Fight to save Mono Tufa Reserve

monolaketufaState legislators have already made the decision to close 70 California parks, including the Mono Lake Tufa Reserve. The Mono Lake Committee and many others continue the work to change that decision.

Geoff McQuilkin, Executive Director of the Mono Lake Committee, said that the net savings to close the Tufa Reserve amounts to roughly $86,000. The damage adds up to a lot more than that. McQuilkin pointed out that the closure will likely appear in materials that tourists from other countries and states use to make plans. They may skip a visit to Lee Vining altogether.

McQuilkin said that a letter-writing campaign and petitions have sent thousands of pieces of mai to the desks of Mono County’s legislators, State Parks officials and the Governor. In fact, letters continue to end up on legislators’ desks.

This local impact hurts on top of the economic pain already experienced by Eastern Sierra towns. Annual visitation of 271,000 people adds to the local economy. The loss of the Tufa Reserve will also disrupt a substantial organization of 40 volunteers and agency people who conduct tours around the Reserve.

The closure flies in the face of public access policies and goes against the legislation enacted to create the Tufa Reserve. As the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported, closure would mean that “state owned boardwalks, observation platforms and parking lots would be off-limits. Rangers would no longer be available and interpretive programs, lake tours, scientific research and studies by state-funded biologists would presumably be cut.”

Fears also exist that many will simply trespass the closure with unpredictable results. Closure, according to McQuilkin, would also mean no issuance of permits to operate the canoe and kayak tours in addition to permits for filming at the lake which has needed major publicity in the fight to save it from the City of Los Angeles’ water export from the basin.

McQuilkin does want people to know the Reserve remains open now. Closure is slated for next June.

We contacted the office of Mono County State Senator Ted Gaines about his views and the possibility of keeping the famous Reserve open. His communications director, Betsy Hodges, said she would have a comment for us later this week. Hodges added that plans are in the works for Senator Gaines to tour Mono Lake next month.

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9 Responses to Fight to save Mono Tufa Reserve

  1. harry July 29, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    I think local management will work, go for it Mono Lake Committee!

  2. bobbie lee swagger July 28, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    somehow i think mono will survive , provided DWP doesn’t just drain it

  3. Ken Warner July 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm #

    People get all exercised screaming for smaller government and when they get smaller government they suddenly realize — hey, that’s not so great!

    Think about that when you start demanding cuts to education, medical services, infrastructure and all the other popular targets for deficit reduction.

  4. Joann Lijek July 28, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    Skip a visit to Lee Vining altogether! What a tragedy! Lets see, people can still visit Mono Lake, with or without that place closed. In fact, I don’t think they can keep you out, although they would like to keep the public off public lands without all their hokum. Why should the closure of the park stop permits for kayaking and such?
    Also the Lake does NOT need publicity to stop DWP from taking the water, it has been decided in court.

    • Benett Kessler July 28, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      Editor’s Note:

      Another view of the need for publicity is the fact that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power could
      go back with its big political hammer and try again to take more water from the Mono Basin on the claim
      of municipal emergency. The fight with LA is never over.
      Benett Kessler

  5. LP July 27, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

    Yet there is enough money for illegal aliens’ education and agenda driven homosexual mandated curriculum in our public schools now thanks to Brown and his band of lackey libs.

    And you gripe about Tufa?? Our priorities are in the toilet.

  6. Diane Livia July 27, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    I hope the Mono Lake Committee sues the State — abandoning our parks is a clear violation of several laws.

    The damage being done in State Parks and other lands by visitor and deliberate exploiters NOW, with reduced numbers of rangers and other professional parks personnel is unacceptable. Damage will only increase when the parks are “closed.” Of course, once the parks are closed, anyone will be able to enter the parks and use and abuse them in any way they choose. This is a clear abrogation of the duty of the State.

  7. Mark Heckman July 27, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    It’s a sorry state of affairs; however this may be a perfect opportunity for the Mono Lake Committee and the locals of Lee Vining to handle the State park at the local level, conducting their own tours, policing the land, and collecting the trash. It’s interesting that the State plans on closing the Park at the beginning of the tourist season and not winter time when visitation is at its lowest.

  8. esfotoguy July 27, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    So if the reserve closes, It just means that there will less people there when I take pics……Unless when they say they are closing the preserve, they are gonna put the tufas in storage and breakdown the NEWLY erected boardwalk at the marina…..;-}


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