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The

Wildlife Issue

A Wealth of Squirrels Moose Peterson Gets the Shot Fishing: What About Shore Lunch? Like Wild Horses Over the Hills

May - June 2010


F ro m the E ditor

Photo ©John Stow

By becky st. marie

A bear cruises the boat dock at Lake George, summer 2009.

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elcome to our Wildlife Issue. The idea to dedicate a whole issue to the creatures, big and small, in the Eastern Sierra came one morning after a bear dug in my trash and had a feast of leftover birthday cake and beer. A bear? In my area? For those who live in Mammoth, the trash wouldn’t be sitting innocently in a trash can next to the house – it would be in a bear-proof container, carefully protected from the large animals that we all know are in that area. But I live in Swall Meadows, almost right between Bishop and Mammoth up against the Wheeler Crest, and the one animal I didn’t think we would have is a bear. I knew we would have mountain lions; we’ve seen the remnants of their mule deer feasts. Rattlesnakes curl up on the hot pavement along our streets. I’ve heard the crazy cries of a fox. Field mice break into our cars; coyotes look at us from the arroyo; and scorpions sting when we’re barefoot in the kitchen. Wood rats and squirrels abound, and we even have a few raccoons. But I can honestly say I didn’t expect a bear. That bear compelled me to think about all the different animals that we have in the May | June 2010

Eastern Sierra from the tiny frogs to the large mammals. Thus, the wildlife issue was born. For our feature, Deb Murphy writes about the wild horses that roam Montgomery Pass, beautiful animals with a long history here. She gives the background and current status of the herds, explaining how the horse is an example of an animal that isn’t native to our area but has adapted over the centuries. David Lukas explores the little critters that we see often: squirrels and chipmunks, and, less often, marmots. John (Jack) Muir Laws illustrates the animals, showing us their characteristics and habits in their environment. They are cute but still wild! Also wild are all the animals that Moose Peterson shoots as a wildlife photographer. He has (digitally) captured animals all over the world, but the local White-tailed hare still eludes him. To learn more about local wildlife and geology, the SNARL lectures are a must to attend. This year’s lectures include two declining species locally, the mule deer herd and the mountain yellow-legged frog. One way to pay tribute to all things outdoors, including the animals, is to decorate

with a wildlife theme. Dana Nichols tells us how to go beyond the traditional in Mountain Home. She finds wonderful artists who feature animals in their work using wood, metal and other materials. Dave Balcom is one writer and fisherman who won’t be mounting his catch; he practices fishing for his lunch in “What About Shore Lunch?” Then in our Trip Report, Lila Bauter takes us to Canada to observe a mother bear and her cubs, an experience she won’t soon forget. The call for wildlife photographs brought many submittals and new photographers to the magazine. For the photo gallery, we tried to display the widest array of what we have locally: birds, snakes, raccoons, coyotes and bighorn sheep. For Local Life we chose to feature a couple, Dan and Leslie Dawson. Both work for SNARL and are involved in preserving local wildlife and enjoying all that it has to offer. We hope you enjoy the wildlife in our pages and out in the real world. Just remember, look but don’t touch – they’re called wildlife for a reason. Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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Publisher Dave Balcom Editor-in-Chief Diane Eagle Managing Editor Becky St. Marie ART DIRECTORS Tiffany Henschel Andy Rostar illustrator John (Jack) Muir Laws Photography Lila Bauter Joe Blommer Karen Chang Cat Connor Doug Davis CR Hanley Cheryl Hogan Pat Holland Joe Lemm Scott McReynolds Mike McWilliams Chris Morrison Moose Peterson Steve Schmunk Joel St. Marie John Stow Writers David Balcom Lila Bauter Dana Nichols David Lukas Deb Murphy Joel St. Marie Project Manager & Advertising Patti Cole Ad info: Patti@MammothTimes.com Ph: 760-934-3929

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Calling all writers and photographers! Mammoth Sierra Magazine is accepting story submissions of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, adventure, and more, as well as photo submissions, all related to the Eastern Sierra. Send your submissions to becky@ mammothtimes.com, or PO Box 3929, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546. You can also drop submissions by the Mammoth Times offices on the second floor of the Sierra Center Mall at 452 Old Mammoth Road. Photos must be 300 dpi and at least 5x7, submit via the e-mail address above or on a disk. Call 760-9343929 for more information. Payment for accepted submissions is paid upon publication. Send an SASE if you want materials returned. ©2009. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent of the publisher.

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May | June 2010

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Mammoth Sierra Magazine


contents

On the Cover:

Evening light on wild horses, spring 2009 in Adobe Valley Photo by Joel St. Marie

THIS PAGE, clockwise from top left:

A Bald eagle perches in Round Valley one Sunday afternoon. Photo by Steve Schmunk Baby fawn, less than a day old in Bridgeport Marmot, Winnemucca Lake, Carson Pass Photos by Cheryl Hogan Antelopes, south of Bridgeport, taken during a photo workshop in October 2009. They are very rare to the area. Photo by Pat Holland In late May, a bumble bee lands on an iris in a field off Brockman Lane in Bishop. Photo by Joe Blommer

feature 26 Like Wild Horses Over the Hills by Deb Murphy

Departments Art/Lifestyle: 6 A Wealth of Squirrels 9 SNARL Lecture Series 10 Moose Gets the Shot 12 Mountain Home: Bringing the Wilderness Home – Decorating with Animal Themes 15 Best of: Fishing – What About Shore Lunch? 18 Photo Gallery: Local Wildlife 22 Trip Report: A Beautiful Story 32 Marketplace 34 Local Life: Dan and Leslie Dawson 35 Calendar


A r t / L ifestyle by david lukas, illustrations by john (jack) muir laws

A Wealth of

Squirrels The Mammoth area has a remarkable and surprising diversity of squirrels, so if it sometimes feels like you’re seeing squirrels everywhere you’re probably right. About a dozen members of the squirrel family make their home here, ranging from the tiny Least Chipmunks that weigh less than an ounce, to lumbering Yellow-bellied Marmots that top out at a hefty nine pounds. And what is remarkable is not so much the variety of species as the diversity of lifestyles that these various squirrels use to keep from competing with each other. This is particularly true for the abundant chipmunks (about six species in the region) and Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, both of which live in the same kinds of shrubby, forested habitats where their striped bodies camouflage them in the striped shadows of branches and stems. Chipmunks are so similar in appearance that experts have to examine bone structure to make positive identifications, but ground squirrels are easily recognized because they don’t have stripes on their heads (chipmunk heads are striped). When it comes to lifestyle, ground squirrels eat lots of leaves and wild fruits and stay close to the ground, while chipmunks avoid competition by scampering up and down trees feasting on insects, pine nuts, mushrooms, bird eggs, and a wide variety of other foods. Another fascinating difference between the two is that chipmunks store about 35,000 seeds in preparation for winter, then while “hibernating” they wake up frequently to nibble on seeds and to wander outside their burrows on sunny, warm days. Ground squirrels instead put on so much fat that by the fall they look like bulging puffballs and then they sleep soundly through the winter. Other ground squirrels, including California Ground Squirrels that take up residence in disturbed areas around houses and towns and Belding’s Ground Squirrels that occupy virtually every mountain meadow, avoid competition by living in completely open areas that chipmunks shun. However, it’s dangerous to live in open areas so these squirrels have developed complex social systems, relying on networks of interconnected burrows and loud alarm calls to warn each other so they can all escape from approaching predators. And when you’re hiking in the high mountains you may hear the loud shrieking of marmots as you approach. These large squirrels also live in open areas and use the same strategy as ground squirrels to warn each other of danger. In contrast to these ground-dwelling squirrels, a common tree-dwelling squirrel is the Chickaree (or Douglas’ Squirrel), a dark gray squirrel that gives away its presence by scolding you. These are bold squirrels, so don’t be surprised if you see one standing on a branch or clinging to a tree trunk loudly admonishing you if you’re standing too close. With so much time spent sleeping each winter, squirrels pack a tremendous amount of 6

