Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

What happens at Mono Lake if the government shuts down?

Update 12/22: A government shutdown is in effect.

Funding for about 25% of the federal government will expire tonight at midnight EST. If a stop-gap spending bill is not passed today, a partial government shutdown will begin and affect a large amount of public land in our area including the Inyo National Forest, Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, Yosemite National Park, and Bureau of Land Management lands. We have compiled the best current information we can gather.

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve: Old Marina will remain open. The Mono Lake County Park/State Natural Reserve boardwalk will remain open, however, there are no services at County Park. Camping is not permitted at these sites any time of the year.

Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center: Closed for the winter. No permits are available.

Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore: Open daily 9:00am to 5:00pm. Closed on December 24 (Christmas Eve), December 25 (Christmas Day), and January 1 (New Year’s Day).

Bodie State Historic Park: Bodie is a California State Park and will remain open, however, the access roads to Bodie are currently closed due to snow. Daily hours are 9:00am to 4:00pm.

South Tufa: The South Tufa area at Mono Lake is operated by the US Forest Service. During previous shutdowns, visitor use was unaffected. Bathrooms have remained open but were not cleaned or stocked. South Tufa tours are continuing at 1:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays with Mono Lake Committee staff.

Dispersed recreation: General Inyo National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands in the Mono Basin remain open to self-guided hiking and exploration. Remember to leave no trace if you are using public lands.

Camping: All US Forest Service campgrounds are currently closed for the winter. The nearest private campground open is the Mammoth Mountain RV Park in Mammoth Lakes.

Dispersed camping: As best we can determine, even with a closure in place, dispersed camping will still be allowed in areas such as south of Mono Lake and east of Highway 395. Cookstoves that are contained in a camper or RV are allowed; NO campfires or outdoor use of stoves allowed.

Help the Inyo! At all times, but especially during the closure, all visitors on Inyo National Forest lands should “pack it out” and clean up after themselves. Plan ahead as bathrooms on forest lands will be closed or unstocked. This is good stewardship and will make the eventual reopening of our public lands as quick as possible.

Yosemite National Park: Highway 120 (Tioga Pass) remains closed for the winter. On Twitter, Yosemite announced, “We don’t have any details about specific park operations if [a government shutdown] does happen.” During the last shutdown in January 2018, however, other roads within Yosemite remained open, but park-provided information and orientation was not available and entrance stations were unstaffed. Additionally, all campgrounds in Yosemite closed and reservations were not honored. Hiking trails remained open. Concession-run facilities (including lodging, tours, restaurants, stores, and shuttles) also remained open. For more information, visit Yosemite’s website.

We will keep you updated on any change in status regarding the government shutdown at the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore (open 9:00am–5:00pm daily) and here on the Mono-logue as well as on Facebook and Twitter.