With the troublesome unpredictability of snowfall, June Mountain Ski Area officials want to drill test wells in search of more water for snowmaking. The Forest Service hopes to expedite this project.
Currently, June Mountain has some limited snowmaking near the Base of Chair 7. More is needed. The Forest Service will oversee the environmental review of this project and has notified the Mono Supervisors. A letter from Mammoth/ Mono Lake District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge is on today’s Board agenda.
His letter says the Inyo National Forest has received a proposal from June Mountain Ski Area to drill three or four test wells at the Ski Area for snowmaking. The letter says, “Three of the test wells are located in the vicinity of the base of chair lifts 4 and 7. A fourth test well would be located near the base area building and parking lot.”
Rod Wilson, project leader for the Forest Service, said that the critical thing for June Mountain is to be open for Christmas, Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King’s holiday when most ski areas make a third of their money. Wilson said he visited June a number of times this past season and said they did a “wonderful job running lifts, keeping trails in shape and going above and beyond the call.” He added that the Forest Service has prepared a letter to officially say that Mammoth Mountain Ski Area is now in compliance with its permit as it relates to the 2013 closure of June Mountain.
In his letter, Regelbrugge says that a National Environmental Policy Act analysis for the well-drilling proposal is expected to be a Categorical Exclusion, which means no significant impact on the environment and no environmental review required. He goes on to say that if sufficient water is located to “justify a production well, a separate NEPA analysis would be initiated and would include an additional opportunity to provide comments.”
The Forest Service letter says comments can be submitted to project leader Rod Wilson by June 15th. This is just for the test well project. Comments go to the Inyo National Forest, P.O. Box 148, Mammoth Lakes.