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Inyo National Forest Cautions Snowmobilers

Inyo National Forest Cautions Snowmobilers of Off-Limit Use

submitted by the Inyo National Forest
February 3, 2016

Based upon reports from rangers and visitors alike, the Inyo National Forest is reminding snowmobilers to respect off-limit areas of the forest that are closed to snowmobiles.
Forest Service rangers are patrolling closed areas for illegal snowmobile activity; focusing on locations where these incursions are problematic. These areas include designated Wilderness and Research Natural Areas, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Devils Postpile National Monument, McGee Mountain, Obsidian Dome cross-country ski trails, Shady Rest cross-country ski trails, and the area west of the G-trail from June Lake Junction south to the Glass Creek Hill.
Pick up your free copy of the Eastern Sierra Winter Recreation Map at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center (a waterproof version is available for purchase as well), obtain it online, or download to your mobile device using the Avenza map app (www.pdf-maps.com). These maps inform recreationists of motorized restricted areas.
The nation’s federally designated Wilderness areas prohibit motorized use; making them off limits to snowmobiles. The closures are there to protect the Wilderness experience, but snowmobile tracks and public reports indicate that numerous riders venture into these closed areas each season.  Riding in a Wilderness or a winter motorized closure is a Federal and State offense carrying fines up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail, in addition to possible seizure of the snowmobiles used in the commission of the crime.

It is the rider’s responsibility to know where these closed or restricted areas are located and their boundaries.  Major winter trailheads and launching points have maps showing these restricted areas.  If in doubt, check with the local Ranger Station or visitor center.

There are miles of groomed snow trails and play areas that are safe and legal to snowmobilers in the Mammoth and Mono Lake areas. There are approximately 75,000 acres of open expanse east of Hwy. 395 with a variety of terrain from wide-open meadows to forested areas for beginners and experts.  Please refer to http://mammothweb.com/scripts/usfs/trailsreport.cfm
for the latest grooming report.

The Inyo National Forest provides a wide spectrum of winter recreational activities. Visitors and residents can vastly improve these recreational opportunities, reduce conflict, and protect the forest resources by practicing common courtesy and respecting others’ experiences.

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Season Ending at Devils Postpile

Devils Postpile National Monument Announces Closure for the Season

Devils Postpile National Monument has announced that the monument will close for the winter on Monday, October 26th, 2015 at 3:00 pm. It is anticipated that the inter-agency prescribed fire (on Devils Postpile and Inyo National Forests lands) will occur Tuesday, October 27th. During the prescribed burn, the access road to the monument and all trails and access to the Devils Postpile formation will be closed and will remain closed for the season. The monument will open again at the start of the summer season in 2016.

According to the Inyo National Forest, the main Reds Meadow Road is anticipated to still be open, weather permitting, and the trail to Rainbow Falls will still be accessible during the prescribed burn. Traffic control will be in effect on the Reds Meadow Road during the time the prescribed burning occurs.

Prescribed fires reduce fuels for building protection by removing the amount of forest debris that can fuel an unplanned fire in hotter and drier conditions. Prescribed fires are dependent on the correct conditions for temperature, wind, relative humidity, and other factors. Under optimal conditions, fire crews conducting a prescribed fire are able to simulate a natural fire cycle. Fires can reduce forest competition and increase biodiversity of plant and animal life. In 2011, an unusual wind event resulted in the blowdown of thousands of trees, and this prescribed burn will reduce the risk of a catastrophic fire at the monument.

Deanna Dulen, park superintendent, would like to thank visitors for exploring and enjoying monument this season and invites everyone to join in the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration with Devils Postpile National Monument throughout the 2016 season.

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Reds Meadow Road Opening Friday

Reds Meadow Road to Open May 22

The Reds Meadow Road is scheduled to open on Friday, May 22th, weather permitting. Although California is in its fourth year in a severe drought, late spring storms, including those forecast for this week, may affect the opening of the road. While the road is still scheuled to open, visitors should expect that the road will not open or will re-close if winter storms prevent safe travel to the Reds Meadow Valley.

The Reds Meadow area is a popular recreation destination for visitors and locals alike and provides access to the Devils Postpile National Monument, trailheads that access the John Muir Trail and destinations such as Agnew Meadow, Thousand Island Lakes, Rainbow Falls, and the Minarets. Fishing, camping, horseback riding, and the Reds Meadow Resort are also popular with visitors.

Employees with the Inyo National Forest and Devils Postpile National Monument have been working to clear snow and trees from roads, trails, and campgrounds as well as repairing potholes, and currently working on water and sewer systems.

The Devils Postpile National Monument will open with the opening of the road. Bring potable water as the water systems are not yet fully functional. Vault toilets will be available.

Camping opportunities will be available in the Reds Meadow Valley through the US Forest Service. Devils Postpile Campground is anticipated to open on June 12th  and be open until early to mid September.

The mandatory Reds Meadow Shuttle Bus, operated by the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority, will run for Memorial Day weekend, weather permitting. Only exception vehicles will be allowed to drive into the Reds Meadow Valley.

After Memorial Day weekend, the mandatory shuttle bus will not resume operation until June 13th and run through Labor Day.
The roads in the Reds Meadow Valley are narrow and visibility is limited. All vehicles should use caution on both the Reds Meadow and Devils Postpile roads. For more information about Devils Postpile National Monument, visit nps.gov/depo, or contact Devils Postpile at 760-934-2289 or at depo_visitor_information@nps.gov.

cover photo by Devils Postpile National Monument

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