May | June 2010

Mammoth Sierra Magazine


activity into their busy spring and summer schedules, starting from the moment they awaken in spring. The first order of business (besides frantically searching for meager food items during this awkward time when there are few seeds, insects, or leaves to eat) is fighting for territories and finding a mate, because squirrels need to get started right away so their babies have time to grow up before the next winter. This business reaches its extreme in Belding’s Ground Squirrels, where females are sexually receptive for only a single afternoon and males sustain serious injuries fighting each other to get to these females. If you find squirrels scampering around this spring see what aspects of their lives you can observe. Are they feeding, defending a territory, or standing lookout for predators? And then sometime in late May or June, your reward will be the first appearance of the bumbling, playful youngsters. David Lukas is a long-time instructor of Mono Lake Committee field seminars and is the author of the newly revised handbook Sierra Nevada Natural History. Naturalist, educator and artist John (Jack) Muir Laws delights in exploring the natural world and sharing this love with others. He has written and illustrated books about the natural history of California including Sierra Birds: a Hiker’s Guide (2004), The Laws Guide to the Sierra Nevada (2007) and The Laws Pocket Guide Set to the San Francisco Bay Area (2009). He teaches classes on natural history, conservation biology, scientific illustration, and field sketching. Visit johnmuirlaws.com for more information. Douglas’ Squirrels spend much of their time in conifer trees where they scold passersby from safe perches.

May | June 2010

Yellow-bellied Marmots are frequently observed in rocky areas where they are on constant lookout for predators.

California Ground Squirrels always remain close to the safety of their elaborate underground tunnel systems.

Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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Mammoth Sierra Magazine


A r t / L ifestyle by becky st. marie

Behind the

Science:

Photo courtesy www.mylfrog.info

Lecture Series Educates Public In severe decline, the local mountain yellow-legged frog will be featured in the June 8 SNARL Lecture.

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oland Knapp has been studying local amphibian populations for 15 years. In the last five years, his research has focused on “the role of emerging disease (the amphibian chytrid fungus) in causing amphibian declines,” he said. “Frogs, The Thin Green Line,” a PBS nature documentary tracking this disease and the reason for the decline all over the world, including Knapp’s research, will be shown by the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, or SNARL, on June 8 as part of its lecture series. The SNARL Lecture Series began as a way to reach out to the community and share the science and research being done in the Eastern Sierra, “a behind the scenes look,” said SNARL Education Coordinator Leslie Dawson. Besides amphibians, this year’s series will also cover geology and wildlife. “We try to get a variety of speakers,” she said. And while Dawson said the lecture series is geared toward college level, high school students are definitely welcome. Mammoth High School science teacher, and former SNARL staff research associate, Sandy Tidwell, requires her students to attend lectures. “What I hope they will take home with May | June 2010

them is an appreciation for how science really works, a better understanding of a component of the environment that is their back yard, an appreciation for why they might need a basic understanding of the sciences even just as citizens and voters, and if I’m lucky, a few will be inspired to continue in some field of science,” Tidwell said. She attends the lectures with her students,

“keeping her feet wet,” she said. “Many of the lecturers were once my colleagues, and always I’m fascinated by the progress we’re making in our understanding of the Eastern Sierra environment.” The lectures take place promptly at 7 p.m. at the Green Church off U.S. 395 and Benton Crossing Road. Admission is free and open to the public.

SNARL Lecture Series Schedule April 27 The 2009-2010 Avalanche Season: A Snowpack Summary Using Near Infrared Photography May 4 Will the Insect Life of Walker Lake Survive Rising Salinity? May 11 Origin of the Tuolumne Landscape May 18 Can We Simulate the Liquid Core of a Planet? May 25 Understanding a Declining

Mule Deer Herd in the Eastern Sierra Nevada June 1 Fire History of Eastern Sierra Forests and Changing Forest Management Concepts June 8 Frogs, The Thin Green Line: A PBS Documentary on Amphibian Declines June 15 NEON – A Continental Scale Ecological Observatory

Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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A r t / L ifestyle by joel st. marie

Moose

Photos© Moose Peterson

Gets the Shot Moose Peterson

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hen thinking of amazing wildlife photographers, who also happen to be locals, Moose Peterson comes to mind. He writes books and his images appear in more than 130 magazines, including his own publication for wildlife photographers, the BT Journal. While off teaching a workshop, Moose found a few minutes to answer our questions. MSM: Is Moose your real name or a nickname? Moose: This is a very common question; my driver’s license has to get replaced yearly getting worn out from being pulled out of my wallet to show Moose printed on it. Yep, that’s the name my dad called me from the very start, but never my mom. MSM: What inspired you to become a photographer? Moose: There was never one single moment or lightning bolt that brought photography into the light. It, like many aspects of my career in general, are just the way life has unfolded for me. I would love to take credit for it, but life gets more credit for it than I do. What has kept me improving it though for 30 years is its ability to communicate the wonders I see to the world. MSM: Have you always focused on wildlife? Moose: Yep! MSM: Are all the animals you shoot “wild”? Moose: It takes only a click or two of the 10

May | June 2010

mouse to find that my focus is on the Threatened and Endangered critters of California. Being the last to photograph the Morro Bay Kangaroo Rat before it went extinct with the last two individuals being in captivity, I would have to answer the question with a no. But then, the hundreds of hours to find a wild Morro Bay Kangaroo Rat we put in were unsuccessful. I wish I could say that in this case as well as with some of the other critters I’ve photographed before they went extinct could be still photographed in the wild. MSM: How do you camouflage yourself? Moose: This assumes I do; I don’t. I’ve never used camouflage to get close to my subjects; I use what I call basic biology. This is the same principle as we were taught by our English teachers so long ago. You have to know your subject to write about it. To photograph wildlife, and a species in particular, you have to know it. Now there is one place where I use a blind and that’s photographing in a tern colony. Terns eat mainly fish and their main method of deterring intruders is crapping on them. I need a blind in a tern colony so I don’t come home smelling like fish. MSM: What is the longest you’ve waited for a shot? Moose: 29 years and counting. MSM: What kind of equipment do you use? What is in your camera bag? Moose: The main piece of equipment I use is my mind, which is connected to the heart. After that, it’s really not that important, a splitting of f/stop and shutter speeds. But it’s no secret that I’m a Nikon shooter, have been from the get go. I’m a digital shooter, the first wildlife photographer in the world to not only embrace digital but also to be a beta tester. You will find lenses from 14mm to 600mm in my bag.

MSM: When did you become a professional photographer and how did this happen? Moose: I became self employed in 1981. How did this happen? No clue, one day I just took the plunge and have loved the struggle ever since. MSM: How long have you been in Mammoth and what do you shoot locally? Moose: I’ve been coming to Mammoth since 1959 and lived here full time in 1995. When it comes to local critters I like to photograph, it’s any that will hold still in front of my lens. There is one I have chased for more than a decade, put in hundreds of hours on snow shoes tracking and I’ve only got glass on the bastard once. That’s the White-tailed hare, probably the one critter that’s given me the greatest challenge in my career. MSM: What subject and/or location would you like to shoot that you have not shot yet? Moose: I’m an incredibly fortunate wildlife photographer, seeing and photographing more than 500 species of birds and 300 species of mammals. There is no one place or critter (except that damn rabbit) that really is in my sights. My work with T&E species pretty much dictates where I go and what I point my lenses at. MSM: Have you ever put yourself in danger to get the shot? Moose: Sorry, that’s a really scary question to be asked. Any wildlife photographer who has ever been in such a scenario needs to find a new occupation! It has been my mantra from day one that no photograph is worth sacrificing the welfare of a subject. To ever put yourself in such a place that you are personally in danger from your subject, your ignorance has caused the critter way more harm then it can do to you. I’ve worked with everything from moose & Mammoth Sierra Magazine


