Tag Archives: Inyo National Forest

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BLM and FS Fire Restrictions

BLM Bishop Field Office & Inyo National Forest Announce Fire Restrictions

Effective midnight on Sunday, June 28th, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bishop Field Office and the Inyo National Forest are implementing fire restrictions.
The restrictions are in effect on all BLM public lands managed by the Bishop Field Office and all Inyo National Forest lands.
“Ongoing drought conditions and well below average rain and snowfall this past winter have led to very dry conditions for this time of year,” said Inyo National Forest Supervisor, Ed Armenta. “These conditions can create an active fire season here in the Eastern Sierra.”
Beginning June 29th, and until further notice, the following restrictions will be in effect:

NO CAMPFIRES, briquette barbeques, or stove fires are allowed outside of designated developed recreation sites and specifically posted campsites or areas. A list of designated campgrounds and recreation sites is available at local Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers, and on the Inyo National Forest website, www.fs.usda.gov/inyo.

Persons with a valid California Campfire Permit (available free of charge at any Ranger Station or Visitor Center) are not exempt from the prohibitions but are allowed to use portable stoves or lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel.

NO FIREWORKS. It is prohibited to possess or discharge any fireworks.

NO SMOKING, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

NO WELDING or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit.

NO USE OF EXPLOSIVES, except by permit.

Inyo National Forest wilderness areas which are exempt from this order are Hoover, John Muir, Ansel Adams, Boundary Peak, White Mountains, Golden Trout, and South Sierra. Resorts, pack stations, recreation residences and other sites operated under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service or BLM may be exempt from the special orders, as long as any fire activity is conducted in compliance with their permit. Special use permit holders should contact their permit administrator to make sure they are on the list of exempt sites, or check the information for special use permit exemptions on the Inyo National Forest Website, www.fs.usda.gov/inyo.
Steve Nelson, BLM Bishop Field Manager and Ed Armenta urge the public’s cooperation in helping to prevent wildfires in this year of very high fire danger, and they remind both residents and visitors that fireworks, even “Safe and Sane” are not allowed at any time on public lands.

inyo national forest, blm bishop, eastern sierra news, drought 2015
inyo forest

Wilderness Evaluation open house

Inyo National Forest open house Tuesday

The Inyo National Forest announces an open house to share the results of the wilderness evaluation process as part of the completion of forest plan revision.

The informal open house will be Tuesday, June 9, from 6:00 pm to 8:00 p.m. at the US Forest Service Supervisors Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop, CA 93514. Interested parties can stop by and talk to staff and view maps.

There will be a brief presentation to help explain the process the US Forest Service used. This meeting is informational and there is no comment period associated with it.

“I made a commitment to my communities that I would share the results of the wilderness evaluation with them prior to the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)” said Ed Armenta Forest Supervisor. “I am proud of the work of my staff to meet the intent of the evaluation. We neither advocated for or against wilderness, rather we simply evaluated which lands meet the criteria for proposed wilderness.”

The 2012 Planning Rule requires forests to identify and evaluate lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and rivers suitable for inclusion under Wild and Scenic River Act (WSRA). The Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo national forests were selected as early adopters; they will be the first forests to revise their land management plans using the 2012 National Forest System Planning Rule. The planning rule provides the framework for Forest Service land management plans across the nation.

Staff will share the status of the Wild and Scenic River evaluation that is currently being reviewed by the planning team. If the review is complete, those results will be shared at the open house as well.

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) decision document of the revised forest plans will describe any recommendations for wilderness.

Congress holds the authority to designate wilderness.  If areas are recommended for wilderness, the responsible official will include forest plan direction to protect ecological and social characteristics so that the wilderness character of the recommended area(s) is not reduced before congressional action on the recommendation can take place.

