ouimetIn the scorching July heat, few thoughts now go to dog sledding. But for Jim Ouimet, owner and operator of Mammoth Dog Teams, concerns have come up over his Mono County-leased facility.

Ouimet recently raised the fact that the main water line to his facility does not work. He said it froze in January from a well about 500 feet away. Now, he’s hauling water – around 50 gallons a day – for his dogs. Ouimet said, “The County came down and decided to disconnect everything.” He said now they don’t want to re-connect the line.

While officials believe Mono County has no responsibility to provide a water line, they also see the value of Mammoth Dog Teams to the local economy. Ouimet said he had called Mono Public Works for help and then received a return call from the County Counsel’s office to say Mono County does not owe Ouimet a water line. The whole issue will come up at the August 21 Mono Board meeting.

Supervisor Larry Johnston said there has been no vote but that there is a consensus on the Board to try to help Ouimet “succeed in his business. It’s a unique, iconic Eastern Sierra snow activity,” said Johnston. He said the location, which is the old Sheriff’s Sub-station outside Mammoth Lakes, is a good one. Johnston said, “We want to try to give him an opportunity to succeed.” He said he would like to see a way to hook up the water line.

Johnston also spoke of the possibility of fixing up the facility as a caretaker unit for Ouimet, including water and a restroom, since there are many expensive pieces of county-owned heavy equipment stored at the same location. Johnston said he believes housing money would be available to make minimal improvements for a caretaker unit. Ouimet, who endured a season with very little snow, hopes for a little help.