Mono County bureaucrats say they have concerns about the integrity of the old Sheriff’s Substation which Mono leased to Jim Ouimet, owner of Mammoth Dog Teams. Ouimet has lived in a world of uncertainty and fear that his life’s work would go down under the County’s lack of cooperation and decisiveness. The Dog Team’s fate has come down to a Board of Supervisors’ meeting Tuesday, March 16th.
Sierra Wave talked to Ouimet on Monday. He remained hopeful on the eve of the public meeting:
Ouimet: When we first moved to this location, this property was dead. It had been abandonned for 12 years. There was no life in this property. In this building. Anywhere. There was nobody walking their dogs up and down the street. Now, it’s overloaded with people. We have brought life back to this place, back to this location. I feel proud for that and for my dogs.
Sierra Wave: Waht do you want to see happen?
Ouimet: I’d like to see a home left for my dogs and be able to keep this tradition alive. This is the oldest known transportation known to man. Dog sleds have been around for more than 12,000 years. We’re the silly ones still keeping this alive.
SW: How long has dog sledding gone on in Mammoth?
O: 83 years now since Tex Cushane in 1927. He started dog sledding to help bring in medical supplies, carry out the injured, running supplies up to the mines – Coldwater Canyon, Minaret Mine.
SW: Now it’s about fun, right?
O: Now it’s about fun. Now I get a chance to take people out here where I grew up. I get to play in my backyard and show people the enjoyment of what dog sledding is all about.
The Mono Supervisors planned to deal with this issue Tuesday at their meeting in the Mammoth Sierra Center Mall on the third floor at 1:00pm. The public is encouraged to offer comments.