Olancha, Cartago: ‘The Gateway to the Sierra Nevadas’

By Deb Murphy

A four-lane version of U.S. Hwy. 395 may by-pass Olancha and Cartago some time in the future, but CalTrans won’t leave the little communities in the lurch.

olancha

The future of both was outlined at Tuesday’s Inyo Board of Supervisors’ meeting by James Powell of Alta Planning and Design. Olancha/Cartago will be re-branded as “The Gateway to the Sierra Nevadas” with tourists intentionally cruising through the community instead of driving blindly past it.

The planning process, funded through a CalTrans California Sustainable Planning Grant, included community outreach sessions.

The by-pass will identify the eight miles of the original 395, from Cartago to Summit Creek, as a destination as well as the turn-off point to Death Valley. Residents and visitors will actually be able to walk or bike through the communities without fear of turning into road kill.

When the by-pass was first proposed, there was a fear Olancha/Cartago would wither on the vine. But, the goal of the corridor study is to increase tourism and promote economic growth, identifying the area as both the way to Death Valley and a place to be in its own right.

Plans include walking, biking and horse-back riding trails along the corridor as well as way-finding signs to local attractions and recreational opportunities.

Powell told the Supervisors he’d be back in the fall for a final workshop.

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Emma
Emma
1 year ago

It’s a shame cal trans screw the people up there! Every year I would stop at the ranch house for a good meal and enjoy the staff that work there. The views in the little town was beautiful! I also sign to help stop the cal trans for messing up… Read more »

Deb
Deb
3 years ago

I have lived in Lone Pine and Olancha since 1960. Concerned Citizen, I was at all the CalTrans meetings, the Cannabis meetings ( where I explained that you will NEVER see fields of marijuana growing here. Too much wind!) There is no optimism here at the south end of the… Read more »

Earl Duran
Earl Duran
3 years ago

Where are all the Semi-Trucks from the Crystal Geyser hauling Owens Valley water going to route? are they going to use present 395 route? or will they go around Olancha? hopefully we will not have to put up with them anymore.

Average Citizen
Average Citizen
3 years ago

The greater Owens Valley is almost always referred to as the Eastern Sierra, so if any pointless ‘re’branding’ is to be done, that would be the obvious location name. And every place that is nicknamed ‘Gateway’ to somewhere else, implies it is nowhere itself. Further, Olancha and Cartago also serve… Read more »

Deb Reese
Deb Reese
3 years ago

It is ridiculous to put in biking trails, walking trails or horse back riding trails through Olancha. I have lived here for many years because I like it just the way it is. The RANCH HOUSE CAFE is closed! And from what I hear won’t be reopening. Do any of… Read more »

Inyo Citizen
Inyo Citizen
3 years ago
Reply to  Deb Reese

Actually, Deb, a number of folks from the area came out to a couple public meetings and convinced the Board of Supervisors to not allow cannabis in that zone – in spite of the voting public being a slight majority in favor of it in the 2016 general election. That’s… Read more »

Charles O. Jones
Charles O. Jones
3 years ago

As much as I get a chuckle at the self-appointed Sierra Word Police who are constantly correcting the commonly misused words, “Sierras” or “Sierra Nevadas”, I must admit, they should use the correct name if they intend “re-branding” for this area. (I never realized there was brand to re-brand? Sounds… Read more »

Charlie
Charlie
3 years ago

Remember how Narrow Gauge Road in Lone Pine was Narrow “Guage” Road for a while? They finally took down the sign and corrected it. You’re right, and we will lose our minds if we continue to worry about folks’ spelling and grammar in the Valley. Instead, we can place bets… Read more »

Lynne
Lynne
3 years ago

Can it please be called “The Gateway to the Sierra Nevada”?

BishopShady
BishopShady
3 years ago
Reply to  Lynne

Right!! ????????

Trouble
Trouble
3 years ago

I’ve lost two many friends to this Highway. Please stop delaying this over one restaurant!

BishopShady
BishopShady
3 years ago

Sierra Nevada is always singular when referring to the mountain range on the west side of the Owens Valley. It isn’t “the Sierras,” it isn’t “the Sierra Nevadas.” It is a mountain range and there is only one of them.