American Black Bear, photographed in the Knolls with Nikon D3 and 200f2VR lens

griz to mice and butterflies and I am quite proud to know that all went on with their lives the same after I left as they had before I arrived. MSM: You have a great Web site (moosepeterson.com). On it you mention the Endangered Species Act. How does photography play a role in such a worldwide awareness? Moose: Sharon, my wife, and I have for 30 years used photography to do nothing other than grab heartstrings. Getting the public to understand that the trees, rocks, lakes and critters in the Sierra and the planet are all part of a wild heritage left to us to pass on to other generations. Not everyone is as fortunate as I to see it all for themselves. We take the responsibility to heart to bring back May | June 2010

Greater Sage Grouse, photographed near Crowley Lake with Nikon D3 and 600VR lens

the stories, share with the public their wild heritage through our photography. MSM: Any tips for our readers interested in photographing wildlife? Moose: Just to look out their window, walk out their door and start clicking. The sound of the shutter, the pictures on the monitor are addicting. Take the first step and then the next and life will take you the rest of the way. For 10 years Joel St. Marie has worked at Mammoth Gallery as a professional picture framer. Inspired by the work of local photographers, he photographs the Sierra in all seasons and spends time backcountry skiing, climbing and documenting the lives of his two children. Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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M o u ntain H ome by dana nichols

Far Left: Kevin Scott of KM Metal Works made this metal gate with bears and geese. Above: Scott’s art can also adorn the indoors as in this work above the fireplace. Left: Scott’s metal work lights up at night. Photos courtesy Kevin Scott

BRINGING THE WILDERNESS HOME: DECORATING WITH ANIMAL THEMES There’s a whole lot more to talk about these days than mounts – those deer heads on the wall that are a mainstay of mountain decorating – when it comes to designing a home. Snuggle up with a sheepskin and let’s talk wildlife décor. “Antlers, fish – especially trout, bears and dogs.” That’s what people ask for, in order of popularity, according to Robin Stater, owner and principal designer of Sierra Design Studio on Old Mammoth Road since 1988. “Now that I’m standing here looking around, everything is about animals,” she said from the middle of her showroom. It’s a cool February day, but her store is positively cozy. Maybe it’s the sofas adorned with cow12

May | June 2010

hide pillows and the warm light cast from an endless supply of antler chandeliers. Antler chandeliers and sculptures are often blighted by a big misconception that elk had to be killed to obtain their racks. In fact, after elk shed antlers every spring, Boy Scouts collect them on the National Elk Refuge and auction them at the Boy Scout Elk Antler Auction – a Jackson Hole, Wyoming tradition since 1968. Artisans and designers haul antlers out by the truckload. Lighting is an excellent way to introduce animal elements into a home without overdoing it. Table lamps can have a stand shaped like an animal, wall sconces can have subtle animal designs and hanging lanterns come

with silhouetted animals encircling them. “It’s kind of like a fantasy,” said Stater, looking up at such a fixture. “It’s very playful. It almost brings up feelings of childhood, don’t you think?” It often happens that Mammoth homes are decorated with animals that aren’t native to the area. Elk, roosters and grizzly bears have all made grand appearances in homes here. It seems no one can resist a bear. Beth Anderson sells plenty of bear figurines, stuffed animals and even black bear footstools at her boutique gift shop, Heart in Hand, in the Minaret Village shopping center. “Bears are popular, in the summertime especially, because people are up here Mammoth Sierra Magazine


to see bears,” she said. Local artisan Josh Slater’s Bear in Mind Carvings are some of her most popular. Slater uses a chainsaw to give felled Jeffrey and Lodgepole logs new lives as lovable bear statuettes. They range from a little more than a foot tall to several feet in height. On a larger scale, Lance Stanislaw is best known for bear carvings that are seen by many every day: the six bears climbing the sign at Sierra Nevada Lodge and those in front of Stater’s Sierra Design Studio. Stanislaw has been carving wood for 40 years, living in ski towns as close as Tahoe and as far away as Switzerland. In 14 years in Mammoth he has become the premier woodcarver of the Eastern Sierra elite, fabricating custom carvings, fireplace mantels and other decorative showstoppers for multi-million dollar homes. He’s etched out a following by word of mouth among the Mammoth homeowners who can afford to commission their dream woodwork pieces. Naturally, wildlife makes a great subject for 3-D art, explaining its huge presence ▸▸

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ANIMALS on the smaller side For many, commissioning a custom-made, wood-carved front door or a one-of-a-kind fireplace gate is out of reach. There are plenty of less expensive ways to decorate a home with wildlife. Try a cowhide picture frame, cowhide coasters, or an owl made of pinecones. Use framed photos, lamps and wallpaper to “bring the outside in, elegant and not overboard,” suggested Robin Stater. Likewise, some of the most popular items at Heart in Hand are two-to seven-inch tall resin squirrels and bunnies. “All people just have a need to be close to nature,” said owner Beth Anderson, picking up a squirrel statuette to illustrate her point. “And people love birds, because birds are happy creatures – they flit about singing songs.” Her shop carries hand-painted bird salt and pepper shakers next to rows of “Bearfoots” figurines, dog figurines and frog figurines.

Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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Wildlife in wood by Lance Stanislaw. Photo courtesy Lance Stanislaw.

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in restful mountain homes everywhere. Nevada artist Douglas Van Howd is one of the world’s best such artists, casting bronze sculptures and monuments good enough for Mammoth Mountain (his Woolly Mammoth monument was a 75th birthday present to Dave McCoy). Smaller bronze sculptures, such as the five-inch tall, 8.5-inch wide Fishing Bear can give life to any corner of a High Sierra home. “Might as well harness nature,” explained Kevin Scott of his fish mobiles, which catch the wind and the eye all at once. Scott works in metal – stainless steel, bronze, copper, sheet metal and piping – to make custom pieces that introduce drama and nature into a room. “People just like feeling the freedom of the wilderness – so they like to bring it into their homes,” he said of his customers, 75 percent of whom live outside of Mammoth. They request wall hangings and sconces, most commonly in the likeness of – what else? – bears. Brian Jones also creates 3-D art but is perhaps best known around Mammoth for his framed mountain scenes fabricated out of metal cutouts. He starts by hand drawing a design on ten-gauge iron, then hand cuts the iron with a plasma torch, which is also used to add color to the piece. Still leaning to the traditional mount? An interior designer will be happy to order one for you from a taxidermist, no questions asked. Dana Nichols is a freelance writer who has lived in Mammoth Lakes for six years. With roots in Los Angeles she knows the 395 drive like the back of her hand, and is happiest when she’s headed north, home to Mammoth. She has contributed to Mammoth Sierra Magazine since 2007 and frequently writes about adventure travel on Examiner.com.

Mammoth Sierra Magazine


B e st of...

Photo© doug davis

an essay by dave balcom

The official state fish of California since 1947, the golden trout – seen here in the act of spawning (the male is the lighter colored fish) – was originally only found in streams from the Kern River. While it can still be found in its historic range, the golden trout has been planted in high elevations of the Sierra Nevada (as well as in other states) and often interbreeds with the rainbow trout, creating a hybrid. The Department of Fish and Game considers it a “species of special concern,” but it is not specifically a “protected” species.

