Lakes Basin Connector Trails Enhancement2022-04-11T20:44:16+00:00

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The Town of Mammoth Lakes receives an estimated 2.8 million visitors annually, with high and concentrated use occurring in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. A “Destination Recreation Area” (Inyo National Forest Land Management Plan; 2019), these areas are characterized by “high levels of recreation, supported by more facilities, amenities, and services than other areas and a variety of activities available.” Due to increased visitation, limited parking, and persistent resource damage caused by user-created trails, the Town of Mammoth Lakes is building approximately 2.5 miles of multi-use, non-motorized U.S. Forest Service system trail(s) to provide additional recreation opportunities and connect trail users to popular destination features and facilities in the Lakes Basin cirque.

Trails are being constructed to U.S. Forest Service specifications and will replace user-created trails with sustainably designed trail alignments. There are several user-created trails in the vicinity and the desired outcome is to consolidate trail use to the system trails. The trail that connects Twin Lakes with the Lakes Basin Bike Path at Twin Falls Overlook and Picnic Area will be new construction replacing a user-created trail along the waterfall that has exhibited substantial erosion and ongoing impacts to natural resources. Decommissioning and restoration of user-created trails, along with the installation of wayfinding, regulatory, and trail etiquette signage are all part of this project.

“A first-rate trails system can only be created by people.”

- President's Commission on Americans Outdoors

“Trails have multiple values and their benefits reach far beyond recreation…trails are important for the nation’s health, economy, resource protection and education.”

- Trails For All Americans Report

“Splintering the outdoor user groups is playing into the hands of those interests that would exploit or destroy the resource we’re all preoccupied with saving.”

- John Viehman

MANAGEMENT

The management, planning, implementation, and on-going maintenance of the “Lakes Basin Connector Trails” will occur in partnership with the Town of Mammoth Lakes under authorization of the Mammoth Ranger District as part of the Mammoth Lakes Trail System. The Town of Mammoth Lakes has a formal partnership agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to “create an enhanced trails-based recreational experience using a comprehensive program of physical trails improvements; integrated wayfinding and interpretation using both traditional and contemporary communication formats; coordination of volunteer events and programs; and continuing system maintenance” (FS Agreement No. 20-MU-11050400-005). Implementation will be consistent with Best Management Practices (BMPs), Resource Protection Measures, and Design Criteria identified.

PROJECT RESOURCES & UPDATES

Click on any of the links below to learn more about the project

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW / PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

NEWS AND MEDIA

PROJECT UPDATES

PROJECT COMPONENTS

The following efforts have played a key role in the development of this project:

SHERWINS AREA RECREATION PLAN

In 2011, the Sherwins Area Recreation Plan  (SHARP), complete with programatic CEQA analysis, was adopted by the Town of Mammoth Lakes as part of the “Trail System Master Plan”. The first SHARP trail was completed in 2013 and the NEPA and CEQA analysis necessary to responsibly build an additional 20+ SHARP trails began, leading to the construction of two additional trails in 2017.

LAKES BASIN SPECIAL STUDY

The Lakes Basin Special Study, (LABSS), kicked off in the summer of 2010 with a variety of community-based outreach events, workshops, and field trips to complete planning in the much-loved and heavily visited Mammoth Lakes Basin. Funded by a grant from the Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC), the recreation and mobility information collected may be used by the Inyo NF to help draft a Lakes Basin Management Plan.

TRAIL SYSTEM MASTER PLAN

The Final Trail System Master Plan and Programmatic Environmental Impact Report were recommended for adoption by the Planning Commission on September 28, 2011, and adopted by the Town Council on October 11, 2011. This Trail System Master Plan updated the Town’s 1991 Trails Plan and is the result of the Concept and Master Planning (CAMP) process. The adopted final draft of the TSMP includes input from close to a thousand public comments from more than 60 individual respondents to drafts of the final plan.

WALK, BIKE, RIDE

The Town contracted with Alta Planning + Design to develop a Multi-Modal Bicycle, Pedestrian, Transit and Parking Action Plan to accelerate the Town’s action plan for bicycle, pedestrian, transit, and parking alternatives within the community. This Action Plan included a recommended implementation strategy including priority projects, “quick victory” early implementation projects, cost estimates and funding mechanisms.

OTHER SUSTAINABLE RECREATION PROJECTS

EASTERN SIERRA

ADOPT-A-TRAIL

Learn More!

SHADY REST INYO CRATERS

TRAIL PLANNING PROJECT

Learn More!

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