If you’ve been out cross-country skiing or on a hike in the Mammoth area, you’ve probably seen those raggedy old pieces of metal shaped as diamonds. My first thought when I saw them was, “Damn those are ugly.”
Apparently I am not alone in this thinking, which is why the Sierra Club, Range of Light Chapter has decided to replace, and, or repaint these blue diamond trail markers, which denote the historic routes around Mammoth, on four trails — top of the Knolls, Inyo Craters, Earthquake Fault Trail and Obsidian Dome. The Forest Service first created the routes in the mid 80’s.
The idea was brought to the Club’s attention when it became clear during winter outings that many of the signs had fallen or were not visible because of wear and tear from the winter weather.
The Sierra Club asked Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access (MLTPA) to GPS and plot these routes during its trail inventory a few years ago. The Town of Mammoth Lakes now has records of said winter routes.
The Sierra Club then proposed a list of the prioritized trails mentioned above. Other blue diamond routes will be considered at a later date.
“It’s a positive and constructive project,” said Sierra Club member Mike Shore. “For once the Sierra Club is not opposing something.”
The Sierra Club Range of Light leads hikes and cross-country ski tours on these trails twice a week in the summer and winter.
Shore pointed out that these trails are an adventure and a great place to enjoy some of the beauty of Mammoth.
The Sierra Club spoke with Inyo Forest Supervisor Ed Armenta, Mammoth District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge, and Mammoth Recreation Officer Jon Kazmierski about the project and concluded that the entities would enter into a volunteer agreement to complete the work.
Cheryl Chipman, Inyo National Forest Public Affairs Officer, said the project is a great way for the Forest Service to stay involved with local clubs and the community. Having worked with the Range of Light group in the past, the Forest Service is fully supportive of this volunteer project within the guidelines stated in the approved agreement.
“The Blue Diamond trails provide good cross country skiing, but we have not been able to give them much attention for years,” Regelbrugge said. “I’m thrilled that the Sierra Club wants to refurbish this recreational opportunity.”
The Club will acquire and install the blue diamonds, which will be the same recognizable 8-inch metal squares, painted turquoise blue. The new, and newly renovated blue diamonds will be more visible during snowstorms.
The project will be ongoing for the next two to three years. The Mammoth Knolls Trail is scheduled as the first to be completed. The Club expects to begin hanging signs in October.
The Sierra Club Range of Light (RoL) Group is part of the Toiyabe Chapter and represents Sierra Club members in Mono and Inyo counties.