A one-two punch to the economy of June Lake. That’s what Supervisor-Elect Tim Alpers called the closure of June Mountain and now a Senate Bill that would cut fish hatchery funds.
Faced with the toughest changes in its history, June Lake was well represented at Tuesday’s Special Meeting of the Mono Supervisors in June Lake. Members of the public talked about their feelings in the some four-hour meeting which started out with a call to send a letter to the Legislature opposing Senate Bill 1148. That proposed law would take away funding from hatcheries and give it to wild trout programs.
Talk quickly moved to June Mountain. Bottom line – people want it open. The “Keep June Mountain Open Coalition” reportedly has names of prospective buyers, but nothing is certain and Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory has said he doesn’t want to sell. Tim Alpers has talked with Gregory about ways to keep June Mountain and protect the survival of the community. Alpers says what is needed is a “skier hatchery” – making June Mountain a place for young people to get into the sport of skiing.
Ideas from the Mono Supervisors include a Transient Occupancy Tax overlay to allow second homeowners to rent their spaces. The Supervisors are moving forward with that and considering money from the County Contingency Fund for better marketing of winter activities in June Lake. Alpers said he would like to see a better image for June Lake other than an overflow mountain for Mammoth.
Alpers said the situation needs help now. Two options surfaced at the Special Meeting – the community finding a new buyer for the Mountain to go in a new direction or work out a deal with Rusty Gregory. Will Gregory go that route? Alpers said if the right team and image appear, he thinks Gregory will do it. Alpers posed that if someone bought June, maybe Gregory would operate it.
Supervisor-Elect Alpers said he told the community that June Lake will be his number one priority during his term on the Board. He said the Forest Service officials are trying to work with the community on the issue. Alpers said he believes the Forest Service would talk to any prospective buyer, but Mammoth Mountain does have 180 days in which to come up with an operations plan for June.