Mammoth Lakes Trail System celebrates grand opening


Feds, town, local foundations get it done

There have been trails around here ever since the first animals and humans arrived, but Mammoth’s “trail system,” such as it was, has never been the source of a whole lot of love.

That changes tomorrow (Oct. 20) with the unveiling of the Mammoth Lakes Trail System at a ceremony at the Welcome Center.

It has been a project that has brought together agencies and entities that in the past have often been at odds; it unites the trail visions of both the Town of Mammoth Lakes and the Inyo National Forest; and it brings to fruition the work of a citizen-led foundation that seemingly came out of nowhere—the Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation (MLTPA).

The Opening Ceremony, so to speak, begins at 2 p.m. at the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, situated east of town on the north side of S.R. 203, across the street from the Mammoth RV Park.

Scheduled to be on hand are members of the Forest Service, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, and members of MLTPA.

Until 4 p.m., the representatives will conduct trail tours, discuss the Summer of Stewardship volunteer trail projects, and walk people through the MLTS web site,

To cap it all off is a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony.

Several noteworthy long-term trail projects are to be honored, too. These include the completion of the Lakes Basin Path, and the Wayfinding and interpretive signage installed along various town paths including the Lakes Basin Path.

The Lakes Basin Path was conceived in the mid 90s with planning funds appropriated in 2000. It is a 5.3-mile bike path that began construction in 2007, then stalled.

In August of last year, construction began with $17 million in Federal Recovery Act money.

It also was funded by an array of funds received from a variety of sources including Federal Transportation Enhancement Act, State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), State Local Transportation, Recovery Act through the Forest Service, Local Development Impact Fees, and Measure R (Mammoth Lakes Recreation, Trails and Parks Investment Initiative).

The project included realignment and reconstruction of approximately two miles of Lake Mary Road to make room for the Lakes Basin Path.

In addition to the new path, 125 wayfinding signs were installed along various town paths including the Lakes Basin Path.

The fabrication and placement of wayfinding signs on National Forest land were funded by Recovery Act funds, and jointly managed by Inyo National Forest and by Mammoth Public Works Department personnel through a Challenge Cost Share Agreement.

The Wayfinding signs on town land were funded by Measure R, and managed by the Public Works Department. Assistance was provided by MLTPA for Wayfinding maps and sign content, as identified in the Trail System Master Plan.

Adopted by the Mammoth Lakes Town Council a year ago, the Trail System Master Plan (TSMP) guides the development and implementation of all kinds of trails and recreational facilities that may be built, managed, operated, or programmed by the Town of Mammoth Lakes.

Moreover, 16 new interpretive exhibit panels have been designed, with eight of them currently installed. These were funded by Recovery Act and Measure R funds.

Integral to this new signage are QR (quick response) codes that, when scanned with a smartphone, will connect visitors with additional information about the trail. This enhanced content is channeled through the new MLTS website—the first comprehensive digital resource for the Mammoth Lakes Trail System (MLTS).

The website offers detailed trail, destination, activity, and experience information for the entire system, comprised of about 300-plus miles of trails and connecting users to nationally renowned parks, wilderness areas, and other outdoor attractions.

For more information regarding the MLTS projects and a schedule of the celebration events, visit, or contact Nancy Upham, INF Public Affairs Officer, at 760-873-2427 or by email at, or Stuart Brown, Town of Mammoth Lakes Public Information Officer at 760-934-8989 ext. 210 or by email at