Tag Archives: Inyo National Forest

Work Begins to open Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow Roads

Crews being clearing Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow Roads

submitted by the Forest Service
April 21, 2016

The Inyo National Forest, in cooperation with the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Cal Trans, is beginning work to open the Lakes Basin and Reds Meadow roads.

These areas are 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 are also popular with visitors.

Work in the Lakes Basin will begin on April 25th. The walking and bike paths will remain closed while work is underway since there will be heavy equipment removing hazard trees for the next several weeks. This will create unsafe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Snow removal and routine maintenance (pothole repair, culvert clearing, etc.) will also be underway. The expected opening date is May 10th.

Work on the Reds Meadow Road will begin on May 10th. Similar maintenance work and hazard tree removal is also required on this road and the road will be closed to pedestrians and cyclists while this work is underway. It is anticipated that this road will open by mid-June.

“The opportunity to complete this important safety work now will allow providing safe public access throughout the summer,” said Jon Regelbrugge, Mammoth and Mono Lake District Ranger. “We appreciate your patience while this essential work is completed.”

Expect campground in the Lakes Basin to open in early June and campgrounds in the Reds Meadow Valley to open in mid-June.

Reds Meadow Valley, Mono County news, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Inyo National forest, Town of Mammoth Lakes

Special Fuelwood Sale at Whitney Portal

Inyo National Forest Announces Continuation of Special Fuelwood Sale for the Whitney Portal

 April 11, 2016

The Mount Whitney Ranger District of the Inyo National Forest is planning to continue a special personal use fuelwood sale in the Whitney Portal Area this season. A limited number of participants for this fuelwood event will be selected by lottery, since there is a very limited amount of wood available. There are only approximately 10 cords of wood available for the area.

Whitney Portal is normally closed to fuelwood gathering for personal use. One specific area within the drainage will be opened for fuelwood during this special event. A lottery will be used to determine who will be selected to gather wood in the area. Lottery entries will be accepted during the period of April 6, 2016 through April 25, 2016. 

Individuals may submit one lottery entry per person. Entries can be submitted in person or by phone at the Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine, (760) 876-6222. Lottery entrants must provide their name, address, and contact information. The only selection will occur on April 25, 2016.

Individuals will be randomly selected from the current pool of entries when wood becomes available. Selectees will be notified via the personal contact information they provide.  Selected individuals will be given a map of the specific locations where fuelwood can be gathered. Wood gathering will start May 1, 2016 and end Oct. 31, 2016 (or sooner if the wood runs out).

Selected entrants will only be allowed to collect fuelwood on set days determined when they are drawn, and must possess a valid personal use fuelwood permit along with identification. Participants may gather a maximum of two cords of wood, though the maximum amount is not guaranteed. Participants may gather down wood only. No falling of snags or trees will be permitted.

For questions or additional information, you may contact the project leader Rick Napoles, Division Chief 4, at 760-876-6205 or Patrol 41, Levi Ray, at 760-876-6221.

Inyo National Forest, Whitney Portal, mount whitney ranger district

Get Your Chainsaw Ready

Permits for Personal Fuelwood Issued Early

submitted by the Inyo National Forest
March 29, 2016

The Inyo National Forest is offering early sale of personal use fuelwood permits for the 2016 season. Because of staffing shortages, permit sales will begin earlier than normal to help alleviate lines at the visitor centers. Locals are encouraged to purchase early to avoid crowds in the visitor centers as spring visitation season begins.

Fuelwood collection season is scheduled to open May 1, 2016, as in years past. Maps showing areas open to cutting are available with a purchased fuelwood permit. Fuelwood permits are $15.00 per cord with a two cord minimum purchase.

The forest requests that fuelwood permits are purchased between the hours of 9:00 a.m-12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., April 11 through April 30, 2016, unless otherwise specified. Fuelwood permits may be obtained at the following locations:

Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining; (760) 647-3044, Permits on sale, Thursday – Monday only.

Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center in Mammoth Lakes; (760) 924-5500,  Permits on sale, Friday – Tuesday only.

White Mountain Ranger Station in Bishop; (760) 873-2500
Permits on sale, Monday – Friday only

Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine; (760) 876-6222
Permits on sale Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10 only.

