“And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.”
-John Steinbeck, East of Eden
Always good to get a Steinbeck quote in there. Buz Schott, who passed away in February (see writeup p. 31) would approve.
Although Mr. Steinbeck might forgive the memory loss this year given the severity of the drought we’re experiencing.
According to www.weatherwest.com, 2013 has been drier than any previous calendar year in the historical record by a wide margin (around ~20%).
As Peter Gleick wrote for the Huffington Post last month, “California precipitation has, on average, been declining, from an average of around 23 inches per year to around 21 inches per year — a nearly 10 percent decline in the past 117 years. This could be the result of natural variability, disparities in measurements over time, or climate change — we don’t know for sure. But it is bad news in a region where growing populations and demands for water are already an economic, political, and social challenge.”
I think about this in my own neighborhood of Swall Meadows, where two neighbors above me have recently drilled their wells a little deeper, impacting my own water situation. Never mind that the guy directly above me has planted a seedling forest and has water going to dozens and dozens of new trees.
My wife, conveniently pointing out my own hypocrisy, references the small lawn I put in last year.
“But it’s less than 100-square feet. It’s just a soul patch. It’s a nod to my east coast roots.” I put it in with visions of playing catch my daughters, romping with the dogs …
Turns out the dogs have urinated over and killed much of it. Then the gophers went to work. When summer ended, the lawn had about as much color as Dick Cheney’s face. Now it looks like Omar Sharif in the wintriest depths of Dr. Zhivago. What was I thinking?
“But …” I really have no argument here. She has k.o.’d me again.
If this is the new arms race, I suppose I am the Ecuador to my neighbors’ United States. I’m left to change out water filters every few weeks, each old one just caked to the brim with sand. I feel fortunate that there’s still any water left for me at all. The idea of having to drill deeper … I’d need an equity loan for that.
Ha. What equity?
Is there relief on the horizon? Again, from www.weatherwest.com: “The exceptional dry spell of 2013 appears likely to continue into at least the early part of 2014.”
I have to say there is a symbolism in this drought. As I was putting together this year in review issue, I couldn’t help but think that 2013 wasn’t that exciting. 2012 wasn’t either, except for a sex scandal. Rusty said earlier this year he was gonna leave Greg Dallas in charge, and then we never heard from Dallas again. Not one utterUNTZ.
The rumor of the week has Mammoth buying Bear Mountain and Snow Summit. Both Southern California resorts were placed on the block this past June, according to the San Bernardino Sun.
Snow Summit Ski Corp., owner of the two Big Bear Lake Resorts, has retained investment bank Houlihan Lokey to market the resorts, according to a press release.
Snow Summit was assessed to be worth $6.14 million in 2012, up from $5.93 million in 2010, according to county tax records.
Summit purchased Bear Mountain in 2003 for $200,000, according to county records, and Bear was valued at $5.7 million in 2012.
One lift ticket allows visitors access to both resorts, which are two miles apart and connected by shuttle buses. They are located on a combined 1,368 acres, 438 of which is developed.
Bear Mountain has nine chairlifts, and Summit has 11.
When asked for comment, MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory said, “our policy is ‘to neither confirm nor deny’ MMSA’s involvement in any acquisitions until and unless acquisition is consummated.”
Bob Hutchison of the Oaktree Furniture Store reports that he won his TBID appeal and now has a Tier 2 exemption ($500 annually).
Even Mammoth Lakes Tourism’s John Urdi acknowledged in an email to Hutchison that, “The appeal decision regarding Oaktree has far-reaching ramifications and changes for the entire TBID.”
More soon. Happy New Year! I’ll be at Duke’s Bar (Sierra Nevada Lodge lobby) for early New Year’s Eve if you want to say hello.