More News

Pinnacles Gateway Partners discuss overcrowding and the park's future

Pinnacles Gateway Partners meeting discussed ways to promote gateway communities surrounding the park.
Veronica Johnson, park employee, discusses ways people can volunteer at the park. Photo courtesy Jim Gillio.
Karen Jernigan shows King City's new welcome sign to the group. Photo courtesy Jim Gillio.
Photo courtesy Jim Gillio.

Pinnacles Gateway Partners, which incorporates National Park staff, city and county personnel, and the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce, met March 15 at Eden Rift Vineyards in Paicines to receive updates on the Pinnacles and discover ways to promote communities as a gateway to the park.

The mission of the group is to work together to protect natural resources, encourage visitors, and economic development and community involvement for the Pinnacles National Park and gateway communities. One of their long-term goals is using gateway communities as entries to Pinnacles for the economic advantage for these communities.

Juli Viera, CEO and president of the San Benito Chamber of Commerce, asked the groups how gateway communities are helping in bringing tourist to the area.

“On a weekday, we see folks all around the world, some from Texas and even England,” said Karen Beppler-Dorn, superintendent of Pinnacles National Park. She said her mission is to invite visitors and protect the resources that make the park so unique. Spring is the busy season for the park, especially on weekends and the policy is “one car in, one car out between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.”

“During Presidents Day weekend the line of cars made it way out to Highway 25,” she said. “We’re filling up fast, any way to promote getting out to the park earlier or later the better, and even enjoying our gateway communities as well.”

She said they’ve looked at alternative ways of fixing the parking situation. “Hopefully in the future we find a solution,” she said.

“King City will be having a ribbon cutting for their new welcome sign which incorporates rocks to represent Pinnacles National Park,” said Karen Jernigan. Jernigan said there are efforts being made to upgrade downtown King City as well.

 “One thing we’re really excited about in the near future is a new entrance station on the East Side of the Pinnacles,” she said. “Even a new 'iconic' entrance sign will be included so visitors can take a picture in front of it.”

Audience members asked how people can find out about volunteer opportunities in the park. Veronica Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator Pinnacles National Park, said the main method is through the park’s website.

Johnson said the park hosts volunteer groups including scouts and youth organizations to volunteer at the park. “They come for about three and a half hours and get some service done,” she said. “Also, our Every Kid in a Park program that the park puts on for fourth graders, even allows their families to access free passes to all national park for the year.”

A presentation by Michael Kohne, Marketing Director of Eden Rift Vineyards, closed the meeting.

For more information about the Pinnacles Gateway Partners  contact Craig Kaufman via email at

BenitoLink Logo

Become a Member Today

Support your local independent news.

We work hard to give you the news and information you need. By becoming a member, you will be part of something bigger; BenitoLink, your community-supported news source.


bstrohn's picture
Blaire Strohn (bstrohn)

Blaire Strohn is a graduate student at Oklahoma State University focusing on International Agriculture. Blaire also graduated from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelors Degree in Agriculture Communications. Born and raised on a cow/calf operation ranch in Paicines, she is passionate about the agriculture community and western way of life.


Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

Yes, folks the way to protect the Pinnacles Natural Integrity is to put a big Disneyland-Style sign in front with tourists hanging all over it and BOOM BOOM Cars adding much-needed sound effects to what used to be a boring old park with nothing to offer but nature. And who could argue that growing the economies of the "Gateway Communities?" is a sure fire way to preserve the quiet, historic appeal of the Pinnacles area. Goodness, it'll be just like Yosemite soon! As crowded and noisy as Downtown L.A. But of course, the new 6 lane freeway we have planned, and the ten thousand car parking lot should fix all the authenticity problems, while remaining in keeping with the original Historic feeling of the area. As if that weren't enough, there will be a full time team of MWLB (men with leaf-blowers) to assure that no dust will remain on the parking lot surface, it will be noisily transferred from the ground to the surface of your car, and into your lungs, just like back home :). For those of you who came to hear the sound of birds, just pretend that the Ambiance destroying sound of the leaf blowers is actually Hummingbirds, and maybe you'll survive the day. But it's O.K. you'll probably never come back, and in a sad, sad way, that might be a good thing.

Submitted by Ken Dunn (kenneth) on

Forgive me for emphasizing the obvious, but the title of your article makes it sooo very clear that the last thing the Pinnacles needs is more publicity. This is possibly the last place that Hollisterites could go to unwind, and now that that option has been ruined, brace yourself for a very tense future. And don't forget to email or phone your Supervisor or Council member about selling everything precious about Hollister to the highest bidder.

Add new comment

Add Facebook comment

Comment using your Facebook account. Facebook comments will be published on this page, and on Facebook. It will not be posted to the "Recent Comments" list on the BenitoLink front page.