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Archive for January, 2012

Two-month dry spell ends with latest closure of Tioga Pass ever

Thursday, January 26th, 2012 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist

Following a wet October and a dry November, there were only 3 days in December with a trace of precipitation in Lee Vining. Going into January, the season was at only 33% of average when measured at the NOAA rain gauge at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore. 1989, 1990, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 were all years with similar or drier autumns, adding up to almost 1/3 of the 24 years on record at our weather station. But it was the first half of January that threw this season into the remarkable category.

On January 17, 2012, Tioga Pass finally closed for the winter as storm clouds gathered on the horizon. The only other time in history—going back to 1933—when it closed in January was when it closed on New Year’s Day 2000.

On January 21st, 2012 (more…)

Dogs sniff out important history at Bodie

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Just up the road from Mono Lake, Bodie State Historic Park is an incredible place to visit. Bodie’s cemetery is full of monuments, but park staff have always known that there are many more graves than those that are still marked. The Bodie Foundation recently brought forensically-trained dogs to Bodie to find unmarked remains, as shown in this short Animal Planet video.

The dogs are trained to sniff for human remains and indicate the locations of those remains to their handlers. After the dogs have done a search the sagebrush landscape near Bodie’s cemetery is dotted with small flags. As ranger Terri Geissinger says, “Those people matter. They matter just like we do today.”

The Bodie Foundation is the partner non-profit for state parks at Bodie, Mono Lake, and Grover Hot Springs. They recently stepped up to implement a fee collection strategy at Mono Lake’s Old Marina, which helped get Mono Lake’s state park off the closure list!

Coming soon: Wild & Scenic Film Festival Los Angeles

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Carolyn Weddle, 2012 Project Specialist.

Mark your calendar and tell your friends—the Mono Lake Committee is hosting the first Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles!

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival was started by the South Yuba River Citizens’ League (SYRCL) to inspire activism  (more…)

Outdoor Experiences participant wins Dreamers Challenge grand prize

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 by Arya, Communications Director

Mono Lake Committee Outdoor Experiences Manager Santiago Escruceria gives everyone a nickname. Beyer High School senior Tom Rydquist’s was “Mr. Muffin.”

In December 2011 the California Museum and Comcast announced that Rydquist won the Northern California Grand Prize in their Dreamers Challenge for a video he produced. His video “Funding the American Dream: Helping California Lead the Way in Water Reclamation”  suggests a fee on sewage utilities to create water recycling programs. You can see the video here and read the script here.

Beyer High School senior Tom Rydquist, left, monitoring water quality at Mono Lake with his classmates. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Along with fellow Beyer students from Modesto and their teacher Kay Myers, Mr. Muffin (more…)

Mono Lake visitor center gets closer to hooking up solar

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 by Arya, Communications Director

Here’s a promising update for those of you following the recent story in the Los Angeles Times regarding dozens of solar energy facilities with national parks and forests that are waiting for grid connections while Southern California Edison hashes out contracts.

Solar panel array at the Forest Service Visitor Center at Mono Lake

Solar panels at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center were installed on the south side of the building. Photo by Arya Degenhardt.

According to the LA Times, “The Forest Service said Friday that it expected to have its two projects—including a solar facility at the Mono Lake visitors center—connected to the grid soon.” The Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center’s solar array was installed (more…)

Weekend storm brings snow and highway closures

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Carolyn Weddle, 2012 Project Specialist.

The dry spell has been broken here in the Mono Basin. On Saturday morning I awoke to a winter wonderland—snow covered the streets and the Mono Lake Committee’s back porch. A Pacific storm hit the Sierra Nevada this weekend and brought with it high winds, rain, snow, and highway closures.

A capture from the Lee Vining web cam shows today’s snowy town.

As of this afternoon Tioga Pass is closed (and has been since Tuesday evening). Highways 108, 4, and 89 are all closed. Highways 88, (more…)

Tioga Pass closing tonight according to NPS website

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Carolyn Weddle, 2012 Project Specialist.

After several weeks of unseasonably dry weather here in the Mono Basin, the weather forecast shows a change coming at the end of this week. High chances of snow and rain are predicted starting Wednesday night through the weekend. What does this mean for road conditions? As of today at 5:00pm the Yosemite National Park website says that Tioga Pass (Highway 120) through the park will be closing tonight at 7:00pm. It is unclear how long the road will be closed  if it closes tonight; it is usually weather-dependent. (more…)

Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Carolyn Weddle, 2012 Project Specialist.

This past weekend the South Yuba River Citizen’s League (SYRCL) held their tenth annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City.

Mono Lake Committee staff at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City. Photo courtesy of Margaret Eissler.

Communications Director Arya Degenhardt, Education Director Bartshe Miller, Eastern Sierra Policy Director Lisa Cutting, and I were lucky enough to be able to go to this exciting event and see the world premiere of the Mono Lake Committee’s brand new film, The Mono Lake Story. The festival consisted of seven venues at a variety of locations in the town, which showed approximately 140 films from around the world. (more…)

Check out the 2012 Field Seminars

Sunday, January 15th, 2012 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The complete list of all the Mono Lake Committee’s 2012 Field Seminars is now available online here.

Take a look at the offerings, read up on the expert instructors, and plan your summer schedule. Then be ready to sign up at 9:00am on Wednesday, February 1!

Any questions? Call (760) 647-6595.

New Forest Service face in the Mono Basin

Sunday, January 15th, 2012 by Mono Lake Committee Staff

This post was written by Morgan, 2012 Policy Coordinator.

Last week, Ed Armenta, the Inyo National Forest Supervisor, made the announcement that Lesley Yen has been chosen to serve as Acting Deputy District Ranger for the Mono Lake and Mammoth Ranger Districts—which includes the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area. (more…)

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