Posted by: Stan Russell | August 26, 2014

Los Padres National Forest Elevates Fire Restrictions


Los Padres National Forest
For Immediate Release

Contact: Andrew Madsen (805) 961-5759
Twitter: @LosPadresNF

Los Padres National Forest Elevates Fire Restrictions

GOLETA, CA, August 26, 2014…Due to extremely dry vegetation and an increasing fire danger, Los Padres National Forest officials today announced that Level IV fire restrictions will go into effect beginning today, August 26, 2014. The following restrictions will be rigorously enforced until the end of the declared fire season:

  • Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of Los Padres National Forest including designated Campfire Use sites; however persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are allowed to use portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel within the designated Campfire Use Sites only. California Campfire Permits are available for free download from the Los Padres National Forest website ( You must clear all flammable material for a distance of five feet in all directions from your camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times when it is in use.
  • Recreational target shooting is prohibited in all areas of the National Forest unless specifically authorized by a special use permit with the Forest; however, hunting with a valid State of California hunting license during open hunting season is exempt from this restriction.
  • Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the national forest except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated Campfire Use Site.
  • Fireworks are prohibited at all times and in all locations within Los Padres National Forest.
  • Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order on roads and trails specifically designated for such use. (This restriction is in effect year-round.)

Violators are subject to a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail, and could be liable for the full cost of any fire suppression activities that result from their actions. For further information regarding current conditions as well as safety tips, contact your nearest Forest Service office or visit the Los Padres National Forest website at


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Posted by: Stan Russell | August 25, 2014

The search for Arvin Nelson will be wrapping up with air searches

From Monterey County Herald
Search for missing hiker wrapping up with no leads
The search for Arvin Nelson will be wrapping up with air searches

By Ana Ceballos @ceballosap on Twitter
POSTED: 08/25/2014 05:40:22 PM PDT

The Army National Guard from Stockton loads members of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team at the Carmel Valley Airport on Aug. 18 during the multi-agency search for lost hiker Arvin Nelson. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald)

Search and rescue volunteers Rachel Allen and Shanna Hoversten enter a Coast Guard helicopter at the Carmel Valley Airport on Aug. 18 during the search for lost hiker Arvin Nelson. (Vern Fisher – Monterey Herald)

MONTEREY >> It’s been 10 days since search and rescue teams started combing through steep terrain in Big Sur in search for Arvin Nelson, but leads have turned up nothing.

The search for Nelson began promptly and support from search and rescue teams from more than 10 different agencies grew strong.

Five days into the search, more than 50 ground searchers were out looking for Nelson. Some camped out for two days along the Camp China trails — where the experienced hiker said he would be — while others came back to Carmel Valley to rest for another eight-hour search the next day.

However, nothing hinting to Nelson’s whereabouts has been found.

On Monday, SAR officials re-evaluated the situation and determined ground searchers would no longer be used, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. John Thornburg said.

The search for Nelson will continue without ground searchers, but will persist by air.

A Monterey fire airplane and a helicopter will fly above the trails in search for leads or better — Nelson.

Thornburg said the search will likely be wrapping up Tuesday as leads to go on remain scarce.

"Unless something is found," Thornburg said. "But we don’t have any leads and we haven’t found him or anything."

The search has gone on for a while because authorities believe Nelson is an experienced hiker and would be able to survive a long time in the wilderness.

Nelson initially had planned for an eight-day backpacking trip starting on Aug. 6 and ending on Aug. 14, but he never came out of the woods.

By Aug. 16, one of his friends reported him missing. His friends told authorities he knew what he was doing and that he might be in trouble, Thornburg said.

Since he has been reported missing, none of his friends have heard from him either, Thornburg said, which means he hasn’t made it out yet.

Kevin Raskoff, one of Nelson’s Monterey Peninsula College professors, describes him as a character who "seems to have done just about everything at some point in time."

"He is a favorite with a lot of faculty at MPC, so we are all eagerly awaiting word about his safe return," Raskoff said.

Thornburg said SAR teams still have hope and despite the lack in leads, they believe Nelson is still alive.

"There’s nothing that makes us think he is alive or dead," he said.

The aid and abundance in volunteers helping in the search are not uncommon, but they may be costly.

Thornburg said the thorough search would not have been possible without the help of other agencies.

The cost of the search will likely be known by the end of the week, he said.

Ana Ceballos can be reached at 726-4377.

Posted by: Stan Russell | August 22, 2014

Regarding Arvin Nelson Search

Hello Big Sur!

