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Eastern Sierra News for July 23, 2024





Dave McCoy Memorial Highway Approved
Local Proposal Passes Assembly by Unanimous Vote

U.S. 395 will soon bear the name of the man who not only helped put the Eastern Sierra on the map but was also a devoted supporter of education, the arts, and economic development in its many communities.

Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 102 passed the State Assembly by unanimous vote on June 20, officially designating a stretch of U.S. 395 from the junction with the Mammoth Lakes turnoff south to Convict Lake Road as the “Dave McCoy Memorial Highway.”

Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil introduced SCR102 in January in response to a grassroots effort to create a permanent, high-profile tribute to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area founder and noted philanthropist. McCoy passed away in 2020 at the age of 104 and various ideas for honoring his legacy – as a visionary, icon, and community benefactor – have been proposed in the intervening years.

The highway memorial idea was introduced in 2023 by Bishop resident and longtime friend of McCoy’s Randy Short. Inyo County 2nd District Supervisor Jeff Griffiths, who also serves as 1st Vice President of the California State Association of Counties, worked with the organization to shepherd the proposal through the legislative process to the desk of Senator Alvarado-Gil, who was more than happy to sponsor the legislation necessary to make the memorial a reality.

”Dave McCoy’s legacy has become part of the fabric of the Eastern Sierra. His vision and generosity have significantly impacted our communities, and it is an honor to ensure his contributions are recognized,” Senator Alvarado-Gil said. “The ‘Dave McCoy Memorial Highway’ is a tribute to the man who dedicated his life to education, the arts, and economic development, inspiring future generations to build upon his extraordinary work.”
Per CSR102, donations from non-government entities will pay for the appropriate signage. The Department of Transportation is now responsible for determining the costs of that signage and erecting the memorial highway signs upon receipt of the private donations.

Short and others have vowed to gladly cover the associated costs. For Short, it’s beyond money well spent – it’s an investment in the Eastern Sierra legacy.

“I am grateful for the efforts of Supervisor Griffiths and Senator Alvarado-Gil. Without their efforts this tribute would have never occurred. Dave would have also recognized the efforts of so many others that helped pave (pun intended) the way. It is surprising how Mammoth has changed recently with many there not even knowing that Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Mountain are the result of one man’s vision and his ability and tenacity to make it all happen,” Short said. “I would also add that Joyce White from the Bishop Paiute Tribe was a great contributor in bringing the Tribal Council to support this effort. The members of the Tribe were always close to Dave’s heart. He supported many of their efforts.”

Both Inyo and Mono counties’ Boards of Supervisors adopted resolutions supporting the memorial highway in May of 2023. Inyo’s resolution recognized McCoy’s invaluable contributions to Eastern Sierra communities, and noted that a memorial highway dedication would be fitting for the man whose legacy continues to bring so many visitors to the Eastern Sierra via the route.

“Mr. McCoy recognized the need to establish Mammoth Lakes as a sustainable community and generously contributed his time, financial resources, and creative energy to provide ball fields, a town transportation network, a high school and a hospital, as well as to support road bike and mountain bike races, and Mammoth Motocross. The Mammoth Lakes Foundation, Mammoth Cerro Coso Community College, Gateway Student Apartments, and Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre all exist because of Mr. McCoy’s foresight, dedication, and generosity,” the resolution reads in part. “Mr. McCoy’s philanthropic efforts included building and then donating to Inyo County the large hangar at Bishop Airport, which today houses critical life flight operations. The late Dave McCoy is deserving of special commemoration, and it would be most fitting that the highway traveled by those called to his mountain bears his name.”

Supervisor Griffiths said he is grateful for the efforts of Senator Alvarado-Gil and her staff, and looks forward to a proper unveiling ceremony once the signage is in place.

“I am grateful to Senator Alvarado-Gil’s leadership,” Griffiths said. “The McCoy family legacy is so important to the Eastern Sierra and this beautiful section of Highway 395 is a worthy honor to bear Dave McCoy’s name.”

McCoy’s daughter, Penny, said the honor is a fitting tribute.

“The effort behind the scenes to honor my dad touches my heart with the complete joy that my dad gave to so many others,” she said.


July 8, 2024


Inyo County Public Relations Liaison Darcy Ellis, (760) 878-0373 Senator Alvarado-Gil Press Secretary/ Communications Director Angela Musallam, (916) 651-4023

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