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Update: Tioga Road through Yosemite open; Yosemite Valley, Wawona, more closed until at least August 5

Monday, July 30th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

Late last week officials with the National Park Service announced that they would be extending temporary closures of Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Wawona Road, and Big Oak Flat Road from Yosemite Valley to Crane Flat through Friday, August 3 Sunday, August 5. Park officials made the decision to close parts of the park last week due to public health concerns related to extreme smoke from the Ferguson Fire. Highway 120 through the park, also known as the Tioga Road, remains open.

Firefighters are working day and night to contain the Ferguson Fire. Photo courtesy of Kari Greer.

Conditions permitting, the affected areas are scheduled to re-open and 4:00pm on Friday, August 3. The park will continue to assess conditions and reevaluate all closures on Sunday, August 5. Be sure to check current conditions before heading into the park.

In addition to these closures (more…)

Parts of Yosemite National Park closed due to wildfire

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

On Tuesday, July 24, National Park Service officials announced that Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and the Mariposa Grove would close temporarily due to the Ferguson Fire burning just west of the park boundary.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite Valley. Photo courtesy of Inciweb.

In addition, both the park’s South Entrance (Highway 41) and the Arch Rock Entrance (Highway 140) are closed. The closure took effect Wednesday at noon and is expected to last until at least Sunday, July 29. Tuolumne Meadows, the Tioga Road (Highway 120), and Hetch Hetchy remain open. (more…)

How the Mono Lake Committee changed my life

Saturday, July 21st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

I was 11 years old when I first set eyes on Mono Lake. My family had just finished our annual camping trip to Yosemite and decided to take the “long” way home and spend a night in the Eastern Sierra.

Seasonal staff training in 2015. Photo by Erv Nichols.

I can vividly remember the surprise I felt as our car made its way to the bottom of Tioga Pass. How had I never seen or heard of this ginormous lake before?! We didn’t make it to the lake’s salty shore that year or even into a visitor center to learn more about it—but it was a day that would shape my future, although I didn’t know it at the time. (more…)

“The Longest Straw” showing at the Aquarium of the Bay

Thursday, July 19th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have been hoping to see the film The Longest Straw but can’t make it to tomorrow’s screening here in Lee Vining, you’re in luck…

On Wednesday, August 8 at 6:00pm the Bay Institute will be hosting a screening at the Aquarium of the Bay! Film director and star Samantha Bode will be there, along with the Mono Lake Committee’s Information & Restoration Specialist Greg Reis, for a Q&A and discussion after the film. Tickets cost $15 and include access to the Aquarium, a reception with light refreshments, and the screening. For more information or to purchase tickets click here.

Fire restrictions to take effect July 2 on BLM land

Sunday, July 1st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

Beginning Monday, July 2, the Bureau of Land Management will implement fire restrictions throughout Mono and Inyo counties. These restrictions are put in place each year to protect local communities and our public lands from wildfire.

In 2016 the Marina Fire burned just north of Lee Vining. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Restrictions include: (more…)

Summer interpretive activities begin at Mono Lake this weekend

Thursday, June 21st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

Days are longer, evenings are warmer, and the Mono Basin is buzzing with activity. Summer is in full swing and when you visit there are many things to do: South Tufa tours, bird walks, Panum Crater walks, Stars Over Mono programs, and canoe tours!

Guests observe alkali flies on a free South Tufa Tour. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Join us daily for free South Tufa tours to learn about the political and natural history of Mono Lake. Tours last approximately one hour and your guide will lead you through towering groves of tufa, help you observe Mono Lake’s endemic shrimp, and if you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of nesting Osprey. Meet at the South Tufa kiosk, daily at 10:00am & 6:00pm. (Tours are free, however there is a $3 fee to visit South Tufa.)

The Mono Basin is a birder’s paradise. Free bird walks (more…)

Screenings of “The Longest Straw” film at Mono Lake

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

“The Longest Straw” plays June 22, July 6, & July 20 at the Mono Lake Committee in Lee Vining. Photo courtesy of Samantha Bode.

In 2015 we had the pleasure of meeting Samantha Bode. She had just finished hiking the length of the Los Angeles Aqueduct—338 miles from Los Angeles to Mono Lake—for a documentary she was making.

In Sam’s documentary, The Longest Straw, she talks to community leaders, residents, and advocates in Los Angeles as well as the communities most affected by the exportation of water south. The film premiered at the New Urbanism Film Festival last October and we are excited to be hosting three showings here in the Mono Basin this summer.

Free screenings will be held on June 22, July 6, and July 20 at 7:00pm at the (more…)

Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua programs still have space

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

The seventeenth annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua starts this week! This year’s festival is sure to be an incredible weekend with over 300 participants and more than 50 presenters. If you haven’t had a chance to register, don’t worry—there are still programs available.

Yosemite ranger Karen Amstutz leads a trip near Virginia Lakes. Photo by Elin Ljung.

Click through to see a list of programs that still have space. Full trip descriptions can be found on the event website.


2018 Mono Lake Committee Scholarship recipients

Saturday, June 2nd, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

Since 2008, the Mono Lake Committee has supported local students by awarding two $1,000 scholarships to Mono County seniors. Each year we ask applicants to visit Mono Lake and write an essay answering the question, “Why are places like Mono Lake important?” We are pleased to announce this year’s recipients, Rosalie Burch and Isabel Calderon from Lee Vining High School. Both wrote thoughtful and inspiring essays.

Gabrielle and Rosalie at the 2018 LVHS graduation. Photo by Ellen King.

In her essay Rosalie wrote, “Everything on our planet is connected and we all rely on each other in order to thrive.” Rosalie will be attending the National University of Ireland this fall to study international business affairs.

Gabrielle and Isabel at the 2018 LVHS graduation. Photo by Ellen King.


Isabel plans to begin her studies locally at Cerro Coso Community College in Mammoth Lakes and aspires to become a medical social worker. In her essay she wrote, “One reason why places like Mono Lake matter is because they simply provide a place to escape the world of mankind and be able to connect with nature.”

All Mono County seniors with firm plans to attend a 2- or 4-year college within a year of graduation are eligible to apply for the Mono Lake Committee Scholarship. If you have any questions about the scholarship program or would like to donate to the fund please contact Arya Harp at (760) 647-6595 x111.

Adopt-A-Highway cleanup for Earth Day

Monday, April 23rd, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist

This past Saturday, to celebrate Earth Day, Mono Lake Committee staff Andrew, Robbie, and myself, plus board member Sherryl Taylor picked up litter along our adopted one-mile stretch of Highway 395, just south of Lee Vining. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the opportunity to spend time in the warm spring sun.

Sherryl, Gabby, and Robbie tackle the west side of our adopted stretch of Highway 395. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

After two hours we had collected five bags of trash and two of recyclables, and the highway was looking much better. Thank you to Sherryl and all of the volunteers who continue to make this project possible. If you are interested in helping out at our next Adopt-A-Highway cleanup, please call Jessica at (760) 647-6595.

Robbie carries a bag of litter collected from the highway. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

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