Please call ahead to your local visitor center to confirm hours of operations.

The Fuelwood Strategy, developed with public participation in 1998, remains valid and will 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.

Inyo National Forest, Inyo National Forest Fuelwood program, white mountain ranger station, mammoth lakes welcome center

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.

inyo national forest,  snowmobiles on the inyo national forest, Mammoth Lakes Basin, Devils Postpile National Monument, McGee Mountain

Pile Burning at June Lake and Mammoth Lakes

Pile Burning set near June Lake and Mammoth Lakes

submitted by Deb Schweizer
Public Affairs Officer, Inyo National Forest

February 2, 2016

Crews will be pile burning in two locations today.  Firefighters hope to complete 17 acres of piles near the Double Eagle Resort in June Lake today.

Crews will also be burning near the Sherwin Creek Road and Sherwin Creek Campground in Mammoth Lakes in the next few days, where there are at total of 194 acres of piles.  In addition to taking advantage of the recent snow to safely complete the much needed fuel reduction, the crews are also using the favorable forecast for good smoke dispersal. Expect to see smoke near both towns and from Hwy 395.

Cover Photo, Inyo National Forest file photo.

june lake california, mammoth lakes california, inyo national forest, highway 395

Open House for OHV Grants

Open House for USFS and BLM 2016 Off-Highway Vehicle Grants Scheduled for February 11

submitted by the Inyo National Forest

BISHOP, Calif. – The Inyo National Forest and the Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management will hold an open house February 11 to gather public ideas for requesting off-highway vehicle grant funds.

The informal open house will run from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Forest Service/BLM office, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop. 

The agencies plan to request grant funds from the State of California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division to enhance and manage motorized recreation in the area. Other non-profit organizations that partner with Forest Service and BLM may also have their representatives present to discuss their proposals for future grants.

Interested citizens are invited to drop in at any time during the open house.  Representatives from the two agencies will be available to answer questions about potential grants and to receive ideas about the types of projects and other opportunities to be funded through the grants. 

Preliminary grant applications will be submitted to the OHMVR Division by March 7. The public will be able to comment on the preliminary applications from March 8 to April 4. Final applications must be submitted by May 2. For more information about the state grant process and requirements, visit the OHMVR Division website at www.ohv.parks.ca.gov

For more information, to submit your ideas through other means, or if you have special needs for accommodation to participate in this open house, call Forest Trails Coordinator Marty Hornick at (760) 873-2461; or BLM Supervisory Resource Manager Jeff Starosta at (760) 872-5046.

Inyo National Forest, BLM Bishop field office, Off Highway Vehicles

Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction Set

Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction Planned for 2016

Significant Impacts to Access, Parking

submitted by the Inyo National Forest

The Whitney Portal Road Reconstruction is planned for the 2016 season under a funding request from Inyo County. The road will be re-paved and needs significant repairs for safety. The project begins just west of Lone Pine and ends just east of Whitney Portal.

Whitney Portal is the most popular trailhead on the forest; with hikers applying, by lottery, to ascend the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States. Mt Whitney is also the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail (JMT).

“There is no way to complete this project without having a significant impact on visitors to the Whitney Portal area,” said Ed Armenta, Forest Supervisor. “The road has only one ingress/egress and the already limited parking will be much reduced. Accessing the area may be, at times, difficult and frustrating. Your planning and patience will help complete this very important project.”

Visitors have long used roadside parking as an overflow. During construction near Whitney Portal, this roadside parking will not be available.

Construction delays will be up to three hours, twice a day. Visitors to Whitney Portal should anticipate that there may not be a parking space available.

Visitors to Whitney Portal should consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or shuttle services available from the Lone Pine area.

Visitors who want to hike Mt. Whitney are strongly encouraged to enter the lottery since walk-in permits will not be issued when parking is unavailable. Please apply via www.recreation.gov.

See the tips below  for planning your trip to Whitney Portal this year.

Accessing Whitney Portal: How To Make it Work
• If you do plan to visit Whitney in the summer of 2016, please pack your patience and carefully plan your trip to avoid the construction delays and the parking problems.

• Check the construction schedule before you head up to Whitney Portal (Twitter (@mtwhitneyinfo), at the Interagency Visitor Center (760-876-6222), on the web (http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5150055). There may be times when delays and parking are little impacted. There may be periods with 30 minute delays, and two 3-hour delays per day in the peak of construction.