What About Shore Lunch? You wouldn’t eat your bowling ball, would you? – Professional bass fisherman on catch-and-release fishing

I am my father’s child when it comes to outdoor activities – I’m a consumer. I eat what I catch and what I shoot, just as he and his generation did. If I find something unpalatable, like a carp, I’m all over catch-and-release. If it’s like a merganser, I’m all done shooting them. I have, however, set personal bag limits on larger game such as ducks and pheasant and my limits are more restrictive than those imposed by the state and federal governments. That’s especially true for fish. There was a time when the freezer would actually bulge from packages of delicious bluegills, walleye, yellow perch and brook trout that were set aside “for some time when we can’t go fishing.” Even when we lived on the shores of a lake that was generous in its bounty, we not only consumed, we hoarded. Those days are gone. I no longer need a fish in the freezer to sleep contentedly. May | June 2010

Here in the Eastern Sierra, it’s difficult to imagine how avid sportsmen and women brought trout to our streams in coffee pots and whatever else would hold water and fish for the trek over the mountains. There is such abundance it’s difficult to realize that none of the fish we treasure were native to our range. But without stocking efforts that have replaced mules and milk cans with aerated trucks, there would be very little “world class” fly fishing here. Trout attract a special breed of anglers. When it comes to fly fishers, they are, for the most part, an elite and arrogant group with noses turned up at the thought of dunking a worm, much less a “power bait” or marshmallow. The literary world of trout fishing is rich with beautiful tributes to the spirit and traditions of the sport and the quarry. It’s hard to find such prose or poetry dedicated to the black bass family; actually, the “hawgs” of B.A.S.S. (Bass Anglers Sportsman Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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Society) fame are really members of the sunfish family. And while there are probably three bass anglers for every trout chaser in this country, you don’t hear them waxing wondrously over those fish the way we do over trout. Perhaps we see the trout as a perfect representative of the beautiful places where we find them. (Golf became a passion because I hit my ball so often into perfect grouse and trout habitat – my two favorite kinds of places.) Perhaps it’s because they are truly beautiful to behold. Delicately painted, spotted and polka dotted, their appearance belies their nature – they’re stone cold killers in their environment. I once caught a brook trout of some 10 inches in length that mistook my spinner for a three inch minnow. I remain puzzled how he thought he had room for it as he was in the process of digesting a fully grown 13-stripe ground squirrel that had apparently had the temerity to swim in his realm. I’ve caught lake trout on big spoons in Lake Superior despite the fact the fish had so many gypsy moths in their gullets the flies were spilling out of their mouths. “Makes you wonder what he thought he was going to do with the hardware, doesn’t it,” remarked one veteran fisherman of those parts. The same aggressive attack behavior is on display every day in the Owens River watershed, but most of it goes unseen beneath the surface. These waters teem with the food from which monsters are grown. In Crowley Lake, for example, rainbow fingerlings planted in the fall are 12-plus inches long by opening day the following April. One fishery biologist explained that the combination of foods ranging from nearly microscopic chironomid (midges) to Sacramento perch fry plus nearly perfect water conditions that promote year-round growth make Crowley “a perfect trophy fish environment.” As one man from June Lake who splits his life into “midge season” and the rest of the year explained it, “I rarely fish here without getting into my backing” as some monster runs off with his midge suspended under a “strike indicator.” Even the lexicon of the trout fisher has airs compared to ordinary anglers: Strike indicator for trout anglers is a bobber to every other sort of fisher person. Today’s trout angler owes more than a bobber to the members of B.A.S.S. While there have long been trout anglers who don’t like the taste of their quarry, the catch-and-release ethic was born in tournament bass fishing. While aerated live wells on bass boats can keep those fish alive for hours to be weighed and then returned to the lake unharmed, you can’t do that with trout unless you add refrigeration to your system. Trout are extremely sensitive to water quality issues including temperature. Bass will live in about any kind of water, and don’t really get active until water temperatures are high enough to put trout in jeopardy. When the bass fishing tournaments became a national phenomenon in the late 20th century, the ethic of catch and release became sacred – especially among trout anglers. Today’s chic trout anglers do a lot to promote their sport and the Mammoth Sierra Magazine


sport of anglers of all stripes (not to mention hunters as well.) A well-dressed and equipped fly fisherman has thousands of dollars worth of rods, reels, lines, breathable waders, stylish vests to organize all the flies, pliers, hemostats, clipper and portable vise… This list could be endless. There are few outdoor activties as gadget rich as fly fishing. For many of us, the perfect retail store of our dreams would be an Orvis/Williams-Sonoma combination. But lost on many of today’s anglers is that every equipment purchase comes with a Pittman-Robertson Act excise tax that feeds dollars right back into state and federal conservation programs. On any given opening day in the Eastern Sierra, the tax on equipment could easily fund the stocking programs that go on here. Pittman-Robertson was adopted in 1937 at the demand of hunters and anglers. Today, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, American sportsmen and women pump some $3.5 million into conservation programs every day. When you buy that $1,000 3-weight fly rod, you’re really helping the cause of conservation everywhere. Trout that started as imports are now an important and natural facet of the Eastern Sierra lifestyle, and while sometimes arrogant and uppity, that is also true of the fly fisher. They rain scorn on the angler who practices catch and eat, who uses real bobbers and live bait, and they wax poetic about their nearly invisible flies tied on nearly gossamer leaders. But they pay their way, and they practice what they preach. They’ve convinced me. I’ll practice catch and release for the rest of my life… right after I catch enough fish for shore lunch. Dave Balcom is the publisher of Mammoth Sierra Magazine. He has been a neophyte fly fisher for 50 years in 10 states and provinces in North America and is planning several shore lunches in the Eastern Sierra this coming summer – and he’ll release everything that he catches after lunch is served. May | June 2010

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Photo Gallery

Capturing

Wildlife 18

May | June 2010

Clockwise from top left: A juvenile Panamint rattlesnake, commonly found crossing roads in the early evening throughout southern Mono and northern Inyo counties Photo by Chris Morrison Mule deer in the spring, Owens River at Chalk Bluff Photo by Cheryl Hogan Bighorn ram found in Silver Canyon near Bishop Photo by John Lemm A female coyote hunts near the parking lot at June Mountain ski area, April 2007. Photo by Mike McWilliams Mammoth Sierra Magazine


May | June 2010

Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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Photo Gallery

Clockwise from top: A Bald Eagle at Warm Springs Road south of Bishop, February, 2010 Photo by CR Hanley Geese at Mono Lake Photo by Scott McReynolds Raccoons show no fear at Twin Lakes. Photo by Karen Chang

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May | June 2010

Mammoth Sierra Magazine


Come home to Eastern Sierra Community Bank and experience old-fashioned service with a local touch! Serving the Eastern Sierra since 2000, our commitment to Inyo and Mono Counties has never been stronger. With offices in Bridgeport, Mammoth Lakes, and Bishop, plus 10 ATMs on the 395 corridor, there is a Clear Choice for Eastern Sierra residents.

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Open accounts online @ www.escbank.com

May | June 2010

Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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Tr i p R eport by lila bauter

Left: Tripawed with her cubs at the Riding Mountain Ranch in Canada Above: The cubs play together endlessly.

I beautiful a

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story

May | June 2010

n the spring of 1994 while photographing harp seal pups on the Madgalene Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, I took a tumble on a pressure ridge. A man named Dan Guravich came to my rescue. As I lay with a broken rib, Dan and his group gathered around me wanting to help. Mammoth Sierra Magazine


The cubs climb trees just like the squirrels. Photos by Lila Bauter

Little did I know that my rescuer was a wildlife biologist and the creator of Polar Bears International. Founded in 1992, Polar Bears International works to conserve the world’s polar bears through research and education, and serves as a central educational resource on polar bears worldwide. Dan later invited me to visit Riding Mountain Ranch in Manitoba, near Canada’s Riding Mountain National Park, to meet his friends, owners Jim and Candy Irwin. Dan would be there to film a female bear that had lost her front leg in a careless hunter’s trap May | June 2010

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Tr i p R eport near the Irwins’ ranch. I wondered what was so special about a handicapped bear, but Dan assured me that it was a beautiful story, that he had observed her for some time, watching her nurse and protect her cubs despite only having three legs. He even called her Tripawed. My first visit to the Riding Mountain Ranch house was a pleasure. Situated among rolling meadows, vibrant woodlands and beautiful lakes with an abundance of elk, moose, wolves and bison roaming on their native prairie habitat, the ranch was cozy and One of the cubs during playtime radiated warmth. It is also visited by some of the world’s largest black bears – some recorded weighing over 800 pounds. North American black bears have litters averaging 1.8 cubs. At as early as three years of age, sows may bear litters every other year, and cubs may stay with their mothers for up to 18 months. Riding Mountain bears are more prolific with an average litter of 3.2 cubs, and the rich habitat supports their growth to impressive size and weight. Here Tripawed has raised her families for 14 years. I was ecstatic to be there in so much natural splendor but disappointed because we did not see Tripawed that year. Tragically, the following year in 1997, Dan passed away. I was sad, and could not stop thinking of him and the special admiration he had for Tripawed. I visited the ranch several times, but never saw her. I worried about her because of the hunting season in that area. With the loss of a limb, Tripawed was unable to climb trees, which made her and her cubs more vulnerable. The Irwins worried about her, too. Each year they watched, waited, and hoped that Tripawed would survive the harsh winters with temperatures that plummet far below freezing.

