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Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
#56955 05/05/20 08:03 PM
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This location will open on June 1, 2020 for reservations and arrivals. Local managers are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff. We are following the guidelines from our agency and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions. Please continue to monitor this page for status updates.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
ace #56958 05/05/20 08:35 PM
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Source?

Here's an article on the local political thinking behind the shutdown and possible never-opening.

The Sheet

Last edited by 123Zero; 05/05/20 09:15 PM.
Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
123Zero #56959 05/05/20 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted By: 123Zero

Here's an article on the local political thinking behind the shutdown and possible never-opening.

The Sheet

I don't see anything on that article regarding never-opening. The latest closing date mentioned was June 30. I can't imagine leaving those areas closed in 2021, 2022, and beyond.

If you're never going to open those areas again, you might as well permanently relocate everyone out of Bishop and the other Eastern Sierra towns and turn over the whole thing to LADWP.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
Big Pine #56960 05/05/20 09:41 PM
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It was hyperbole.

That said, if they shut down the parks and roads until July 1st I think that most of the small businesses in the Owens Valley will need to file for bankruptcy protection unless the State or Fed steps in to protect them with debt forgiveness or grants. Loans (and the following loan service) even at near 0% interest are not going to be enough for many small business owners. I think most people in the Owens Valley understand this, and so when I hear that the people over there are "overwhelmingly against re-opening," I'm highly dubious about it.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
123Zero #56961 05/05/20 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted By: 123Zero
It was hyperbole.

I'm glad to hear that. Reading too many articles like this make me worried: https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/14/health/social-distancing-research-coronavirus-2022-trnd/index.html

edit: This is the most troubling part - "Even in the event of apparent elimination, SARS-CoV-2 surveillance should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024."

Last edited by Big Pine; 05/05/20 10:11 PM.
Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
ace #56962 05/06/20 07:07 AM
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The Owens Valley is a microcosm of America. If the businesses stay shut, the virus spread is minimal, but the price will be bankruptcy and unemployment. If they open, they avoid financial ruin, but the price will be more people dying. There is point where you have to say "We're screwed."

I have health issues that make it unlikely that I could survive the virus. It will be a long time before I eat a restaurant meal or stay at a motel or fly in an airplane. It won't kill me to skip the Owens Valley for a year. It might kill me if I don't.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
ace #56963 05/06/20 10:39 AM
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All the recreation.gov pages I looked up today for the Inyo NF, Whitney Permits, and Whitney Portal CG currently state:

This location is closed. Affected reservations have been cancelled and refunds have been issued. Local managers are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff. We are following the guidelines from our agency and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions. Please continue to monitor this page for status updates.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
Ian B #56964 05/06/20 11:05 AM
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I've been researching it all morning.

Basically, Whitney Portal is closed because it's a tourism draw and the county is worried about a lot of people with COVID-19 coming up from LA. There is a lot of political tension around the issue because the region depends on tourism. Re-opening will require the coordination of the forest and the county, which adds a layer of confusion. The county has control over the winter gates and can open or close them when they want to. I wouldn't hold my breath for a May 15th opening. I think it'll be more like June 1st at the earliest, maybe into July. Basically, Inyo County seems set on tracking the governor's exact position, and won't open up earlier unless people start boarding up their stores.

In other news, I'm almost back to running marathons...

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
123Zero #56965 05/06/20 04:13 PM
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Everyone needs to check Whitney Portal Campground on Rec.gov. Saying it will never open again lol.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
ace #56966 05/06/20 06:10 PM
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I'm pretty sure I reserved and paid for a Whitney Portal Campground site for late August. I did it May 1 as I was reserving a day Whitney permit. Maybe I overlooked the year.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
RenoFrank #56967 05/06/20 06:55 PM
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Just had my Cottonwood Lakes backcountry permit for May 29-31 cancelled. But Whitney overnight on May 23 is still not cancelled. I expect that any day. Hopefully, the forest is opened in June.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
RichardK #56968 05/08/20 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted By RichardK
The Owens Valley is a microcosm of America. If the businesses stay shut, the virus spread is minimal, but the price will be bankruptcy and unemployment. If they open, they avoid financial ruin, but the price will be more people dying. There is point where you have to say "We're screwed."

