Some news and notes from the Mammoth Lakes Tourism Board meeting which took place Wednesday afternoon.
Happy 20th anniversary to Mammoth Brewing Company. MBC Co-owner Sean Turner said this week that Sam Walker sold his first keg of Mammoth beer in the first week of December, 1995.
They’ll be celebrating with a complimentary beer toast at 9 p.m. Saturday, D.J., discounted food and beer, et. al.
We also followed up with Turner regarding Bluesapalooza 2016. Per usual, Sean and Joyce are making subtle and not-so-subtle changes to maintain that balance of continuing to grow the event while seeking to maintain its intimacy and charm. A big question is how committed the Town of Mammoth Lakes is to partner in that growth, as the Wood site venue is only guaranteed through this summer.
The next best site for the event would appear to be Shady Rest park, but that would require Forest Service approval as well as a commitment by the Town to lease out the site for a period of a few weeks during the height of summer.
As Turner said, “We want to go to two weekends in 2017 … if we have a [suitable] event site.”
For 2016, the festival is responding to consumer demand by alternately selling 10% less total tickets, but increasing the number of VIP tickets sold from 750 in 2015 to 1,200 in 2016.
While they’ve raised the price of the VIP ticket from $175 to $275, it will also come with a host of additional amenities, including a cigar bar and a distilled spirit tasting area. I did not ask how a VIP porta-potty differs from a regular porta-potty …
They will also feature two days of beer tasting (Saturday and Sunday) versus the traditional Saturday event.
$80,000 for Mammoth trails
The Mammoth Trails Committee and Trails Coordinator Joel Rathje now have $80,000 to put toward maintaining 30 miles of Mammoth Lakes Trail System trails, thanks to an Mammoth Lakes Recreation (MLR) Board vote on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Rathje explained to the Board that he and the Committee recently reached an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge to engage in a 2016 trails maintenance program with a challenge cost share agreement.
“There are 797 problems on this 30 mile system,” Rathje told the Board. Many of those problems are caused by erosion, which has exposed roots and worn away trails in the Lakes Basin in particular.
“The District Ranger has indicated that he’s very open to strategic, careful rerouting … so we’d be making a bad situation more sustainable,” Rathje said.
He said that most of the trail maintenance work would be completed by the end of next fall.
$40,000 of the total $80,000 was reallocated from a Sherwins Area Recreation Plan (SHARP) trail design/alignment fund, because “we’re not in a place where we can do this,” said Board Chair Danna Stroud. The other $40,000 was reallocated from a trails CEQA analysis, website operations, Mammoth Trails, and Adopt-A-Trail program.
“The intention is to turn this existing system into a system that feels new,” Rathje said. The MLR Board voted unanimously in support of that vision.
LAFCO case moved
Don’t break a hip trying to get there, but the legal case over Mammoth Hospital’s orthopedic clinic in Bishop has been moved to Sacramento. Josh Hart, Inyo County Planning Director and Inyo County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) Executive Director said the case has been moved to a “neutral forum.” Inyo LAFCO with co-plantiff Northern Inyo Hospital sued the Southern Mono Healthcare District/Mammoth Hospital for opening the Mammoth Orthopedic Clinic on Main Street in Bishop without permission. Inyo LAFCO claims Mammoth never got permission to open the clinic outside its district boundaries. Mammoth says it asked to come down to assist with a shortage of orthopedic specialists. Inyo asked Mammoth to fill out an application to operate in Bishop. Mammoth didn’t fill out the application and Inyo said it had no option but to sue