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May | June 2010

They were always amazed to see her return in the spring. Jim Irwin is a retired wildlife biologist. Though he’s a trained scientist, his voice is tender when he speaks of Tripawed. “She’s a different bear,” he said and smiled: “She’s gentle and she licks her cubs.” Tripawed’s cubs are well adjusted and playful, and they do not fight over their food. So far, she has had seven litters (22 cubs) since she first came to the ranch in 1995 when she was three years old. At the ranch, Jim furthers his talents in photography by ranging far afield, and back at the ranch house, Candy cares for homeless and injured wildlife. Her favorite patient is a friendly deer named Billie. Domesticated ducks of every kind greet me at her front gate. A Canada goose named Chadwick follows closely behind with a broken upper beak that leaves its tongue exposed to the cold. It cannot feed on its own and would not survive without the shelter of the ranch. There’s laughter and love on the Irwins’ ranch: I feel so at home there! Finally, in the spring of 2009, I had my first sight of Tripawed and two of her new cubs. I named them Cinnamon and Rascal. One day I watched Tripawed and her young out among the trees, and the cubs seemed so much just like children playing with their toys. Rascal, the more energetic of the two, played vigorously for a while with a big burdock leaf and then became occupied instead with tossing a piece of fallen tree bark into the air. Everything seemed to hold a special fascination for these little bears. Suddenly, Rascal’s enthusiasm for newfound objects in the world seemed to overflow into pure exuberance as he began jumping and tossing himself into the air.

Mammoth Sierra Magazine


As I watched and photographed, Tripawed foraged for grubs for their next meal while Cinnamon and Rascal played endless chase with one another. The cubs even seemed to befriend some red squirrels and included them in their merry games scampering and clambering through aspen trees and over dead logs. These little bears still have much to learn before they would be ready to be on their own. I just smiled and thought to myself that Dan was right, this is a beautiful story. After years of anticipation, it was such a joy to finally view this special mother and her family through my camera lens – a joy that will remain in my heart forever. An avid arctic traveler and northern wildlife photographer, Lila Bauter follows a powerful passion for protecting the world’s threatened bears through poignant images of their unique emotional – and often humorous – characters. She lives and writes of her international eco-adventures and photo-expeditions from her Eastern Sierra home near Bishop, Calif.

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F e a ture by deb murphy, photos by joel st. marie

Wild Horses like

Over the Hills

A spring newborn in the Adobe Valley hills 26

May | June 2010

Mammoth Sierra Magazine


The “Pizona Ghost� albino runs with the herd.

Fighting stallions, Adobe Valley


W

“The days run away like wild horses over the hills.” -Charles Bukowski

What kid, especially one that grew up in the flatlands, didn’t imagine a palette of wild horses, from Paint to Dun, running free across grasslands and sage, silhouettes against granite cliffs? That imaginary game trumped counting cows on long family trips down arrow-straight roads past cornfields or strip malls. What’s even better than the game is the relative ease with which that kid can see the imagery come to life in the Eastern Sierra. 28

May | June 2010

The Wild Horse and Burro Act, passed in the 1970s, protects mustangs in designated Wild Horse Territories managed by either the Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service, depending on the site or the territory. But that’s the stuff of politics. That kid in the family sedan only knows the stuff of freedom, romance and heartstopping beauty. Horses are not indigenous to this country, but they are native to the culture and heritage of the West. According to Walt and Barb Svetich, who have tracked mustangs for more than 30 years, the value of these herds is in the preservation of that heritage. The 200,000-acre Montgomery Pass Wild

Horse Territory runs from the Excelsior and Anchorite Mountains to the Pizona Range. Craig and Herb London, owners of Rock Creek Pack Station, were instrumental in establishing a coordinated management plan for the herd involving government agencies and the public. “This may be the last herd in the United States not really managed,” said Craig London. “It lives in balance with nature.” Both Rock Creek and Dave Dohnel’s Frontier Pack Train take groups into the herd’s summer range to watch the mustangs and learn the history and habits of the animals. “It’s country you can get lost in,” London said. “The experience is almost spiritual.” Mammoth Sierra Magazine


Opposite: Members of the herd look at the onlooker. Above: A band of horses moves across the valley. Below: Apart from the others, one horse stops to observe for a moment.

“The guests get a kick out of it,” Dohnel said. “How many people have even seen a horse loose in a pasture? When you know these mustangs are running free, it’s really something. I still get a kick out of it.” Access to the summer range for the Montgomery Pass herd, Adobe and Pizona meadows, Sagehen or McBride Flats, is doable with 4-wheel drive. If you ask the old timers where to find the White Mountain herd, you’ll get a squinty-eyed smile and, “If I told you, I’d have to kill you.” These guys are as protective of the herd as they would be of a gold mine claim. Svetich has figured out the origin of the Montgomery Pass herd. His appreciation May | June 2010

for wild horses goes back to his home in Montana. A herd numbering 800 roamed the ranch he worked in the early 1950s. By the time he got back home after serving in the Korean War, the ranch had changed hands and the herd was gone. He started working on the Pacific Crest Trail for the Forest Service in the 1960s. He moved his family to the Chalfant Valley to take a position with the Inyo National Forest and by the late 1970s was administering the Montgomery Pass and White Mountain herds. His wife, armed with her camera, went with him on trips into the backcountry to inventory the horses. Svetich unearthed clues that the Eastern

Sierra herds were descendants of a horse drive of 3,000 Spanish mustangs from the Kings River plains and the east San Joaquin Valley across the Sierra heading to Texas in 1871. The Spanish horses were originally brought to North America starting with Columbus’ second voyage. Abandoned as the Spanish withdrew from their missions, the Indians and later the U.S. Cavalry maintained the breed as the West developed. Svetich’s information came from letters written by one of the herdsmen, Jorgan Daniel Bruhn, to his family in Denmark. Bruhn’s great granddaughter brought the original letters to the Svetiches during a trip to California. According to Bruhn’s correspondence, Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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“Horses are not indigenous to this country, but they are native to the culture and heritage of the West.”

nearly 1,000 were lost in the mountains. “When they started picking out the horses for the drive,” Svetich said, “they picked out the good horses, ones with Thoroughbred or Arab in them. You can still see the breeding in the Montgomery Pass herd.” Some domestic quarter horses have invaded the herds over the last 140 years, stamping their progeny with their own characteristics. Some domestic horses found freedom with the herd too late. Barb Svetich pointed out a relatively massive gray with a Roman nose in a photograph of a herd of smaller, more refined Arab-type mustangs – sticking out like Baby Huey. While she and her husband were trying to figure out what mutation produced him, Walt noticed the horse was gelded, undoubtedly a runaway ranch horse. Svetich started inventorying the herd in the late 1970s. During the process, he realized resident and transient cats were keeping the herd in check. “We decided to just leave it alone,” he explained, “and let nature take care of it (over-breeding).” Breeding beyond the ability of the territory’s resources is the subject of debate. Some of the solutions have made recent news: the round-up of nearly 30,000 mustangs across the West. Svetich feels two-year birth control for mares has much more merit. With the decrease of horses’ natural predators, overpopulation is nearly inevitable. While foal deaths to mountain lions are a harsh reality for the Montgomery Pass herd, it’s also nature 30

