Date: 6/29/20 4:02 pm
From: Richard J. Norton <richardjnorton...>
Subject: [LACoBirds] Calabasas Hooded Warbler - Parking Warning
The previously reported Hooded Warbler along the Backbone Trail, slightly
west of the rear of the California Wildlife Center was present Sunday
afternoon. It was singing, high in trees, on and off from the time of my
arrival at 13:30. In spite of serious looking toward where the sound was
coming from, it took an hour before a few-second look was obtained that
visually confirmed the identification.

The Backbone Trail entrance is not easy to see while driving, but goes
south from Piuma Road, almost across the street from the west end of a
tennis court.

As mentioned by others, the large (would-be) parking lots near the Backbone
Trail are clearly marked with *No Parking* signs. As suggested, I parked in
a lot at the southeast corner of Piuma Road and Las Virgenes Road, with a
number of other cars, where there was no sign in the lot, and walked an
additional 1/4 mile each way to the trail entrance.

Upon my return to the car, I was surprised to find a parking ticket on the
front windshield, marked "ILLEGAL PARKING WHERE POSTED." There was a ticket
on the other remaining car in the lot as well, but none visible on the
food-vendor's cart that was doing business with other stopped (and of
course parked while doing business) vehicles. The ticket was issued by
California State Parks.

There is no apparent reason for the large lots closer to the Backbone Trail
to be marked *No Parking, *other than to make access to the Backbone Trail
difficult from Piuma Road. I see no value to society for having State Park
"Rangers" even issuing parking tickets to people parked in these lots
marked No Parking, but consider it outrageous that they do so in a lot not
marked, and clearly used by many.

If there was an actual desire to stop parking in the lot, they could have
at least had a sign saying so. Previous behavior by State Park personnel
strongly suggests the ticketing at no-sign or hidden-sign areas is a
conscious effort to raise money, and likely justify categorizing park
rangers as being "law-enforcement officers" entitled to future state-funded
stratospheric retirement benefits.

For instance, at Point Dume, there are only a few spaces in the small,
elaborately constructed, parking lot. But in past years, cars also parked
along the road south of this lot. A few years ago, upon return from a
sea-watch, there was a State Park Ranger giving tickets to all the cars
parked there. There were no signs at all, and there was no problem with
traffic passing the line of parked cars. The ranger had not reached my car
yet, so I left only feeling sorry for those with tickets. Note that since
then, someone has at least installed *No Parking* signs. Note that birders
can park on a street about 1/4 mile northwest of the small lot, and walk.

On Entrada Road, outside Topanga State Park, many cars are typically parked
along the north side. There is an overgrown driveway leading into the park
with a difficult to see *No Parking* sign. On most weekends, people don't
see the sign and park there. Rangers enhance their value to society by
issuing tickets. If there was a real desire to stop parking, placement of
visible signs would likely work, but it appears that the easy money would
disappear, and law-enforcement-officer need would be reduced. Birders
thinking of parking there should be cautious.

In summary -

There appears to be no place to park near the Piuma Road entrance to the
Backbone Trail. Since a number of birders have parked where I did, and did
not receive tickets, it appears that the area is infrequently patrolled.
Take your chances if you care to.

Beware of parking in places where you don't see *No Parking* signs anywhere
near State Parks

Dick Norton
Topanga, CA

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