Holiday visitors find campgrounds snowed in

Mammoth residents stopped talking about the town debt for awhile thislakesbasin week when scores of motorhomes and would-be Fourth of July vacationers showed up in the Mammoth Lakes Basin to inhabit the campsites they reserved and paid for only to find that all but ten sites were still snowed in.  The Forest Service  said over 140 sites are not open that normally would be on the Fourth.

Reports said that Mammoth Mountain offered to provide space at Canyon Lodge and Chair 15 for the stranded visitors.  Nancy Upham, Public Information Officer for the USFS, said that the Forest Service did  place 90% of the vacationers elsewhere like June Lake, Convict Lake and Shady Rest.  She said 10% were “pretty unhappy with the whole situation” and left.

As for the lack of communication to campers, Upham said, “Protocols of what should have happened broke down.”  Upham explained that a concessionaire, CLM, operates the campgrounds and another separate company, Reserve America, handles reservations.  A breakdown occurred somewhere, but right now Upham said the Forest Service will not spend time to investigate since it has its hands full trying to open campgrounds for the holiday.

Upham said that this problem is a national issue.  “On a nationwide basis,” she said, “there are more campgrounds closed due to floods, snow and fire than ever before.”  She called it an “unprecedented level of problems across the nation.”

We do know a 2pm meeting was called on Wednesday in Mammoth Lakes that included Town Council members, the Forest Service, campground concessionaires and others. So, a number of resources have focused on the problem.

Upham said that last weekend only two campsites were open in the Lakes Basin.  This weekend, she said, it is anticipated that almost all but Coldwater and Lake George will be open with some exceptions at Lake Mary and Twin Lakes.  In addition to clearing snow, crews have to deal with hazard trees and other issues.

Upham added that the Reds Meadow area sustained broken sewer lines that have caused problems.   Campgrounds there were not open.  Upham said the Forest Service is trying to open three campgrounds in Reds Meadow.

When asked about the campground issue, Councilman Skip Harvey said he understands this problem started last Friday.  Harvey said, “This is a classic example of what happens when you contract with people who are not familiar with the local environment.”


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24 Responses to Holiday visitors find campgrounds snowed in

  1. Bill July 1, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    I really love the comment about taxing the motorhomes to keep them out. Maybe we should tax all rv’s to the extent that nobody will buy them. That way we can send a message that RV people are not cool like tenters. And when the RV industry goes bellyup, that will be just one more evil for profit business gone. Who needs businesses anyway. And one last idea. I think everyone who wants to should be able to ski for free at Mammoth. After all, it is public land!!

    • bobbie lee swagger July 2, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      “I really love the comment about taxing the motorhomes”

      thx 4 that ; ‘preciate it

      “when the RV industry goes bellyup”

      u mean , they still make these gas guzzling behomeths? who knew?

  2. Dave July 1, 2011 at 4:12 am #

    Wow. Some of the comments on here are pretty lame. Why is it the same folks keep commenting and beating their own same dead horse… hating and blaming the Town and/or government.

    I think Skip summed it up pretty well…

    “This is a classic example of what happens when you contract with people who are not familiar with the local environment.”

    I know better than most the INFS can be slow and borderline inept at times, but I’m not about to blame the government every time something goes wrong. We had a HUGE winter and it didn’t go away… it is what it is folks.

    And Steve S is right, plenty of “other options” for accommodations in Mammoth. Maybe it’s not camping, and maybe it costs more than $20 a night… but no mosquitos!

    And Wayne… I feel perfectly safe walking in Mammoth at night, I do it all the time. Keep your chin up and head from under the sand. OK?

  3. upthecreek June 30, 2011 at 11:37 pm #

    Blame Bush

    It’s his fault

  4. Wayne Deja June 30, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Steve S.-How much do your lovely condominiums go for ($$-wise),per nite,on a holliday weekend?

    • Steve S. July 1, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

      Cheap to expensive depending on what a person would want. These campers would probably want cheap, forced air, a view and no snow.

  5. Steve S. June 30, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    Big Springs campground, about 11 miles NE of Mammoth was still closed a weekend ago and there is no snow there. Same with upper Deadman. Open them up already and send them there. Or they can stay in one of our lovely condominiums in town. No mosquitoes at all. [email protected]

  6. Harry June 30, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    It is a case of BIG government trying to downsize and let the more experienced private sector that knows how to run things better show us how to do it.