There will be an opportunity for formal comment when the DEIS is released. The Forest Service expects to publish a “Notice of Availability of DEIS” in the fall 2015, which begins a 90-day public comment period.

inyo national forest, ed armenta, eastern sierra news, wilderness
mt whit 3

Oak Creek Field trip

INF hosting Oak Creek Field Trip

Inyo National Forest Hosting Oak Creek Field Trip and Workshop
The Inyo National Forest is hosting a field trip and workshop regarding restoration and stabilization needs on the South and North Forks of Oak Creek on Friday, May 15th, starting at 9:30 am.
Oak Creek is west of the Fort Independence Indian Reservation and the Old Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery. This unique habitat contains stands of black oak and interior live oak, rare on the east side of the Sierra Nevada range.
A large debris flow occurred in both the South Fork and North Fork of Oak Creek in July 2008 following the 2007 Inyo Complex wildfire. The Forest is preparing a restoration plan with options later this summer and would like to understand potential concerns and outline restoration options with interested parties and stakeholders.
Please meet at the Ft. Independence Travel Center by 9:30 am.  Participants will carpool up to several stops on both the South Fork and North Fork Oak Creek and discuss the effects of the debris flow and current condition. At 1:00 pm, we’ll re-convene at the Ft. Independence Tribal conference room directly south of the Travel Center to discuss restoration needs, options, and next steps. The meeting will end by 3:00 pm.
Please bring sturdy shoes, hat, sunglasses, water, snacks/lunch, etc. if you’re attending the field trip.
Please RSVP to Todd Ellsworth by May 12 for carpool planning. E-mail Todd at tellsworth@fs.fed.us or call (760) 937-2033.

cover photo, Mt Whitney Fish Hatchery, by Gary Young

inyo national forest, oak creek, eastern sierra news, mt whitney fish hatchery
inyo forest

Got Wood?

Inyo National Forest Announces Firewood Season

The Inyo National Forest announces that the opening of personal use fuelwood season starts Friday, May 1st. Fuelwood permits will soon go on sale at local U.S. Forest Service Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers beginning Wednesday, April 29th.

Maps showing areas open to cutting are available with a purchased fuelwood permit. Fuelwood permits are still $15.00 per cord with a two cord minimum purchase.

Initial supplies of firewood can be found at Hartley and Reversed Peak Forest Management Areas located on the fuelwood map. Other areas may be opened later this season.

To better serve visitors, the U.S. Forest Service is requesting those persons interested in purchasing fuelwood permits do so between the hours of 8:00 am-11:30 am and 12:00 pm – 4:30 pm. Fuelwood permits may be obtained at the following locations: 

Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center (SAVC) in Lee Vining, (760) 647-3044

Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center in Mammoth Lakes, (760) 924-5500

White Mountain Ranger Station in Bishop, (760) 873-2500

Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine, (760) 876-6222

Mono Basin SAVC will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until May 17th. The White Mountain Visitor Center, currently under remodel, is expected to re-open by April 29th. Please call ahead to your local visitor center to confirm hours of operations.

Permit holders are advised to check in with their local U.S. Forest Service Ranger Stations and Visitor Centers for current conditions and accessibility. The Inyo National Forest will institute shut down days (for chainsaw use) based upon daily Project Activity Level. Permit holders can call (760) 873-2555 for information on activity levels.

The Fuelwood Strategy, developed with public participation in 1998, continues to be implemented this year.  Large ends of all downed logs (those portions greater than 30 inches in diameter) are required to remain on the forest floor for wildlife habitat and recycling of soil nutrients.  The majority of funds collected from permit sales are directly returned to the forest for continued implementation of this program.  Comments on this Strategy and Fuelwood program are always welcome. For further information on the fuelwood program, contact your local Ranger Station or Visitor Center.

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inyo forest

Forest Campgrounds Opening

Inyo National Forest Campgrounds, Schulman Grove Visitor Center Scheduled to Open

The Inyo National Forest is planning to open recreation facilities on the White Mountain and Mt. Whitney Ranger Districts in the upcoming weeks.

On the White Mountain District, Grandview Campground in the White Mountains is currently open; this is a dry campground with no water. The Schulman Grove Visitor Center is scheduled to open on April 24th and will be open four days a week, Friday – Monday. The summer schedule, open seven days a week, is expected to start in mid-May.