I spoke with Commander Joe Moses, Monterey County Sheriff with Monterey County Search and Rescue team focused on searching for Arvin Nelson. Here’s an update:

A very active search is still in progress with 20 people in the field today. They have not discovered so much as a foot print from Arvin. Yesterday (Thursday) they "took a step back" to re-evaluate their search priorities and wrote up all new plans for the search through Sunday. This weekend will see an influx of volunteer help as well as Search and Rescue teams from Ventura, Santa Barbara, Placer County.

As far as we can tell, my friend Dennis English (Jack English’s son) was the last person to speak with and see Arvin. Dennis and Jack had gone out to visit their cabin in Pine Valley on August 6. A couple hours after they arrived Dennis was sitting inside the cabin playing guitar with his father, Jack English. He heard a voice outside asking to approach the cabin. It was Arvin who had heard the guitar playing and he came up and introduced himself. Dennis welcomed him in, befriended Arvin and they hung out and played music and hiked around Pine Valley for a couple days.

Dennis and Jack were picked up by helicopter on the 8th, leaving Pine Valley. Arvin saw them off. He told Dennis he was going to be staying through Saturday, the 9th and then hike the 11 miles to Sykes on Sunday morning, the 10th.

I know it has been rather quiet for a couple days so I wanted to let people know that the search efforts have not let up. In fact, Monterey County Search and Rescue are ramping up this weekend with a different approach and more boots on the ground. Ventana Wilderness Alliance has Steve Benoit, former backcountry ranger for Los Padres National Forest and key trail crew leader of the volunteer backcountry ranger program on scene as well as Betsy McGowan volunteer ranger and trail crew leader at the command center to show on maps where remote water sources are located, give insights into trails conditions and to help direct the efforts of those coming in from out of town. The best humanly possible team is in place to handle this thanks to the efforts of the Monterey County Sheriffs Search and Rescue leading the charge with their knowledge and experience in Big Sur.

The Monterey County Weekly, August 21, 3:31PM, posted " Cmdr. John Thornburg of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office says the search team is using one airplane, three helicopters and about 30 ground searchers per day, with help from California Highway Patrol, the National Guard and the Coast Guard."

The search efforts continue.

Keep Arvin in your thoughts and prayers.

Stan Russell

Arvin Nelson

Monterey County Weekly article.

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 87
Big Sur, CA 93920
(831) 667-2100 – Contains local information and updates on emergency information when appropriate.

Hello Big Sur!

Middle-aged hiker and popular Big Sur server goes missing in Big Sur.>

Arvin Nelson is a well-known personality around the Big Sur community.

Posted: Monday, August 18, 2014 8:41 am
* by Mark Anderson <>

The flier tells the story.
And it’s not the most comforting.
"Missing hiker, last seen China Camp on 8/6/14."
Arvin "Chief" Nelson, a longtime server at Big Sur River Inn, has gone missing in the Los Padres wilderness, presumably while on an extended trek.
Today marks the 12th day since he’s been seen.
Coworkers describe Nelson as is in his early to mid 50s, 6-foot-3, black and around 200-215 pounds.

Citizen newsblogger Big Sur Kate <> has this report:
"Those of you who know this sweet man…he may need your good intentions for his safe return.
"He went on a backpacking trip alone, MAYBE to China Camp, Pine Ridge, to Sykes and was due back Thursday or Friday, but has not been seen, yet."
She adds search-and-rescue teams are into day two of trying to locate him. Helicopters have been deployed, search dogs will likely join the effort soon if they haven’t already.
China Camp hides high and deep <> in Los Padres National Forest, accessible by Pine Ridge Trail from the Big Sur side and Tassajara Road from the Carmel Valley side.
Nelson drives a light yellow Wesphalia-style VW bus.
Any updates should be directed to the 831-667-2423 at the State Parks Office.

Today’s Date:
Thursday, August 7, 2014
District: 05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties
Contact: Susana Z Cruz (bilingual) or Colin Jones
Phone: (805) 549-3138 or 549-3189



MONTEREY COUNTY – A 21-mile asphalt repair project along both directions of Highway 1 south of Big Sur between Salmon Creek and Lucia will be starting next Monday, August 11 in the following locations:

Monday, Aug. 11 through Friday, Aug. 15:
· From Alder Creek to Gorda

Monday, Aug. 18 through Friday, Aug. 22:
· From Limekiln to Lucia

Monday, Aug. 25 through Thursday, Aug. 28:
· From Salmon Creek to Gorda
(No closure on Friday, Aug. 29 due to the holiday weekend)

Roadwork will take place from 8 am to 3 pm each day and consist of one-way reversing traffic control with flagging.

