How can I become an associate of CABS? What are the benefits of doing so?2022-07-30T16:57:33+00:00

If you are a Big Sur property owner, resident (defined as renters, caretakers, employees, and employers) and/or parent whose children attend school within the Big Sur Planning Area, you are eligible to be a CABS Associate which can occur via an annual $20 associate fee or a $500 life-time associate fee.

Benefits include associate-only in-depth community initiative updates; volunteer opportunities with your neighbors to support, protect, engage and strengthen our community; participation in associate-only community dinners; and engage as a CABS advisor.


Who are the board members?2022-07-30T16:59:21+00:00

The current list of board members is located here: https://www.cabigsur.org/cabs-calendar/

How does one qualify as a board member?2022-07-30T16:59:39+00:00

The CABS board nominating committee identifies and recruits individuals who have demonstrated engagement in other ways in the community, are excited to participate on one or more of our committees, have a skillset that is additive to the current board, and are geographically located to ensure CABS has broad representation from south, mid-valley and north Big Sur. 

Does CABS represent the entire community?2022-07-30T17:00:04+00:00

CABS represents its associates, partners and beneficiaries who are part of the community of Big Sur (from Mal Paso Road to the San Luis Obispo county line) which includes property owners, residents (defined as renters, caretakers, employees, and employers) and/or parents whose children attend school within the Big Sur Planning Area – as well as philanthropic and government partners in Monterey County and beyond.

Is the Destination Stewardship Plan compatible (DSP) with the Big Sur Land Use Plan (LUP)?2022-07-30T17:00:27+00:00

Yes. These documents have overlapping purposes. The LUP addresses the built environment.  Page 9 of the Big Sur Coast Land Use Plan Document notes “The following basic goal…defined by the Citizens Advisory Committee: “To preserve for posterity the incomparable beauty of the Big Sur country, its special cultural and natural resources, its landforms and seascapes and inspirational vistas. To this end, all development must harmonize with and be subordinate to the wild and natural character of the land.” www.co.monterey.us/home/showdocument?id=37879 

The DSP addresses the episodic impacts of vehicles and people on the health and safety of our community and its natural environment. Recommendations found in the DSP “strive to reach a balance between public access, environmental protection, successful business strategies and sustainable quality of life for the resident population” of Big Sur, www.bigsurdsp.com. To ensure that sufficient attention was paid to adherence to the LUP, Lee Otter (a strategic advisor for the LUP) served on the DSP steering committee. 

Should we be using the term “overtourism” or should it be “mismanagement” of tourism?2022-07-30T17:00:54+00:00

Neither overtourism nor mismanagement suffice to clarify Big Sur’s challenges. It’s most useful to use language that describes the episodic nature of the problems identified in lieu of the term overtourism. CABS continues to be focused on addressing visitor behavior (via initiatives like the Big Sur Pledge and the documentary “Land of Many Uses”) and documenting illegal activities by collecting data and using empirical evidence to arm agency and elected decision makers with data they need to  bring more management to bear on these challenges. 

Why did the Coast Property Owners association change its name to CABS?2022-07-30T17:01:16+00:00

Based on an evolution of activities aligned with our mission and the need to support the sustainability of the Big Sur community, the board decided that a name change would better reflect the breadth of the work we do with associates, beneficiaries, the broader community and our philanthropic and agency partners. The “Community Association of Big Sur” name captures the inclusive, multifaceted work that CABS has been undertaking since 2008 when we received a $100k grant from The Big Sur Land Trust to provide assistance grants to folks from our community who were displaced during the Basin Complex Fire. The former name, Coast Property Owners Association, was often confused with a property ownership association and the acronym was identical to the California Police Officers Association, which led to confusion with funders and members.

What is the mission of CABS? What does CABS do?2022-07-30T17:01:41+00:00

Our mission is to protect and defend the rural and residential character, and to preserve the natural and aesthetic beauty of the Big Sur coast; to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of the Big Sur Community as well as to encourage community service and otherwise act in the interests of the residents and property owners of Big Sur. We identify activities that our board can undertake to fulfill our mission. An example is a new program, the Big Share, a collaboration with founders Helen Handshy and Joseph Bradford, addressing food insecurity in our community.

In what ways does CABS reach out to the Big Sur community?2022-07-30T17:02:09+00:00

There are a variety of ways in which CABS reaches out to the Big Sur community.  For a list of activities, check out this section of our website. 

Board members and the ED reach out directly to members of our community and the broader public as part of our ongoing community initiatives. Also, members of the community as well as the media and other community organizations outside of Big Sur reach out to CABS through our email address. Community interest updates are sent to CABS members on topics of general community interest. CABS also conducts annual meetings where the board and the ED provide information on past and future projects, as well as provide a forum for discussion. We also post updates on our social media accounts. As is customary for non-profit organizations our board of directors meetings are open to the public.

Additionally, community-wide meetings are occasionally held for feedback on proposed new initiatives such as the Destination Stewardship Plan for which there was a community meeting at the Grange in August of 2019. And when there is a local disaster or crisis, such as COVID, road closures or fires, our board reaches out to Big Sur businesses and/or to individuals impacted to facilitate grants to offset the economic impacts for individuals and families.

In what ways is CABS working to support long term vision / planning for our community?2022-07-30T17:02:30+00:00

CABS cultivates and actively pursues partnerships with the resident community, local businesses, and emergency first responders of Big Sur; visitors, outdoor enthusiasts, environmental nonprofits; and the county, state and federal jurisdictional stakeholders.

CABS has shown the capacity to effectively work with other members of the Big Sur Multi-agency Advisory Council on a wide range of items affecting our community and led the way on forming and managing weekly meetings in 2020 to address a range of issues related to the onset of the pandemic. 

In partnership with community volunteers and GIS technology, CABS gathers data to inform stakeholders about conditions related to events like illegal camping and illegal campfires. The data from this community work is being translated into long term policy planning, for example, through the Visitor Use Management process in which the USFS is reevaluating  how / where visitor activities such as camping may take place on federal land with an eye on limiting detrimental behaviors and promoting sustainability.

Where does funding for CABS come from?2022-07-30T17:02:46+00:00

Funding for CABS comes from individuals (CABS Associates, visitors and folks who love Big Sur), businesses and foundations. CABS also participates, by invitation, in the annual MC Gives campaign, a collaboration between the McWeekly and the Community Foundation of Monterey County. CABS sometimes is awarded “Fee for Service Contracts,” such as the Destination Stewardship Plan costs that were contracted for with the Monterey Convention Center and Visitor Bureau.

How can I reach out or get in touch with CABS?2022-07-30T17:03:03+00:00

Please direct inquiries to info@cabigsur.org

How can I help support CABS?2022-07-30T17:03:21+00:00

Information on becoming a friend of CABS (for those who live outside of Big Sur) and CABS associate (for those who live and / or work in Big Sur) is available here: https://www.cabigsur.org/engage/ which also includes info on how to donate to our general initiatives fund as well as the Big Share, which is a program of CABS.



PO Box 59 Big Sur,
CA 93920



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