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Over 700 comment letters submitted about the proposed Tioga Inn project

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

We asked for help protecting the Mono Basin’s world-class scenic views and dark night skies, and you responded in a big way. Thank you to the more than 700 of you who sent a comment letter about the proposed Tioga Inn project!

Mock-up of the proposed Tioga Inn Project. (Map data: Google, Landsat/Copernicus)

You can read the Mono Lake Committee’s letter here, and the accompanying letter from our legal team at Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger here.

It was such a pleasure to read your letters as they rolled in—they are detailed, heartfelt, and demonstrate your strong connections to Mono Lake, the Mono Basin, and the Eastern Sierra. Keep an eye on the Mono Lake action center—we plan to post excerpts from them there.

Though the legal deadline was yesterday at 5:00pm, you can still send a letter. The Mono County Community Development Department has encouraged additional comments, writing:

“The public is invited to comment until a final decision is made regardless of the closure date of the DSEIR comment period. Comments can be submitted after the close of the DSEIR comment period and County staff commits to providing a response, even though not required, through public hearings before the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Therefore, the public continues to have the opportunity to comment on and potentially affect the outcome of the project until the final decision.”

Thank you for your letters to Mono County, for your continuing interest in this project, and most of all, for your love for the Mono Basin. More to come—stay tuned.

Video of migratory phalaropes at Mono Lake

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

On Saturday morning canoe tour participants were treated to a spectacular show by migratory phalaropes, which are arriving to the lake by the thousands!

Over their four- to six-week stay at Mono Lake, the phalaropes molt into a new set of feathers and double their weight in preparation for their continued migration. From here, they fly 3,000 miles non-stop to South America—an epic journey fueled almost entirely by Mono Lake’s alkali flies and brine shrimp. With just a quick walk down to South Tufa, you too may get a front-row seat to their incredible aerial performance!

Thank you to our friends at New West Studios for generously providing the music in the video.

Mono Lake in the news: ABC10

Friday, July 12th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

There’s a new video out featuring two Committee staff—Lead Naturalist Guide Nora Livingston and Canoe Coordinator Alison Kaplan! ABC10’s John Bartell visited Mono Lake last month to bring its unique natural history and fascinating political history to viewers of his “Bartell’s Backroads” series:

Nora leads field seminars and custom guided trips on birds, wildflowers, history, geology, and more. Alison leads the Mono Lake canoe tours which are offered on weekend mornings all summer.

This video includes footage taken by a drone, which was obtained under permit. Anyone wishing to fly a drone at Mono Lake for any reason must obtain a permit ahead of time from the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve.

See chipmunks, kangaroo rats, and more up close on the Mono Basin Mammals field seminar

Friday, July 5th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Small mammals like kangaroo rats, chipmunks, squirrels, and mice live all around us here in the Mono Basin, but it’s often tough to get a good look at them. If you’re interested in seeing the Mono Basin’s small mammals up close (you might even get to hold one!), sign up now for the Mono Basin Mammals field seminar.

Mono Basin Mammals • July 19–21 • $182 per person/$167 for members • view full itinerary here • sign up here

See the small, furry mammals of the Mono Basin up close during this field seminar. Photo by Joslyn Rogers.

If you have never seen the tuft on a kangaroo rat’s tail, been able to compare the stripes of different chipmunk species, or watched families of pikas busily gathering grass for the winter (more…)

Tioga Pass to open fully on Monday, July 1

Thursday, June 27th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

News from Yosemite National Park: Tioga Pass will open fully on Monday, July 1 at 8:00am. Until the full opening on Monday morning vehicular access will continue to be available at 10:00–11:00am and 3:00–4:00pm.

A view of the Tioga Pass area from the slopes of Mt. Dana on June 23, 2019. Photo by Joslyn Rogers.

July 1 is one of the latest dates for Tioga Pass to fully open, and later than in 2017 when the road opened on June 29 with more snow in the high country that year than this year. This is only the fifth time it has opened fully in July since record keeping began in 1933—other July opening dates happened in (more…)

Tioga Pass open on a limited basis starting Friday, June 21

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

As road crews continue to work to get Tioga Pass (Highway 120) all the way open, Yosemite National Park has announced that there will be limited access to the road starting on Friday.

The gate at the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

The Tioga Road will be open to all vehicles, including bicycles, from 10:00am to 11:00am and from 3:00pm to 4:00pm, with no parking allowed on the road and no day use recreation permitted. This is a pass-through option only, for visitors interested in crossing the Sierra.

There is still no estimated date for the road to open fully. For more information, see the full press release from the National Park Service.

Space still open in Bird Chautauqua programs

Saturday, June 8th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The eighteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is happening next weekend, June 14–16! The weather has warmed up, the birds have arrived in the Eastern Sierra, and many Chautauqua programs still have space.

Join us next weekend for the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua! Photo by Elin Ljung.

If you have been on the fence about attending this year’s Chautauqua, we hope this list of open programs (below) convinces you to join us. You can still register for a fantastic weekend of field trips, workshops, and presentations—don’t miss out! (more…)

The Tioga Pass lower gate is open

Friday, May 31st, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

At noon today Caltrans opened the lower gate on Tioga Pass, which opens 13 miles of Highway 120, from Highway 395 to the Yosemite National Park boundary. The gate at the park boundary remains closed.

The Tioga Pass lower gate on February 7, 2019. The snow has melted and the gate opened today. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

With the lower gate open, people can access the high country near the park boundary—it remains almost completely snow-covered with wintry conditions and variable weather. Visitors planning to leave the road should be prepared for such conditions. Ellery Lake and Tioga Lake are still covered in ice and snow, and Saddlebag Lake Road is still closed, so there is no vehicle access to Saddlebag Lake. Tioga Pass Resort and Saddlebag Lake Resort remain closed.

There is still no estimated opening date for Tioga Pass; plowing updates can be found here and a list of previous opening dates here.

Summer 2019 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Friday, May 24th, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

Photo by David Gubernick.If you have arrived at Mono Lake and picked up this Newsletter, wondering “what is this place and who are these people,” you’re in good hands.

On page 16 you can find the Mono Lake story in a nutshell, and the essay on page 22 gives a brief history of this organization. There’s a map and things to do on pages 14–17. You can learn, like the students who come to the Outdoor Education Center, about the physical tie between Mono Lake and Los Angeles that is the Los Angeles Aqueduct. You can see the intricacies required to keep Mono Lake protected at an everyday, practical level—the comments we submitted on proposed fishing regulations (more…)

The Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua still has space open–sign up now!

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

The eighteenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is right around the corner, coming up June 14–16, 2019.

Bullock’s Oriole. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

This year’s program has a whopping 106 events—field trips, presentations, workshops, and more. And there’s still space in 62 of those events! More than 275 people have already signed up, and we expect many more (more…)

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