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South Lake Road Construction Update: No Overnight Parking Allowed

Joint Press Release from US Forrest Service and Inyo County

Stating on July 6, and anticipating effective through July 25, the South Lake Road Reconstruction Project will implement no overnight parking in the South Lake area. This will include the Bishop Pass Trailhead Parking, boat trailer parking, and some of the day use parking near South Lake. Additionally, there is  no parking permitted along roadside shoulders during the construction project.

This closure will allow the contractor to pulverize and pave these parking lots. The construction schedule remains Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 8:00 pm. Expect up to 30-minute delays. Flaggers and a pilot car will manage traffic, allowing alternating two-way traffic.

Hikers entering or exiting the Bishop Pass Trail at South Lake should plan their trips in accordance with the construction schedule. Hikers need to plan for travel delays, re-routed trailhead access, understand that that long-term parking is not available, plan to be picked up or dropped off at the trailhead, consider shuttles to/from trailheads, and utilize alternative trails for resupply, if possible.

Eastern Sierra Transit Authority (ESTA)’s Bishop Creek Shuttle is running twice daily Please see the attached for a list of operators who may provide shuttles on the forest. Hiker Shuttles: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd586535.pdf.

The contractor is required to provide 40 day-use parking spaces in the area. However, since this is a popular recreation destination for boating, fishing, and hiking, these spaces will fill up quickly. Visitors should plan that parking, which is difficult in a normal year, will be substantially reduced during this project and will likely not be available.

Additionally, overnight parking will be allowed in the dirt lot just north of the Tyee Lakes Trailhead, including bear boxes for food storage (see attached map). It is approximately a three-mile walk to the Bishop Pass Trailhead via the trail behind Willow Campground that continues near Parchers Resort and connects to the trailhead on the east side of South Lake Road.

Motorhomes and trailers are not recommended past Four Jeffreys Campground unless you have a reservation with Creekside Resort, Bishop Creek Lodge, or Parchers Resort during this period since there is no safe turn-around past this point. Local businesses and services along South Lake Road remain open and accessible.

There is no way to complete a project of this nature without it having a significant impact on visitors to the area. Accessing the area may be, at times, difficult and frustrating.  If you have any flexibility in your plans, please consider a visit to South Lake/Bishop Pass destinations in another year.

As a reminder, the project’s scope stated that Bishop Pass Trailhead Parking and Tyee Lakes Trailhead Parking and certain campgrounds will be closed at times this summer, although access to the trailheads will be maintained

Klondike Lake Open for Public Boating

From July 3 to September 7 (Labor Day), Klondike Lake will be open for limited public boating use on weekend days only: Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 9 a.m. to sunset. At this time spots are limited and on a first come, first served basis.

Precautions are being taken to guard against invasive mussels, so all motorized watercraft must be inspected before being launched into Klondike Lake. Due to COVID-19, face coverings and social distancing are required. We will take additional measures during boat inspections to protect boat owners and LADWP employees. Boat access to Klondike  is free this summer period  and subject to change for future seasons.

Access for motorized watercraft being transported by car, truck and/or trailer will be allowed for a one-hour period between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. at the gate entrance in order to accommodate inspections. After watercraft have been inspected and granted access, visitors can enjoy the lake for as long as they want that day, while practicing safe social distancing. Please note, recreational users with smaller, non-motorized watercraft that are not transported with a trailer can access the lake at any time.


Nevada BLM Set to Discuss Use of Motorized Vehicles to Manage Wild Horses

BATTLE MOUNTAIN, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Nevada will host its annual statewide public hearing to discuss the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles and aircraft in the monitoring and management of wild horses and burros on public lands in Nevada. The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, June 25, 2020, from 5 to 6 p.m. at the Lander County Courthouse located at 50 NV-305, Battle Mountain, NV 89820. For the health and safety of participants, wearing of masks during the public meeting will be mandatory and all other CDC and Nevada health guidelines will be followed.

