Point Lobos Foundation and the Carmel Area State Parks General Plan

The mission of the Point Lobos Foundation (PLF) is to protect and nurture Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, educate and inspire visitors to preserve its unique natural and cultural resources, and strengthen the network of Carmel Area State Parks (CASP). With this focus in mind, the PLF has been actively involved in the Carmel Area State Parks General Plan process since 2012. The PLF recognizes that changes to any or all of the park units involved in the plan (Hatton Canyon, Point Lobos Ranch, Carmel River State Beach and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve), have the potential to greatly impact Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and its community of visitors, stewards and supporters. We are committed to working with California State Parks and other local stakeholders to complete a general plan that will take advantage of opportunities to improve as well as address challenges.

As stakeholders, representatives of the Point Lobos Foundation have been present for all public forums and meetings held on this plan, and provided written comments on each version of the plan during its development. We have focused on the following major issues:

  1. Overuse of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Protection and restoration of the Reserve, among the CASP units, has the most urgent need for State Parks’ attention and resources. With increasing visitation and unlimited walk-ins, the natural resources within Point Lobos are being damaged and the visitor experience has degraded. The PLF is doing all it can to aid in restoring important areas of the reserve, but until visitor numbers are controlled, we are not addressing the root causes of the damage.
  2. Safety issues along the Highway 1 corridor near Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. In addition to being unsafe for visitors crossing the highway, parking along the highway creates traffic problems for our local community. The problems along Highway 1 are not limited to Point Lobos; there is a regional problem with tourists and traffic along Highway 1 from Rio Road to Big Sur. To be effectively addressed, this issue needs support from multiple agencies and stakeholders.
  3. Safe parking- If parking is removed from Highway 1, there must be alternate, safe parking and a reliable transportation system provided for visitors to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and other park units.

The last general plan for this area was adopted in 1979. Many things have changed during this time, especially how easily people learn about Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and how many want to experience its spectacular natural beauty. Accommodating this new reality will mean changes in how Point Lobos is managed and how neighbors and visitors alike will experience the area. The PLF is working collaboratively with our partners and stakeholders to address the impacts that increased demand and access bring. Copies of the full comments provided by the Point Lobos Foundation to California State Parks throughout this process may be found below.

Point Lobos Foundation Public Comments to California State Parks

September 25, 2018: Submitted by Kit Armstrong, President and Anna Patterson, Executive Director

April 4, 2017: Submitted by Anna Patterson, Executive Director

June 21, 2016: Submitted by Cynthia Vernon, President

August 5, 2015: Submitted by Augie Louis, President

September 8, 2014: Submitted by Augie Louis, President

2012: Submitted by Sandy Hale, President

State Parks Information

1979 General Plan 

Carmel Area State Parks General Plan Website