Press release

Outdoor Events Site Secured in Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes Tourism Helps Facilitate the Process with Visitation-Attracting Infrastructure Investment of $300,000

Mammoth Lakes, Calif. – One of Mammoth Lakes’ most beloved outdoor event venues, formerly known as Sam’s Woods Site, recently changed ownership. New owner, Dirk Winter purchased the approximately four-acre site from Sam Walker and Dennis Hartman.


Sam’s Wood Site

This process began with the identification of four priority phase projects by the Mammoth Lakes Recreation (MLR) Board of Directors, which were approved by the Town Council in December 2015. Included in this was the identification of a parcel as the home for the Outdoor Performing Arts Center. The MLR staff created an Outdoor Performing Arts Center Ad Hoc Committee and facilitated the analysis of 37 different parcels to identify a preferred site over an eighteen-month period. Sam’s Wood Site was identified as the preferred location, which provided Mammoth Lakes Tourism with the opening to move the project forward to conclusion.

Mammoth Lakes Tourism (MLT) helped facilitate the sale by providing $300,000 to Winter to help with visitation-attracting infrastructure that he will be required to install at the site, which also helped secure the site as an event venue for the next 10 years.

“A year ago, the MLT Board made a decision to support tourism infrastructure in addition to marketing,” said MLT Board member Paul Rudder. “An outdoor event center was our number one priority.”

After investigating several potential opportunities, the MLT Board determined that the Woods site would be the only outdoor event site that could be active for 2017.

“We saw an opportunity to be supportive right away with the Woods site,” Rudder explained. “Our most effective course of action was to provide the money to help with the infrastructure with the caveat that the site be kept available for local non-profit and for-profit events for the next 10 years.”

Rudder worked with MLT Board President John Morris, MLT Executive Director John Urdi and MLT’s attorney, Jim Reed on an agreement with Winter. The agreement was also vetted through the Town of Mammoth Lakes’ attorney Andy Morris and Town Manager Daniel C. Holler.

“This agreement delivers on the economic development strategy for special events by securing a venue, enhancing infrastructure and providing event support that will add to the animation, look, and feel of Mammoth Lakes as an all season destination resort,” Holler said.

“And most importantly, the town will have its event site this year,” Rudder said.

“The woods site is a unique and special event venue,” added Town Councilman and MLT Board member Colin Fernie. “To have it secured for the next 10 years is very exciting news for the town. This type of public/private partnership is exactly what Mammoth needs in order to realize our many goals and aspirations as a community. Definitely a win-win.”

Rudder added that securing the Woods site will be hugely significant for summer and fall visitation since it will allow the town to attract name brand entertainment.

“The MLT Board feels the effect this will have on Mammoth Lakes is hard to overestimate,” Rudder said.

The permanent infrastructure improvements on the property may include the installation of electric service panels, extension of a sewer main, extension of water service, restrooms and facilitation of transit services. These improvements will greatly benefit existing special events such as the Mammoth Festival of Beers, Shakespeare in the Woods and the Mono Arts Council Labor Day Festival. The agreement also allows for the programming of additional public events each year subject to the provisions set forth in Municipal Code 17.56.050 (General Requirements for All Temporary Uses) including the submittal and issuance of a special event administrative permit.

Additionally, Winter will be adding animation to the property during the fall and early winter months. Winter is the founder of the Cambria Christmas Market, a spectacular market and light display scheduled from Thanksgiving to Christmas every year in Cambria, California. He will be bringing an iteration of this to Mammoth Lakes, the Mammoth Christmas Market, which will run from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s helping to attract more visitors to Mammoth Lakes during the lull between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The event showcases one million Christmas lights in addition to old world market vendors, authentic German foods and other holiday merriment.

“I truly appreciate all that Mammoth Lakes Tourism did to facilitate the process and help consummate the deal,” Winter said.

“This is a real home run for Mammoth Lakes,” Rudder concluded, “and it’s about time!”


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