The purpose of the hearing, required by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, is to solicit public comment on the use of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft to estimate wild horse or burro population size and the use of helicopters to gather and remove excess animals. The hearing will also consider the use of motorized vehicles to transport gathered wild horse or burros, as well as, to conduct field monitoring activates.

Nevada’s statewide wild horse and burro population numbers currently exceed 51,500 animals, which is more than 400 percent of the approved appropriate management level of 12,811. Having an overabundance of wild horses and burros above BLM management levels may cause resource damage resulting in limited forage and water availability, which reduces the number of animals that the land can support.

Helicopter and motorized vehicle usage is a critical tool for managing wild horses and burros on public lands,” said Ruth Thompson, BLM Nevada’s Wild Horse and Burro State Lead. “These management tools allow us to conduct aerial population surveys, monitor animal distribution, conduct safe and effective gathers, and transport captured animals in a humane and efficient manner.”

Since legislated removals began in 1976, the BLM Nevada has removed more than 161,196 wild horses and burros from Nevada’s rangelands. Over 5,477 of those animals have been adopted or sold locally; the majority of animals gathered in Nevada shipped to other states for adoption, sale or older animals are sent to off-range pastures to live out the remainder of their lives.

BLM Nevada has partnered with the Northern Nevada Correctional Center (NNCC), for over two decades. The NNCC and BLM-Nevada not only hosts public adoption offering saddle-trained animals through a competitive bid process but, the partnership is responsible for training animals to be used within other state and federal agencies programs such as the local Sheriff and U.S. Marine Corp Mounted Units, the U.S. Border Patrol and Park Services and U.S Forest Service and both State and Federal Fish and Wildlife agencies.

If you cannot attend the hearing, written comments must be mailed to the BLM Battle Mountain District Office, attention: Jess Harvey, 50 Bastian Rd, Battle Mountain, NV 89820 and must be received by close of business on June 25, 2020, to be considered.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals. 

On June 16th, the Board of County Commissioners adopted County Resolution 2020-08: A Resolution Opposing BLM’s Round-Up of Wild Horses and Burros by Helicopter in Nye County: https://www.nyecounty.net/DocumentCenter/View/36812/Item32

BLM to host statewide public hearing regarding use of motorized vehicles and aircraft in the Wild Horse and Burro Program




Laws Museum Train Rides Postponed

Regretfully, all train rides in the Brill car, Old Smokey, and on the hand car, have been postponed until the state of California moves to Stage Four in the recovery stages. These very popular attractions at Laws Railroad Museum and Historical Site are not able at this time to meet safe distancing and other criteria under present recovery stages.

Presently, the Railroad Express rides, sponsored by the Bishop Chamber of Commerce, are still scheduled for Saturday December 12, and the Museum hopes that they can have train rides at that time.

The Inyo County Health Department is allowing the Museum to offer special Charter rides in the Brill car for single family groups with a maximum of ten people at one time. All participants will be required to wear face masks, practice safe distancing, and follow all the other guidelines for your safety during the ride. Charter rides are available at almost any time during Museum open hours, by advance reservation only. Please call the Museum at 760-873-5950 to make your reservations.

Lone Pine Traffic Stop Leads to Four Arrests

LONE PINE, CA, June 10, 2020 – Shortly after midnight on June 9, Inyo County Sheriff’s Deputies conducted a traffic stop in Lone Pine on a vehicle with no tail lights. During the traffic stop Deputies detected a strong smell of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. While temporarily detaining the four occupants of the vehicle, Deputies observed a loaded handgun under the driver’s side seat.

Due to improper storage of a loaded handgun, and the strong smell of marijuana, a canine search of the vehicle was conducted. The vehicle search revealed two additional loaded handguns, narcotics, and $100,665 in cash packaged in shrink wrapped plastic.

All four suspects were arrested for weapon and narcotics charges and are being held at the Inyo County Jail; bail has been set at $75,000 for each. The suspects have been identified as: Martin Perez (32 years old from Reno and Las Vegas NV), Alberto Caro Torres (32 years old from Reno NV), Jose Caro Torres (23 years old from Reno NV), and Cristian Torres (23 years old from Reno NV). Martin Perez and Alberto Torres were later identified as registered Sureños gang members and convicted felons.