• Please be prepared that there may not be a parking space available for you.

• Consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or explore local shuttle services.

• To help alleviate the problem of reduced parking, long-term parking will not be permitted. No overnight parking is available for anyone not starting and ending a hike at Whitney Portal. If you are entering or exiting the Whitney Trail via the Pacific Crest Trail, the High Sierra Trail, the JMT or other popular long-distance routes, you may not park or stage a vehicle at the trailhead.

• Long-term parking may be available in Lone Pine. Check with the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce (760) 876-4444).

• An alternative to parking and hiking from Whitney Portal is the National Recreation Trail that connects the Whitney Portal Campground and Lone Pine Campground to the trailhead. This is an additional four miles of hiking with an additional 2,400 ft. in elevation gain. Parking is allowed clear of the roadway.

• All permitted Whitney hikers will receive a day or overnight parking permit that must be displayed on their vehicle. Whitney overnight hikers with valid parking passes may park at Whitney Portal for a maximum of 3 nights, if space is available. No day-use parking will be allowed after 8:00 p.m.

• A limited number of well-signed parking spaces will be available for day-users to the Whitney Portal area who are not hiking to Mt. Whitney.

• Parked vehicles without the required permit, that overstay their limit, interfere with construction activities, or are unsafely parked will be towed.

• The Inyo National Forest will honor the efforts of people who apply via the lottery for a Whitney hike. People who want to hike Whitney in 2016 are strongly encouraged to use the lottery system for the hike (please apply via www.recreation.gov).

• Many people who apply via the lottery cannot make the hike for a variety of personal reasons and the forest has re-issued those permits to “walk-ins” at the visitor center the day before or the day of for interested hikers. These walk-ins may not be available in 2016.The forest intends to manage the limited parking, in part, by limiting the walk-in permits. If there is no parking, then the walk-in permits will not be issued, or a reduced number will be issued.

• People who plan to take advantage of the walk-in process need to understand this option may not be available this year, especially in the peak of the summer which will likely be when construction is underway near Whitney Portal.

inyo national forest, whitney portal road reconstruction, mt whitney, lone pine california

Pile Burning Today

Inyo National Forest burning Piles

Submitted by the Inyo National Forest

Fire crews will continue with pile burning on the Dry Creek Unit and hope to burn 55 acres of piles today (Wednesday, January 13th)  and tomorrow (Thursday, January 14th) weather conditions permitting.

The Dry Creek Unit is located west of the Crestview Rest Area. Visitors and residents may see smoke north of Mammoth Lakes and west of Hwy 395.

Pile burning safely reduces fuels that can lead to larger, more destructive fires under hot and dry conditions.

Cover Photo, File Photo provided by the Inyo National Forest

inyo national forest, eastern sierra controlled burning, crestview rest area, mammoth lakes california

Fire Crews Targeting 30 Acres Today

30 Acres Targeted near Smokey Bear Flat

submitted by the Inyo National Forest

Fire crews plan to continue with pile burning today (Monday, January 11th) with a target of 30 acres. The piles are south of Smokey Bear Flat and immediately adjacent to the east side of Highway 395. Smoke will be visible to motorists along the highway in the area. Crews are taking advantage of the recent snow to tackle fuel reduction projects that they haven’t been able to safely burn during the previous drought years.

Pile 5
Photo courtesy of Darick Rogers
US Forest Service, Inyo National Forest, prescribed fire operations, smokey bear flat, highway 395, eastern sierra

Mono County Pile Burning

Pile Burning set near Crestview

Inyo National Forest Notice:

Fire crews plan to take advantage of the wintry weather to burn 53 acres of piles today (Tuesday, January 5th) and tomorrow (Wednesday, January 6th). The Dry Creek Unit is located west of the Crestview Rest Area. Visitors and residents may see smoke north of Mammoth Lakes and west of Hwy 395.
Pile burning safely reduces fuels that can lead to larger, more destructive fires under hot and dry conditions.

Pile burning

Photo by Mark Fogg

inyo national forest, crestview rest area, mono county california, controlled burning, mammoth lakes highway 395