Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area

Forty years ago, in 1984, Congress established the first Scenic Area designation in the country—the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area. This weekend we’ll celebrate these important four decades of protection for Mono Lake and the Mono Basin!

The Scenic Area is 118,000 acres of land surrounding Mono Lake that is managed by the Inyo National Forest with an emphasis on protecting “geologic, ecologic, and cultural resources” and providing recreational and interpretive facilities. For 40 years the Scenic Area has balanced protecting the Mono Basin ecosystem with supporting visitation so that people can enjoy Mono Lake without causing undue damage to this unique place.

The Scenic Area was one of the earliest public recognitions of the ecological, geologic, scenic, and cultural value of the Mono Basin, coming just two years after the establishment of the State Park, the Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. The Scenic Area was designated and began protecting Mono Lake well before the California State Water Resources Control Board amended the water licenses of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power in 1994 to ensure that Mono Lake could rise to its healthy, mandated level. Though the lake has yet to reach that level, the State Park, Scenic Area, and State Water Board decision have all played important roles in protecting the Mono Basin over the years.

This weekend you’re invited to celebrate this anniversary at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center on Sunday, June 16, 4:30–7:30pm. The festivities kick off with a land acknowledgement with the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe, followed by the debut of a new film, Mono Lake: A Legacy of Hope, and then live music from The Clinton Davis String Band.

The 40th anniversary celebration is brought to you by the Inyo National Forest, Mono County Library, California State Parks, Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Tribe, and the Mono Lake Committee. We hope to see you there!

Top photo by Sandra Noll.