City of Bishop Relaxes Outdoor Dining and Retail Regulations to Help Local Businesses

A proclamation was signed by Mayor Smith Monday that creates an administrative program in response to COVID-19 to temporarily relax outdoor dining regulations and onsite parking requirements, and waives related fees.

According to the proclamation, Bishop’s sidewalks, parking lots and other public spaces could be turned into outdoor dining and retail areas.

Since indoor restaurant dining and retail sales are restricted by social distancing protocols required by the State of California, opening public spaces for outdoor dining and retail will assist businesses with flexibility in safely reopening.

“This proposal will allow us to assist our local businesses while recognizing the importance of keeping our community healthy,” said Mayor Laura Smith after signing the proclamation.

Several local businesses had contacted the City requesting to use downtown alleyways and parking lots more flexibly to support their business.

The proclamation does not make recommendations about which sidewalks, parking lots, and other public spaces would be eligible for the program. Restaurants and retailers would have to apply for an Outdoor Dining and Retail Permit, that requires diagrams for layout, pedestrian and vehicle paths of travel, trash and clean-up plans, and other considerations to ensure the expansion into public spaces limits impacts to neighbors and the community as a whole. These uses will be temporary and last the duration of the State mandates for phased reopening.

The ability of businesses to reopen is governed by the State of California and administered through Inyo County. Inyo County is currently moving into Stage 3, which allows for businesses including retail, offices, dine-in restaurants, short term rentals, hair salons and barbers, and select personal services to reopen. Additional business sectors are anticipated to open in mid-June.

The original shelter-in-place order, which took effect on March 17, has been financially difficult for everyone, including Bishop’s restaurants and retailers as well as their employees. While many of them have persevered with delivery, curbside pickup, and paycheck protection loans, the reopening protocols will limit the number of customers allowed inside at one time. The City is hopeful that relaxing parking standards and allowing businesses to open into outdoor public spaces will help support local businesses.

Bishop Sunrise Rotary Award Eight Scholarships to BUHS Grads

The Bishop Sunrise Rotary Club has this week awarded eight scholarships totaling $20,000 to local graduating Bishop Union High School (BUHS) seniors who will be attending college or trade school this fall. Since 2004, the Sunrise Rotary Club has given scholarships totaling over $400,000 to some 326 Inyo County high school graduates, helping these local students afford to continue their education at a variety of schools, colleges and universities. The annual scholarship program is one of the club’s ongoing efforts to benefit and support our local community.

As in the past, this year’s scholarship applications were reviewed by a committee of Sunrise Rotary Club members, chaired by former club president and long-time member, Phil McDowell. Applications were considered based on a number of factors including academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, community service, and the student’s demonstrated passion for their chosen field of study or training. Almost all applications the club received this year were from BUHS seniors and all awardees are 2020 BUHS graduates.

As Scholarship Committee Chair Phil McDowell noted, “We were very impressed with this year’s applicants. It was gratifying to read the student’s applications and to see how so many of them, in these difficult times, have risen to the challenge and taken it as an opportunity to reflect on how they can continue their education and make a positive difference in the world.”

The Bishop Sunrise Rotary Scholarship Awardees for this year are:

Cristofer Ruiz-Sandoval – $10,000

Emily Batcheller – $2,000

Sirena Lopez – $2,000

Taylor McCormick – $2,000

Justin Brooks – $1,000

Owen Griffiths – $1,000

Scott Hennarty – $1,000

Cora Lanphear – $1,000

The current situation did require some alterations in the club’s usual scholarship practices, however. In years past, one or more members of the Sunrise Rotary Club would have made these awards in person to each student at their own high school’s awards night ceremonies. This year, however, the club mailed award letters to each student offering the “hardiest of congratulations from the entire Bishop Sunrise Rotary Club” and the “best of luck this next year as you pursue your chosen career.”

