Tuesday, September 6, 2016

100% and Defining Local


photo by Cal Fire
     The good news came from Cal Fire, The Chimney Fire is now 100% contained.
     Started August 13 the blaze destroyed 49 residences, 21  buildings, more than 46 thousand acres and for a week threatened the historic Hearst Castle.
      At its peak nearly 4,000 firefighters were on the scene augmented by 7 air tankers and 16 helicopters.  Cal Fire has released and re-deployed all but a few hundred firefighters.
       Local command will now supervise weeks of mop up, repair of roads, fire breaks, work to prevent erosion and stream run off.
      In the communities of Lake Nacimiento, Paso Robles, San Simeon, Cambria and in the adjoining wine country are signs and posters thanking the fire fighters. Heroes they are.
      Now they move to another fire or if lucky get a break and some time at home.

photo by Jacque Griffin
      Summer vacation season ends with Labor Day weekend and many California central coast residents are waiting to see an end to this. Midwest refugee Jacque Griffin captured this image noting it was "news worthy."  Traffic jams are a rarity, unless tourists flood the town as they do over the Pinedorado Weekend.
    The evidence of this photo is a touchstone in a community "discussion" in villages like ours. What is the balance between the quality of life of residents and the tourist hoards that are good for the hospitality industry?"  What is that balance? It's tricky.
     In the decade we have resided here we've witnessed an uptick in visitors. Friends who have been here for up to 30 years have seen a larger change, in size and character of the village as well as the tourist influx. 
    People came to Cambria because of its village quality and size. The quiet, natural character and location away from dense population was a draw. Some growth is inevitable but what remains with in the parameters of sustainability and resource use. How do you retain the character that makes a village unique and appealing? Would the restaurants we enjoy be here if there were not the seasonal visitors? What about some of those store fronts? What is reasonable?
     Opinions vary. In this village there are those who like its authentic, creative, funky and genuine nature. But there are some who prefer to see it more upscale, more like Carmel.
      This gets worked out by the coming and going of those who live here or who move on.
   Water is a friction point of course. Residents have reduced use by 20% to 40% but watch as thousands of out owners come and tap into our limited resource. And many tourists think nothing about dumping trash, leaving dog waste unattended, carelessly flicking cigarette butts, or ash trays and of course one of the most grievous offenses, take our parking spaces!
     In some ways, we are all tourists. California is a state where we drive. There is so much to see and do and so in our personal patterns we become visitors in another village or city.
   Though we note the end of summer often opens vistas and space.
   And it is hard to visit Morro Bay without an obligatory stop at Ruddells SmokeHouse where his fish Tacos have earned world wide acclaim. Deservedly.  But here I go only encouraging more tourist hoards.

    See you down the trail.


  1. Lana, Went to Chrysler with you many years ago. Great sculpture and best wishes. Now retired and living with spouse of 44 years in Mesa Az. Take care. Peace
    Bill Powell

  2. I will pass along your best wishes to her.

  3. Cambria is a gem; "Carmel-South" would be an abomination and is probably desired primarily by those who want to be enriched by the growth.

  4. We, as in Montana, have our share of tourists also. Mainly the parks, but other cites and areas get the travel-through.
    Butte get's less than most; fewer of the tourist attractions here, the Berkeley Pit doesn't usually qualify.
    And there is the weather...snow not unusual in June, and Labor day is usually like this, a combination of rain and snow. People from other parts of the country often expect our weather to be like theirs. And it isn't.
    I like your part of the country immensely...having seen it first in the early 70's.
    Change comes, eh? Things are different now,

    1. We can't stand still of course. Change is natural, though our local government is being pressed to decide who is most important, locals or tourists.
      The thought of an early winter is a bit daunting, at least the kind that involves snow. I know, it is a personal thing but I think I had enough snow in my years in the midwest.

  5. We're all drawn to beautiful places but once wqe get there qwe want to keep it a secret, and this seldom works. Glad to hear the fire is 100 percent contained.

  6. It is hard not to share our enthusiasm for a place of beauty or wonder.

  7. I remember when Clint Eastwood was mayor of Carmel and managed to end the ban on eating Ice-cream on the sidewalks. Of course things went downhill from there. I hope Cambria will be spared such mismanagement.

    1. We don't need that kind of ruckus here. No ice cream on the sidewalks. No sir!