Local News

HIKER MISSING IN YOSEMITE

HIKER MISSING IN YOSEMITE

Rescue crews with search dogs and a helicopter overhead were combing the trails of Yosemite National Park Monday for an experienced hiker and U.S. Navy serviceman who disappeared last week.
The 24-year-old hiker, Alexander Joseph Sevier, an active member of the U.S. Navy, had flown into California from his home in Virginia and entered the park alone on May 1 according to Scott Gediman, a spokesman for the National Parl Service. Sevier was scheduled to check out of a housekeeping camp on Saturday, and when housekeepers at the camp saw his belongings still there on Sunday, they sounded the alarm. Because Sevier is young and in shape from his Naval training, Gediman said they don’t suspect any physical issues befell the hiker, but noted that the Merced River has been running decptively quick and cold from the abundant snow that has swollen its banks.
National Park SAR is continuing their efforts to find Sevier today.

WATCH FOR DEER ON HIGHWAY

Deer Migration in Full Force

Bishop – As the temperature begins to rise, the deer population is moving to their summer range. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) would like to remind motorists to remain alert for migrating deer on the highways in the Eastern Sierra.

The Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting native animals and plants, report that more than 200 people are killed in collisions with wildlife each year with an estimated 1.5 million animals hit annually in the United States.

To reduce deer/vehicle accidents Caltrans identifies known deer migration crossings on State highways with warning signs. New construction and rehabilitation projects include flattening of the slopes next to the roadway and the removal of bitter brush seed from the re-vegetation mix. Biologists from Caltrans and Department of Fish & Wildlife continue to study the habits of the deer population working to develop new technology that will improve driver safety as well as deer safety.

Ways to Prevent a Collision with a Deer:

  1. Watch for the rest of the gang. Deer are pack animals, and rarely travel alone. If a deer crosses in front of you, chances are there are more nearby. Slow down and keep an eye out for more deer darting across the road.

  2. Timing is everything. Deer are most active at dusk and dawn: periods when your vision is most compromised. Slow down and stay alert, especially after dark.

  1. Wear your seatbelt. It may not prevent a collision, but if the inevitable happens a seatbelt can reduce injuries.

  2. Take a moment to reflect. First, look for the road signs. The yellow diamonds with the deer on it are placed in high-traffic areas for deer. You may also spot a

Bishop Community Workshop May 10th

The Bishop City Council invites the community to participate in a community workshop on Wednesday, May 10th from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Executive Conference Room in City Hall to help the City draft a values statement reflective of the Bishop community.
The City Council considered preparation of a values state at their meeting on April 10th, after several members of the community attended previous meetings requesting the Council adopt a statement in essence stating all people are welcome. The Council hopes that a workshop will be a more welcoming environment for a broader demographic of the community to give their input on a shared values statement representing the community.
The workshop will include interactive stations focusing on the importance of a values statement, major themes, and the opportunity to draft a personal version for consideration by City Council for adoption. Everyone is encouraged to come by at any time between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm on May 10th to share their vision of Bishop’s values as a community.

FREE SANDBAGS FOR FLOOD PREPARDNESS

Inyo County Emergency Services is working with local Fire Departments to provide 2,000 free sandbags to residents and business owners in Inyo County.
Free sandbags for flood preparedness are available at the following locations:
 Bishop Fire Station, 209 W. Line Street, Monday – Friday, 8:00am-5:00pm (closed noon to 1:00)
 Big Pine Fire Station, 181 N. Main Street, Wednesday 7:00pm-8:30pm
 Independence Fire Station, 202 S. Jackson Street, May 10th ONLY, 6:00-8:00pm
 Lone Pine Fire Station, 130 N. Jackson Street, Tuesday 6:30pm-7:00pm
 Olancha Fire Station, May 13th ONLY, 9:00am-noon
Sandbags are unfilled and quantities given to any individual will be at the discretion of the local Fire Chief; additional sandbags can be purchased from local businesses.
Free sand for filling sandbags is stockpiled at the following locations:
 BISHOP
– Site 1: Back of the Bishop City Park near the Senior Center
– Site 2: Bishop Fire Station 2, West Line Street (west of Manor Market)
– Site 3: Bishop Fire Station 3, SeeVee and U.S. Highway 395
– Site 4: Starlite Community Park
– Site 5: Mustang Mesa, Mill Creek Road
 BIG PINE
– Big Pine Fire Station
 INDEPENDENCE
– Inyo County Sheriff’s Facility, Clay Street
– Inyo County Road Department, Mazourka Road
 LONE PINE
– Sand trap on Whitney Portal Road (west of the LA Aqueduct)
 OLANCHA
– Olancha Fire Department
Take action now to be prepared for spring 2017 runoff. Make sure you are signed up with CodeRED through the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, update your emergency supply kit, and evaluate your flood insurance needs.