Sunrise Rotary Club President Erik Leitch said, “Our Club has always been proud of the quality and the aspirations of Bishop’s youth. This year we are especially proud to offer scholarships to these eight students, who exemplify Rotary’s vision of personal growth, leadership and service to the community. We seek to enrich our community through investment in our youth, through scholarships to our high school seniors, our foreign exchange program for high school students, and through Rotary global grants for post-graduate education. Our long history of service includes projects to help feed and house people who are in need, programs to enrich and beautify our community, and international projects to provide critical medical training and care abroad. In this moment of historic need, we are expanding our efforts to support the community as it responds to the challenges of COVID-19.”

The Bishop Sunrise Rotary Club continues to meet weekly and now gathers remotely – online and by phone – every Wednesday morning at 7:30 AM. Guests are always welcome. Anyone interested in attending a meeting, learning more about the Sunrise Rotary Club, or taking part in our community support projects can contact bishopsunriserotary@gmail.com.

Eastern Sierra Foundation Increases Scholarship Funding for Student

The Eastern Sierra Foundation would like to congratulate the 76 Cerro Coso Community College 2020 graduates from Inyo and Mono Counties! While we are saddened that due to the pandemic an in-person graduation celebration is not possible this year, we are so impressed by the graduates’ perseverance, resilience, and strength in completing their certificates and degrees during these very challenging times. We know that the Class of 2020 will all go on to make positive contributions to our community and our world.

This year, Cerro Coso Community College’s Eastern Sierra College Center in Bishop and Mammoth graduated students in 26 different certificate and degree fields, including humanities, social sciences, math and sciences, studio arts, administration of justice, business, art history, English, human services, management, nursing, information technology, childhood development, medical assisting, and web development. Half of the graduates earned multiple degrees and/or certificates. Cerro Coso Community College will be hosting a virtual graduation on Saturday, June 13 at 6PM. For more information visit https://www.cerrocoso.edu/studentservices/commencement.

Each year, the Eastern Sierra Foundation offers full scholarships for any and all Inyo County residents who enroll in 12 units per semester on the Bishop Campus. The scholarship covers all enrollment fees. Additionally, in response to economic challenges resulting from the pandemic, the Eastern Sierra Foundation will now also cover up to $500 per semester for books. Scholarship applications and information are available online https://www.cerrocoso.edu/studentservices/financial-aid/eastern-sierra-foundation-scholarship. Due to the uncertainty about whether four-year colleges will offer in-seat courses in the fall, and to support local students who may be changing college plans, the Eastern Sierra Foundation has extended the scholarship deadline for the Fall 2020 semester to Tuesday, June 30 at 5PM.

Mono County Appoint Bob Lawton as County Administrative Officer

MONO COUNTY, CA, June 03, 2020 – Late yesterday, Mono County Board of Supervisors Chair Stacy Corless announced the appointment of Bob Lawton as County Administrative Officer. The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to appoint Mr. Lawton during closed session at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.  Mr. Lawton has served as Acting County Administrative Officer since April 07, 2020.

On behalf of the Board of Supervisors, I’d like to thank Bob for his steadfast leadership in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and congratulate him on this appointment,” said Chair Corless. “Bob’s deep knowledge of California county governance will guide us as we continue to serve our communities, and to maintain Mono County’s critical operations as we continue to meet the challenges in front of us.”

Mr. Lawton has more than 20 years of local government experience, including previous service as County Administrative Officer in Calaveras County, Assistant County Administrative Officer for Sonoma County (Extra Hire), Deputy County Administrator for Solano County, and City Manager of Turlock, California. Mr. Lawton was appointed Assistant CAO for Mono County following a unanimous vote of the Board of Supervisors on February 18, 2020, and subsequently appointed Acting County Administrative Officer in April.

In addition to his role as County Administrative Officer, Mr. Lawton will continue to represent the County’s interest as a Unified Commander within the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) response.