In the Big Pine drainage, Sage Flat, Upper Sage Flat, and Big Pine campgrounds are scheduled to open by April 22nd.

In Bishop Creek, the Bitterbrush Campground is open and the Bishop Park, Forks, Intake 2, Big Trees, and Four Jeffrey campgrounds are scheduled to open by April 22nd.  The Sabrina, Table Mountain, Mountain Glenn, Willow, and North Lake campgrounds are scheduled to open at a later date, dependent on weather.

Along Rock Creek, the Holiday Campground (a winter service campground) is open, but will close on April 23rd when French Camp and Tuff campgrounds open. Iris and Big Meadow Campgrounds are projected to open on May 8th, East Fork is projected to open on May 15th, and Upper and Lower Pine Grove and Rock Creek Lake campgrounds are projected to open on May 22nd. Please be aware that there is road construction going on the Rock Creek Road; expect 30 minute delays and limited parking. The McGee Campground will be open by April 23rd.

On the Mt. Whitney District, Upper and Lower Grays Meadow and Lone Pine campgrounds are currently open. Whitney Portal Campground is working to open April 18th, but will definitely be open by April 23rd. Onion Valley Campground will open by April 23rd as well. The Horseshoe Meadow Road and the Horseshoe Meadow campgrounds will open on April 24th. Please note that fishing will not be open in Cottonwood Creek until July 1st.

Forest Service campgrounds can be reserved at www.recreation.gov. Many other camping opportunities exist in Bureau of Land Management campgrounds and various Inyo County, Mono County and private campgrounds in the Eastern Sierra.

inyo national forest, eastern sierra news, eastern sierra campgrounds, eastern sierra camping
inyo forest

Inyo Forest Road, Campground Update

Inyo National Forest planning for early road, campground openings

The Inyo National Forest is planning to open recreation facilities on the Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts early this year based upon warm, dry conditions throughout the winter months.

The forest is coordinating with the Town of Mammoth Lakes, National Park Service, Eastern Sierra Transit Authority, Cal Trans, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Inyo Recreation, and other valued partners to open roads, campgrounds, recreation facilities, and services in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow Valley for the upcoming fishing season and Memorial Day holiday.

For Fishing Opener – Most lakes below 9000 feet are currently free of ice.  Weather dependent, roads in the Mammoth Lakes Basin will be open prior to the 2015 Fishing Opener, with a tentative opening date of Saturday, April 18th.  Convict Lake, Sherwin Creek, Mammoth RV Park, Oh Ridge, June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, Big Springs, and Lower Lee Vining campgrounds will be open by April 24th.

Restrooms in the Mammoth Lakes Basin on water systems are not designed to function during winter conditions, including night-time freezing cycles.  The Town of Mammoth Lakes is working with the Forest Service to provide temporary restroom facilities and trash service until normal summer services are established.

For Memorial Day – The road into the Reds Meadow Valley will open prior to Memorial Day, with a targeted opening date of Saturday, May 16th.  The Eastern Sierra Transit Authority will operate the mandatory Reds Meadow Shuttle bus system Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Memorial Day weekend. Normal operations will begin Saturday, June 13th and continue through Labor Day.  Twin Lakes and New Shady Campgrounds are scheduled to open on May 8th. Lake Mary, Reds Meadow, High Sierra Camp, Glass Creek, Deadman, Hartley, Aspen, Big Bend, Junction, Tioga, and Ellery campgrounds should be open by May 22nd.

All other national forest campgrounds will open by June 13th and Devil’s Postpile Campground (NPS) will open in mid-June.

All established opening dates are subject to change pending weather conditions.

inyo national forest, eastern sierra news, mammoth news, bishop news
inyo forest

Project at Old Shady Rest

Thinning Project at Old Shady Rest

The Inyo National Forest announces that a mechanical thinning project will begin this week in the Old Shady Rest Campground and surrounding area.

