Big Sur locals block wilderness proposal for Molera State Park.
Monday, April 12, 2010
You might think a community would welcome new protections for public land.
Not so in Big Sur, where some locals were so adamantly opposed to Assembly Bill 2074, an effort to designate 920 acres of Andrew Molera State Park as federally protected wilderness, that Assemblyman Bill Monning (D-Carmel) backed off.
Monning dropped the bill after hearing from residents at the Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Council meeting in late March. Some were upset that the state assemblyman hadn't let the council vet the bill before introducing it. Others worried a wilderness designation would keep firefighters from battling blazes in the fire-prone area, though Monning counters that a wilderness designation wouldn't keep motorized fire-fighting equipment out.
"That was a good start to the conversation," Monning rep Noelle White says. "We didn't think there was time to address the concerns."
Monning agreed to let the bill die in committee this year, but the file won't be shredded yet. His office is leaning on the local wilderness advocacy group to help build community support for a future bill.
"The hope is that Ventana Wilderness Alliance will do more outreach," White says, "and we can re-introduce it next year."