Three Dead in Death Valley Crash

On 05/31/20 at approximately 12:21 PM, Luis Echeverria of Fontana, CA, was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche westbound along SR-178 just east of SR-127. At the same time, Chantra Sun of Baldwin Park, CA was driving a 2017 BMW X5 eastbound along SR-178, approaching the Chevrolet Avalanche. For an unknown reason, the Chevrolet Avalanche and BMW X5 collided head-on within the roadway of SR-178. Two passengers of the Chevrolet Avalanche and one passenger of the BMW X5 sustained multiple traumatic injuries during the collision and succumbed to their injuries. The remaining five victims were transported to Las Vegas University Medical Center for medical treatment.


This collision is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol, Bishop Area. The identities of the deceased parties will be released through the Inyo County Coroner’s Office and Clark County Coroner’s Office.

Northern Inyo Hospital Officials Discuss Inyo County’s 20th COVID-19 Case

Dr. Stacey Brown and Dr. Will Timbers of Northern Inyo Healthcare District told KIBS/KBOV News that a patient has tested positive for COVID-19.

The positive result is the twentieth confirmed case of coronavirus in Inyo County.

“We had our first positive case after quite awhile this week. Just this morning, we got a result of a positive swab from the drive through testing line on Wednesday. The fact that we have broken our long streak of negatives, requires a little more consideration that the virus has spread around,” Brown said.

Rural Health Clinic Director, Dr. Stacey Brown, said that at this point, he is not sure if the confirmed case is the beginning of an uptick in cases. “We don’t know if this is the beginning of the second surge or if it is something sporadic.”

Dr. Brown said that it would be alarming if this is the beginning of a second wave of infections due to the lack of herd immunity in the community. “I think it is a huge concern for us. We don’t have any herd immunity, so we are a naive place for this virus to settle in,” Brown remarked.

Though it is too soon to determine if the twentieth confirmed case of COVID-19 is the beginning of a surge in cases, Brown says Northern Inyo Hospital is prepared regardless. “We are doing great on a district level. We are super prepared for whatever hits the door. We have personal protective equipment, staff and resources. We are ready for the community when they need us,” Brown expressed.

Interim Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Will Timbers, believes the community has done an outstanding job when it comes to curtailing the spread of COVID-19 as evident by the forty-one days without a positive case. “The forty-one days we had without a COVID patient was all because of the community taking the proper precautions. I want to give a shout-out to the community for doing such a great job,” Timbers said.

Fishing Season is Open in Inyo County

As requested by county officials, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham is lifting the delay of the trout opener in Inyo County. Beginning May 28, trout season will be open in the county.

The trout season was originally scheduled to open in Inyo County on April 25, 2020. In April, CDFW had discussions with county leadership regarding trout fishing, which typically draws a high tourism influx to the area. Local officials were concerned about the transmission of COVID-19 and its potential to put a strain on their healthcare systems. Further, all non-essential businesses including lodging, dining and camping options were closed in compliance with state and local public health officers’ orders. Thus, CDFW, in consultation with Fish and Game Commission President Eric Sklar, delayed the opener through May 31, 2020.

However, in a letter yesterday, Inyo County officials requested that CDFW end the delay before May 31, indicating that the county received approval from the California Department of Public Health to move into the Governor’s Phase Two, Stage Two Resilience Roadmap and would begin discussions of reopening. Though county officials requested the opening on May 27, CDFW required one additional day for consultation and processing this request, thus the delay in Inyo County will expire at midnight on May 27 and fishing can resume on May 28, 2020.

This decision does not affect the trout season in any other county.

CDFW reminds anglers to abide by all state and local health guidelines regarding non-essential travel and physical distancing. Staying home in order to stay healthy is still the best way to keep yourself and others safe. Anglers are also advised to check with local authorities on the status of access points as many site closures and access restrictions exist and may change daily.

Pursuant to the emergency regulation approved by the Commission, CDFW will provide accurate information for the angling public at this website or by phone at (916) 445-7600.