May | June 2010

and has allowed the herd to stay balanced within the territory. The Svetiches have had a front row seat for the dynamics of herd society for the last three decades. Barb has been able to photograph the animals from close range. “I think I was a wild horse in another life,” she said. “I can get really close to them.” The couple would travel by horseback, then get off and lead their saddle horses closer to the herd. “If you grab the horn of your saddle and let your horse hide you, you can watch from across your saddle. The herd gets curious and comes in close. If they see a horse and rider, they’re wary, especially if they’ve been chased,” Barb explained. There can be as many as 100 horses in a single herd. They spread out to graze, each stallion with his group of mares. One fallacy of horse behavior is that the matriarch mare rules the roost. The matriarch will lead the herd as it travels in single file with the stallion bringing up the rear. According to Svetich, if the stallion doesn’t like the direction the herd is headed, “he’ll run up alongside with his head out and ears pinned to redirect the mare.” If the next stallion group gets too close in transit, the lead stallion wheels and turns the group’s matriarch back. In addition to the traditional stallion/mare clans, the larger herd includes groups of bachelor stallions – young or less aggressive older Mammoth Sierra Magazine


Adobe Valley evening light, running herd

stallions that run together. Some eventually will find a willing mare and start their own harem. Others are committed bachelors. “Sometimes we’d see a good looking stallion with no mares,” Svetich said. “Then there’d be a little ratty, feisty thing and he’s got all the mares. Stallions that aren’t dominant don’t have much testosterone to make them aggressive.” The dominant stallions are, apparently, particular in their choice of mares. Svetich told of catching wild horses in Fish Lake Valley. An older, gimpy mare, into her 20s, was not going to be adopted. The mare was fed through the winter with the intention of letting her loose, fatter and healthier, the following spring. “We put her in the trailer and went out where we knew there would be a herd,” he said. “She went trotting through the sage and started grazing. The dominant

stallion came out, took a sniff, laid back his ears and ran her off. His subordinate stallion approached; they paired up and he was able to bring her into the herd.” “There’s quite a bond between a stallion and his mares,” Svetich said, “more than you’d think.” On another gathering trip, stallions were separated out from the rest of the herd with a fence between the two pastures. “When we came back the next morning to feed, there were bunches of mares up against the fence line and on the other side were their stallions. They came together despite the fence; they knew each other.” Communication among the herd members, from stallion to matriarch and mare to foal, is done by body language. Monty Roberts, whom Craig London credits with doing more than anyone to save the mustang, turned hours of watching wild horses into a training method based on use of that body language. Frontier Pack Train’s Dave Dohnel uses a similar training technique, the Jef-

TOWN COUNCIL

TOWN ADMINISTRATION

Neil McCarroll

Robert Clark

Mayor

Town Manager

John Eastman

Assistant Town Manager

frey Method, developed in Australia in the 1950s. The point of both methods, according to Dohnel, is to overcome the flight instinct so ingrained in the horse. “Horses are looking for direction and discipline,” Dohnel said. “They’re like kids,” with a sense of security in knowing what they’re supposed to do. Dohnel is riding his own mustangs within four or five days and takes them out on the trail with his pack operation for their first year of service. This natural, gentle training allows Dohnel’s guests to view wild horses from the backs of mustangs. From the Svetiches, London and Dohnel, one gets a sense of protectiveness, and maybe a little awe, when they talk about the Sierra’s wild horses. But for that kid imagining mustangs flying across the landscape, the feeling is more like envy. Deb Murphy is a freelance writer and has lived in Big Pine for eight years via Indiana, Tennessee, Los Angeles, Fallbrook and Aspendell.

Karen Johnston

Mayor Pro Tem

Jamie Gray

Jo Bacon

Town Clerk

Councilmember

Michael Grossblatt

Skip Harvey

We’re here to serve you.

Councilmember

Director of Human Resources and Risk Management

Ray Jarvis

Wendy Sugimura

Public Works Director

Councilmember

Brad Koehn

Finance Director

TOWN ATTORNEY

Bill Manning

Peter Tracy

Airport & Transportation Director

For information on Public Meetings • Municipal Code • Vision Statement Services & Programs • Public Works Projects

Randy Schienle Chief of Police

Danna Stroud

Tourism & Recreation Director

Visit Our Website www.ci.mammoth-lakes.ca.us

Mark Wardlaw

Community Development Director

TOWN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES 437 Old Mammoth Road, Suite R • PO Box 1609 • Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

(760) 934-8989 • Fax: (760) 934-8608 May | June 2010

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M a r ketplace May | june 2010 Design Services The Finishing Touch. Corinne Brown ASID. “Stunningly livable interior designs.” Announcing our new site and blog at www.corinnebrownasid. com. Located at 3 Oak Tree Way in Mammoth. Call 760-934-5545 for more information. Virtual Stone Studios. We take concrete to new dimensions. Treat your existing surfaces – countertops, walls, floors – to a decorative concrete overlay – no demolition required! Or let us build or cast a custom piece – headboards, tables, vanities, and water features just for you. CA Lic# 931132. Call 888-878-6630 or visit www.VirtualStoneStudios.com for more information. Window Fair. Windows, walls and more. Custom drapes are our specialty. Friendly personal service. Family owned and operated since 1968. Check out the Graber products of Traditions shutters, Fresco Roman shades, wood blinds, Light Weave solar shades, Crystal Pleat cellular shades and more on www.graberblinds.com. All available at the Window Fair. Located at 400 W Line St, Bishop. Call 760-8736464 for more information.

Government Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce. Inyo County Amateur Photo “Shootout Contest” hosted by the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce. Deadline for submission Sept. 30, 2010. For contest rules and regulations contact 760-876-4444 or visit www.lonepinehcamber.org. Sponsored by Inyo County.

Town of Mammoth Lakes. Robert Clark (Town Manager). PO Box 1609, Located at 437 Old Mammoth Road, Suite R, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546. Call 760-934-8989 ext. 226, fax 934-8608 or visit www.townofmammothlakes.com for more information. Town of Mammoth Lakes, Police Department. Slow down through town! Based on ongoing citizens’ concerns, the Mammoth Lakes Police Department continues to make traffic enforcement, primarily speeding, a top priority for our officers in the field. In October 2007, a Patrol Officer was assigned to work traffic enforcement within the town limits on a full-time basis. Avoid receiving a citation; obey speed laws, stop for pedestrians, stop signs and traffic signals. Become part of the solution, not the problem!

Health Care Northern Inyo Hospital. NIH and our medical staff. Your loved ones are counting on you. ...nothing’s more important than your health. Our services include: All digital imaging services, birthing services, blood pressure checks, bone density studies (Dexa), cardiac calcium scoring, cataract surgeries, chemotherapy treatments, colonoscopies/endoscopies, diabetes management, digital mammography, joint replacement surgeries, physical therapy, Rural Health Clinic and varicose vein laser procedures. Located at 150 Pioneer Lane, Bishop, CA 93514. Call 760-873-5811 or visit www.jointcommission.org, www.acr.org or www.nih.org for more information.

Southern Inyo Healthcare District. “The small hospital with a big heart.” Southern Inyo Hospital has 24-hour emergency service, clinical laboratory, radiology, ultrasound, G.I. scanner, medical acute care, physical therapy, skilled nursing facility, and hospice. Southern Inyo Community Clinic is across from the hospital and offers cardiology, ophthalmology, pain management, dermatology, dietary counseling, podiatry and telemedicine. Call 760- 876-5501 or visit www.SIHD.org for more information.

