Trail News / Lakes Basin and Sherwins Area Trail Enhancement Project


Lakes Basin and Sherwins Area Trail Enhancement Project

The Mammoth Ranger District of the Inyo National Forest proposes to implement trail improvements in the Lakes Basin and Sherwins Area to provide diverse trail-based recreational opportunities near the Town of Mammoth Lakes while protecting natural and cultural resources. Proposed improvements include construction of new non-motorized, multi-use trails accessing the Mammoth Lakes Basin from the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and creation of system-trails connecting users to different lakes and discrete facilities within the Mammoth Lakes Basin. The proposed trail improvements emphasize creation of new trails in areas of concentrated and existing use, while protecting sensitive riparian areas to minimize resource damage.  

Project implementation and ongoing long-term maintenance will occur in partnership with the Town of Mammoth Lakes under authorization of the Mammoth Ranger District. The proposed project includes approximately 15 miles of new natural surfaced multi-use, non-motorized trails to be constructed to U.S. Forest Service trail design specifications Designed Use – Pack and Saddle, Trail Class 3 with a target tread width of 18-24”. Work will be performed with hand-tools and/or a small trail machine. It is anticipated that trail construction work will be implemented starting summer of 2020 and into 2021. Appropriate and legally required environmental studies and consultations will be completed in support of the project.

Please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=58276 for the official Scoping Notice

Background:

The Town of Mammoth Lakes Trail System Master PlanSherwins Area Recreation Plan and Sherwins Working Group provide a blue print and specific trail concepts for implementation by the Measure R Trails Program, aka the Mammoth Lakes Trail System (MLTS). Several specific concepts have been constructed in recent years including SHARP ID #13 (the Mammoth Rock Trail Connector) and SHARP ID # 18 (the Meadow Trail Connector). These trails were constructed using skilled Town Trail Crew and CALFIRE crews with hand tools in 2018. 

For the next phase of work in the Sherwins Area, the Inyo National Forest Supervisor provided direction to USFS staff to work with The Town of Mammoth Lakes to develop a project building on community driven planning efforts that will work well for the landscape and for the community.

This proposed next phase of trail project developed in partnership with the Mammoth Ranger District, includes SHARP ID #29 (Solitude Canyon) elicited from the Sherwins Area Recreation Plan, and several concepts derived from the Lakes Basin Special Study 2011. The Solitude Canyon concept connects from the Mammoth Rock Trail and winds up through Solitude Canyon and over the Sherwin Ridge into the Mammoth Lakes Basin. The concepts from the Lakes Basin Special Study will connect Twin Lakes with Lake Mamie and Horseshoe Lake to provide trail users a non-motorized, multi-modal option to get from each lake via a sustainable system of trails. These proposed alignments also provide important linkages as part of the Mammoth Loop Trail that was conceptualized and described as a proposal from the Walk, Bike, Ride Action Plan. Several user-created trails have been created by anglers, hikers, bikers, and other user-groups to access these features. The proposed Lakes Basin and Sherwins Area Trail Enhancement Project is intended to provide sustainable solutions to meet community needs and protect the area’s sensitive cultural and natural resources.

The trail corridors described above will require more analysis and design before a final focused environmental review is conducted. This concept and others were included in the Town of Mammoth Lakes Programmatic EIR for the Trail System Master Plan. The next phase of work requires a discrete NEPA review, working with U.S. Forest Service staff to develop the Project. Your valuable feedback is a critical part of this process and we encourage you to provide comments following the link and information below.

This proposed action is currently available for public comment. This scoping period is intended to provide those interested in or affected by this proposal an opportunity to make their concerns known prior to a decision being made by the Responsible Official. While comments are welcome at any time, they would be most useful if received by July 8, 2020. Please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=58276 for more information on the proposed project including the U.S. Forest Service Scoping Letter and Project Map, as well as details on how to provide public comment.

Comments can be submitted to the following email: [email protected]



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