Recreation sites opening dates will be re-assesed after May 15

Times Staff Report
Staff Writer


Mammoth and Mono County developed recre-ation sites will likely stay closed until at least mid-May with some options to open some facilities after that date, local Inyo National Forest Service officials said this week. More details on this will be available later this week, after the Times goes to press, officials said. 

According to Deb Schweizer, the Inyo National Forest’s Public Information Officer, all developed sites on the forest are still closed, following a March 25 order by Regional Forester Randy Moore, who  issued a ‘Closure Order’ for all developed recreation sites across all National Forests in the region. 

“This closure (by Moore) excludes trails and trailheads,” she said. “However, the Inyo National Forest has (also) cancelled the issuance of Wilderness permits, including Mt. Whitney day and overnight permits, through May 15. 

“Typically, the Wilderness quota system begins for the forest on May 1 and reservations for permits are issued via Inyo County has advised that people do not engage in high risk activities,” she said. “Mt. Whitney, especially this time of year, is an area where rescues and recoveries are common. People who have been awarded a permit reservation for Mt. Whitney or any other trail- head on the Inyo National Forest will receive a notice from that notifies them that their reservation has been cancelled and a refund have been issued. 

“While trails remain open for day use, we recommend complying with local and state guidance and not traveling for your recreation needs,” she said. 

All Inyo National Forest campgrounds are closed, Schweizer noted. This includes Kennedy Meadows, Lone Pine, Mt. Whitney Trailhead, Lower Grays Meadow, Grandview, Sage Flat, Bitterbrush, Big Trees, Four Jeffrey, Forks, Intake 2, Holiday, Tuff, and French Camp, Convict Lake, New Shady Rest, Old Shady Rest, and Sherwin Creek, Oh Ridge, June Lake, Gull Lake, Aerie Crag, and Lower Lee Vining. The remaining campgrounds in the Bishop Creek drainage, Rock Creek drainage, Lakes Basin, Reds Meadow Valley, June Lake Loop, Lee Vining Canyon, and along Hwy 395 between Mammoth Lakes and Lee Vining are typically closed for winter conditions this time of year. 

As a reminder, many roads that access these areas may also be closed for win- ter conditions, she said. All visitor centers are also closed, including the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center in Lone Pine, the White Mountain Ranger Station, the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, and the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Cen- ter in Lee Vining and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center, which is still closed for the winter. 

All picnic areas are also still closed, she said. South Tufa (Mono Lake), Con- vict Lake, Hot Creek, and June Beach Day Use areas are also still closed. All campground restrooms, trailhead restrooms, picnic area, and day use restrooms are closed. 

While trails and other non-developed areas are not technically closed, there are no facilities open at trailheads or parking areas, such as restrooms, trash removal, etc., she said. 

Also, recreation seekers are encouraged to avoid high-risk activities as law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited, she said. 

To maintain a safe distance from other people, if an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location,” she said. 


Anyone needing information can call during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.;, closed for lunch 12 p.m. -12:30 p.m.). 

The numbers are:

Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center:760-924-5500

White Mountain Ranger Station and Bishop Supervisor’s Office: 760-873-2400

Eastern Sierra Visitor Center, Lone Pine: 760-876-6200