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Tioga Inn project threatens Mono Lake views and creates harmful impacts for the Lee Vining community, Mono County, and the gateway to Yosemite National Park

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

Next Monday, June 29, starting at 9:00am PDT, the Mono County Board of Supervisors will consider the Tioga Inn project and ultimately vote to approve, modify, or deny it.

The 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.

 

This is a critical moment for public comment. The Tioga Inn project threatens to bring a host of significant adverse impacts to the community of Lee Vining, the scenic Mono Basin, and the gateway to Yosemite National Park.

Since the scoping process for the project began four years ago, over a thousand comment letters and hours of testimony from residents, agencies, and the public have offered suggestions about, mitigations for, and solutions to the project impacts. However, the developer has rejected meaningful changes to the project, and the significant adverse impacts remain.

As a result, the Supervisors now have to consider a project that damages the scenic nature of the Mono Basin, compromises the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists, stretches the capacity of local schools and the volunteer fire department, and saddles the Lee Vining community and Mono County taxpayers with impacts and financial burdens that should be the responsibility of the developer.

Monday’s meeting will be (more…)

Sign up to help inform the organization of monolake.org

Sunday, June 14th, 2020 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

Although the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore is currently closed and most of our typical summer programs are cancelled, Mono Lake Committee staff are still hard at work from home. One of the major projects we are undertaking during this time is creating a completely redesigned website, and we need your help!

We are currently working on a major update and revision to monolake.org and we need your help.

In July, we will be working on creating the information architecture for the website—focusing on organizing, structuring, and labeling website content in a simple and clear way. This will help us create the foundation for the redesigned site, with the goal of helping visitors easily find information and successfully complete tasks on the website.

There are two online exercises we need your help with—card sorting and tree testing. The card sorting exercise will ask you to organize topics into groups that make sense to you to inform the site map. The tree testing exercise will ask you to try to accomplish a series of tasks using a draft site map we create.

If you’re interested in completing these exercises, you can sign up here or simply send me an email saying you would like to help. After signing up, expect to receive a couple emails in July inviting you to complete each exercise. Thank you for your help!

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 Inn project heads to Mono County Board of Supervisors for a late-June hearing date

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 by Bartshé, Eastern Sierra Policy Director

The Mono County Board of Supervisors will consider the Tioga Inn project at the end of June. While the exact date is yet to be confirmed, the two possible dates are June 25–26 or June 29–30. The Board is considering possible two-day hearing dates to better accommodate expected public comment and to fully deliberate the project before making a final decision.

A view of the current Tioga Gas Mart, which is the site of the future proposed Tioga Inn development. Photo by Elin Ljung.

With to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in California and the Expanded Stage 2 phase of Mono County’s reopening plan, the Supervisors are hoping that a hybrid meeting format of a live, in-person meeting combined with (more…)

Support Mono Lake on #GivingTuesdayNow

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020 by Andrew, Digital Engagement Coordinator

#GivingTuesdayNow is a new global day of giving and unity that will take place on May 5, 2020. Lately we’ve been announcing a lot of cancellations, from the Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua to the summer canoe program; however, giving back is not cancelled, and Mono Lake needs you now more than ever.

We’re still doing all we can to keep restoration and protection programs moving forward, and DWP on track with their obligations. Staff are even launching new web-based opportunities for you to experience Mono Lake, sharing the arriving birds, springtime flowers, and scenic views on naturalist walks near the lake.

You can still support protection, restoration, education, and science at Mono Lake with your gift of any amount. Thank you!

Donate

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…)

Mono Lake canoe tour program canceled this year

Thursday, April 30th, 2020 by Rose, Education Director

The Mono Lake Committee’s canoe tours have been a tradition in the Eastern Sierra for more than 35 years. Canoe tours offer a unique, immersive experience where one can weave through the tufa towers, glide among flocks of Wilson’s Phalaropes, and learn the Mono Lake story from trained interpretive guides.

Public canoe tours on Mono Lake will not take place this summer, due to COVID-19 and staffing decisions made because of it. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and our decision to not bring any seasonal staff to Lee Vining this summer, we must cancel the 2020 canoe tour program.

We will continue to (more…)

No Mono Lake Committee seasonal staff for 2020; summer programs evaluated week by week

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 by Claire, Office Manager

The Mono Lake Committee has made the difficult decision to not bring any of the summer seasonal staff we had hired to Lee Vining for 2020. Our whole team is disappointed to not be able to share the summer with what promised to be an incredible group of interns, but we all agree that it is the right decision for everyone involved.

The 2019 seasonal staff learning about Mono Lake’s ecology on the south shore last summer. Photo by Alison Kaplan.

Cancellation of the summer hiring does not mean that all summer programs are cancelled, but the uncertainty about when we might be able to offer tours and reopen the bookstore was a major reason for the decision.

Normally our intern training takes two full weeks at the beginning of June, and some of the summer staff arrive much earlier (more…)

This year’s Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua is canceled

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020 by Nora, Lead Naturalist Guide

We are sorry to announce that we must cancel this year’s Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua due to COVID-19.

Red-breasted Nuthatch. Photo by Santiago Escruceria.

The Chautauqua partners are committed to the health and safety of our participants, presenters, staff, and the broader community; therefore, we feel it would be irresponsible to hold an event of this size at this time. Moreover, with Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home order and plans to reopen the state in stages—with large gatherings last on the list—as well as Mono County discouraging visitation to the Eastern Sierra, it’s clear that (more…)

Mono County Planning Commission disappoints; Board of Supervisors to vote soon on Tioga Inn project

Saturday, April 18th, 2020 by Geoff, Executive Director

Despite overwhelming opposition from the public, on Thursday the Mono County Planning Commission voted 4-0 to approve the Tioga Inn project with few modifications to the final plan and design.

Over 200 written and spoken comments were voiced to the Planning Commission regarding the Tioga Inn project and over 150 people attended the seven-hour-long meeting via Zoom video conference. Virtually every comment was in opposition to the permanent, damaging impacts of the project. Speakers ranged from local business owners and residents to the fire department and longtime visitors. After the large number of strong, clear, and respectful comments in opposition to the project—among the most the commission has ever seen—the commission deliberation and vote was a disappointment.

The Tioga Inn project now goes to the Mono County Board of Supervisors, which will make the final determination of whether the numerous adverse impacts of the project justify turning it down. The date of that meeting is yet to be confirmed, but is tentatively scheduled for May 19. Stay tuned here on the Mono-logue and in your email for more information regarding how to participate in this final round of public comment.

If you wrote in or spoke to express your concerns about the project—thank you! The outpouring of thoughtful, sincere comments was incredible to witness. A better result is still possible and public engagement will be critical to the final outcome.

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