NOTE: There will be Electronic Message Boards alerting motorists. Motorists can expect a delay not to exceed 15 minutes.

This roadwork is being performed by the Caltrans Willow Springs and Cambria Maintenance crews to provide motorists and cyclists a safer roadway to travel. Work is expected to be completed by the end of August.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For more information on this project and for traffic updates on other Caltrans projects in Monterey County, residents can call the District 5 toll freenumber at 1-877-448-6771 or can visit our website at:

# # #

Posted by: Stan Russell | July 31, 2014

Get Into Your Sanctuary Day on Saturday August 2, 2014

Get Into Your Sanctuary Day
Saturday August 2, 2014

For more information visit:

 Deirdre Whalen Permit Coordinator &
Government and Community Relations Coordinator NOAA- Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary P: 831.647.4207 E: deirdre.whalen

The world’s most compelling stories in the world’s most stunning location
Beginning June 15th and for ever Sunday until September 2014, the Henry Miller Memorial Library, located in Big Sur, CA, presents Big Sur Sound and Story, when we turn off the lights and turn on the sound.
Visitors will lay out on our lawn beneath a canopy of towering redwood trees, under the stars, steps from the Pacific Ocean, and listen to carefully-selected audio stories played through our world-class sound system.
Installments will be curated by the most innovative purveyors of audio in the English-speaking world, including The Truth, The Kitchen Sisters, Dinner Party Download, Wiretap, Radiotopia, Snap Judgment, and Unfictional.
Tonight’s event will be curated by Oakland’s Snap Judgment!
Snap Judgement is a themed, weekly NPR storytelling show. They focus on presenting compelling personal stories – mixing tall tales with killer beats to produce cinematic, dramatic and kick-ass radio.
Snap Judgment is sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and distributed through NPR and Public Radio Exchange (PRX).
Doors at 8 pm, we turn on the sound at dusk, $10 suggested donation, BYOB, bring a layer and a blanket!

Some content may not be suitable for children.

Questions? Call us at 831-667-2574.
We’re located 25 miles south Carmel on Highway 1, a mere 1/4 mile south of Nepenthe Restaurant

Reserve your spot here!

Posted by: Stan Russell | July 30, 2014

Strategy for Coastal California Condors Advances

From Ventana Wildlife Society

July 30, 2014
Contact: Kelly Sorenson, Executive Director
Ventana Wildlife Society
(831) 455-9514

Additional Recommended Contact:
Rafael Payan, General Manager of Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District

Strategy for Coastal California Condors Advances

Carmel, CA.
Ventana Wildlife Society has been releasing condors to central California since 1997. Condors are provided lead-free carcasses to minimize the threat of lead poisoning and to encourage the birds to expand their range. As the birds grow older and more efficient at finding food they take advantage of naturally occurring carcasses on the landscape. In 2013, a total of nine condors died in central California, mostly due to lead poisoning, which represented nearly 15% of the wild flock. In response, Ventana Wildlife Society leadership decided to step up its’ efforts to set up more feeding areas from Carmel to San Simeon to attract the birds to more coastal feeding areas where they will find marine mammals to eat.

One of these new sites was approved by the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District at Palo Corona Regional Park last year and for the last several months, VWS biologists have been baiting it with carcasses. Condor #236, also known as “Tiny” because this female condor is typically three or four pounds less in weight than the average condor, was the first to find the Palo Corona site July 17. The following day, five other condors joined her to feed, including Condor #190 which is a breeding aged female currently raising a chick in a wild Big Sur nest. “We’re very excited about this new development because it shows that our strategy is working to expand the condor range to more coastal areas”, said Ventana Wildlife Society’s executive director, Kelly Sorenson. “Condors have been seen in the Carmel area before but now we’re seeing them more often”

Recovery of the California condor is still tenuous due to ongoing lead poisoning, primarily from spent lead ammunition. Since 2012, Ventana Wildlife Society has been providing free nonlead ammunition to hunters and ranchers in Monterey and San Benito Counties were the majority of the central California flock exists. Through nonlead ammunition giveaways and new regulations banning lead ammunition, condor deaths are expected to decrease over time and therefore full recovery of the California condor is on the horizon. “Our coastal strategy is really about giving us more time to deal with lead poisoning and to encourage the birds to utilize the coast more. Marine mammals, such as California Sea Lions and whales, are an important food source for condors”, said Sorenson.

