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Trail linking two parts of Big Sur may open to public by July 1

In this photo taken March 30, 2017, two women walk north on the new Pfeiffer Canyon foot trail that is open to residents traveling around the former Pfeiffer Canyon bridge in Big Sur. The trail will soon open to the public.
In this photo taken March 30, 2017, two women walk north on the new Pfeiffer Canyon foot trail that is open to residents traveling around the former Pfeiffer Canyon bridge in Big Sur. The trail will soon open to the public. AP

Officials hope the trail connecting the two segments of Big Sur severed by the downed Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge will open to the general public July 1, with a shuttle service bringing visitors to the footpath on one end and picking them up on the other.

A total of $275,000 was allotted by Monterey County supervisors for the program in an effort to bring tourists back to an area that is seeing an estimated shortfall of about $20,000 per day in tax revenue. According to a study, San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties could face a $554 million loss in revenue because of closures on Highway 1.

“Were really enthusiastic about it,” said Supervisor Mary Adams, who represents Big Sur on the board. “We are just absolutely hopeful that it will stimulate business. Just among locals, there are so many people who are really willing to go and help the businesses on the island.”

Take a look at the debris left behind after much of Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge in Big Sur was demolished and plummeted to the canyon below on Saturday, March 18, 2017. The bridge cracked and shifted during recent rains, and officials declared the brid

The “island” is the segment of Big Sur between Pfeiffer Canyon to the north and closures caused by landslides in the south. While the bridge should be operational by September, the massive slide at Mud Creek in the south near the San Luis Obispo County line will keep Highway 1 closed for about a year. Many Big Sur attractions north of Pfeiffer Canyon remain accessible to travelers and a detour via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road provides public access between Gorda and Limekiln State Park. Residents have limited access through Paul’s Slide north of Limekiln.

Pauls Slide Madonna jump
Crews continue to work on the roadway at Paul’s Slide on Highway 1. Paul’s Slide about 12.5 miles north of the massive Mud Creek Slide. Courtesy John Madonna Construction

Sur Transportation, a private company that runs coastal tours and wedding shuttles along the Big Sur coast, will operate the shuttles. Two vans, which can hold up to 10 people, will operate on a schedule on the north side of the trail from Andrew Molera State Park to the beginning of the trail at Big Sur Station and two will operate on the south side of the trail. Adams said three backup vehicles will be ready to be put into the rotation if needed.

In addition to parking at Andrew Molera State Park, visitors will be able to ride Monterey-Salinas Transit down to Big Sur from Carmel.

The cost has yet to be determined, but Adams said children 12 and under will likely be able to ride for free.

The trail will remain in use by local residents and workers, as well. Adams said a rail will be installed to help those hiking up a particularly steep part of the trail. A team of local volunteers, members of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade, State Parks employees and California Conservation Corps members completed the trail in March.

We traveled up Highway 1 in Big Sur on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, to get an up-close look at the massive Mud Creek Slide, about 9 miles north of the Monterey County/San Luis Obispo County line. What Caltrans had hoped would take weeks to fix will pr

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