“We are all kind of devastated.” Connie Black, owner of Double Eagle Resort in June Lake, expressed the blow to all community members when news came out Thursday that Mammoth Mountain would immediately close June Mountain for the summer and next winter season. CEO Rusty Gregory named ongoing money losses as the problem. He did say he would look to future changes for June.
Black said she was on the phone most of the day talking to people about the upsetting news. She said, “It was a dreadful winter and the thought of our main tourist attraction not opening – it just leaves people not knowing what to do. Many are barely hanging on.” Black said she believes all need to put their heads together and find a way to buy June Mountain.
Supervisor-Elect Tim Alpers was hit with constant calls when people in District 3 got the news. Alpers said, “The County needs to become involved and be a player in providing as much help as we can to reassure any potential operators that we’re friendly and helpful.”
Alpers said he and others need more facts about the nature of the Forest Service Use Permit for June Mountain and why there was not more warning about the closure considering the “huge impact on the human environment.”
Alpers said that the June Lake community was already hurting badly. “It was a light winter, the economy was down, there were foreclosures. People in June Lake,” said Alpers, “are living in quiet desperation.”
A few years back, Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory had talked about partial closure of June Mountain which was consistently losing money. The community managed to convince him then to leave it open.
Connie Black said, “Sometimes these events create opportunities. We’ve been hit between the eyes, but no one has given up.” We hope to learn more from Rusty Gregory today.
When contacted for comment from the Forest Service, Information Officer Nancy Upham said, “The Forest Service was notified yesterday (Wednesday) evening about this decision by MMSA. We have not had a chance to sit down and have a discussion with them yet. These are tough business decisions with significant impacts and we will work with MMSA regarding the terms of their permit and the future planning process they intend to embark on for June Mountain.”