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, sea lions were often shot to protect dwindling salmon fisheries, and other marine mammals were persecuted for blubber to fuel oil lamps and for other purposes. Diminishing populations of marine mammals, a food source for scavenging condors, coincided with the range retraction of condors to the south and inland where the birds could survive primarily on terrestrial mammals such as livestock, deer, pigs, and ground squirrels. By the 1980’s, there were only 22 condors remaining in the wild in southern California. Sea Lions and other marine mammals have been protected for decades, and their numbers are rebounding rapidly, making coastal areas very important for condors.

Through successful captive breeding at San Diego Zoo Global, Los Angeles Zoo, World Center for Birds of Prey, and the Oregon Zoo, condor numbers have increased substantially. In central California, the Ventana Wildlife Society and Pinnacles National Park co-manage the recovery effort and collaborate with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Release programs, such as the collaborative effort in central California, enable the birds to be released to the wild and eventually recover. In addition to the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District, the Big Sur Land Trust also collaborates with condor recovery partners on another strategic feeding area located on a nearby property although the condors have not yet fed at this location.

Photographs: Two date-stamped photos are provided as taken by motion-activated camera which is checked every two weeks by biologists.
Note: Condor sightings can be reported by sending an email to Be sure to include date, time, condor numbers, photo if one exists, and any other details about the sighting.

Kelly Sorenson
Executive Director
Ventana Wildlife Society
19045 Portola Drive, Ste. F1
Salinas, CA 93908

Posted by: Stan Russell | July 25, 2014

Living History Day at Point Sur Lightstation – August 2

From Point Sur Lightstation

Saturday, August 2, 2014
Living History Day at Point Sur Lightstation
This special event celebrates the 125th anniversary of the first lighting of the Point Sur Lighthouse in August 1889 and the 150th year of California State Parks.

Costumed Lighthouse Keepers and their wives will show you where they lived and how they worked at Point Sur.

This family friendly event will include:
Transporation to and fron the top of Point Sur Lightstation every 15 minutes
“Lighthouse Keepers” and their “wives” talking about their lives at Point Sur
A visit to the lighthouse and a chance to climb the tower
Pre-electric-era crafts and games for kids and adults.
A scavenger hunt.
Story-telling and singing; shipwrecks, children’s stories, and sea chanties.
Flag raising, lowering and folding for the kids led by a Lighthouse Keeper
Visits to the barn, blacksmith shop and Head Keeper’s Quarters
Picnicking will be allowed (bring your own food)

Saturday, August 2, 2014
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Last van to the top at 2:00 PM

$25 for adults
$15 for children
(All proceeds go toward the restoration of Point Sur’s historic structures)

Point Sur State Historic Park
19 miles outh of Rio Road, Carmel
3 miles north of Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur

More about Point Sur at

PDF is attached if you would like to print this out to display in your place of business.


Posted by: Stan Russell | July 25, 2014

Latest News from The Henry Miller Library

Latest News from The Henry Miller Library

October 5th – The Long-Awaited Big Sur Redwood Auction!
Remember back in 2012 when the giant 200-foot redwood fell? Remember when we cut up the slabs with the help of local lumberjacks Warren and Christian? Remember when we said we’d auction off some of these incredible old-growth redwood slabs? Well the time has come! Pencil in Sunday, October 5th for the grand auction! To check out photos or make a bid, please visit

Big Sur Sound and Story Rolls On – One Month to Go!
The world’s best (and only?) outdoor audio listening series enters August with some amazing curators lined up: Radiotopia (July 27), Snap Judgment (August 3), The Truth (August 10th), Wiretap (August 17), and 360 Documentaries (August 24)! That’s right: That’s right: sit back, close your eyes, and listen to incredible audio stories under the redwoods. Bring a layer (and a pillow!) Doors always at 8 pm. Free admission (donations accepted.) So far it has been amazing, ask the folks who’ve made it here! More info here:

(And of course, don’t forget Movie Nights every Thursday till the end of August!)

Philip Glass Days and Nights at the Library – Sept 25 and 26th!
It’s that time of year again: the Philip Glass Days and Nights Festival returns to Carmel and Big Sur! We’ll be hosting two events. Sept 25th – Screening of "Visitors" with Q&A with director Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass. Sept 26th – An evening with Philip Glass and Friends! Tickets at at (go to ‘upcoming events’ which also includes the Film and Sound and Story schedules).

Hope to see you!

Sarah, Mike and Magnus

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