Camping accommodations at the Silver Lake Campground on the June Lake Loop have had a rough start this season. Mother Nature’s cold temperatures, plus construction have thrown wrenches into getting the campground open. The delayed opening has caused some concern and disappointment, and some campground-goers have complained that they were unable to receive a refund when the venue was not open on the days they had booked.
The construction is an over-spill from work that was started in the summer of 2009. The work includes replacing the main electrical line at the campground and installing a new sewer lift system. In order to do the work, trenches must be dug. “We have to be able to dig the trenches without them collapsing [under the consistency of wet soil conditions],” said Adrianne Thatcher, Inyo National Forest Recreation Manager for the Mammoth District.
“We didn’t have a good understanding of what was underground until we go there,” she said.
The end result is that some campsites will have electrical hook-ups and the campground will have shower facilities, but getting there is going to take at least three more weeks of work according to Thatcher.
“We are at Mother Nature’s mercy,” she said. Thatcher added that the campground must be closed during this construction because there is a lot of heavy equipment being used that could put public safety at risk. Also, having a lot of members of the public around would slow down the progress.
As for reservations and refunds Thatcher stated that the responsibilities lie in the hands of campground concessionaire California Land Management, dba Inyo Recreation.
“Reservations should have been closed because we knew we were going to have to do the construction last fall,” Thatcher said.
When visiting either www.recreation.gov or www.reserveamerica.com, two sites that offer reservations for Silver Lake Campground, you are not allowed to reserve any dates, but there is no explanation of the campground’s closure, nor are there any explanations at www.clm-services.com, the site for Inyo Recreation. The recreation.com site does however state “In the event of an emergency closure the NRRS [National Recreation Reservation Service] will attempt to notify users and offer alternate dates and sites (as appropriate). If this is not possible, reservations will be canceled and all fees paid will be refunded.”
All of the other campgrounds on the June Lake Loop are open according to Thatcher. Silver Lake itself, as well as the Silver Lake Resort including the café, cabins, general store and RV Park are also up and running.