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Will Mono Lake be closed?

September 16th, 2009 by Geoff, Executive Director
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Dawn at the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, September 15, with State Parks trail construction equipment.

Dawn at the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve, September 15, with State Parks trail construction equipment.

Day by day we await the list of state park closures developed in response to severe budget cuts and forecast to contain 100 parks. Will Mono Lake be on the list?

Yet the natural rhythms of Mono Lake continue. The sun rises, crisp fall weather returns, the phalaropes skim the lake’s surface, plentiful Eared Grebes dine on brine shrimp.

The State Park trail crew continues to make progress on the new public Mono Lake trail at Old Marina, a remarkable rehabilitation that is already popular with visitors. The trail and boardwalk are wheelchair accessible and will be among the longest such trails int he State Park system.

The rebuilt Gaines Boardwalk, part of the State Reserve, leads toward Mono Lake at sunrise. Photos by Geoff McQuilkin.

The rebuilt Gaines Boardwalk, part of the State Reserve, leads toward Mono Lake at sunrise. Photos by Geoff McQuilkin.

Mono Lake is more popular than ever with both birds and people. Twice the size of San Francisco, unmatched in the state in ecological productivity, a foundation of the tourism economy of Lee Vining, designated by the legislature 27 years ago as a unique site worthy of state park protection, doesn’t closing the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve seem just a tad shortsighted?

Closing parks lacks vision

September 14th, 2009 by Geoff, Executive Director
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State Park Closure Action Alert CenterWe’re still awaiting the park closure list scheduled for release this week. Today, the Mercury News is running an article that looks at the big picture of closing parks and the lack of vision it represents for California.

MercuryNews.com: Schwarzenegger’s green legacy at risk

Schwarzenegger’s green legacy at riskSchwarzenegger’s green legacy at risk

September in the Mono Basin – fall is on its way!

September 11th, 2009 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The September Natural History Bulletin---look for it around Lee Vining!

The September Natural History Bulletin.

This Mono-logue post comes to you from Mono Lake Intern Claire Skinner, who has been working with Justin Hite this summer to produce the Natural History Bulletin:

If you’re planning a trip to the Mono Basin this September, be sure to check out this month’s Natural History Bulletin. Brought to you by Justin Hite, the Mono Basin Resource Steward, these colorful, photo-filled bulletins highlight the natural wonders unfolding right now in the Mono Basin. Look for them … more »

Los Angeles’ Generation Power realizes the importance of their water conservation work at Mono Lake

September 9th, 2009 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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OE Instructor Hillary Behr explains tufa formation to a group of Los Angeles Infrastructure Academy students.

OE Instructor Hillary Behr explains tufa formation to a group of Los Angeles Infrastructure Academy students.

This update comes to the Mono-logue from Hillary Behr, one of the Mono Lake Committee’s Outdoor Experiences Instructors:

The 2009 Outdoor Experiences season has been going strong all summer! It is the first season here for both me and my co-worker Logan Parsons and we are finding the program very fun and rewarding. I drove out to the Mono Basin from New Hampshire this spring and am still trying to get used to the stunning Sierra and vast open spaces of the west. As I get to know this place, it keeps opening up to reveal more and more beauty and mystery.

Two groups in particular have really blown us away as far as the maturity and attitudes of the students. Both were part of a program called Generation Power. All the students attended the Infrastructure Academy, a school sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (DWP) that prepares students for jobs in city infrastructure.

Generation Power students are chosen from their class to work for DWP performing water audits in Los Angeles Unified School District. Since they are already involved … more »

State Park closures: round two on the way

September 4th, 2009 by Geoff, Executive Director
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State Park Closure Action Alert CenterSupporters of Mono Lake and Bodie know the park closure saga we went through earlier this year as the California budget negotiations threatened almost all state parks with closure. (You can read more in our action alert center).

