Letters to the Editor: Don’t even think about permanently closing Highway 1

A portion of Highway 1 that washed out into the ocean after recent rains is seen near Big Sur on Jan. 29.
A portion of Highway 1 that washed out into the ocean after rains is seen Jan. 29 near Big Sur.

To the editor: Highway 1 has been one of California’s crown jewels for a century. To close it permanently is unthinkable to anybody with a soul. (“Do humans really need access to every place on earth?” Opinion, Feb. 7)

Complaints about the cost of repairs and maintenance should surely fall on deaf ears. Californians probably spend more on food for Super Bowl weekend than what will be required to undo the damage at Rat Creek.

There is one matter upon which we can all agree: During certain times of the year, Highway 1 is clogged by too much traffic. The simplest solution would be to have a few thousand people vow never to drive the road again.


Stephen Mattson, Los Osos, Calif.


To the editor: Jane Smiley’s thoughts on Big Sur present an incredible opportunity. She philosophically contemplates a Highway 1 free of people.

Let’s move this from philosophical contemplation to real-world solution: Remove cars from Highway 1. As Smiley says, “We have the 101.”

Let’s make Highway 1 available for pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians. Imagine.

Stan Brown, Victorville


To the editor: I agree with Smiley about the sanctity of beautiful and remote places.

Once I’ve been there and done that, no one else should be allowed to visit and spoil the view or kill animals that are caught in the middle of a blind curve. And at least I care about those little creatures, whereas I’m sure a lot of people don’t give them a second thought.

And sure, I leave a little trash on the beach or in the picnic areas, but not as much as those yokels that would follow me.


Perhaps Smiley and I can compare notes and decide which sights we’ve yet to see and how we can visit them (socially distanced, of course, and maybe even with a park ranger escort), and afterward, we can arrange for those places (and the other ones we’ve already seen) to be deemed off-limits to future human visitation.

Bart Boydston, Los Angeles


To the editor: I couldn’t agree more with Smiley about limiting people’s access to pristine natural environments.

Christina Neumeyer, Carlsbad