High temperatures combined with a light snowpack have allowed for an early start to plowing area roads this spring. The Town of Mammoth Lakes (TOML) began plowing roads in the Mammoth Lakes Basin on Wednesday, April 17. Caltrans will begin plowing to the Minaret Vista at the end of April, and TOML crews will begin plowing into Reds Meadow Valley soon after.
The Forest Service is working with the Town to open Mammoth Lakes Basin before the fishing opener on April 27. After the roads are plowed, warm weather is needed to melt ice caps from the road surface and to melt back parking areas and road intersections. Opening dates of the roads for vehicles will depend on snow, ice and road conditions. The Lakes Basin will be open to pedestrians, but not vehicles while the roads are being plowed. Visitors should avoid areas where equipment is operating. Keep as far away as possible and be sure that the operator can see you if you need to pass by. Visitors should stay aware of hazards in the area, such as wind damaged trees and soft lake ice that is particularly dangerous during this season.
Due to very limited snowpack and dangerous lake ice conditions, snowmobiling opportunities in the Lakes Basin will be scarce this year. The use of snowmobiles in the Lakes Basin after April 16 is not encouraged this year due to poor conditions and potential conflicts with plowing operations. Snowmobilers are reminded that it is their responsibility to know where snowmobiling is legal, and to keep away from developed recreation areas, campgrounds and buildings to avoid damage to these facilities.
The Forest Service will be working to prepare the Reds Meadow Valley for opening by Memorial Day Weekend. Once the road is plowed, road repairs must be made and hazard trees removed. The Forest Service expects this work to take only a couple of weeks, barring any unforeseen circumstances, and intends to open the Reds Meadow area and facilities to public access by Saturday, May 25.
For more information, please call the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center at 760.924.5500 or visit the Welcome Center at 2510 Hwy 203 next to the Mammoth Ranger Station, or go to the Inyo National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/inyo.