Well, get ready for a second round. The budget for … more »

Editorial: State Parks cuts save 0.05% of budget shortfall

September 3rd, 2009 by Geoff, Executive Director
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State Park Closure Action Alert CenterThe Sacramento Bee points out the many problems,  and a few solutions, to the State Parks budget woes:

For starters, the park closures would save only $14 million, or one-twentieth of 1 percent of the $26 billion shortfall the entire budget plan sought to solve. For that relatively tiny amount of money, the state is going to go through, and cause, a tremendous amount of heartache.

Full editorial: Sacramento Bee  State parks are economic engine

Summer update: Crowd-free Labor Day weekend expected

September 3rd, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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American Avocets feed on Alkali Flies as the near-perfect summer weather continues at Mono Lake. Photo by Claire Skinner.

American Avocets feed on Alkali Flies as the near-perfect summer weather continues at Mono Lake. Photo by Claire Skinner.

With Tioga Road (Hwy 120) closed west of White Wolf in Yosemite National Park, Labor Day weekend crowds will be smaller than usual in the Mono Basin. Smoke from the Big Meadow Fire near Crane Flat is mostly going north of the Mono Basin. The fire is now 70% contained but road closures will remain in effect at least through the holiday weekend. Click here for the latest on the Yosemite fire.

WEATHER
Warm days and cool nights. Highs near 80 and lows in the 40s. Smoke in the north part of the Mono Basin is intermittent, with some clear and some smoky days. Skies over … more »

Upcoming Mono Basin events

September 3rd, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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Tree watering is just one of the many Mono Basin events taking place this month!

Tree watering is just one of the many Mono Basin events taking place this month!

The following events from our Calendar of Events are coming up soon:

September 9, 2009: Help Keep the Trees Alive!

Water Jeffrey pine seedlings planted this spring along Rush and Lee Vining Creeks! Meet on September 9 at 10:00 AM at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore to carpool to Rush Creek.

September 12-13: Living on the Edge: Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep in the Mono Basin

A field seminar lead by John Wehausen. This wonderful alpine experience still has three spots available. Register today to save your spot!

September 12: High Sierra Fall Century

A 100-mile bicycle ride through the Eastern Sierra. Shorter rides are also available.

September 13: Tioga Pass Run

A 12-mile run from Lee Vining to Tioga Pass. Only one hill!

September 22: Evaluating Climate Change in the Eastern Sierra: Adaptation Options for Planning & Project Implementation

12:30-4:30 PM at the Methodist Church in Bishop. This workshop is a part of Inyo National Forest’s research and management partnership with the Pacific Southwest Research Station (PSW), working together to incorporate climate into resource management and planning. … more »

Tioga Road will be closed through the holiday weekend

September 3rd, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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Yesterday, Wednesday September 2, the National Park Service issued a press release that said Tioga Road (Hwy 120) will be closed between Crane Flat and White Wolf at least through the Labor Day weekend. The road closed on Monday afternoon due to … more »

Tioga Road access restricted due to Big Meadow Fire

August 31st, 2009 by Greg, Information & Restoration Specialist
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Tioga Road (Hwy 120) closed between White Wolf and Crane Flat in Yosemite at 3:30 pm Monday due to smoke. Note that Caltrans had not updated its Website as of 5:30 pm–use the link below for the latest updates within the park.

Prior to this closure it was closed at the same location at night with controlled traffic (pilot car) during the day due to fire suppression operations in the area.

The nearest open route to Yosemite Valley from the Mono Basin is over Sonora Pass (Hwy 108) to Hwy 49 to Hwy 140. When Tioga Road was open, the detour around Big Oak Flat Road to Yosemite Valley via Hwy 49 took an additional 2-3 hours.

The Big Meadow fire started last week as a prescribed burn that quickly escaped controls. It threatened the communities of Foresta and El Portal and closed Big Oak Flat Road. The smoke was moving north until the weekend when it started spilling over into the Mono Basin–the worst of the smoke was on Sunday.

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