Current Road and Campground details

Deb Schweizer, Public Affairs Officer for the USFS has sent us this updated Road/Campground update.
Mono Lake Ranger District
Roads open: Lundy Canyon (to the resort), Panum Crater, Hwy 120 E (Benton), June Lake Loop (Hwy 158).
Roads closed: Tioga Pass (Hwy 120 W) at the winter gate closure, Saddlebag Lake Rd., Sonora Pass (Hwy 108), Monitor Pass (Hwy 89), Bodie (Hwy 270), Parker Lake Rd.
Campgrounds open: Lundy Canyon (county- limited sites due to snow, first-come, first served), Aerie Crag, Gull Lake, June Lake, Oh Ridge, Silver Lake.
Campgrounds closed: Aspen Grove, Big Bend, Moraine, Lower Lee Vining, Sawmill Walk-in, Saddlebag Lake, Saddlebag Trailhead Group Camp, Tioga Lake, Reversed Creek (5/12), Upper and Lower Deadman, Big Springs, Obsidian Flat Group, Ellery Lake, Hartley Springs, Glass Creek, Junction.
The Mono Basin Visitor Center is open Thursday through Monday, 9:00 am -4:00 pm.
Mammoth Ranger District
Roads open: Convict Lake, Hot Creek Hatchery, Inyo Craters, Laurel Canyon (snow level 8,000 ft.), Mammoth Creek, Mammoth Scenic Loop.
Roads closed: Lakes Basin, Old Mammoth Rd. to Lakes Basin, Reds Meadow Valley Road.
Campgrounds open: Crowley Lake (BLM), Convict Lake, Mammoth Mtn. RV Park (private, year round).

Campgrounds closed: Agnew Meadows (7/30), Agnew Meadows Group (7/30), Agnew Meadows Horse Campground (7/30), Brown’s Owens River (private), Coldwater (6/2), Devils Postpile (NPS), Lake George (6/2), Lake Mary (6/2), Minaret Falls (7/15), New Shady Rest (5/5), Old Shady Rest (6/2), Pine City (6/2), Pine Glen Family/Group (6/20), Pumice Flat (7/15), Pumice Flat Group (7/15), Reds Meadow (7/15), Sherwin Creek (5/15), Twin Lakes (6/1), Upper Soda Springs (7/15),

The Mammoth Welcome Center is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

Devils Postpile Ranger Station is closed.
White Mountain Ranger District
CARMA restoration area remains closed.
Roads open:  McGee Creek Rd., Rock Creek Rd. to pack station, Buttermilk Rd. (storm damage), Hwy 168 to Lake Sabrina (limited parking at lake, expect snow), South Lake Rd. to Parchers Resort (limited parking, icy conditions), Big Pine Canyon (Glacier Lodge) Rd.
Roads closed: Rock Creek Rd. (after pack station), North Lake, South Lake Rd. at Parchers Lodge, White Mt. Rd. at the Sierra View gate, Silver Canyon Rd. at gate, Wyman Canyon Rd. at gate.
Campgrounds open: Grandview (no water, no trash service, firewood is limited, under snow), Tuff, French Camp, Bitterbrush, Bishop Park, Bishop Park Group, Big Trees, Forks,  Intake 2,  Horton Creek (BLM), Goodale (BLM), Pleasant Valley (County).
Campground closed: Holiday, Pine Grove, Big Meadow, Iris Meadow,  Mosquito Flat Backpacker, McGee Creek,  Rock Creek Lake, Pleasant Valley Pit (BLM), Cedar Grove Group Camp, Aspen Group Camp, Four Jeffrey, Mountain Glen, Willow, North Lake, Clyde Glacier Group Camp, Palisade Glacier Group Camp, Table Mountain Group, Sabrina, Big Pine Creek, Sage Flat, Upper Sage Flat.
The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center is closed – no estimated opening date.
The White Mountain Ranger Station Visitor Center is open seven days a week, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Mt Whitney Ranger District:
Roads open: Foothill Rd., Division Creek Rd., Haiwee Canyon Rd., Mazourka Canyon Rd., Movie Rd., Sage Flat Rd., Onion Valley Rd. (icy conditions at times), Whitney Portal Rd.
Roads closed: Horseshoe Meadow Rd. (damaged, county estimates June opening).
Campgrounds open: Boulder Creek RV Resort, Diaz Lake (County), Upper and Lower Grays Meadow, Lone Pine Campground, Independence Creek (County), Portagee Joe (County), Tuttle Creek (BLM).
Campgrounds closed: Onion Valley, Whitney Portal, Whitney Portal Trailhead,  Cottonwood Lakes/ Pass Trailhead, Horseshoe Meadow Equestrian.
The Eastern Sierra Visitor Center in Lone Pine is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm starting.

