Instagram account shames tourist behavior in Big Sur

Posted at 1:07 PM, May 14, 2019

UPDATE – The “Big Sur Hates You” Instagram account has changed its name to “Big Sur Educates You.”


ORIGINAL STORY (KSBW) – An Instagram account went live this spring with the handle “Big Sur Hates You” and it’s been publicly shaming tourists’ bad behavior.

In the last month, Big Sur Hates You has gone after people for trampling wildflowers and for standing in the middle of an active highway just for a photo op.

Rick Aldinger with the Big Sur River Inn says he doesn’t have a problem with the account but he doesn’t think it is the best way to fix bad behavior.

“I am hoping that they get to that point and maybe realize that ridiculing and shaming and name calling maybe isn’t the best approach to try to change behaviors,” he said.

Tensions between locals and tourists in Big Sur have been mounting for years, and it’s easy to see why. Some visitors along Highway 1 litter, start fires, trespass and even defecate on private property, and put themselves in danger in the pursuit of getting the perfect shot.

But locals say it hasn’t always been this way.

“We started to see things a little bit differently in Big Sur starting in about 2004 2005,” said Butch Kromland with the Community Association of Big Sur.

He says the rise of social media and the smart phone have changed how people act.

“The barrier between appropriate and inappropriate behavior – that barrier has melted away in a lot of ways and I think that is a result of normalizing things in a way via social media,” he said.

This year, Kromland introduced the Big Sur Pledge, a movement to educate visitors on how to recreate responsibly in Big Sur.

He won’t say who is behind Big Sur Hates You but he will say the account and the pledge are two sides of the same coin.

“The pledge is the carrot and Big Sur Hates You is the stick,” Kromland said.

In some cases, the original posters have responded to apologize for their behavior.

KSBW asked Big Sur Hates You who runs the account and got this response: “A Big Sur local fed up with all the stupidity.”