History of the ParkIT! Initiative

ParkIT! is a collaboration of local residents, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies to solve shared concerns. In 2018, nearly 30 initial listening sessions were conducted by a group of founding members led by the late Ernest Chung.

With a proven talent for engaging stakeholders, Ernest hosted these meetings around his dining room table. The aim was to gather various perspectives and knit together ideas for a solution. Those who knew him best describe his sincerity of being other-focused as what allowed people to relax and co-create with ease. And, his ability to encourage others to do more, lovingly called “The Chung Challenge,” brought out the best contributions from others. In this way, Ernest’s leadership brought forth a large breadth of broad community support for ParkIT!.

Consensus on the course of action evolved and a ParkIT! Steering Committee was developed to guide the effort and continue the movement toward goals.

In addition to providing financial contributions and steering committee representatives, the following entities also provide local and state connections as well as in-kind contributions through expertise in producing technical planning documents and fundraising proposals: Big Sur Land Trust, Point Lobos Foundation, and Big Sur Marathon Foundation.

Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District and the Monterey District of California State Parks & Recreation provide steering committee representatives, local and state connections, land use for parking lots and restrooms, and other resources necessary for implementation.

The Precursor to ParkIT! History

The ParkIT! Initiative becomes possible only with multiple land agencies working together toward a shared vision. The Lobos-Corona Parklands Project (LCPP), which was both a result of and a driver for collaboration among the entities that form the backbone of ParkIT!, is the formal agreement to work together as part of an integrated multi-agency effort for the benefit of the public.

Lobos-Corona Parklands Project Press Release

Years of planning, land acquisition, and parks preparation, as well as millions in public and private dollars, have been invested in the Lobos-Corona Parklands Project area. The project area encompasses nearly 10,000 acres and includes Palo Corona Regional Park, the former Whisler Wilson Ranch, and High Meadows Open Space (Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District); Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, the former A.M. Allan Ranch, Carmel River State Beach, Hatton Canyon and Garrapata State Park (California State Parks); and the Coast Ranch and South Bank Trail (Big Sur Land Trust). These lands host some of California’s most spectacular coastal areas and vistas, abundant wildlife, diverse habitats, and profound historical and cultural resources.

With substantially increased visitation to the region, ParkIT! objectives ensure improved access and travel for residents and tourists. The approach will improve public safety and protect natural resources while optimizing access and visitor experience to Highway 1 parklands, Carmel to Big Sur.

ParkIT! Steering Committee

Community Member Advisors

Ernest Chung

ParkIT! Founder 
In Memoriam

Steve Dennis

Organizational Consultant

Peter Eigen

Big Sur Land Trust, CFO/COO

Hugo Ferlito

Big Sur International Marathon, Board Member

Samuel B. Hale

Organizational Consultant

Kathleen Lee

Point Lobos Foundation, Executive Director

Jim Rurka

Point Lobos Foundation,
Board Chair

Rachel Saunders

Big Sur Land Trust, Director of Conservation

Ex Officio Advisors

John Hiles

Monterey Sector Manager, California State Parks

Brent Marshall

California State Parks District Manager

Rafael Payan

Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District General Manager


Steffanie Gamecho

Project Coordinator

[email protected] or

Join us as we develop a safer, greener, easier way to access the parklands and vistas of the Carmel to Big Sur region.

Please contact us to let us know you support the project or to inquire about a role you might be able to fill. We look forward to hearing from you!

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