The project is designed to provide needed defensible space for the community of Mammoth Lakes in the event of a wildland fire.  Approximately thirty acres will be thinned in the Jeffrey pine forest. Generally, trees less than 20 inches dbh (diameter at breast height) will be removed to open the forest and to reduce ladder fuels that can help carry fire into the forest canopy. While the primary purpose of thinning is to create a zone of wildfire defensible space near private homes in the town of Mammoth Lakes, hazard trees may also be removed.

The thinning will restore the area to a more natural forest structure (age, size, trees per acre, and species distribution).

This project will help create a more resilient forest during this long-term drought by reducing competition for water, nutrients and sunlight. Many areas in California are seeing trees dying from bug kill and/or for lack of water. Thinning provides better opportunities for the survivors to be stronger and therefore more resistant to bug and fungal infestations that can target drought-stressed trees.

For safety reasons, the area will be closed while work is completed. While the campground is closed for the winter, the area is still popular for local recreationists.

inyo national forest, mammoth lakes, mammoth news

Inyo National Forest Plans Burns

Inyo National Forest Continues Prescribed Fire Projects

The Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts of the Inyo National Forest are planning to continue several prescribed fire projects for habitat improvement and hazardous fuels reduction. Fire crews are taking advantage of recent precipitation that has provided safe and favorable burning conditions.

The Aqueduct Prescribed Fire is planned to begin either Thursday, February 5 or Friday, February 6; conditions permitting. It should take two days to complete. This 120-acre project in the Jeffrey pine forest is east of Highway 395 near Bald Mountain (northeast of Deadman Summit).

Smoke from this project will be visible from Highway 395, Highway 158, Highway 120 East, June Mountain Ski Area, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and the Bald Mountain Road.

If favorable conditions continue or if additional precipitation allows, fire crews will look to complete the 55-acre June Loop Prescribed Fire; also in Jeffrey pine forest. It is located one mile west of June Lake South Junction (the junction of Highway 395 & Highway 158 South) and one-quarter mile west of the Public Shooting Area on the north-side of the highway.

During burning operations, the shooting range will be closed for safety because of the proximity of the fire personnel and equipment to the range. This project provides critical fuels reduction for the community of June Lake that will help reduce the risk of higher intensity, more destructive fires that can occur during hotter and drier summer months.

Smoke from this project will be visible from Highway 395, Highway 158, Highway 120 East, June Mountain Ski Area, and the Town of June Lake. Residents of June Lake should expect smoke to settle in town, especially in the night and morning, when the smoke is held under the inversion layer.

Prescribed fires will be conducted when weather and fuel moisture conditions are within prescription to safely accomplish the project objectives. By prescribing the fire under optimum weather conditions, managers simulate the natural role of fire. This reduces forest competition, opens gaps in the forest canopy for sunlight to shine through, and recycles nutrients to the soil for re-growth. Fire was a frequent event in the Jeffrey pine forest, occurring naturally every 10-15 years.

All prescribed fire activities will be coordinated with Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District in accordance with air resource objectives.

Following the accumulation of snow from winter storms, pile burning will be conducted, and is expected to continue in the upcoming winter months.

eastern sierra news, mammoth news, inyo national forest
Photo by Gary Young

Inyo National Forest Recreation

Winter Recreation on the Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts

The Inyo National Forest provides the following information to help visitors pursue winter recreation activities on their national forests safely and responsibly.

Maps: The Town of Mammoth Lakes and the Inyo National Forest have produced a new and free Eastern Sierra Winter Recreation Map.  Pick up your copy at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, obtain it online or download to your mobile device using the Avenza map app (www.pdf-maps.com).  A waterproof version of the map can be purchased at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center.

Know Before You Go: Winter recreationists must plan their adventure considering the current conditions, the weather forecast, the terrain and geography that will be traveled, and the equipment needs of their party.  Even when visiting one of the maintained ski resorts, planning ahead and knowing what to expect will make your winter visit safer much more enjoyable.

Anyone who may be traveling in potential avalanche terrain is encouraged to seek education and training resources; travel with a shovel, beacon, and probe; and have the knowledge required to use these tools. Visit the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center website for the most recent information on snowpack and conditions www.esavalanche.org.

