MLTSCC forges ahead
The Mammoth Lakes Trail System Coordinating Committee (“MLTS CC” or “Trails Committee”) was created over 2 years ago, with a mission to implement the Trails System Master Plan (TSMP). The Town Council pledged $300,000 per year for 5 years of Measure R funding for projects for TSMP priorities: paved and soft surface trails, sidewalks, other non-motorized considerations, and programs to use those trails. Consultant Steve Speidel serves as its project coordinator, having previously worked as a Town recreation planner, with duties that included development of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and the TSMP. He is project manager for trails contracts issued by the Town, tracks all trails projects and costs, and maintains the records of the MLTSCC meetings. The Forest Service attends the committee meetings in an advisory staff role, as 90% of all trails are on National Forest lands. The Town and the Forest Service have signed Memoranda of Understanding covering management of trails, and the Trails System website.
The Trails Committee has provided funding for projects and programs that include: Summer of Stewardship (Friends of the Inyo, MLTPA); Lakes Basin Stewards (FOI); X-C grooming at Shady Rest Campground (Mammoth Nordic/FOI); website operations and maintenance (TOML/MLTPA). Other projects are partially or fully funded by MLTSCC funding, such as the Lakes Basin Interpretive Panels and temporary trail signage on soft-surface trails. The MLTSCC tracks projects done under agreement with the USFS, such as the fully federal-funded Lake George Connector Path and Lake Mary trail studies, similar to the Lakes Basin Trail, done in partnership with the Town and Forest Service, and constructed with federal ARRA grant funds.
One of the largest projects funded by the MLTS CC is the SHARP (Sherwins Area Recreation Plan) environmental review. SHARP encompasses a huge area, from the lower Lakes Basin (Panorama Dome area), south to the top of the Sherwins, east beyond Sherwin Creek Road, and bounded on the north by the Town’s urban limits. The SHARP calls for development of new trails, and redevelopment and designation of existing trails in the SHARP area. The first implementation steps took place this summer with USFS resource surveys of the entire area, consisting of wildlife, botany, cultural, hydrology, fisheries, and other surveys.
The Town and FS are partners in a “Challenge Cost Share Agreement”, in which the CEQA/NEPA phase is estimated to cost $215,956, with $152,072 coming from the Measure R Trails budget, and $63,884 contributed by the Forest Service. The completed CEQA/NEPA document and decision will lay the foundation for subsequent grants and trail construction. Be assured, your Measure R trails dollars are working hard for you!
Ban those plastic bags!
I was happy to read the recent media coverage regarding banning plastic bags in Mammoth. I am not an expert in this area, but I have been researching this issue recently because I realize and agree that single use plastic bags need to be banned in California. I learned a lot of information on the website, California Against Waste, http://www.cawrecycles.org *. To date, 105 California communities or cities have implemented or are in the process of adopting plastic bag ordinances.
I also learned that there is currently legislation which seeks to phase out single-use plastic grocery bags in the State of California in supermarkets and drugstores starting July 1, 2015, and by July 1, 2016 for smaller grocery stores and convenience stores. Paper bags can only be distributed with a minimum 10 cent charge.
So, why should the community of Mammoth Lakes go through the effort needed to implement an ordinance on banning plastic bags when the State of California will most likely be implementing a statewide ban starting in July, 2015?
There are many reasons, but the top two reasons in my opinion are 1) It will show that our town is being proactive and that we care about keeping our environment, the Eastern Sierra, in pristine condition so that everyone who lives here and visits here can enjoy the beauty, and 2) Mono County is facing challenges with our amount of solid waste. In California, 13 billion plastic bags are distributed annually, and only 3% are recycled. As a reminder, there are bins located at the inside of both the Vons entrances on the left to recycle plastic bags.
A big complaint I hear about banning plastic bags from people I know is, “what will I use to clean up after my dog and/or, empty the kitty litter with”. I have a cat and a dog, and I never leave the house without a plastic bag when I have my dog with me. For both the local California communities that have banned plastic bags as well as the proposed statewide bill, the ban does not include produce plastic bags. We can also use used bread plastic bags for these uses.
I keep my reusable bags in my car, but sometimes I forget them at home. The last time I forgot them, I did not even think to ask for a paper bag. When I got home, I wondered if Vons even has paper bags. I am not asked, “Would you like paper or plastic” anymore. The next time I was at Vons I asked if they have paper bags. They do. You have to specify that you want paper versus plastic, though. The reason I do not purchase the Vons reusable bags for sale (when I forget my bags) is because they are so small. I think a good marketing idea for someone in town would be to make and sell reusable bags that are normal size for groceries (like Trader Joes size) as well as smaller sizes (for smaller item shopping at Vons and/or other stores) with either a Mammoth Lakes logo or a business logo. If I knew that grocery bag size reusable bags were sold locally, I would purchase some. I would also be marketing that local business on the reusable bags for people to see when I am shopping at Vons.
When I was shopping at Vons last week, I was glad to see the recent sign that Vons put up on their entrance that states: “Bring your reusable bags. Help us eliminate 1 billion plastic and paper bags by 2015.” I was also happy to see that so many people had brought their reusable bags. I am seeing more and more of this at our local Vons.
Thanks to all of you who are already being proactive in helping our community by shopping with your reusable bags. Yay for better environmental sustainability and stewardship in Mammoth Lakes!
Jennifer Langlo Sheldon
Mammoth Lakes, CA