LODGING Best Western. High Sierra Hotel. Complimentary hot buffet breakfast and WiFi. Indoor pool and hot tub. Fitness center. Business center. Pinecrest Bar. Cafe 203 Indian Cuisine. Luxury amidst breathtaking beauty. Located at 3228 Main Street in Mammoth Lakes. Call 760-924-1234 or 866-9241234 for more information. Grand Havens Luxury Resort Rentals. Experience Mammoth’s most exclusive properties including legal home rentals up to 5,000 square feet, townhomes and suites. Our gated homes at Tallus are located on Sierra Star Golf Course and include media rooms, private spas and a common area indoor pool as well as up to 5 bedrooms and 5+ baths. Most Grand Havens properties (all are new or remodeled) include daily maid service, free long distance, high-speed Internet, welcome towels, robes and amenities. Call 866-Go 4 Grand or 760924-3300 or visit www.GrandHavens.com or info@ GrandHavens.com for more information.

Total average savings of

696*

$

Call my office for a quote 24/7.

Linda L Wright, Agent Insurance Lic#: 0753641 437 Old Mammoth Road, Suite J Bus: 760-934-7575 Toll Free: 877-267-4439 linda@lindawrightinsurance.com

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Mammoth Estates. Resort Condominium Rentals. Adjacent to the new Village shops and restaurants. Large 1 to 4 bedroom units with all amenities. Spa, sauna, swimming pool and game room. For instant reservations call 800-228-2884 or visit www. mammothestates.com for more information.

Mammoth Mountain Reservations. Stay with us while in Mammoth. Centrally located office, elegance to economy, recreation room, pools, spas & saunas, underground parking, walking distance to Canyon Lodge or shuttle route locations. Packages, specials, wired & wireless high-speed Internet access available. View units & book online www.MammothRes.com, info@ MammothRes.com or call 888-204-4692. Mammoth Premiere Reservations. Elegance in accommodations. Mammoth’s finest selection of condominium rentals – within walking distance to ski lifts or in the Village near shops and restaurants. Offering options for every taste and every budget. Whether you choose a premiere or deluxe condominium, be assured that you will enjoy Mammoth’s finest accommodations and service. 4-7 night specials with discounts up to 30 percent. Located left off Main Street at B of A. Call 800-336-6543, 760-934-6543 or fax 760-934-8112 or visit www.mammothpremiere.com to view and book online. Mammoth Sierra Reservations. Fine accommodations throughout Mammoth Lakes offering a variety of sizes and price points from charming studios to spacious 4 bedroom townhomes. All include fully-equipped kitchens, fitted sheets, quality amenities, and free long distance (a few exceptions apply). Many enjoy spectacular views, free high-speed Internet, pools and even private spas. Located at 1914 Meridian Boulevard, across from Vons. Call 888-3061365 or 760-934-8372 or view and book online at www.MammothSierraOnline.com or info@ MammothSierraOnline.com. Mammoth Ski & Racquet Club. Easy access to and from new Ski-Back Trail. Pool/Spas/Saunas, Free long distance calling, fully equipped kitchens, 2 lighted tennis courts, laundry facilities, garage parking, gas fireplaces, winter/summer BBQ areas, rec room and WiFi. Call 888-762-6668, visit www.mammothdirect. com, or e-mail: info@mammothdirect.com for more information.

MeadowRidge Townhomes. Mammoth’s best kept secret! Quite secluded with spacious views. Across the street from Sierra Star golf course. Internet access available. Easy access to bike and hiking trails. 52 units on nine acres, pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and tennis courts. Mention this ad and receive an additional night free (restrictions apply). P.O. Box 8290 Mammoth Lakes, Ca 93546. Call 1-800-468-5364 or 760-934-3111, visit www.mammothrentals.com or e-mail info@ mammothrentals.com for more information. Mountainback Condominiums. Garage parking, fireplaces or wood burning stove, washer & dryer in the unit, walk to Canyon Lodge, free Wireless and/ or cable connection. Call Call 800-468-6225, visit www.mountainbackrentals.com, or email: info@ mountainbackrentals.com for more information. Seasons 4 Condominiums. Deluxe suites, close to the lifts, lakes and the Village at Mammoth, fireplaces, hot spa, swimming pool in the summer, and a recreation room. Free High-Speed Internet service in most units. Summer lodging packages. Pay for 5 stay for 7. No hidden fees. Visit www.Seasons4.

May | June 2010

com to view unit interiors or book Online. Call 1-800-2-MAMMOTH or 760-934-2030 or e-mail stay@ Seasons4.com for more information. Sierra Nevada Lodge. Rekindle old memories in Mammoth. Free WiFi, free continental breakfast, and Free Shuttle. Located at 164 Old Mammoth Rd. Call 800-824-5132 or visit www.SierraNevadaLodge.com for more information. Rafters Restaurant & Lounge. Located at 202 Old Mammoth Road. Call 760-9249431 or visit www.therafters.com.

local service dispatched out of our Mammoth Lakes office. Over 165 channels of music, information, entertainment, digital cable, Cheetah High Speed Internet Service, and more high-definition channels. Se habla Español. Voted 2009 Independent Operator of the Year. Now even more HD Channels, including FOX, NBC, CBS and ABC. Located at 123 Commerce Drive, Suite B6 in Mammoth Lakes. Call 760-934-8553 for more information.

Sunshine Village Condominiums. Located intown near shopping and restaurants. Spa, sauna, fireplaces, recreation room, and free wireless Internet available. Call for summer specials. Address: P.O. Box 1088, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546. Call 760-934-3340 or 800-233-6004 or visit www.MammothSunshineVillage.com for more information.

State Farm. Being there is why I’m here. Total average savings of $696 (average annual per household savings based on national 2009 survey of new policyholders who reported savings by switching to State Farm). Call my office for a quote 24/7. Linda L. Wright, Agent. Insurance lic. #0753641. Call Located at 437 Old Mammoth Road, Suite J in Mammoth Lakes. Call 760-934-7575, 877267-4439 or e-mail Linda@lindawrightinsurance. com for more information.

RECREATION

restaurants

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Enjoy recreation on LADWP land! We’re proud to be a major recreation provider in the Eastern Sierra. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power land is used for fishing, hiking, bike riding, parks, campgrounds, golf courses, museums, fish hatcheries, ball fields and more. Visit www. Laaqueduct.com or write: LADWP 300 Mandich Street, Bishop, CA 93514 for more information.

Chart House. Exceptional Dining, Impeccable Service. Since 1961, Chart House has built its reputation on delighting guests with spectacular views, outstanding cuisine and impeccable service. Enjoy top-of-the-catch seafood, succulent steaks, prime rib and decadent desserts while you dine leisurely in comfortable elegance. Located at 106 Old Mammoth Road in Mammoth Lakes. Call 760934-4526 or visit www.chart-house.com for more information.

Mule Days in Bishop, California. Tuesday, May 25 through Sunday, May 30, 2010. Susie Dobbs at the May 26 Opening Night Supper. Lonestar live in Concert Thursday, May 27. The longest running non-motorized parade in the country is on Saturday morning May 29. Susie Dobbs & the Way Out West Band Saturday night on May 29. Weekend shows feature Prieferl Percherons, 8-up Mule Hitch and the 16 Mini-Mule Hitch. For tickets call 760-872-4263 or visit www.muledays.org for more information. Paiute Palace Casino. Live music Friday and Saturday evening. World Series of Poker Satellite Tournament every other Sunday. Win a 10K WSOP Poker Seat. Call or visit the pit for details. Located on Highway 395 in Bishop. Call 1-888-3PAIUTE or 760-873-4150 or visit www.paiutepalace.com for more information. The Trout Fitter/The Trout Fly. What about a day of fly fishing? Check out our Beginner’s Special! No experience necessary, fun for the whole family, fivehours with all gear included, mention this ad for 10% off. Mammoth’s largest fishing store. Located in the ShellMart Center at the first stoplight in town. Hwy 203 and Old Mammoth Road. Call 760-9342517 for more information.

