The Re-do of Tourism and Recreation in Mammoth Lakes

More subcommittees in the Town of Mammoth Lakes. As the Town of Mammoth continues to work on restructuring the way it runs, recreation now has its own subcommittee to determine how that limb will function in the future. The tourism_comsubcommittee has been named the Mammoth Region Recreation Council, or MRRC. The group will be responsible for determining how recreation will run in conjunction with the tourism half of the Tourism and Recreation Department, which is breaking off into the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO). The DMO is also currently being fleshed out by a subcommittee.

During a study session on Oct. 7, the Town Council and the Tourism and Recreation Commission discussed the restructuring efforts to date. Town Manager Rob Clark explained that it looked as though the additional $250,000 that needed to be made up in the Town’s budget may not need to be found through employee attrition. Clark’s idea to layoff the Tourism and Recreation Director as well as a Principal Planner in order to make up this deficit was the catalyst for the MRRC in the first place.

According to Councilwoman Wendy Sugimura, “The numbers are looking better but will be discussed in detail at the Oct. 21 Council meeting.” This means, according to Sugimura that the group has more time to look at visioning for recreation rather than operating in panic mode to try to come up with a solution.

Councilwomen Sugimura and Jo Bacon both sit on the MRRC, along with Tourism and Recreation Director Danna Stroud, MLTPA Executive Director John Wentworth, Tourism and Recreation Commissioners Tony Colasardo, Teri Stehlik and Bill Sauser, Forest Service officials Matt Peterson and Mike Schlafmann, Mono County CAO Dave Wilbrecht, and Friends of the Inyo Executive Director Paul McFarland. Bacon explained that it was a great opportunity to determine how the Town will interact with all the recreation surrounding it. The MRRC plans to work with the Forest Service on the development of this vision.

“The Forest Service’s participation in this is huge,” explained Stroud. “Jim Upchurch [Supervisor of the Inyo National Forest] has experience in this field and has committed to helping.”

The DMO and whatever the recreation reorganization turns into will end up overlapping in many ways. Stehlik is sitting on both committees, which everyone agreed was helpful in order to make sure the two do not grow too far apart.

“If tourism is the vehicle, as we keep saying, then recreation is the engine,” Stehlik explained about the relationship between the two.

Mayor Pro Tem John Eastman was concerned that if the DMO and the recreation reorganization are split, the Town will not have sufficient funding for either of the programs. The group assured him, however, that they would be researching funding opportunities for the recreation reorganization through MRRC. However, they believed they needed to determine what the recreation program was going to look before figuring out how to fund it.

The MRRC will report on their progress at the Nov. 18 Town Council meeting.


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