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Please do not visit Mono Lake right now

Friday, March 20th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

We’re asking anyone who is not a primary resident of Eastern Sierra communities NOT to visit this region for the time being.⁠

We are joining with Mono County Tourism, Mammoth Lakes Tourism, and Inyo County in this effort to temporarily discourage visitation, and the reason is simple.⁠

Our local healthcare facilities are small and will be severely strained handling the widespread outbreak of COVID-19. They will be overwhelmed providing the level of care that residents alone will need. The wide open spaces of the Mono Basin and the Eastern Sierra might seem like the perfect places to practice social distancing, but traveling here right now risks lives.⁠

We know how many of you treasure the Mono Basin and the Eastern Sierra, and so we ask you to respect our communities and this request to stay home for now. We will be working to bring you glimpses of and stories from Mono Lake that you can enjoy from your home until it’s possible for all of us to recreate safely in the Eastern Sierra again.⁠

Click here for Mono County COVID-19 updates.

Thank you,⁠

Mono Lake Committee staff⁠

Limited phone answering at the Mono Lake Committee office

Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Like most of the world has done, we have changed our operations in response to COVID-19.

In happier, healthier times, Joslyn and Nora counted postcards on our inventory day in early February. Photo by Elin Ljung.

In addition to closing the bookstore and canceling public programs, most of our staff are now working from home. That means that we are not answering the phones in the office, but we do want to hear from you!

You can call our main line at (760) 647-6595 and leave a general message. I am checking that voicemail box daily, so (more…)

Mono Lake Committee public programs canceled through March 31

Monday, March 16th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

In response to the COVID-19 crisis the Mono Lake Committee has canceled all public programs until at least March 31.

This includes weekend South Tufa tours, visiting school group programs, presentations, field trips, special tours, next weekend’s Winter Wander field seminar, and programs with the local schools. Prior to this decision, we canceled the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles that was due to take place March 11–13.

Efforts to rid Mono Lake’s islets of Bassia continue

Thursday, March 12th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Since mid-February’s successful prescribed burn on Twain Islet to clear breeding habitat for California Gulls, the Mono Lake Committee has been working with the Inyo National Forest and Point Blue Conservation Science to schedule another burn before the gulls return to nest for the season.

Mono Lake Committee and State Parks staff returned to Twain Islet in late February to continue efforts to restore California Gull nesting habitat. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

However, a combination of windy and rainy weather, the complex logistics of getting all parties out to the islands, and Point Blue biologists’ observations of gulls already returning to Mono Lake means that the burn window has closed for this spring.

Even though (more…)

Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles is canceled

Monday, March 9th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

We are sorry to announce that we must cancel the upcoming Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Los Angeles out of an abundance of caution regarding the rapidly-evolving coronavirus situation in California.

With the common-sense recommendations from the CDC and other public health departments to keep a safe distance from other people and to avoid gatherings, we feel it would be too risky for everyone to be gathering at multiple, close-quarters events in theaters. We are heartbroken to share this news, and we continue to work through the difficulties that come with this decision.

We have worked hard on the Film Festival and we intend to reschedule it later this year. As we explore options for rescheduling we will be issuing full refunds to everyone who purchased tickets. If you bought tickets, please check your email (including your spam/junk folder) for more information.

Thank you for your support of this event—if you bought a ticket, made a donation, told a friend, or helped spread the word. We hope we’ll be able to see our Southern California members soon!

If you have any questions, please contact Digital Engagement Coordinator Andrew Youssef by email or call (760) 647-6595.

Winter & Spring 2020 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Saturday, March 7th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Mono Basin can feel completely quiet and isolated in winter. Mountain passes close for the season and visitors dwindle to a trickle. Birds have flown to warmer places and it’s as if the whole basin is far away from everything else in the world.

But during the prescribed burn on Twain Islet this month I was reminded of how many people see Mono Lake, even in the depths of winter.

Eastern Sierra neighbors hiking north of the lake took photos of the plumes of smoke rising near Negit Island. Locals came into the bookstore to inquire about the activity out on the lake. Someone called to ask if the volcanoes were erupting! Members keeping an eye on the Mono Lake webcams called in, curious about (more…)

Tioga Inn public workshop introduces final plan

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Mono Lake Committee is delving into the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (FSEIR) for the Tioga Inn project (released just last Friday night) to understand the changes made from the draft document that was released last summer. While some changes have been made to the project thanks to public comments, five original significant unavoidable impacts remain, including adverse impacts to the scenic resources of the Mono Basin.

Last night about 45 community members attended the Mono County Planning Department’s public workshop about the project, which provided an opportunity for people to hear more about the project as described in the FSEIR and ask clarifying questions. The project proponent (more…)

Prescribed fire on Mono Lake’s islet in the LA Times

Saturday, February 15th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Veteran Los Angeles Times reporter Louis Sahagun accompanied Mono Lake Committee staff and Inyo National Forest fire personnel to Twain Islet yesterday for the prescribed burn to restore California Gull habitat taken over by the invasive weed Bassia hyssopifolia. Check out Louis’ article here, and if you get the paper, watch for it in tomorrow’s Sunday edition!

Tioga Inn public workshop scheduled for Tuesday, March 3

Monday, February 10th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Mono County Planning Department has scheduled a public workshop on the Tioga Inn project—the meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 3 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at the Lee Vining Community Center (296 Mattly Avenue).

The workshop will be a chance to discuss the Final EIR for the project; it is available on the Mono County website and at the Lee Vining Library.

Then what happens?

The first decision point for project approval or denial is with the Mono County Planning Commission. The Commission has tentatively planned to address the Tioga Inn project on March 23. It is critical that decision makers hear from you before they decide on this project and the future impacts to the Mono Basin that will result. After the Commission, the project goes before the Mono County Board of Supervisors later this spring for a final decision. The Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings are the two meetings when your voice will matter the most.

Due to the developing nature of the timeline for this project, please check here to confirm meeting dates and times before traveling.

Project background

Last year Mono County received over 1,000 comment letters about the controversial Tioga Inn project, which proposes a major expansion at the existing Tioga Gas Mart. As currently proposed, the project will be highly visible from many classic viewpoints, including South Tufa, Panum Crater, and Highway 395 south of Lee Vining, and will have adverse impacts on the prized dark night skies throughout the Mono Basin, deer migration, the Lee Vining community and more.

Learn more about the Tioga Inn project, see visual mock-ups of the project area, and read the Committee’s comment letter here.

Road to Bodie State Historic Park to re-open on February 7

Wednesday, February 5th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Highway 270, the Bodie Road, will re-open from its winter closure on Friday, February 7 at 10:00am.

Photo of a snowy Bodie taken about 1911–1912. Photo courtesy of California State Parks.

This will allow motorists to reach Bodie State Historic Park, but if significant winter weather resumes, the road may be closed once again. In winter, Bodie is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm every day.

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