After a massive effort to remove the downed trees felled by the giant windstorm last year, the Reds Meadow Shuttle Service is scheduled to begin this week on Friday, June 29.
Dozens of cleanup crews, including volunteers, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and other interested parties, have been working since early May to make the popular camping, hiking and fishing area accessible to the public. Tens of thousands of trees fell on the area last fall, during a windstorm called the Devils Windstorm, sometimes completely covering trails and campgrounds and parking lots in huge trees piled on top of each other from five to 30-feet deep.
Although not all Res Meadows campgrounds and destinations will be open Friday,the trees have been cleared sufficiently to provide access to the Valleyâ€™s primary destination, including Devils Postpile National Monument, Reds Meadow Resort, and Rainbow Falls.
The 2012 Reds Meadow Shuttle Service will now feature Eastern Sierra Transitâ€™s fleet of all-new, Federal Transit Administration-funded buses. The new buses include a number of passenger-friendly amenities such as a low-floor design that allows boarding with just one step, bike racks on each bus to accommodate up to three bikes, a backpack storage area, and larger windows.
The 2012 Reds Meadow Shuttle is scheduled to operate daily from June 29 through Wednesday, September 5. The fare, which remains the same as last year, is $7 for adults and $4 for children for a round-trip pass that includes unlimited stops within the Valley.
The first daily bus departs the Village at 7:15 a.m. and the Adventure Center at Main Lodge at 7:30 a.m.
Buses operate from the Adventure Center every 20 minutes or less, from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
The last bus departs Reds Meadow Resort for the trip back out of the Valley at 7:45 p.m.
Reds Meadow and Devils Postpile Campgrounds will be open on a first come-first served basis at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 29.
The Forest Service is planning to open Pumice Flat and portions of Minaret Falls Campground in subsequent days. Campsite availability will be tracked by staff at the Minaret Vista Ranger Station and campers will be informed of availability upon arrival at the station, beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Friday.
Group campgrounds remain closed and reservations are not being accepted at this time.
Most of the area trails have been cleared and are open to the public, including access to the primary destinations of the Valley, Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls. The Forest Service estimates that nearly 2,000 trees have been cleared from trails in and around the Reds Meadow Valley.
The Forest Service is making every effort to clear recognizable and identifiable hazards from developed recreation sites (roads, non-wilderness trails, campgrounds, trailheads, etc.). Invaluable assistance has come from other partners such as the Pacific Crest Trail Association, Student Conservation Association, Youth Conservation Corps, AmeriCorps, American Conservation Experience, Friends of the Inyo and Backcountry Horsemen of California.
But hazards continue to be present in the general forest areas and in a small number of developed recreation sites. Hazards have not been cleared in Agnew Meadows and Upper Soda Springs Campgrounds and these areas are closed to all public entry. Numerous and varied hazards exist in wilderness and other undeveloped forest areas. Visitors to these areas should understand the risks and know how to identify and avoid potential hazards.
Road work, repairs and removal of logs from the Valley will continue throughout the summer. Visitors may experience unexpected delays. Temporary road closures may be necessary and will be scheduled in an effort to minimally disrupt public use and enjoyment of the area.
Maps that display information on the status of all area trails and identify remaining problem areas are available on the Inyo National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/Inyo/Blowdown.
More information about the Reds Meadow Shuttle, including a complete schedule, is available at www.estransit.com.
For more information, please call the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center at (760) 924-5500 or visit the Welcome Center at 2510 Hwy 203 next to the Mammoth Ranger Station. (end)