I have health issues that make it unlikely that I could survive the virus. It will be a long time before I eat a restaurant meal or stay at a motel or fly in an airplane. It won't kill me to skip the Owens Valley for a year. It might kill me if I don't.


Stay safe Richard. But keep in mind that nearly all infections occur indoors (over 99%). Here's an really good article which put the various risks factors into perspective.

https://erinbromage.wixsite.com/covid19/post/the-risks-know-them-avoid-them

Last edited by bruce; 05/08/20 02:44 PM.
Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
bruce #56969 05/08/20 09:19 PM
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Bruce, that is an excellent article. Thanks for posting it.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
RichardK #56970 05/08/20 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted By 123Zero

Here's an article...
The Sheet

Originally Posted By bridamour
Hopefully, the forest is opened in June.

I hope it opens earlier, but from that article, my best guess is that it opens on June 15:
“At Whitney Portal, I won’t have anyone until June 15. This has a huge effect on our resources.”

Originally Posted By RichardK
The Owens Valley is a microcosm of America. If the businesses stay shut, the virus spread is minimal, but the price will be bankruptcy and unemployment. If they open, they avoid financial ruin, but the price will be more people dying. There is point where you have to say "We're screwed."

Since it's nearly impossible to develop a vaccine or cure in just a few months, there are (were?) only two options for getting over this quickly:

A.) A very strict 6-week lockdown early on to drive cases to nearly zero and allow daily testing for the few people who may be infected. No outdoor exercise, no flights or construction work, no takeout at restaurants. Each household is allowed only one day a week out of the house to stock up on groceries. Both individuals and businesses get bailouts during this period. The country opens up completely after that.

B.) Quarantine everyone older than 60, everyone with moderate or severe health conditions, and everyone living with those people. Pay them three-quarters of their normal salary for two months. For everyone else, let it rip. Leave the concerts, bars, sporting events, etc. open so that those low-risk folks can get the virus, recover, and build immunity. The resulting herd immunity would then protect the high-risk guys once their quarantine is lifted 6-8 weeks later.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
Big Pine #56979 05/09/20 01:35 PM
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Big Pine, I generally agree with what you're saying. I do take issue with the commonly cited idea of "we're taking precautions to protect elderly and vulnerable individuals." I hear and read it A LOT and it's just wrong. A 4 day old died of COVID a few days ago. Children are getting sick and some are dying. Previously healthy people in their 20's, 30's, and 40's are getting sick and dying. Many people who survive the illness say they've never been so sick in their lives. Those who do survive sometimes have organ damage that may be permanent. It is correct to say that the elderly and those with chronic health issues are at greater risk of more severe illness and death, but that doesn't mean younger healthy people are immune. And then there's the unseen risk of kids becoming asymptomatic carriers who can infect anyone they're around... And for those who say just let the virus do its thing, kill off the old and weak people, develop herd immunity... which friends and family members are you willing to sacrifice?

The hard part of all this is how to thread the needle in limiting disease spread while minimizing the impact on the economy and society. Hard decisions...

Last edited by SoCal Jim; 05/09/20 01:37 PM.
Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
SoCal Jim #57011 05/15/20 03:58 PM
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The following is a link to the latest (May 15th) Inyo National Forest news letter on the current status.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd739146.pdf

paul

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
Paul #57012 05/15/20 05:24 PM
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This version of the announcement does not state that Whitney portal is closed. Only states that the services are closed. Going to need call to validate if you can still get a your pass. Lack of clarity is pretty poor.

Re: Whitney Portal Opens June 1st
jimsisco #57016 05/15/20 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted By jimsisco
This version of the announcement does not state that Whitney portal is closed. Only states that the services are closed. Going to need call to validate if you can still get a your pass. Lack of clarity is pretty poor.

They leave three questions unanswered:
1. Are the parking lots closed? I think not.
2. Is the store closed? I’ll bet it is.
3. Can you climb Whitney when the visitor centers are closed and there is no way to pick up a permit? I think you’re out of luck.


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