    The town of Mammoth Lakes had nothing to do with this.

    Small businessmen in Bishop should be thankful that Mammoth is here and that town visitors stop in Bishop on their way here and on the return.

    • Rob June 30, 2011 at 8:18 pm #

      BIG goverment never tries to downsize, they are being forced to downsize because us taxpayers are tired of not getting our tax dollars worth from public sector employees. And you’d better bet we are after your pensions too.

  7. Wildman June 30, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    “The inefficiency of the US Government and Town of Mammoth at it’s best again. They are doing their best to kill the small business man.”

    Wrong. It was private industry that dropped the ball. Private concessionaires run those campgrounds (where in some cases it is almost $30 a night for pit toilets) because they are “more efficient and cost effective”. The private sector doesn’t always do it better or cheaper. In this case, they dropped the ball altogether and “Government” had to pick up the pieces.

    • Rob June 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

      More often then not, the private sector does it cheaper. And that doesn’t mean we get what we pay for when the government does it better. Get over yourself Wildman.

      • Agitated Pancake July 1, 2011 at 5:01 am #

        Yes Rob, the world should be run by “for profit” companies, that will fix all the problems. There is never corruption in big business, and they always do everything well. (Enron, GM, BP…)

      • Ken Warner July 2, 2011 at 11:21 am #

        Prove it…..

  8. Wayne Deja June 30, 2011 at 3:06 am #

    Visitors,go on up to June Lake,Lee Vining,Bridgeport,Walker….Good fishing,campgrounds are all open,nice and friendly little towns…..AND you can safely walk the streets with your families if you happen to be out after dark.

    • upthecreek June 30, 2011 at 11:42 pm #

      june lake is a great place .

  9. bobbie lee swagger June 30, 2011 at 1:44 am #

    cool ! ; keep those gas guzzling , gross , ugly motorhomes out (or tax the sh * t out of them) .

    but tenters r extremely cool .


  10. retiredff June 30, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    @Bishop Dude

    Dude, the Town of Mammoth Lakes has nothing to do with this, call President Obama and complain about the Federal workers.

    • Government Hater June 30, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

      It’s all run by liberals up there, why would complaing to Obama help. Mammoth is just as messed up as the Obama administration.

      • upthecreek July 1, 2011 at 12:25 am #


  11. Mammoth Dude June 30, 2011 at 12:30 am #

    Once again Spin Mistress Nancy Upham tires to explain away the failure of the US Forest Service in Mammoth Lakes. The USFS is in charge of the National Forest and contracts the campground management and reservations out to private companies. The Town of Mammoth Lakes has nothing to do with it.

    It appears that no one in the entire US Forest Service thought to call Reserve America and tell them the Campgrounds in the Lakes Basin would be snowed in and not to accept reservations until advised.

    The Town of Mammoth Lakes was left scrambling to pick up the pieces when everyone showed up and there was no place to stay due to the USFS. Whether it is doing everything in their power to destroy the town’s bear management program, or passive aggressive lack of notification of snowed in campgrounds, the USFS continues to target the citizens of Mammoth Lakes.

    Any bets on Upham getting back to Sierra Wave on who dropped the ball at the USFS?

  12. Bishop Dude June 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    The inefficiency of the US Government and Town of Mammoth at it’s best again. They are doing their best to kill the small business man.

    • Agitated Pancake June 30, 2011 at 2:52 am #

      The Town has no say or jurisdiction over the campsites…They are with the cooperation of the mountain working to find solutions to a problem created by a 3rd party. Your comment has no value. Read the story before posting

    • Clark June 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

      How about the visitors being “awake” enough to call ahead. if they haven’t been aware of the heavy winter, they don’t belong up here.

    • Surrounded by ? June 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm #

      Hey Bishop Dude get a Clue. Mammoth Lakes has nothing to do with the camp grounds. They’re owned by the Forest Service and Leased to companies who manage them. Because the companies aren’t from here they have no idea what the heck is happening in this area. This is the Forest Services problem. Mammoth has allot to answer for but this isn’t one of them.

      Bennett I’m surprised you didn’t rebut this when it was posted.


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