Old growth manzanita reduction
The Mammoth Lakes Fire Department is mandating homeowners to participate in their fuel reduction program or be fined. In the past I have had favorable experiences working with fire departments in other municipalities. Most recently in Santa Barbara my participation in the Montecito Fire Department’s fuel reduction program was a positive collaboration that also improved my knowledge of fire safety.
My experience with the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department inspector, Chris, was exactly the opposite. He was coercive and threatening. Moreover, he required me to remove old growth manzanita (even after I had removed everything around it) or be fined and have a lien placed against my property. You can imagine my horror as I watched a 24-inch chainsaw destroy beautiful old growth manzanita (40 feet from any structure) which was then discarded in a trash heap. I begged to save it. I was unsuccessful because I didn’t know my rights or how to stand up to Chris’ threats of legal action against me. They will be issuing fines to my neighbors who do not go along with this massive vegetation destruction. Their approach is right out of the mob playbook. Do it or I’ll break you!
This behavior is wrong, tyrannical, and does not seem within the department’s legal right. The fire department is creating a lot of ill will as it methodically denudes our neighborhood. It is so sad. I feel violated AND I had to pay for it!
“Home hotels” – do the math
Have you looked around the neighborhood lately? You know, that familiar place you go home to at the end of the day, a place where one experiences a level of support and respect from their “neighbor” where one is held accountable to others because they live in the neighborhood.
Overnight rentals transform a neighborhood house by house, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood turning a town into a bankable housing corridor albeit a threshold referred to as the new shared economy; the peer-to-peer trust-relationships-collaborative-marketplace: welcome to neighborhood hybrid. Do the math: dollars-dollars and more dollars! Your town is now a commercial zone of “home hotels.” Do the math: one, two, three and counting all those juicy dividends while the town-that-used-to-be has sacrificed its neighborhoods and where efficient website advertising provides customers a neighborhood home viewed in color satellite imagery.
WE’RE OPEN FOR BUSINESS – BOOK 24 HOURS A DAY !
There it goes; there goes the neighborhood, there goes the village, there goes your town. The shared economy – it’s here to stay. Who cares about neighborhoods; they’re not any kind of app. Do the math; sacrifice neighborhoods for dollars! And counting $$$.
Ideas for the Plan
The U.S. Forest Service can play a big role in helping our community be a great four season destination by developing a new Inyo National Forest management plan that:
1) Provides, sustainable, high quality recreation opportunities, fueled by ecologically healthy landscapes and well maintained rec resources. The Forest Service should update its 2007 Recreation Facility Analysis, a critical first step in addressing deferred maintenance and prioritizing recreation projects. Given the Inyo’s budget shortages, the Agency should emphasize use of partnerships with non-profits and others to maintain recreation resources.
2) Protects critical watersheds. Many of the Inyo’s most popular recreation areas – including mountain meadows and quality fishing streams – are defined by water. Unfortunately, 13 Inyo watersheds, such as McGee Creek, are in a damaged state. The Agency should emphasize restoration of critical watersheds, streams, etc.
3) Safeguards special places and recommends new Wilderness. Our rich wildlands legacy is a boon to our economy. The Inyo should administratively protect special areas and recommend new congressionally designated wilderness. Unfortunately, the agency has rushed its Wilderness Inventory and Evaluation process, creating confusion and apprehension instead of informed public dialogue.
4) Promotes healthy forests and the ecological role of fire. Decades of well-intended yet misguided fire suppression efforts combined with a changing climate have increased the risk of uncharacteristically large and more dangerous fires. The Inyo should move away from a focus on suppression and towards managing fire as a natural process.
5) Creates science-based standards including monitoring programs to protect at-risk species like sage grouse. Imperiled species are warning indicators that too many important habitats have been damaged by human uses.
Malcolm Clark, Chair
Range of Light Group, Sierra Club
Editor’s note: In preparation for the next phase of the INF Management Plan Revision process, the Eastern Sierra Recreation Collaborative will meet Tuesday in Bishop (Cerro Coso) from 5:30-8:30.