In response to the March 9 article on the Hot Springs trailhead parking situation, landscaping is not the problem near the Hot Springs Trailhead.

The problem is residents illegally placing rocks on the public right of way — this has eliminated long standing parking going back decades.

One Riven Rock resident even created his own parking space, much of it on the public right of way, according to the county road department. A sign placed next to it says “private property” and threatens towing.

Hikers get ticketed for parking their vehicles on Riven Rock, but residents who illegally block parking or create their own parking spaces on public land do not. Time for equity in ticketing. Everyone should be ticketed, or no one ticketed.

Local residents have clout. Due to pressure from them, the county parks department restricted parking to two hours on weekends and eliminated overnight parking. Rangers have even been posted at the trailhead. Residents can’t stop the Sierra Club from leading night hikes up Hot Springs Canyon, but they can make it more inconvenient. Backpackers are no longer able to leave their vehicles overnight when they take extended trips into the backcountry.

Fortunately, backpackers don’t have to drive all the way to Camino Cielo to park. At least not yet. Cold Springs Trailhead is a suitable place to park. No rangers stationed there. No restrictions in parking. The trailhead parking area is not cordoned off, nor has a chain link fence been erected to block the trail. Such a contrast to the Hot Springs trailhead.

Residents having so much power over a local trailhead is bad precedent. Oh, the power and influence of wealthy residents!


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