By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– On March 25, 2020, Regional Forester Randy Moore issued a Closure Order for all developed recreation sites across all National Forests in the Region. This closure order is likely to be in place through early May. Additional details will follow later this week.
The USDA Forest Service’s highest priority is ensuring our employees and visitors remain safe as we support mission critical functions for the people and communities we serve.
This closure excludes trails and trailheads. However, the Inyo National Forest has cancelled the issuance of Wilderness permits, including Mt. Whitney day and overnight permits, through May 15. Typically, the Wilderness quota system begins for the forest on May 1 and reservations for permits are issued via recreation.gov. Inyo County has advised that people do not engage in high risk activities. Mt. Whitney, especially this time of year, is an area where rescues and recoveries are common. People who have been awarded a permit reservation for Mt. Whitney or any other trailhead on the Inyo National Forest will receive a notice from recreation.gov that notifies them that their reservation has been cancelled and a refund have been issued.
While trails remain open for day use, we recommend complying with local and state guidance and not traveling for your recreation needs.
If you do plan on visiting the Inyo National Forest, please be aware that:
• No trash removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and waste
• All toilet facilities are currently closed – please plan accordingly
• Avoid high-risk activities – law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited
• If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location
All Inyo National Forest campgrounds are closed. This includes Kennedy Meadows, Lone Pine, Mt. Whitney Trailhead, Lower Grays Meadow, Grandview, Sage Flat, Bitterbrush, Big Trees, Four Jeffrey, Forks, Intake 2, Holiday, Tuff, and French Camp, Convict Lake, New Shady Rest, Old Shady Rest, and Sherwin Creek, Oh Ridge, June Lake, Gull Lake, Aerie Crag, and Lower Lee Vining. The remaining campgrounds in the Bishop Creek drainage, Rock Creek drainage, Lakes Basin, Reds Meadow Valley, June Lake Loop, Lee Vining Canyon, and along Hwy 395 between Mammoth Lakes and Lee Vining are typically closed for winter conditions this time of year.
As a reminder, many roads that access these areas may also be closed for winter conditions.
All visitor centers are closed. This includes the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center in Lone Pine, the White Mountain Ranger Station, the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, and the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining. The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center is closed for the winter.
All picnic areas are closed. South Tufa (Mono Lake), Convict Lake, Hot Creek, and June Beach Day Use areas are closed. All campground restrooms, trailhead restrooms, picnic area, and day use restrooms are closed.
Customers needing information may call during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 am- 4:30 pm, closed for lunch 12:00 pm -12:30 pm). Please be patient since call volume is significant.
• Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center:760-924-5500
• White Mountain Ranger Station and Bishop Supervisor’s Office: 760-873-2400
• Eastern Sierra Visitor Center, Lone Pine: 760-876-6200
Closing any site for any reason is not one we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopening closed sites.