LO INYO SCIENCE LAB DEDICATED

05/04/17

It was a joyous affair as four beloved school teachers which collectively hold 120 years of teaching experience teaching students in Inyo County, were honored with the new Science Lab at Lo Inyo School was dedicated in their names by the Inyo County Superintendent of Schools and Lone Pine Unified School District last Thursday. Inyo County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Lisa Fontana, hosted the event, joined by the LAPUSD Superintendent Heidi Torix and members of both board of trustees.

Many of those attending the dedication were former students, now adults, under both couples’ tutelage and clearly hold them in great affection.

The ICOE Board of Trustees approved $200,000 to the project last October, which was first proposed by former Inyo County Superintendent Dr. Terry McAteer.

The Langleys, Sandy and Chris, met while working in the Peace Corps in rural Iran. Afterwards they move to Lone Pine where they taught several subjects at Lo-Inyo School including English and Social Studies for 30 years.

Nancy and Mike Prather began their teaching careers in Death Valley before joining the Lo-Inyo staff in the early 1980’s. Nancy taught primary grades until 2004 along with stating thee primary computer lab. Mike taught middle school science along with creating the annual Catalina trip until 2002. Both remain very active in the community.

The plaque to be posted in the new Science Lab reads, in part:

Both the Langleys and Prathers were actively involved in tutoring and assisting local tribal youth throughout their teaching careers. Moreover, the Langleys and Prathers continued in the working careers and in retirement to give back to the Lone Pine community through a variety of interests.

GROUP PHOTO: (L to R)

Cheryl Howerton. LPUSD Board member

LeeAnn Rasmuson, Inyo County Office of Education Board member

Mary Kemp, Inyo County Office of Education Board member

Dr. Lisa Fontana, Inyo County Superintendent of Schools

Chris Langley, Honoree

Mike Prather, Honoree

Nancy Prather, Honoree (with granddaughter Kestral)

Marjianne Yonge, LPUSD Board member

Heidi Torix, LPUSD Superintendent

Scott Kemp, LPUSD Board member

FISHING LICENSES

California’s Fishing Licenses could become valid for a full calender year after the passing of SB-187

Posted by Seth Conners

According to a release from the office of Senator Tom Berryhill, a bill authored by California Senator Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, to promote fishing for all Californians unanimously passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee on Tuesday.
Currently, fishing licenses are based on a calendar-year cycle, with no extra time or prorated rates given for purchases made later in the season. SB-187, which is supported by groups representing nearly every type of Californian, would make fishing licenses valid for 12 months from the time of the purchase.
“Fishing is important for so many Californians,” Berryhill said. “From anglers who love the sport to people just trying to feed their families, this bill would improve the quality of life for our constituents.”
Recreational fishing contributes more than $4.6 billion annually to California’s economy. It is a major source of outdoor tourism, jobs and tax revenue for state and local governments. But sales have plummeted as rates have increased.
In 1980, when licenses were a reasonable $5, California sold more than 2.2 million licenses.  Today, the base price for an annual fishing license has skyrocketed to $47.01, while the number of annual licenses sold has decreased a staggering 55 percent.
California has over 2.7 million anglers, yet there is a growing concern that the unprecedented decline in California’s fishing sales will threaten funding for fishery and conservation programs, as well as millions of federal dollars tied to the number of licenses sold.
SB187 enjoys a broad coalition of support that includes sport, labor, business, tourism and citizen groups.
“This bill just makes sense,” Berryhill said. “Any bill that unites labor unions, state and local chambers of commerce, anglers, tourism groups and everyday Californians is ready to become law.”

 

FISHMAS!

