bancroft, and others) were always professional yet friendly and personable -- special people managing a special place.   

Times have changed, and not for the better.  I have some friends visiting from out-of-town, and I hope to take them to visit Point Lobos and the Big Sur Coast.  I heard a rumor from another visitor that they had driven down the Big Sur Coast, but that Point Lobos and Pfeiffer Burn State Park (one of my favorite parks) is closed!  I have a hard time believing this, because the parks that are closed due to the Federal government's closure are national parks, not state parks.

However, if I call the number for the Point Lobos Ranger Station, I get a long message saying "don't bother to leave a message, we won't call you back."  Terrible.  Disappointing.  I tried calling Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park -- same thing.  I tried calling the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce -- closed, only answering phones Mon-Fri from 10am to 1pm.  I guess I can try emailing them.

This is very disappointing, and I feel badly for all the visitors who come to our area hoping to see Point Lobos and Big Sur.  If folks can't get timely, relevant information about the state parks in our area, then that is a big problem.  The websites for these state parks is not updated very frequently.  Maybe I should check the dreaded Facebook?

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