(Press Release from the Inyo National Forest)
The 4th of July is now behind us and Reds Meadow Valley is open for all to enjoy. The Forest Service wanted to take this opportunity to provide an update on recreation conditions in the Inyo National Forest for this summer.
As of June 29 the Reds Meadow Road is open and the mandatory shuttle bus is in operation. Devils Postpile, Reds Meadow and Minaret Falls Campgrounds are all open, however some campsites are not available due to remaining damage from the November 30 wind event. Pumice Flat Campground is expected to open soon. Upper Soda Springs and Agnew Meadows Campgrounds will have a much delayed opening and may not even open this summer season; both of these campgrounds remain closed to public entry due to hazards. Pumice Group Campground is now open and reservations are being accepted at this time. Day hike trails to Devils Postpile, Rainbow Falls, and at Sotcher and Starkweather Lakes are all open and available for hiking, however some user created hiking trails in the valley have not been cleared. Crews continue to work clearing down trees and repairing the Pacific Crest Trail and the feeder trails to it. Please go to the Inyo National Forest website for up-to-date reports on progress in campgrounds and on trails in the Reds Meadow and Devils Postpile area, http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/
All other Inyo National Forest campgrounds are open for the season except those campgrounds listed above in Reds Meadow Valley.
The Forest Service would like to remind people that wilderness permits are required for all overnight backpacking trips in the Hoover, Ansel Adams, John Muir, and Golden Trout Wildernesses. Day hikers in the Mt. Whitney Zone also are required to have a wilderness permit. New this year, reservations for wilderness permits are now being taken on-line atwww.recreation.gov, or by calling (877) 444-6777. Night box pick-up of permits can be arranged one to two days before an entry date, except for trips staying in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Walk-in permits are also available, except for Mt. Whitney, at ranger stations and visitor centers up until trailhead quotas are reached. All wilderness travelers are asked to please plan ahead and be prepared for changing conditions. Areas of blowdown from the November 30 wind event are still being cleared, and some areas of down trees may not have even been identified yet. Rangers and crews are actively working many parts of the wilderness this summer due to the amount of down trees. For more information about wilderness conditions, permits and reservations please call the Inyo National Forest Wilderness Permit Office at (760) 873-2483, open seven days a week 8:00-4:30.
All Inyo National Forest and partnership visitor centers are open this summer with the following schedules:
Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center – Open seven days a week, 8:00 – 5:00, (760) 647-3044
Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center – Open seven days a week, 8:00 – 5:00, (760) 924-5500.
Bishop Public Lands Information Center (aka White Mtn. Ranger Station) – Open seven days a week, 8:00 – 5:00; service may be limited between 1:00 and 2:00, (760) 873-2500
Bristlecone Pine Visitor Center – Open seven days a week, 10:00 – 5:00, (760) 873-2500
InterAgency Visitor Center in Lone Pine – Open seven days a week, 8:00 – 5:00, (760) 876-6222
The Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association runs a bookstore in each of the visitor centers offering a wide selection of books on the natural and cultural history of the area, as well as maps, t-shirts, hats and other resources to help make public land exploration and discovery more enjoyable, safe and fun.
Guided Interpretive Walks are offered daily at South Tufa at Mono Lake at 10:00, 1:00 and 6:00pm.
A variety of other scheduled interpretive walks and programs are happening in the Mono Basin, the Mammoth Lakes area and in the Bristlecone Pine Forest. Please see the Learning Center section of the Inyo National Forest website for more information, http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/
At this time there are two day use fee sites in the Inyo National Forest, South Tufa in the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area and Schulman Grove in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Each location charges $3 per person, with 95% of fees collected going back directly to enhance recreation opportunities in the area where it was collected. Interagency Passes are accepted at both locations. 80% of fees generated from the sale of Interagency passes also stays on site, a fact which both residents and visitors may want to consider when purchasing their annual passes.
Lastly, all residents and visitors are reminded that the Inyo National Forest and the Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management have instituted Fire Restrictions as of June 25. Campfires, briquette barbecues, or stove fires are all now restricted to designated developed recreation sites and specifically posted campsites or areas. Smoking is only allowed within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all vegetation. Please go towww.fs.usda.gov/inyo and click on fire restrictions for more information, and use extreme caution with anything that could cause a fire in this extremely dry year.
For more information on recreation opportunities in the Inyo National Forest please visit www.fs.usda.gov/inyo or stop in or call any of the visitor centers listed above.