Excerpt from an LA Times article reprinted here:
Fed up with Forest Service cuts, some California towns are plotting a recreation takeover
“Something has to change,” Mammoth Lakes Councilman John Wentworth said. “The Forest Service is overwhelmed,” he said, by 21st-century challenges its founders could never have imagined: climate change, budget cuts, electric mountain bikes.
Called the Eastern Sierra Sustainable Recreation Partnership, the project would establish a new economic alliance among the Forest Service and the communities of Mammoth Lakes and Bishop and three counties — Inyo, Mono and Alpine. Local government agencies would take the lead in developing water systems and sewers, roads, campground services, restrooms, trails and signage in some of the Sierra’s most heavily visited corners.
The idea is popular in mountain towns that have struggled with economic development, but it worries some conservationists and local officials who want the region to retain its wild spaces and rustic personality.
“This big idea seems to be driven by commerce rather than science,” said Sam Roberts, president of the nonprofit Friends of the Inyo and a lifelong wildlife photographer and rock climber in the Sierra. “At stake is the character of the wilderness experience.”
Chris Lizza, a Mono County planning commissioner and owner of a grocery store in the Mono Basin community of Lee Vining, contends the proposal “would empower the Forest Service to continue neglecting its responsibility to maintain our national forests.”