RESORT SERVICES Eastern Sierra Community Bank. Member FDIC. Come home to the Eastern Sierra Community Bank and experience old-fashioned service with a local touch! Serving the Eastern Sierra since 2000. New location now open in Mammoth at 307 Old Mammoth Road (760-924-0990). Also located at 351 Main Street in Bishop (760-874-2265) and 166 Main Street in Bridgeport (760-932-7962). Open an account online at www.escbank.com. NPG Cable & High Speed Internet Service. Serving Mammoth Lakes and June Lake. Your local cable television and high speed provider. 24 hour, 7 day customer service, staffed by local people, and

Nik-n-Willies. Dine-in or take-out. Hot-to-Go pizza, Take-n-Bake pizza, subs, salads and soups, pizza by the slice, lunch specials, kid’s menu. Fast take-out food. We boost the shortest wait, even during the holidays. Located at 76 Old Mammoth Road (next to Chart House). Open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 760-934-2012 (winter delivery 934-DINE) for more information. Schat’s Family Bakery. The ultimate bakery and sandwich bar in Mammoth Lakes. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mention this ad and receive a free bagel with $10 purchase. The Sandwich Bar is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Located at 3305 Main Street across the street from the Post Office. Call 760-9346055 for more information. Side Door. Mammoth’s only fine retail wine shop and wine bar. Made-to-order crepes and Panini. Great selections of imported beers. Now serving martinis and single malt scotch. Locally owned and roasted coffee, and imported cheese plates. New expanded outdoor seating. Located in The Village, across from the gondola. Call 760-9435200 for more information.

Shopping Mahogany Smoked Meats. Mahogany Smoked Meats. Country Store & Deli. Free samples! Stop by our store. Located at N. Hwy 395 in Bishop. Call 1-888-624-6426 or 760-873-5311 or visit www. smokedmeats.com for more information. Mammoth Luxury Outlets. The advantage is yours: Polo, Coach and other nationally named brands at the lowest prices anywhere. Located on Main Street in Mammoth Lakes. Coach, Polo, Bass, Van Heusen, Great Outdoors, Graphic Conclusion, Perry’s Italian Café, Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre, Le Centre. Call Kathleen Rudder 760-934-9771, 760937-0889 or visit www.luxuryoutlets.com for more information.

Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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L o c al L ife

Dan & Leslie

Dawson

this Mammoth couple makes nature and wildlife part of work and fun. What brought you to the Eastern Sierra? Dan was hired as the Director of the Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve in the fall of 1979, and we moved here in the spring of 1980. Dan had been working in a research position in the Chemistry Department at UCSB when he saw the job in Mammoth advertised. So he changed jobs but not employers.

Why do you stay?

Photo taken by MMSA photographer

Leslie started working for Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve in 1995. We love the lifestyle in the Eastern Sierra, enjoy working for the University of California and have two daughters in Mammoth High School. We are very involved in the local schools and the community. We stay because this is our home.

Favorite places to go? Dan and I both love to ski, both alpine and Nordic. We enjoy skiing at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, especially mid-week, but also manage to get up to Tamarack to cross-country ski fairly often. Snowcreek Athletic Club and Keough’s Hot Springs are also favorite places to exercise and socialize. In the summer, any one of the local hikes into the wilderness makes for a wonderful day.

Ideal day off?

Leslie and Dan Dawson spend a day on the Mountain with their daughters, Kendall and Makie.

Any time our family can get outside and do something fun.

Best meal in town?

Current projects?

Dan’s brother, Tim Dawson, owns Nevados, so to keep the family harmony, we must stay loyal and pick Nevados. We love the fresh fish specials, Caesar salad, extensive wine list, and appreciate the generous pour.

Dan is currently involved in a big SNARL laboratory remodel, funded by an NSF grant. He is also on the Mammoth NOW Foundation Board working on private fund raising to improve the local schools. Leslie is organizing children’s summer classes at Valentine Reserve, adult walks and talks at Valentine and the SNARL seminar series. She has also started volunteering for the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area as a naturalist.

Can’t live without? Lots of open space and fresh air. 34

May | June 2010

Mammoth Sierra Magazine


A d vertisers' Index

Ca l e n d a r o f Ev e n t s may | june 2010

Chart House Restaurant������������������������������������ 16 Eastern Sierra Community Bank������������������������ 21 Grand Havens Luxury Resort Rentals����������������� 32 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power����� 17 Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce���������������������� 25 Mahogany Smoked Meats��������������������������������� 24 Mammoth Estates Condominium Rentals������������ 17 Mammoth Luxury Outlets����������������������������������� 4 Mammoth Mountain Reservations Rentals���������� 36 Mammoth Premiere Reservations���������������������� 23 Mammoth Sierra Reservations Rentals��������������� 33 Mammoth Ski & Racquet Club Rentals��������������� 21 MeadowRidge Condominium Rentals����������������� 14 Mountainback Condominium Rentals����������������� 21 Mule Days 2010����������������������������������������������� 25 Nik-N-Willie’s Pizza-N-Subs������������������������������� 16 Northern Inyo Hospital��������������������������������������� 2 NPG Cable and High Speed Internet��������������������� 8 Paiute Palace Casino & Restaurant�������������������� 32 Seasons IV Condominium Rentals���������������������� 14 Shea Schat’s Family Bakery & Sandwich Bar����� 31 Side Door Bistro������������������������������������������������ 16 Sierra Nevada Lodge & Rafters��������������������������� 8 Southern Inyo Hospital��������������������������������������� 8 State Farm Insurance���������������������������������������� 32 Sunshine Village Condominium Rentals�������������� 14 The Finishing Touch Interior Design Studio & Sales��� 25 The Trout Fitter/Trout Fly���������������������������������� 17 Town of Mammoth Lakes Info��������������������������� 31 Town of Mammoth Lakes/Police������������������������ 23 Virtual Stone Studios/Decorative Concrete��������� 32 Window Fair/Drapes, Blinds, Shutters���������������� 21 May | June 2010

April 26-June 12 Convict Lake Spring Fishing Derby May 1 Chamber Music Unbound presents “Musica Vive” at Cerro Coso Mammoth Concert Series May 1-2 West Coast Invitational and Rail Jam at Mammoth Mountain May 4 Round-up at the Lake: Convict Lake Spring Fishing Derby SNARL Lecture Series at Green Church May 5 Cinco de Mayo Festivities at the Village at Mammoth

Photo© Cat Connor

Best Western Hotel������������������������������������������� 13

May 8 International Migratory Bird Day May 11 SNARL Lecture Series at Green Church May 14 Family Movie Night at the Library

A Red Tail Hawk searches for his dinner in Hammil Valley, November 2009.

May 18 SNARL Lecture Series at Green Church

June 5 Tour of Homes Fundraiser by the Lutheran Church

May 20 Diabetic Walk to Mammoth Creek View Point

June 7-11 Disabled Sports “Wounded Warriors” project

May 22 Mountain Warfare Training Challenge in Bridgeport

June 8 SNARL Lecture Series at Green Church

May 25 SNARL Lecture Series at Green Church

June 12 KidApalooza Children’s Festival at Mammoth Creek Park

May 26-30 Mule Days in Bishop

June 8 SNARL Lecture Series at Green Church

May 28 Family Movie Night at the Library Snowcreek Golf Course Projected Opening Day

June 17-27 2010 Ford Mammoth Motocross

May 29 Mammoth Museum/Hayden Cabin Opening Day Sierra Star Golf Course Projected Opening Day Town of Mammoth Lakes Clean Up Day May 29-30 Friends of the Library Memorial Day Book Sale Convict Lake Memorial Day BBQ and Music June 1 SNARL Lecture Series at Green Church

June 18-20 Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua at Mono Lake June 19 Official Motocross Party Whitmore Pool Projected Opening Day and Free Swim Day Mammoth Mountain Bike Park and Gondola Opening Day June 19-20 M.L.T.C. Summer Solstice Tennis Tournament June 26 Mammoth Concert Series Summer Solstice Celebrations at the Village

For a complete calendar visit www.mammothtimes.com Mammoth Sierra Magazine

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Mammoth Sierra Magazine #43