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Ranch Road peace process gets boost with new signs

March 5, 2011

The Ranch Road Peace Accords got another piece of reinforcement this week.

Five years after homeowners on Ranch Road and backcountry enthusiasts clashed over egress from the mountains, the Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation announced that new signs are in the ground, guiding skiers and snowboarders to the public access easement at the Ranch Road Gate.

Much of the route runs on top of Snowcreek Golf Course, which two years ago placed directional signs on the route as a result of Snowcreek VIII Master Development Plan.

The Ranch Road war was over.

However, MLTPA recognized a need for directional signage situated off the Snowcreek property.

“It’s still going to take a lot of work to keep people off homeowners’ properties,” said MLTPA chief John Wentworth.

“We just felt that there’s always room to improve things.”

MLTPA announced the new signage in a press release on Tuesday.

“Winter recreationists are urged to follow this legal route across the Snowcreek Golf Course, as it is the sole legal egress route to town from the Sherwin Range between Mill City to the west and the Borrow Pit to the east,” the MLTPA release stated.

The agreement arose out of a partnership among The Chadmar Group (developer of Snowcreek VIII), the Town of Mammoth Lakes and MLTPA.

MLTPA appealed to the skiers and snowboarders specifically.

“Please respect the rights of homeowners and private-property interests and assist your fellow backcountry enthusiasts in reinforcing the value of this route for the long term by following the installed signage across the Snowcreek Golf Course as you exit the Sherwins.

The conflict began five years ago when homeowners along Ranch Road complained vociferously about Sherwins winter enthusiasts using their street.

They complained of unruly behavior, littering, drinking and even urinating on their properties, as well as illegal parking – some in the homeowners’ own driveways.

That led to the installation of a controversial gate on the road, and it also led to the rise of John Wentworth, who formed MLTPA in response.

That almost seems like ancient history now.

Those with questions or concerns about the route should contact Mammoth Public Works Director Ray Jarvis, at rjarvis@ci.mammoth-lakes.ca.us, (760) 934-8989 ext. 257, or Snowcreek’s John Morris at jmorris@snowcreekresort.com, (760) 934-3333.

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