Play with Your Pet Responsibly:  Forest regulations require that all dogs travel on a leash in all developed recreation sites, including ALL groomed trails.  Within the Town of Mammoth Lakes, all dogs must be on a leash.  Dogs are prohibited on groomed trails in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and are required to be on leash if traveling through the Lakes Basin off groomed trails. Leaving pet waste behind on a groomed trail or in a developed recreation area is littering.  Please pick up after your dog and throw it away in the trash. By doing so, you’ll help improve water quality and make everyone else’s recreation experience more enjoyable. 

Nordic Opportunities: Visitors can pursue Nordic recreation in several locations. The Shady Rest Nordic Trails are open, but grooming will not resume until there is additional snowfall.  All Nordic users should access the trail system by parking at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center and using the trail portal in the Welcome Center Plaza.  The Forest Service asks that Nordic users refrain from parking at Shady Rest Park; the park is a primary snowmobile staging area and parking is limited. 

At this time, the Obsidian Dome trails do not have enough snow to allow for grooming, but are open and in use by skiers and snowshoers. Grooming will begin after the next significant snowfall.

The Miracle Mile from Mammoth Inn to Minaret Vista is open and groomed. Parking at the Main Lodge is limited and visitors are encouraged to ride the bus from town.

Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center is open and offering rentals, lessons, and tours to its patrons.  All users of the groomed trail system at Tamarack must possess of a valid ski pass. To access the Mammoth Lakes Basin without a pass, users must travel on the un-groomed roads and trails on the forest. 

Snowmobiling: The Inyo National Forest is waiting for additional snow accumulations to begin grooming the California Department of Parks and Recreation funded snowmobile trail system. With a shallow, low density snowpack, snowmobilers should use caution and refrain from traveling in areas where snow depths are minimal or vegetation or soil may be damaged.  Snowmobile users are responsible for knowing all regulations and understanding closure area boundaries. The Eastern Sierra Recreation Map is a helpful tool and all snowmobilers are encouraged to obtain and read a copy in advance of their snowmobile outing.

Snowplay and other Winter Activities: The only designated snowplay area on the Inyo National Forest is Woolly’s Tube Park on Hwy 203 above the North Village en route to Main Lodge.  More information can be obtained at www.mammothmountain.com.  There are several areas on the national forest where visitors find it convenient and fun to play in the snow, although these sites are not maintained for these activities.  Additional information is available at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center and at www.mammothtrails.org.

Snow bikes or “fat tire bicycles” and all vehicles with wheels are prohibited from using groomed trails.  Those wanting to ride bicycles on the snow may do so on any trail or road that is not maintained for Nordic skiing or snowmobiles and where bicycle riding is not otherwise prohibited.

The Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center is an excellent resource for winter recreation information, maps, and guidebooks.  The center is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm and can be reached at 760-924-5500.  The Inyo National Forest and Mammoth Lakes Trail System websites are also excellent sources of information.  Visit www.fs.usda.gov/inyo and www.mammothtrails.org.

inyo national forest, eastern sierra news, mammoth news, winter recreation, bishop news

Photo by Gary Young

reds meadow

Prescribed Burning

Prescribed Pile Burning

DATE 12/18/2014
Crews are targeting 11 acres of piles for treatment today.  Smoke may be visible from the Town of Mammoth and Mammoth Mt ski area.

DATE: 12/17/2014
Fire crews are burning piles in the Reds Meadow area today, taking advantage of the recent storms to safely achieve needed fuels reduction. Expect smoke visible from Mammoth Mountain, Mammoth Lakes, and Devils Postpile National Monument. This is part of a dedicated effort to reduce fuels after the tree blow down event of 2011.

DATE: 12/16/2014
The Inyo National Forest is conducting pile burning today east of Devils Postpile National Monument and West of Satcher Lake in the Red’s Meadow Area.  41 Acres  of piles are targeted for treatment today.   Smoke may be visible from the Mammoth Lakes area.

inyo national forest, reds meadow, devils postpile, mammoth lakes