Mammoth Dog Teams moves ahead

ouimetRecent snowfall in Mammoth Lakes is almost a spit in the eye for snow-dependent businesses that have struggled with terribly dry conditions most of the winter.  One of those is Mammoth Dog Teams.  They can’t run dog sleds on dry trails.  Owner Jim Ouimet is still hanging in there.  In fact, he will appear at Thursday’s Mono County Planning Commission meeting.

At 10:10 am in the Bridgeport Courthouse boardroom, Mammoth Dog Teams will ask for a use permit modification.  This includes extension of conditions to construct an office building, a new access point and lease-area adjustments for one year.

The current use permit allows for operation of the Mammoth Dog Teams commercial kennel.  All of this, as most know, is located at the County-owned, former sheriff’s substation off Highway 395 north of the Hot Creek fish hatchery.

County planners indicated on the agenda that this project qualifies as a California Environmental Quality Act exemption.

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20 Responses to Mammoth Dog Teams moves ahead

  1. Rodney April 11, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    What a shame, these dogs are so much part of the “mountain experience” people come to Mammoth for. Too bad they don’t have a permanent home. Too bad there isn’t a piece of land where Jim Ouimet can build a structure so the dogs don’t have to be chained up when they are not working as they did at their old location before property values went through the roof. I’ve come to the conclusion that most, if not all, people love the dogs but nobody want to help them stay here.
    When Paul Marvelly was running this business he worked from dawn to dusk, literally. I know, I was there. And even then he barely made much money working only six months out of the year if we were lucky. I guess since there is not much money in this business not too many will be willing to help. The county has helped a little but they can do better.
    Of all the cool and unique things our area has to offer a dog sled ride has got to be one of the coolest and most unique. What a shame their existence in Mammoth is in jeopardy.

    • MJA April 12, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      Slavery in the South was hard to get over too.


  2. Rob April 11, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Those dogs were illegally teathered more this winter that last due to lack of snow. Like everyone in the snow removal business those dogs didn’t work very much this year.

    By definition of the law those dogs are illegally tethered, THAT’S A FACT.

    What it really comes down to is did Ouimet do what he said he was going to do and get an exception to the tethered leash law?

    • Big AL April 11, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

      Yeah right Rob

  3. MJA April 11, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    Dogs chained to boxes for life seems wrong to me.


    • Rob April 11, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      It’s also illegal, but county animal control officers look the other way.

    • Ken Warner April 11, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      They are not chained to boxes for life. They are working dogs. They pull sleds for hours. Talk to the sled driver to get the full story before you make up terrible scenarios.

      • Home girl April 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm #

        People forget that if these dogs were not exercised and in shape, they would not be able to pull a sled with supplies and people. So there is NO WAY they are chained to thier box for life

  4. Dan Watson April 11, 2012 at 8:33 am #


    Your question why DFG can tranquilize and relocate a bear in La Crescenta, but doesn’t do the same here is a good one. I can’t answer for DFG, but I can tell you that your description of what would happen if a bear walked towards man in Mammoth is way off base. During the summer, this happens virtually every day in the Lakes Basin and there is no barrage of gunfire. One bear was put down in 2011 after it was struck by a car and severely injured. In 2010 one infamous bear, Blondie, was put down after weeks of investigation and the issuance of a depredation permit from DFG. This bear had broken into more than 75 homes over two summers and was hitting 2-3 residences a day, doing thousands of dollars of damage and displaying little fear of man.

    Mammoth Lakes, through its Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles and other public outreach efforts, does an admirable job of creating an environment where humans and wildlife co-exist. Just this week, law enforcement representatives from Nevada are visiting Mammoth Lakes to learn about our bear management efforts.

  5. Wayne Deja April 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Kind of off-topic here,but whoever was watching the news Tuesday morning,the incident with the black bear wandering into the residential neighborhood in Southern California….Can someone PLEASE explain to me why they can’t…and won’t.. do things up there in Mammoth the same way as how it was handled down in L.A. ? Why do they insist on putting the Mammoth problem bears down? This bear in La Cresenta had been a problem for weeks…in and out of yards…raiding trash cans…and the morning of the capture,he acually was kind of a danger to the people in the area..But DFG was still able to dart this bear,keep him at bay untill the drugs set in,and were able to remove,and eventually re-locate this bear.Why do the so-called “experts” up in Mammoth insist on saying the bears can’t be re-located…Is killing the bears just the easy…and lazy way of handling things?…I would bet when that L.A. bear walked up that sidewalk towards that man,if it were in Mammoth Lakes,that bear would have been killed by a barrage of gunfire.

    • Benett Kessler April 11, 2012 at 8:11 am #

      Wayne, Recently, another story in the Tahoe area revealed a DFG policy of releasing bear cubs.( I have no idea why they won’t do this kind of thing here. Mammoth does have Wildlife Specialist Steve Searles who keeps bears and people apart with an uncanny skill. Our news agency has followed his work over the years. Steve gets no
      help from DFG that we’re aware of. However, DFG won’t return our phone calls.

