South Lake Road Reconstruction Planned for 2020 Significant Impacts to Access, Parking

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South Lake Road Reconstruction Planned for 2020 Significant Impacts to Access, Parking

Post by dapperdave » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:57 am ... EPRD705586

South Lake Road Reconstruction Planned for 2020
Significant Impacts to Access, Parking

The South Lake Road Reconstruction is planned for the 2020 season under a funding request from Inyo County. The road will be re-paved and needs significant repairs for safety and includes a new bicycle staging area. The Inyo National Forest is also completing trailhead parking and campground improvements in conjunction with this project.

Many destinations along the South Lake Road are popular for boating, fishing, hiking and backpacking, and camping. The Bishop Pass Trailhead is a highly sought out trailhead that accesses the John Muir Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and the North Lake/ South Lake Loop through the Evolution Basin of Kings Canyon National Park.

During construction, roadside parking, day use parking, and the parking areas for South Lake will be significantly reduced, and at times, closed. Bishop Pass Trailhead Parking and Tyee Lakes Trailhead Parking will be closed at times this summer, although access to the trailheads will be maintained. Visitors should anticipate that there may not be parking available. The Forks, Four Jeffrey and Willow Campgrounds may also be closed at points this summer. Local businesses and services along South Lake Road will remain open and accessible during construction.

“There is no way to complete this project without having a significant impact on visitors to the South Lake area,” said Philip DeSenze, White Mountain District Ranger. “The road has only one ingress/egress and the already limited parking will be much reduced. Accessing the area may be, at times, difficult and frustrating. Your planning and patience will help complete this much-needed project.”

Construction delays will typically be 30 minutes during the day. However, at points, closures will be up to three hours, twice a day. There will be no night work, weekend work, or work during holiday weekends, although traffic controls will still be in place. Visitors to South Lake Road destinations should consider carpooling, being dropped off by friends, or using shuttle services available from the Bishop area.

Once construction starts, visitors should check the construction schedule before heading to South Lake. This schedule will be posted on Inyo County and Inyo National Forest webpages and social media sites. Careful planning will help alleviate, but not eliminate, construction delays.

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Re: South Lake Road Reconstruction Planned for 2020 Significant Impacts to Access, Parking

Post by Jim F » Tue Mar 10, 2020 3:16 pm

Thanks very much for the heads up!

I have permits to go over Lamarck Col in both July and August this season and usually park at the Pack Station at North Lake when heading into the Evolution group from that direction.

I am a veteran of the 2016 Mt Whitney/Portal Road Reconstruction. Ended up ascending Mt Whitney 17 times by various routes that season, so trips could still be done. But careful trip planning, patience (anger management) and ability to cope with the unanticipated was helpful. There were many (literally) last minute changes concerning road driving delays. Issues involved weather, availability of materials, runaway trucks with failing brakes, impatient Whitney Portal visitors and cabin owners,...I soon realized it was very advantageous for me to be courteous to the construction workers (who came down from Oregon to work). Overnight parking at the Portal required a permit (issued only to the leader of a group having an overnight wilderness permit).

During the 2016 Portal Road rebuild, there was inexpensive overnight parking available in Lone Pine at the Movie Museum. For the rugged and adventuresome, there was/still is a hiking trail from Lone Pine to the Mt Whitney Trail Head (13 miles each way). John Muir certainly did not drive up the road in 1873!

It was asked in a parallel thread on this topic in the Backpacking Section of HST where one can park long term in Bishop. In 2006 I parked at the Bishop Police Station (on West Line = 168) for nearly a week. We took my partner's car to the TH and did some routes in the Palisades. I have checked the lot out since, and still believe it is acceptable to leave one's car there, parked in such a manner that it will not obstruct police operations. If anyone has an update to this practice, please let me know (ie in anticipation North Lake parking might be problematic this year).


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