I live on a short dead-end street in Fern Valley. Our few full-time residents generate rare traffic. This past Saturday and Sunday, however, the attraction of snow beckoned more drivers than I would normally see in three months.
They used one of the two snow-plowed lanes for parking. At least 10 times I had to go out and ask drivers to please not block my driveway. I left for a couple hours in the afternoon and returned to find twice as many cars as before lining the berms on either side of the street, and yep, one blocked access from my driveway.
Kids and adults romped through neighbors’ yards, either unaware or unconcerned that they were trespassing on private property.
I phoned the non-emergency California Highway Patrol line three times on Saturday and they did respond each time. One CHP officer said he would clear them, but they would be right back. In fact, the tourists lined up at the top of the street, motors idling, waiting for a car downstream to vacate a space.
I’ve heard many stories of Idyllwild visitors’ lack of respect, ignorance and trespassing: tobogganing down a resident’s steep driveway, wanting to use a bathroom, helping themselves to a resident’s garden chairs as their children played in the snow and so on.
The warning bell rang on snow days last year when our roads were jammed with illegally parked cars and everything from dirty diapers to empty tin cans were left behind for Idyllwilders to clean up.
Idyllwild seems to be “trending” as a snow destination. We understand the attraction of our little mountain town, and we invite the contribution that tourism makes to our economy. Still, locals have a right to expect safe roads and to have their property rights respected.
Action is needed. I suggest a Town Hall meeting with representatives from Riverside County, the U.S. Forest Service and CHP.
For efficiency’s sake, I suggest a coherent list of concerns and possible solutions be developed prior to the meeting. This list would then be presented for discussion and, ideally, the Town Hall meeting would conclude with firm commitments to action. I volunteer to take part in this effort.