      • NewEra April 11, 2012 at 8:37 am #

        My opinion it goes to show you that the attitude out here is way behind. more of man taking Gods Green Earth for granted, just like DWP thinking they can take all water in valley, and they believe that because they have the funds to do so. Humans have become a problem for all Plants and Animals. I cant stand it when people think beings like bears or mountian lions are the problem. Plants and animals are not in the position to make a decision like we are in. and our inconsiderate decisions and inventions to make our lives more convienent at the cost of the earths natural resources.
        And what is it that we give back in return?
        Trash and solid waste, and a lot of us dont even re-cycle.

      • Bill April 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

        Bruce Kinney should retire and go away.

    • Ken Warner April 11, 2012 at 9:47 am #

      Well, you would have lost that bet. Bears walk through my yard and along the street where I live all the time. No barrage of gunfire yet. Although it air horns have been heard along with “Bad bear…”

      Bears are put down in Mammoth when they start hot prowling homes with people in them. Happens once in a while. Steve could elaborate that better than me. Bears are rarely put down here. It’s a small range for bears here. I’ve see many of the local bears in town and up at the lakes basin. Their range covers a wide area. Simply trapping and relocating won’t work unless the bear is taken way away from its range. And that might kill the bear because it goes into a strange environment.

      Again, ask Steve to comment about this. I’m just relating what I’ve seen and I haven’t seen it all.

      • Wayne Deja April 11, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

        That is one of the points I am making,Mr.Warner….If the bears are allowed to walk the streets,and into back yards….as you say,all the time,that is the time to relocate the bears.Not to continue to allow their behavior.The L.A. bear was relocated the first real chance they had to do it.If they seen the bear prowling as a spectator sport for weeks on end,chances are things would have happened to where he would eventually had to have been put down.Maybe it’s “cute” to watch a bear walk around town,but not so cute when the bear gets used to being around the spectators..A black bear range seems to be around 40 miles.In Oregon,they used to successfully relocate black bears all the time.Bears can adapt to a new environment.As far as black bears being killed,I can think of at least 4 that took place in 2009,maybe 2008,of course the one in the lakes campground by the idiot from L.A..and 3 killed in June Lake.As well as Blondie in 2010..his behavior was ALLOWED to happen up there.Long before he had to be put down,he could have been moved the same way the bear in La Cresenta was a couple days ago.

        • Benett Kessler April 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

          Wayne, It might take a 737 to relocate all of Mammoth’s bears who live in and around Town. There are too many. I’m just speaking from covering news on the bears during the last 30 years. Before Steve Searles program, DFG used to shoot bears who came into town and scared people. Searles does have a behavior modification program that works well. It would, of course, be terrific if DFG accepted the need from time to time to relocate bears. They clearly do in areas other than the Eastern Sierra. Benett

        • Bill April 11, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

          Wow, Seriously? Relocate EVERY bear that comes into town?

          They live here, too, Wayne. For the most part our bears and people co-exist just fine. Again, w/ exception of a few instances where bears were destroyed. But you would know this if you actually came to Mammoth instead of throwing stones every chance you get.

          Steve Searles does a good job – education and outreach is an ongoing challenge. There are FAR bigger things to worry about right now than a few problem bears that need to be put rarely down. Do you have any idea how many black bears are killed illegally by poachers in this State???

        • Ken Warner April 11, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

          You just don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Bill April 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      Wayne, there are MANY more bears in Mammoth than likely where this took place in L.A. There are bears all over town in the evening around here. With the exception of a couple high profile cases in recent years, bears are certainly NOT “killed by a barrage of gunfire” every time one is sighted in Mammoth Lakes. Your statement is ludicrous and a gross exaggeration of the truth, like most of anything you say regarding Mammoth Lakes. If you actually lived here you would understand that.

      Hopefully Steve S. will chime in regarding bear relocation. In the past, the bears just come back. Very often this is the case in Yosemite Valley, also.

      I think Steve does a good job as our Wildlife Specialist and we are fortunate to have someone who is passionate and dedicated to this endeavor. We will always have a bear issue up here. I don’t like to see them destroyed needlessly as much as anyone. However, nature will make more… black bears in CA are far from “endangered”. I wish more people would react this strongly in regards to our local deer herds!! They ARE
      declining and get needlessly slaughtered by automobiles every migration season.

    • Big AL April 11, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      That’s not true Wayne, while some of the bears have been put down, and most likely for good reasons .. the incidents are handled correctly, for the most part .. some times individuals have to be put down, but mostly they can be dealt with other ways.
      The incident in La Cresenta was an incident that was dealt with with a good out come .. but I would imagine if you did some home work on the subject of bear incidents not only in southern California, but rather through out the state, you will find that for the most part bears incidents are handled humanely.
      Poor bears .. they just don’t know what they do .. they’re just trying to make a living, but when they get used to easy pickins .. it’s hard to get them back to making a living on their own.


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