General Trout Season opens on Saturday

Posted by Seth Conners

The general trout opener in many counties throughout California will commence on Saturday, April 29, one hour before sunrise.
Because of the popularity of this annual event with the angling public, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is making every effort to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener. Because of the increased rains this winter, CDFW expects most lakes to be open and available for fishing. However, some upper elevation lakes may be inaccessible.
Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits and gear restrictions.
Anglers are advised to check specific area regulations and opening dates in the 2017-18 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet (www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations) for regulations specific to each body of water.
In 2012, CDFW regional staff created the Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide to provide anglers with a quick, informative and accurate account of the distribution of fisheries in back country high elevation lakes. This guide does not address front country waters, defined as lakes and streams that are accessible by vehicle. Most of the lakes lie within U.S. Forest Service lands managed as wilderness and usually require back country permits for overnight use. Most back country fisheries are based on self-sustaining populations of trout and do not need regular trout stocking to maintain fish populations. The guide can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/6 (under Hunting, Fishing, Education).
Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra is expected to be one of the most popular opening day destinations for anglers from around the state. In past years, an estimated 10,000 anglers have turned out for the opener, and approximately 50,000 trout are caught during the first week of the season. Typically Crowley is planted with hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized trout, and because of excellent food sources in the 5,280-acre reservoir, these trout grow to catchable sizes and weigh at least three-quarters of a pound by the opener. About 10 percent of the trout caught at Crowley during opening weekend weigh over a pound and a half. These fish are from stocks planted in previous years or are wild fish produced in Crowley’s tributary waters.
Anglers are asked to be particularly vigilant when cleaning fish and fishing gear at Crowley Lake and in the upper and lower Owens River Drainage. The New Zealand Mudsnail was discovered several years ago in the Owens River Drainage, and CDFW would like to prevent mudsnails from spreading into other waters. To avoid spreading New Zealand Mudsnails and other aquatic invasive species to other waters, anglers are advised to dispose of their fish guts in bear-proof trash cans, rather than throw them back into the water. Wading gear should be properly cleaned before using in new waters.
All persons age 16 and older must possess a valid California fishing license to fish within state lines. Freshwater fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales or at regional CDFW offices or other license agents. Anglers no longer have to display their license visibly above the waist but they must have it in their possession while fishing.

MAMMOTH YOSEMITE AIRPORT

Town announces details of new commercial airline terminal

Posted by Seth Conners

The Town of Mammoth Lakes is pleased to announce the next step in the process to design and construct a new Commercial Airline Terminal and Aircraft Apron at Mammoth Yosemite Airport.

 

“We have been working closely with Federal Aviation Administration staff to finalize passenger forecast data and a terminal area development plan,” stated Public Works Director Grady Dutton. “The next step is the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) environmental documentation process for the proposed project, including the required California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) documentation that the Town will concurrently complete.”

 

The proposed project description includes a three-gate, approximately 40,000 square foot commercial airline terminal and an aircraft apron that will include aircraft parking for three commercial aircraft. These new facilities are to be located immediately east of the existing terminal.

 

As an initial step, in May, the Town will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a qualified Architecture and Engineering (A & E) Consultant Team. The selection process is anticipated to take four to five months from inception through execution of a consultant agreement. The selected team will be charged with preparing a preliminary design in support of the NEPA and CEQA processes. The design will include sufficient detail to identify potential environmental impacts of the project.

 

In June, the Town expects to issue an RFQ for an environmental consultant. That consultant will work with the A & E Team to identify and mitigate potential environmental impacts during the design process. The environmental consultant will be charged with preparing the NEPA and CEQA documentation.

 

Once the preliminary design and NEPA/CEQA processes are underway, a preliminary cost estimate and an overall preliminary schedule through construction will be developed. Although there will be a local share, the majority of the environmental, design and construction funds will be provided by FAA entitlement and discretionary Airport Improvement Program Grant funds.

YOSEMITE VISITORS SPENDING

Visitor spending supports 7883 jobs in local economy

Posted by Seth Conners

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 5,028,868 visitors to Yosemite National Park in 2016 spent $520,629,100 in communities near the park. That spending supported 7883 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $686,339,500.

According to a press release from NPS “Yosemite National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Acting Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides. We also feature the park as a way to introduce our visitors to this part of the country and all that it offers. National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning more than $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

Gateway communities along the Highway 120, Highway 140, and Highway 41 corridors provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities and services to help meet the diverse interests and needs of the over 5 million visitors who travel to Yosemite National Park. “We are a proud partner of the Yosemite Gateway communities and the many small businesses that provide services for visitors traveling to Yosemite National Park throughout the year.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the National Park Service.  The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $34.9 billion.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

 

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: go.nps.gov/vse.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.

To learn more about national parks in California and how the National Park Service works with California communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/california.