The planned June Mountain Ski Area closure has fostered protests and debate.
The Sheet obtained a copy of the permit this week.
In the course of reading the permit, there were several additional documents that The Sheet has requested, but in short, here’s what stands out thus far:
Under Section VIII (Revocation and Suspension), the permit says the Forest Service may suspend or revoke the permit in whole or in part “For failure of the holder to exercise the privileges granted by this permit.”
In other words, if June Mountain doesn’t operate, the permit is jeopardized.
Further, “If, during the term of this permit or any extension thereof, the Secretary of Agriculture or any official of the Forest Service with delegated authority determines in planning for the uses of the National Forest System that the public interest requires revocation of this permit, this permit shall be revoked after 180 days written notice to the holder. The United States shall then have the right to purchase the holder’s improvements, to remove them, or to require the holder to remove them.”
“Upon termination or revocation of this special use permit … the holder shall restore the site to a condition satisfactory to the authorized officer.”
Mammoth Mountain can sublease the use of land and improvements with Forest Service approval.
Of the documents we’ve requested but have not yet received …
1.) Site Development Schedule. “As part of this permit, a schedule for the progressive development of the permitted area and installation of facilities shall be prepared jointly by the holder and the Forest Service. Such a schedule shall be prepared by December 15, 2007, and shall set forth an itemized priority list of planned improvements and the due date for completion.”
2.) Operating Plan. “The holder or designated representative shall prepare and annually revise by November 1 an Operating Plan … the provisions of the Operating Plan and the annual revisions shall become a part of this permit.”
Of note: It appears that there is no minimum payment required of MMSA to retain the permit – that the fees paid by MMSA to the USFS under the terms of the permit are based upon revenues collected, so if there are no revenues, it follows there would be no payments. Oops. I’m actually wrong about this. Sect. VI, Subsection A, paragraph 7: “In cases where the holder has no adjusted gross revenue for a given fiscal year, the holder shall pay a permit fee of $2 per acre.”
$2/acre times 1,398 acres = $2,796 annually.
But a couple things to consider.
MMSA Senior Vice-President Pam Murphy said this week that June Mountain had just 14,000 paid skier visits last season (and about 14,000 visits by passholders).
Also consider that MMSA and the Forest Service are in the final stages of completing a huge land swap in order for MMSA to secure developable private property at its Main Lodge base area. These entities are accustomed to being long-time partners, not adversaries.
Once news of June Lake’s indefinite closing hit the Internet last Thursday, Facebook pages for Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain lit up like a Christmas tree with reactions.
Some were short and sweet: Brendan Bordato, for instance, simply wrote: “Open June. People over profits. This won’t go away.”
Others were more elaborate, mentioning the protest this past Sunday, and other ideas for venting frustration — some using colorful expletives to decry Gregory and MMSA management — over the announcement. Andie Peterson suggested an outright boycott of Mammoth Mountain: “So Mammoth has $20 MILLION to invest in it’s OWN slopes over the next 5 years but can’t afford to keep June open?? You have got to be kidding me! What a poor decision. You are adversely affecting the residents of June Lake severely and are taking away the best thing for the KIDS in the winter. How dare you. BOYCOTT MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN! I hope you are happy.”
Michelle Oakman Robinson expressed concerns for impact on the local economy, saying: “In opposition to the people in June who wanted no new development and had the motto: “Don’t Mammoth June,” I always would reply with, “Don’t Bodie June.” Now, the very corporation they feared would make them too large has shut them down. The Bodie-ing of June has begun.”
“Yeah, I can feel the tears from here. Tell it to the June Lake General Store, the Tiger Bar, Ernie’s Tackle and all the other people who will have to close and move because of your decision,” David Parkhurst wrote in agreement.
Ths solution? “Sell June Mountain to someone who actually cares about the mountain, the people, the community and the grass roots snow culture!” commented Jeff Graney in signing a petition to demand just that. (View the petition at: www.change.org/petitions/give-it-back-to-the-town.)
Dumbass press release of the week
I received the following Mammoth Lakes Tourism press release last Thursday. Past deadline. Showing an ignorance of the local print media market (both papers go to press on Thursdays).
I mention it now only because I found it absurd.
The press release proclaimed that “the average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $3.925 per gallon, which is … 44 cents lower than last month.
“This is great news for Mammoth Lakes and our summer visitors. Our occupancy numbers for this summer have been running higher than previous years, and this will only strengthen that trend,“ said John Urdi, Executive Director of Mammoth Lakes Tourism. “With our waters fishing so well, and the excellent condition of our hiking and biking trails, this could be the best summer ever. People want to return to nearby destinations like Mammoth Lakes that hold generations of their family memories. Cheaper gas will only help this.”
Okay, let’s move past the hyperbole here and do some basic arithmetic. If you drive a car that gets 25 miles to the gallon, you’re using about 24 gallons of gasoline roundtrip to get to and from Mammoth from L.A.
Therefore, gas prices falling .44 cents/gallon might save you (.44 x 24) – a little over $10 on your trip.
Just think, actual staff time was spent on this – paid for by you and me.
Dumbass release #2
Mammoth Lakes Police Chief Dan Watson sent out a press release to correct “misinformation” printed by the local media. You have to read a ways to discover that the media took the information from an official Town agenda bill. Hint: Lead the press release by correcting the entity that made the initial error.
And thank you to the police for being so generous in their labor concessions. It must’ve been very painful for Watson to sacrifice some of his annual $304,000 take (salary plus bennies).