Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trail Closure at Garrapata

(Will not be repaired)

View from Rocky Ridge summit
 It seems the California state park closures are already having an effect on some of the really great little parks on the coast. We drove down to Garrapata State Park last week hoping to get in a quick little half day autumn hike in the ocean air. The reports were showing good likelihood of clear weather, and with Garrapata being on the infamous closure list, it seemed well worth the rather long drive. When we arrived the conditions seemed almost perfect with mostly clear skies and gentle warm sunshine. That was until we crossed the highway and saw the sign at the gate indicating a trail closure. The back side of the Rocky Ridge Trail from the junction with the Peak Trail down to the top of Soberanes Canyon Trail has been closed (see photo below). The sign says its because “potentially hazardous” trail conditions. This means that you cannot hike the loop up through Soberanes Canyon, continuing up to Down Peak, then return by way of descending down Rocky Ridge Trail, which incidentally is our favorite way to hike Garrapata. I suppose you could still hike the canyon trail to the closure point, and then double back before hiking the Rocky Ridge Trail up to the summit. That would still allow the experience of the diversity of the canyon verses the rest of the park.

Trail closure notice
We decided to just hike Rocky Ridge to the summit of Dowd Peak as an out-n-back, but later I wished that we had just ignored the signs and done the hike we wanted to do anyway. The conditions are very likely not nearly as bad as the signs might lead one to believe. This is usually the case because the State has a really annoying, dysfunctional, over-inflated sense of liability. They think they have to treat the public like children. The parks actually belong to the people who have lived here, worked here, and paid taxes in this state all their lives. The trail conditions at Garrapata have actually been less than ideal for years. To make matters worse, I was talking to another hiker who is local to the area and hikes Garrapata regularly, and he told me that he contacted the parks department to ask about repairs. They told him that no repairs are being planned because the park is on the closure list.

At this point this post turns into a little bit of a rant. The state is supposedly closing parks because they say there is no money to maintain them. In fact the state is all but bankrupt mostly thanks to the incompetence of the state legislature. So why then, with the economy in shambles, and all these people out of work, with more going on unemployment every day, and many in peril with their mortgages; why then has the governor signed new legislation that requires taxpayers to fund college education for the children of illegal aliens? Why are we paying for their health care when people who are natural citizens, and have jobs, often have little or no coverage at all? I have to say that I am infuriated by this idiotic state legislature and their pathetic pandering to special interests and unions in order to keep getting elected. I say kick them out on their overstuffed butts! Our parks are not theirs to close, and this is really beginning to hit home with this trail closure.

Don’t worry; I’ll be alright after I’ve had the chance to chill with a good meal and some chamomile tea.I have all but given up on making sense of all this.


Katie (Nature ID) said...

The last I heard the list of State Parks to be closed is hovering around 70, which looking back is much better than the over 200 they threatened when Mr. Terminator was in office. Do you keep tabs on SOS: What I want to know is how are they going to keep people out of closed parks?

I've been trying to make it a point to show closed trail signs in my habitat posts, because there are many. Some like Point Lobos, which generates millions of $$$ every year for the state, are due to ADA upgrades, and others like Montana de Oro are simply weather-caused with no plans for repair. Poor maintenance has been going on for years, whether the park is slated for closure or not.

I voted for the vehicle fee to fund the parks, but really it didn't make much sense to attach the two. I'm hoping the new public-private partnerships will help, because it's the locals and lovers of each park who will know how best to help. Unfortunately, there isn't much time to get those partnerships up and running.

Waypoints said...

Hi Katie, Yes I have supported SOS since they formed. Even parks like Big Basin, which is to remain open, depends on volunteer labor to keep to trails in shape. At Henry Coe, even the park office is staffed by volunteers.

I don't know how they could actually police the closures. they can put up signs, but people can ignore them. As soon as nobody is around, then you will have squatters, illegal cultivation, etc. I makes more sense to not close them.

What really makes me angry is the multiplicity of ways that the state is squandering our tax revenues, while closing parks to we the taxpayers.