Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

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MichaelRPetrick
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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by MichaelRPetrick » Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:31 am

Confused about this.

Would one be able to park at Minaret Vista and hike in if one had a Ansel Adams permit for late June?

It implies there are trails closed near Mammoth, but then only lists Mt. Whitney trails as actually closed.

EDIT - That assumes Yosemite is open, since my trip ends there. One finds it difficult to imagine a scenario where the Inyo doesn't ease, but Yosemite has opened... who knows, I guess.

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:47 am

I think the Inyo forest is more pressured (and responds to pressures) from the locals. Yosemite, less so, being an national park. I anticipate that Yosemite Valley may be closed all summer, given the difficulty to distance from others there, but maybe other trailheads would open, like going in from Hoover or Emigrant Wilderness and crossing into Yosemite.

I think the day-hiking crush of people is more of a problem, not sure how they could deal with that without closing trailheads to backpackers too. I doubt they have the staff to sit at every trailhead, checking permits. They may also close trailhead parking without actually closing the trail. If that happens I could have my husband drop me off and pick me up from trailheads. And there are a few "trailheads" with no trails, such as George Creek.

Backpacking is obviously a good activity to social distance, but it is a logistical nightmare for the FS and Park Service. I hope they do not throw up their arms and simply keep everything closed.

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by c9h13no3 » Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:08 am

MichaelRPetrick wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:31 am
Confused about this.
This is the norm for hiking right now. No one knows what's going on. I was in Big Sur this past Saturday, and campground hosts were closing trails not listed in the forest order to be closed. Local officials are kinda doing their own thing, and nothing is coordinated. If you're going hiking right now, you're better off doing it away from popular places, and also having at least 2 trail head options. It's chaos out there.
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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by MichaelRPetrick » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:03 am

c9h13no3 wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:08 am
MichaelRPetrick wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:31 am
Confused about this.
This is the norm for hiking right now. No one knows what's going on. I was in Big Sur this past Saturday, and campground hosts were closing trails not listed in the forest order to be closed. Local officials are kinda doing their own thing, and nothing is coordinated. If you're going hiking right now, you're better off doing it away from popular places, and also having at least 2 trail head options. It's chaos out there.
Yeah am booking multiple backups -- in Toiyabe and elsewhere -- to my backup, as the Ansel Adams itself was a backup to a Norway trip that certainly isn't happening now.

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by yosemite samizdat » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:04 am

Not sure if this is helpful or responsive, but for whatever its worth, the person answering Inyo Nat Forest office line told me: (1) they are not issuing backcountry camping permits presently, BLM camping is strongly discouraged; (2) they are inclined to eventually allow backcountry camping even if they can't timely open and operate the front country campground facilities; (3) snow line is around 7,000 feet presently, so it is still a little early from the practical POV; (4) Tioga/Sonora Pass snow plowing thought to be on target for normal opening (in this case, conservatively by memorial day- it appears Sonora plowing has made it to Kennedy Meadows already though no update on Tioga).

My guess is the strong state order will loosen around May 15 even if LA/Bay remain restricted. Inyo, Mono, and other rural counties will then relax a bit. Hopefully, this all lines up for late May backpacking opportunities. Maybe it will even work out to the advantage of backpackers if front-country facilities remain closed and cut into the day hiking crowds.

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by GGC23 » Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:01 pm

I did some digging on this, and there's a lot of good info from the Inyo NF forest supervisor during the Mammoth Lakes Town Council meeting on 4/22/20. You can find a recording of that meeting here: http://mammothlakes.granicus.com/ViewPu ... ?view_id=2. The Forest Service brought this proposed closure before the Town Council for local input and gave a presentation and answered questions from the council members. A few key points that I gathered from watching some of that recording: 1) Some of the comments from local officials and Mammoth residents seemed pretty against this proposed closure. I found that surprising, but the sentiment seemed to be "tourists are staying away, so this will only punish the locals, who are going to lose the one source of enjoyment that's left in these tough times." 2) The Forest Service said that even if roads are closed, trails will not be closed (except in the Whitney area). So I guess if you're willing to walk the entirety of Minaret Rd. or Pine Creek Rd., you'd still be allowed to hike those trails...? But unclear where you'd be allowed to park. 3) Apparently the Forest Service lacks the ability to close a road to cars but keep it open to bikes and pedestrians. In other words, a road can only be 100% open or 100% closed. This adds yet another layer of confusion to the issue of "can I walk a road to get to a trailhead?" My take: this is a giant mess and nobody knows what's going on or what this order will mean if it's enacted. I truly think that the Forest Service is trying their best. Sadly, this uncertainty is par for the course with life lately :(.

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by chulavista » Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:06 pm

The forest service and the NPS are 100% aware that a closed road during a pandemic means the gate is closed. They won't tell you that but they will say things like, "hey maverick, can you spread the word that SAR is not coming to clean up your mess."

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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by schmalz » Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:20 pm

Yeah, there is still a lot of confusion around this. I'm hopeful that we will be able to get out in the Sierra this summer in a safe way. For what it's worth, my June 14th Whitney permit has not been cancelled or refunded, yet. I also have a campground reservation for June in Sequoia and that hasn't been cancelled yet either.
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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by maverick » Mon Apr 27, 2020 3:32 pm

They won't tell you that but they will say things like, "hey maverick, can you spread the word that SAR is not coming to clean up your mess."
Oh, they will come, but possibly delayed.
But why would you put yourself "into a mess" to start with, during this pandemic, knowing that your decisions may effect more than just yourself. :\
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Re: Some Eastern Sierra Closures through June

Post by MichaelRPetrick » Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:01 am

GGC23 wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:01 pm
I did some digging on this, and there's a lot of good info from the Inyo NF forest supervisor during the Mammoth Lakes Town Council meeting on 4/22/20. You can find a recording of that meeting here: http://mammothlakes.granicus.com/ViewPu ... ?view_id=2. The Forest Service brought this proposed closure before the Town Council for local input and gave a presentation and answered questions from the council members. A few key points that I gathered from watching some of that recording: 1) Some of the comments from local officials and Mammoth residents seemed pretty against this proposed closure. I found that surprising, but the sentiment seemed to be "tourists are staying away, so this will only punish the locals, who are going to lose the one source of enjoyment that's left in these tough times." 2) The Forest Service said that even if roads are closed, trails will not be closed (except in the Whitney area). So I guess if you're willing to walk the entirety of Minaret Rd. or Pine Creek Rd., you'd still be allowed to hike those trails...? But unclear where you'd be allowed to park. 3) Apparently the Forest Service lacks the ability to close a road to cars but keep it open to bikes and pedestrians. In other words, a road can only be 100% open or 100% closed. This adds yet another layer of confusion to the issue of "can I walk a road to get to a trailhead?" My take: this is a giant mess and nobody knows what's going on or what this order will mean if it's enacted. I truly think that the Forest Service is trying their best. Sadly, this uncertainty is par for the course with life lately :(.
Thanks for digging into this! Good to know we don't know what's going on - that's a kind of knowledge... :-k

Seems like chaos. Aren't they just moving the place where people will be ditching cars en masse closer into town?

I do not envy the decisions they are having to make. I don't see any good options, just less bad options.

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