Mammoth Lakes is getting a new entrance this summer, a gateway worthy of a national park. The Mammoth Gateway Community Project started over coffee a year ago. Artist Larry Walker had thought about a gateway entrance to Mammoth since he arrived 40 years ago. Community organizer and long-time planning commissioner Elizabeth Tenney was ready for a sticks-in-the-ground project. Together they launched a community-wide effort.
Walker designed the rugged Gateway, inspired by Crystal Crag high above Lake Mary. Architect Bruce Woodward figured out how to build it. The Board of Supervisors agreed to the use of Mono County land for the south monument. U.S. Forest Service encouraged applying for a permit to build the north monument on Forest Service land. Mammoth Lakes Lions Club, which built the original “Welcome” monument sign, approved an even bigger replacement version. The Town waived fees and donated staff support. Engineering was donated. Mammoth Community Water District agreed to install and maintain a wildflower/native plant demonstration garden with pathways and bench east of the south monument. Adjacent California Superior Court will supply irrigation through its dedicated meter. And all this came together in nine months.
Essential to the Gateway Project’s success is generous in-kind support (labor, heavy equipment, metal fabrication, etc.) from Rusty Gregory and Mammoth Mountain and Snowcreek’s Chuck Lande. The Gateway is no small project. Its monuments are big because this is “Mammoth” and because it flanks 135-foot-wide Hwy 203.
Not covered by in-kind support though is a great quantity of granite block, yards of concrete and specialized labor. Before construction can begin, $100,000 has to be raised to buy materials. $20,000 has already been raised and Gateway volunteer organizer Tenney has applied for a $25,000 grant from Measure R 2011 Fall Funding Cycle to help as well. Visit www.mammothgateway.org for to donate and to learn more. –ET
IMAGE COURTESY BRUCE WOODWARD