After Tuesday’s standing room only meeting in June Lake over closure of the Mountain there, the Forest Service communicated answers to recently asked questions. The Forest Service has expressed willingness to help look for ways to keep June Mountain open but does have rules to abide by on Forest permits like the one Mammoth Mountain has for June Mountain. Following is more information:
June Mt. Ski Area Closure – Q & A
Post Forest Service meeting between CEO Rusty Gregory, et al, Mammoth Mtn. Ski Area (MMSA) and Inyo National Forest Supervisor Ed Armenta and Mammoth District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge on July 10; and the June Lake CAC and Board of Supervisors meeting also on July 10.
Q – Is MMSA in violation of their permit if they do not operate June Mtn. this winter?
A – Yes they are and the Forest Supervisor will be issuing them a letter of non-compliance. MMSA was advised of this during the meeting on Tuesday.
Q – What are the next steps that the Forest Service will be taking?
A – We will be issuing MMSA a letter of non-compliance and working with them in their design of a process to develop a plan for sustainable operations at June Mtn. Ski Area. MMSA has stated that they are open and willing to talk about options. The Forest Service is open to listening to and working with any credible ideas that come forward regarding solutions to the closure of June Mtn. We are also consulting with other national forests who have dealt with Ski Area closures, as well as our legal counsel.
Q – What would trigger revocation of their permit?
A – Taking steps to revoke MMSA’s permit would be a last resort effort. It is not the most feasible, practical or easy solution to this issue, and could be a lengthy process as MMSA does have appeal rights.
Q – Can someone else, right now, come in and buy the resort and begin operation of June Mtn. Ski Area?
A – Mammoth Mtn has the ability to sell their infrastructure and improvements on June Mtn. The buyer would have to provide appropriate documentation and the Forest Service would have to make the determination that the applicant has both the financial and technical ability to hold the permit and operate the Ski Area.
Q – What came out of the meeting between the Forest Service and Rusty Gregory, et al?
A – MMSA was told that they will be issued a letter of non-compliance with the terms of their permit and that the Forest Service will be requesting that an audit be performed on the June Mtn. Ski Area operations and books. Both MMSA and the Forest Service stated that they are open and willing to discuss any credible options leading to a solution to the issue of the closure of June Mtn.
Q – Based on the Forest Service/MMSA discussions yesterday, and the June Lake CAC meeting, what are the Forest Service’s thoughts regarding the timeframe for Rusty’s planning process? How will you determine what is reasonable? What is the 180 days that was referenced last night?
A – Forest Supervisor Ed Armenta has agreed to meet within two weeks with MMSA, June Lake Community members, and representatives of Mono County, for the purpose of taking a look at options for keeping June Mtn. open. Ed has committed, barring unforeseen circumstances, to personally attend this meeting. Based on these discussions a reasonable timeframe for the planning process can more accurately be set.
The 180 days written notice regarding revocation of a special use permit that was referenced at the CAC meeting is a non-negotiable timeframe required by Forest Service policy. Ed is hoping for a workable solution before this point, so that we don’t have to go there.
Q – How quickly can a permit change hands? Or is a sublease for next winter more feasible?
A – A sublease for operations for next winter may be more feasible than switching the permit to a new owner, as both the permit and the permittee are already in place, and government permitting processes do take time to work through.
Ed has also stated that he is willing to modify the June Mtn. permit and operating plan, within his authority to do so, to accommodate any activities that would allow June Mtn. to be open and operating this winter.