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Big Sur

Big Sur is a section of the California coast, typically considered to run from Carmel-by-the-Sea in the north to San Luis Obispo in the south. It is characterized by the collision of coastal mountain ranges, such as the Santa Lucia Range[?], with the Pacific Ocean. Throughout much of Big Sur, this produces dramatic sea cliffs[?] and undersea kelp forests. The mountains squeeze most of the moisture out of the clouds, creating a favorable environment for forests, including the southernmost habitat of the famous coast redwood. Farther inland, the forests disappear and the vegetation becomes more scrubby[?].

The first Europeans to see Big Sur were the Spanish conquistadores, who called it el Sur Grande, or the Big South. They built a series of missions there, but otherwise took little interest. Under American rule, the prohibiting terrain kept settlers out, except for a few ranchers. It remains sparsely populated today, over six decades after the Pacific Coast Highway was put through with the use of New Deal funds and prison labor[?]. The only two towns in Big Sur, excepting the relatively flat southern reaches, are Big Sur[?] and Lucia[?]. Most of the land along the very coast is privately owned, but the vast Los Padres National Forest[?] encompasses the inland portions, and there is a number of small state parks. The area is still quite inaccessible compared to many of California's other natural tourist attractions, but it has a low capacity for visitors and becomes very crowded during major vacation[?] periods.

Big Sur has attracted and inspired a number of writers and artists. most notably Robinson Jeffers[?] and Edward Weston.

List of state parks in Big Sur (north to south)



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