Riatch Thebiatch

It is dismaying to see so many posts that glorify camping at the summit of Cone Peak. Such behavior is completely inappropriate. Over use and under management of the public lands of the Big Sur backcountry is resulting in tremendous resource damage cause by uninformed visitors. The only appropriate places to camp in the Ventana Wilderness are at ESTABLISHED CAMPS where human impacts have been long-established. The dramatic increase in summit camping and the proliferation of new campsites throughout the Ventana, fueled by social media such as this site, is resulting in the dramatic degradation of this protected Wilderness and many others across the west. One might think, "I see no impacts. I'm just one visitor. I pack out what I pack in." The reality is that your impacts are akin to "death by a thousand cuts." Once impacts begin, we humans are adept at taking them to the next level ... and the next ... until we eventually bemoan the damage done. Please people, go to Cone Peak. Enjoy it its wildness ... its specialness. But do not camp there and for heavens sake do not ever have a fire there!!!!! Please use nearby established camps such as Vicente Flat, Trail Spring, Goat, and Ojito. These camps usually have water and are already impacted by us. I tis up to us to keep it wild. Realizing that all of us have an impact on fragile wild places is the first step in enjoying the great outdoors responsibly.

First there was the 2016 Soberanes Wildland Fire (caused by an abandoned illegal campfire). Then there were the historic winter storms of 2017 which caused widespread damage to trails and roads in the region. The lower Pine Ridge Trail from Big Sur Station to Sykes is CLOSED for safety reasons. Honestly. Don't think you can get there. Washouts abound. Whole sections of trail are gone or covered by deadfalls. See photos here:http://www.wildventana.org/why-cant-i-go-to-sykes-the-state-of-the-pine-ridge-trail-in-big-sur/ Even if you do make it without killing yourself, you will cause erosion which will further complicate repairs. That is why it is illegal to go there until repairs are complete. This is a US Forest Service decision and responsibility. Call 831-385-5434 for more information or see this link. http://www.ventanawild.org/plan-a-trip/sykes-camp-sykes-hot-springs Note: The hot springs are inappropriate structures in designated Wilderness and the Big Sur River is designated as Wild & Scenic by the US Congress which adds further protections. So do not expect dammed up hot springs and tubs when the trail is re-opened. Sorry to provide bummer information about this so-called "bucket list" destination.

As of December 5, 2016, the Soberanes Fire closure area has been reduced. See the links below for the Forest Closure Order and a map which indicates the closure boundaries. Most of the Ventana Wilderness remains CLOSED. This includes backcountry camps like Sykes, Terrace Creek, Barlow Flat, Pat Spring, Carmel River, Pico Blanco Public Camp, and many others. Unauthorized entry is punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and imprisonment up to six months. Please review these links and call the Monterey Ranger District at (831) 385-5434 before visiting the Ventana Wilderness. http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/lpnf/alerts-notices/?aid=36345 Also, please note that Level 2 Fire Restrictions are in place. This means NO CAMPFIRES in the backcountry (stoves are OK with a permit). http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/lpnf/alerts-notices/?aid=36140 With visitation to the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest now concentrated in far fewer trails and camps, it is up to all of us to tread lightly on the land and adhere to restrictions. Now more than ever, it is critical that all visitors practice Leave No Trace principles. http://www.ventanawild.org/plan-a-trip/leave-no-trace Many State Park trails in the Big Sur area are also CLOSED. Call the State Park that you wish to explore to determine if trails are open. A handy list of State Park phone numbers can be found at the link below. Big Sur Chamber of Commerce Camping Guide http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/camping.html

As of December 5, 2016, the Soberanes Fire closure area has been reduced. See the links below for the Forest Closure Order and a map which indicates the closure boundaries. Most of the Ventana Wilderness remains CLOSED. This includes backcountry camps like Sykes, Terrace Creek, Barlow Flat, Pat Spring, Carmel River, Pico Blanco Public Camp, and many others. Unauthorized entry is punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and imprisonment up to six months. Please review these links and call the Monterey Ranger District at (831) 385-5434 before visiting the Ventana Wilderness. http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/lpnf/alerts-notices/?aid=36345 Also, please note that Level 2 Fire Restrictions are in place. This means NO CAMPFIRES in the backcountry (stoves are OK with a permit). http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/lpnf/alerts-notices/?aid=36140 With visitation to the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest now concentrated in far fewer trails and camps, it is up to all of us to tread lightly on the land and adhere to restrictions. Now more than ever, it is critical that all visitors practice Leave No Trace principles. http://www.ventanawild.org/plan-a-trip/leave-no-trace Many State Park trails in the Big Sur area are also CLOSED. Call the State Park that you wish to explore to determine if trails are open. A handy list of State Park phone numbers can be found at the link below. Big Sur Chamber of Commerce Camping Guide http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/camping.html