When they met Wednesday night, the Mammoth Town Council fell short of sending a letter of complaint to Congress about impacts of the government shutdown. They only made note, along with Tourism Director John Urdi, that the federal government shutdown will prematurely close campgrounds in Mammoth Lakes and hurt tourism.
Urdi and his Tourism Department stepped up to the plate when the feds shut down the Welcome Center which operates in connection with the Forest Service Visitors Center. Urdi told the Town Council Wednesday that his department, next door to the Welcome Center, is now functioning as a welcome center. He said when Caltrans put out the word that Highway 120 was closed, Urdi’s crew explained to tourists that it is open. They are also letting visitors know how they can enjoy Mammoth Lakes since they can’t recreate in Yosemite.
Urdi told the Council that the federal shutdown will close all campgrounds in and around Mammoth by Friday at noon. He said many Europeans and especially Germans are coming through. Many are driving RVs. Those who started in Las Vegas, going through Death Valley and on to Yosemite are “very disappointed.” Urdi said he has talked to Mammoth Mountain about the Ski Area parking lot as a contingency location.
The Tourism Director and his crew are taking advantage of the situation by letting visitors know what they can do in Mammoth Lakes and encouraging longer stays. The Tourism Office will remain open through the weekend to continue that effort. Urdi said he’s “fired up” about the fact that the government will prematurely close Mammoth campgrounds for the winter due to the current shutdown.