Tag Archives: Inyo National Forest

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

“Get A Job!”

Inyo National Forest Offers Employment Workshops

The Inyo National Forest is preparing for the summer season and may fill seasonal positions in Lee Vining, June Lake, Mammoth Lakes, Tom’s Place, Bishop, Independence and Lone Pine. Positions include forestry technicians (fire, wilderness/trails), visitor services, maintenance, biological technicians, hydrology technicians, and more.

The forest is offering four workshops, two in Bishop and two in Mammoth Lakes, so that locals may learn about the types of jobs available, when, and how to apply for these jobs. Each workshop will include a presentation on mastering USAJobs, the on-line application process.

Bishop Workshops:  Wednesday, January 6th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m., at the Owens Valley Career Development Center OVCDC Computer Lab, 2574 Diaz Lane, Bishop Paiute Reservation.

Mammoth Lakes Workshops: Friday, January 8th from 10:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Mammoth Ranger District Office Auditorium, 2500 Hwy 203, Mammoth Lakes.

inyo national forest, owens valley career development center, mammoth ranger district, inyo national forest job workshop

Forest Service releases draft evals of potential wilderness areas

Forest Service shares draft evaluations of potential areas for wilderness recommendation in forest plan revisions 

submitted by the U.S. Forest Service

VALLEJO, California, December 18, 2015 – In an effort to keep the public engaged throughout the forest plan revision process for the Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests, the U.S. Forest Service is sharing our draft evaluations of lands that may be suitable for recommendation and inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System.

No new wilderness areas are being designated at this time. Only the Congress can designate wilderness.

We are revising the three forest plans using the 2012 Planning Rule, which requires us to conduct this wilderness evaluation. As part of this endeavor we are sharing several documents for public review including a draft wilderness evaluation report, maps, and tables that provide overviews of designated wilderness, recommended wilderness and potential recommended wilderness.

The public is invited to provide feedback on the areas currently being considered for analysis. We are also interested in public input regarding suitable uses and management of recommended wilderness. More information regarding the management of recommended wilderness can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions document on the wilderness evaluation webpage: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r5/landmanagement/planning/?cid=STELPRD3803608

Feedback may be submitted via web form at http://tinyurl.com/earlyadoptersfpr and is most useful if received by February 1, 2016. If you have questions or concerns please contact Christina Boston at 707-562-8837.
In the past year, we’ve opened public discussions on plan revisions as information was available, including:
June 2014: Preliminary wilderness inventory, step one of the wilderness evaluation process
August 2014: Began National Environmental Policy Act process for forest plan revisions; shared our final wilderness inventory
November 2014: Shared issues and concerns heard during public scoping
January 2015: Sierra Cascade Dialog session about monitoring programs
May 2015: Update on our wilderness evaluation progress
June 2015: Inyo National Forest hosted a wilderness evaluation public workshop
July 2015: Released draft proposed species of conservation concern lists
September 2015: Shared our process for wilderness evaluation and identifying areas for potential wilderness recommendation; Invited public feedback on our proposed draft monitoring programs
October 2015: Sierra Cascade Dialog session about wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, species of conservation concern, and the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
December 2015: Shared our Wild and Scenic Rivers inventory and eligibility findings and additional information on draft proposed Species of Conservation Concern lists; invited public feedback
For more information about plan revision efforts, visit our website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r5/FPR

inyo national forest, us forest services, wild and scenic revers inventory, wilderness areas

Forest Service, “Play it Safe”

Winter Recreation: Play it Safe

Submitted by Deb Schweizer, Inyo National Forest

Visitors and residents to the Inyo National Forest are excited for winter recreation with early snowfall this year.

Winter recreationists must plan their adventure considering the current conditions, the weather forecast, and the terrain and geography that will be traveled.  Knowing what to expect will make your winter visit safer and 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.

Ice skating is popular as well, but recreationists must carefully choose when they go onto the ice. No lake is certain to be safe with an adequate ice depth. Even though it has been cold, the ice is not necessarily deep enough. Cooling and warming trends can affect the ice significantly—recreationalists are responsible to assess their risks before going out onto the ice.

Dress warmly for cold weather, including layers, wicking base layers, hats and gloves. Day-time temperatures can get warm with the sun and cool quickly in the evening. As always, don’t underestimate weather in the High Sierra – expect that weather conditions can change rapidly.

The forest requires that all dogs are on a leash in all developed recreation sites, including groomed trails. Leaving pet waste behind on a groomed trail or in a developed recreation area is littering.

More snow is needed before the Shady Rest Nordic trails can be groomed. Additional snow accumulations are needed to begin grooming the snowmobile trail system. There is not enough (if any) snow on these trails.

inyo national forest, winter recreation safety, shady rest nordic trials, eastern sierra avalanche center