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Yosemite National Park closing tonight at 5:00pm

Thursday, September 17th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Starting tonight at 5:00pm, Yosemite National Park will close to all visitors and vehicular access due to hazardous air quality from wildfire smoke. All park entrance stations and roads will be closed.

Yosemite National Park is closing at 5:00pm on Thursday, September 17, 2020 due to hazardous air quality from wildfire smoke. Photo courtesy of Yosemite National Park.

Anyone planning to drive through the park on Highway 120 (Tioga Pass) will need to take an alternate route through the mountains. The park will reopen when conditions improve and it is safe for people to return. See more details about the closure here.

Kings Canyon National Park will also close tonight. Sequoia National Park closed on September 15, and all of California’s National Forests are still closed at least until September 21.

Here at Mono Lake we also have hazardous air quality due to wildfire smoke. We’re hunkered down in our home offices, thinking of everyone around the West who is affected by fires and smoke this year.

Inyo National Forest closes temporarily starting at 5:00pm tonight

Monday, September 7th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Update: On September 5, 2020 the US Forest Service announced that National Forests in California would remain closed at least through September 21, 2020.

Update: On September 9, 2020 the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announced that ten more National Forests in the state will close at 5:00pm that day, thereby closing temporarily all 18 of California’s forests due to extreme fire danger. See the press release here.

Starting tonight at 5:00pm, the Inyo National Forest will close temporarily due to extreme fire danger and firefighting resources that are already stretched thin.

The closure includes all campgrounds, all day-use sites, all trails, all roads, all recreation, and all dispersed camping. It affects Mono Lake, which is within the Inyo National Forest, and is already partially closed at the South Tufa and Navy Beach areas.

The closure will be in place for at least one week, and then starting on September 14th will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.

Seven other National Forests will close tonight: (more…)

Beach Fire ignited by lightning near Mono Lake’s southeast shore

Monday, August 17th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Last night at about 6:30pm lightning ignited the Beach Fire southeast of Mono Lake, which is estimated to be 1,650 acres in size and 20% contained as of this morning, according to the Inyo National Forest. It is being “aggressively suppressed.”

A view of the Beach Fire from Highway 120 East yesterday evening as it flared up, driven by gusty winds from the east. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

Mono Lake Committee staff who volunteer on the Lee Vining Fire Department were among the first responders to the fire, and staff who live north of Mono Lake got a good view of the plume of smoke with storm clouds to the east of it. (more…)

Video: Birds & Blossoms in the Bodie Hills

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The Committee’s Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston and Friends of the Inyo’s Policy Director Jora Fogg headed to the Bodie Hills this summer to film this short glimpse of plants and animals found in the mountains just north of Mono Lake.

Enjoy this virtual version of their popular Bird Chautauqua trip, Birds & Blossoms in the Bodie Hills!

Deadline to send comments about the Tioga Inn extended

Friday, June 26th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The deadline to email comments to Mono County about the Tioga Inn project has been extended from 5:00pm tonight to 9:00am on Monday morning, which is when the hearing begins.

Please email your comment to cddcomments at mono dot ca dot gov and also to Bartshe Miller, the Committee’s Policy Director.

Helpful resources for writing your comment:

In addition to emailing your comments, you can attend the hearing online via Zoom and speak as well. Thank you for making your voice heard!

An example of one of the project’s significant adverse visual impacts: This reflection from a small piece of glass at the Tioga Inn project site is clearly visible at South Tufa, marring the dawn view. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Mono County Board of Supervisors will consider Tioga Inn project on June 29

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

At their regular meeting this morning, the Mono County Board of Supervisors confirmed that they will consider the Tioga Inn project on Monday, June 29.

The view over Mono Lake from the site of the proposed Tioga Inn project. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The meeting will take place in the Lee Vining High School gym, which can accommodate up to 100 people with proper social distancing protocols. It will also be available virtually on Zoom. The combined in-person and virtual meeting format will allow (more…)

Tioga Pass will open on Monday, June 15

Monday, June 8th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As part of its phased reopening plan, Yosemite National Park has announced that the Tioga Road will open for the season on Monday, June 15.

Tioga Pass on June 3, 2019. This year it’s scheduled to open on Monday, June 15. Photo by Arya Harp.

Anyone planning to enter the park through the eastern entrance at Tioga Pass will need a day-use reservation—both people planning to recreate in the park and those who are just traveling through. The only exception (more…)

2020 Mono Basin Field Seminars are canceled

Monday, May 25th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Last week we made the difficult decision to cancel all Mono Basin Field Seminars through the end of the year. After much consideration, we couldn’t envision offering them with the uncertainties that lie ahead, in a way that minimizes risk well enough, and yet doesn’t compromise the experience that participants expect.

The 2020 Mono Basin Field Seminars have been canceled due to the uncertainties and risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo by Robbie Di Paolo from 2018.

We are deeply disappointed about this—the Field Seminars have been a tradition at Mono Lake for more than 25 years, and we will miss seeing all the great instructors and enthusiastic participants in the Mono Basin this year. But as hard as the decision was to make, it was also clear—we don’t want to risk anyone’s health during a year when gathering together will be tricky at best.

While this program has been canceled, there are (more…)

Roads opening in the Mono Lake region

Friday, May 15th, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As of today, several roads in the Mono Lake region have opened for the season:

The lower gate on the Tioga Road opened today; the gate at the Yosemite National Park boundary remains closed. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

  • Highway 120 West is open from the junction with Highway 395 to the gate at the Yosemite National Park boundary
  • Highway 270 is open to Bodie State Historic Park
  • Highway 108 (Sonora Pass) is open

Despite these roads opening, Yosemite National Park remains closed, Bodie State Historic Park remains closed, and non-essential travel is still prohibited under California’s “stay at home” order.

Tioga Inn likely to go before Mono County Board of Supervisors in June

Friday, May 1st, 2020 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

No date has yet been set for the Mono County Board of Supervisors to take up the Tioga Inn project, but it is likely to happen in June.

The Mono County Board of Supervisors is likely to address the Tioga Inn project in June. In September last year, the Planning Commissioners and members of the public visited the project site. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Following the disappointing Mono County Planning Commission meeting of April 16, at which the commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the project despite hundreds of public comments in opposition, the Supervisors discussed options for a Tioga Inn meeting at their April 21 regularly scheduled meeting. They expressed interest in (more…)

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