Mono Basin Visitor Center open
The Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining is now open for the season, Thursday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Days of operation will increase to seven days a week beginning Thursday, May 19.
Installation of new photovoltaic solar panels at the Visitor Center will help meet up to 60% of future energy demands of the facility. Installation should be completed by early June.
Drop by to take advantage of new trails and interpretive panels around the Visitor Center and down to Old Marina. For the latest information on road, trail and campground openings, go to the Inyo National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/inyo. More info: contact the Scenic Area Visitor Center at 760.647.3044.
Lakes Basin, Reds road delays
Heavy winter snowfall has held up opening access roads to the Mammoth Lakes Basin, which are projected to open later than normal this year. The US Forest Service and Town of Mammoth Lakes are reportedly working cooperatively to provide vehicle access to the Lakes Basin and open recreation facilities as quickly as possible, with a targeted opening date of May 25, just prior to Memorial Day weekend.
Further assessments on snow conditions and facility repair needs will be made beginning May 10, after which a more detailed opening schedule will be developed.
Until road plowing begins, the Mammoth Lakes Basin is open to winter recreational use. When enjoying the Lakes Basin using a snowmobile, please remember to travel at a safe and controllable speed and be respectful of non-motorized users. Many hazards exist and riding near buildings or structures is not recommended. The area of the Lakes Basin open to snowmobile use is limited and users should be aware of posted closures. And, according to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, that same record snowfall also means Reds Meadow road is projected to open later than normal this year. The US Forest Service, Caltrans, National Park Service, and Town of Mammoth Lakes are working on getting the road and associated valley facilities open as quickly as possible. The Reds Meadow Road to Devils Postpile National Monument and the Reds Meadow Valley is tentatively scheduled to open June 24.
Shuttle Bus service into the Reds Meadow Valley is scheduled to begin on Saturday June 25. Through Labor Day, use of the Shuttle Bus is required for day-use into the Reds Meadow Valley from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at a cost of $7 per adult, $4 per child.
Interagency Passes are now accepted for exception vehicles. The cost is $10 per vehicle for those camping in the valley, or for those exempted from riding the shuttle.
NOTE: Pacific Crest and John Muir trail hikers who are planning food drops or resupplies via Reds Meadow Valley should be advised that June 24 is a tentative opening date and there is a possibility the road opening could be further delayed. Vehicle access to pick up hikers or drop off supplies is not allowed until the road is open to the public. Hikers may want to consider using Mammoth Pass to Horseshoe Lake for alternative resupply staging.
More info: call the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, 760.924.5500 or visit the Welcome Center at 2510 Hwy 203, next to the Mammoth Ranger Station.
Sage Grouse comments sought
The Inyo National Forest is proposing to implement a sage-grouse habitat enhancement project in the vicinity of Sagehen Summit. In the absence of a natural fire regime, Jeffrey pine trees are gradually moving out into historically pure stands of sagebrush. Sage grouse tend to avoid areas with overhead cover, likely because trees provide perches for predators such as hawks, which feed on grouse. The project would entail removing trees within a 300-acre area immediately south of Sagehen Summit and Big Sand Flat.
The small diameter young trees would be felled and limbed using chainsaws and allowed to naturally decompose on site. If the branches create an unacceptable increase in fuel loading, they would be either chipped or piled and burned when adequate snow was present.
More info, or if you wish to comment on the proposal, call Richard Perloff, 760.924.5508, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments would be most useful if received by May 15.
Wild Iris peer training class
Wild Iris will hold a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Peer Violence/Sexual Assault Peer Counselor training class. The class helps prepare you to become a peer crisis counselor. Learn the causes of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, how to help victims become empowered to make good choices, reflective listening, nonjudgmental statements and information sharing skills. Also covered is the role of law enforcement and social service agencies when dealing with DV or SA situations. The 11-week course is approved by the state of California. The 66-hour class begins the week of May 15. There is a $35 materials fee. To sign up or get more info, contact Suzanne Cook, Wild Iris Volunteer Program Manager, at 760.873.6601 or email: email@example.com.