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Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
#58116 10/02/20 01:19 PM
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The closure has been extended until December 1 for the Inyo NF portion of the John Muir Wilderness. Almost all of the Whitney Zone, including the trail, is within this closure zone. I have heard that the closure is being enforced and tickets are being issued for violations.

Between COVID closures, rockfall closures, and these fires closures, I would guess Whitney summits are down by a lot this year.

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Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
Ian B #58117 10/02/20 03:21 PM
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If Golden Trout is closed, does that mean Horseshoe Meadow is closed?

Is there any legal way to summit Mt Langley (Tuttle Creek)?

I read that the water is shut off there and fire restrictions are in effect. No problem if this is known in advance. We just want to acclimate there.

If most of the Whitney Zone is closed, but the portal is open, is Meysan Lake trail open? (Hell, at this point I would make the drive for even this.)

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
futbol #58118 10/02/20 03:41 PM
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[Linked Image]

Here is a map shared by the INF twitter account. I wish it was higher resolution, but you can see the closed areas.

futbol, best bet is to look at CalTopo or other topo map source and figure out where the Wilderness boundary is for the area you are looking at. From what I can tell, the Wilderness boundary is very close to the Horseshoe Meadows TH, and about a mile from the summer homes at the the Meysan Lakes TH.

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
Ian B #58119 10/02/20 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ian B
...

Here is a map shared by the INF twitter account. I wish it was higher resolution, but you can see the closed areas.

futbol, best bet is to look at CalTopo or other topo map source and figure out where the Wilderness boundary is for the area you are looking at. From what I can tell, the Wilderness boundary is very close to the Horseshoe Meadows TH, and about a mile from the summer homes at the the Meysan Lakes TH.

Ian, thanks for this info!

Maybe our plan C should be Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park or White Mountain. I will research it.

Last edited by futbol; 10/02/20 04:03 PM.
Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
Ian B #58120 10/04/20 05:07 AM
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Well, the advance notice gives me time to plan what to do on the days of my trip that were for Whitney.

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
bramasoleiowa #58121 10/04/20 08:50 AM
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Telescope Peak is an outstanding alternative to the Sierra. It may be 100+ on the valley floor, but the trail will be very comfortable. Any vehicle can make it as far as the charcoal kilns. It's not a big deal to start hiking from there. The road continuing to Mahogany Flat can be 4-wd depending on conditions. The views are world class with Mt Whitney to the west and Badwater to the east. The elevation difference (Telescope at 11,043' and Badwater at -282') for two places that close together is one of the largest on earth. If you have never hiked Telescope, you owe it to yourself to go.

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
RichardK #58122 10/04/20 11:19 AM
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I studied the map on the forest service website. It looks like the general area between any trailhead on the Eastern Sierra and the Inyo county line is closed. My preliminary conclusion from looking at this is that you need to access the Eastern Sierra from the west. One exception looks to be the Mosquito Flat trailhead.

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
RichardK #58123 10/04/20 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by RichardK
Telescope Peak is an outstanding alternative to the Sierra. It may be 100+ on the valley floor, but the trail will be very comfortable. Any vehicle can make it as far as the charcoal kilns. It's not a big deal to start hiking from there. The road continuing to Mahogany Flat can be 4-wd depending on conditions. The views are world class with Mt Whitney to the west and Badwater to the east. The elevation difference (Telescope at 11,043' and Badwater at -282') for two places that close together is one of the largest on earth. If you have never hiked Telescope, you owe it to yourself to go.

I hiked Telescope Peak about 2 years ago. The road to Mahogany Flat is very rough, but I was able to do it in a 2WD Ford Ranger. That is definitely not a spot to get stuck.

There is a spotty cell signal (Vzw) near the trailhead, but none at the summit.

As you mention, the weather was ideal starting and staying at altitude.

You can even see Mt San Gorgonio and Mt Charleston in Nevada from the summit.

edit: Looks like White Mountain is closed and the gate is closed past the charcoal kilns before Telescope Peak trailhead.

Last edited by futbol; 10/04/20 02:05 PM.
Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
BFR #58124 10/04/20 08:28 PM
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From what I can tell on the low resolution closure map is that the Mosquito Flat trail head and the Little Lakes Valley appears to be open. The Little Lakes Valley trail head page in the Inyo NF site also says "Area Status: Open." If anyone has been up there to confirm that is open I would be most appreciative of the beta.

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
jackeichler #58125 10/04/20 09:15 PM
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You can legally hike from any INF trailhead until you hit the wooden Wilderness sign. For Mosquito Flat TH (aka Little Lakes Valley), you get about a quarter of a mile of hiking before the Wilderness boundary (screenshot below). Check out CalTopo to get a sense of where these Wilderness boundaries lie within the Inyo National Forest.

[Linked Image]

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
Ian B #58128 10/05/20 10:35 AM
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Thanks. Though can you confirm that the swath of land that isn't in the closure that bisects the fire closure doesn't inlcude the Little Lakes Valley? It appears on the fire closure map the Little Lakes Valley lies in that small open zone, but when you zoom in you can't read the map (it is pretty low res when you zoom in). It would seem odd to me that they would keep that trail head open for 1/4 mile of hiking.

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
jackeichler #58130 10/05/20 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jackeichler
... Though can you confirm that the swath of land that isn't in the closure that bisects the fire closure doesn't inlcude the Little Lakes Valley? It appears on the fire closure map the Little Lakes Valley lies in that small open zone, but when you zoom in you can't read the map (it is pretty low res when you zoom in). It would seem odd to me that they would keep that trail head open for 1/4 mile of hiking.

"They" didn't "keep that trail head open for 1/4 mile of hiking." The Forest Service closed entry at the legally defined boundary of the wilderness. Their response is clear and accurate. It's just their map in the forest order that sucks. Ian B has posted a better map. Use it instead.

Dale B Dalrymple

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
dbd #58131 10/06/20 05:50 AM
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Just received another permit cancellation. Looks like the closure has been/ will be extended through 11/1/2020 (although it's noted it goes through Dec31 but will be modified as needed).

Quote
Wilderness permits for 10/8/2020 through 11/01/2020 are being cancelled and will be refunded automatically through your recreation.gov account.

Many Inyo National Forest trails lead into active fire areas that are temporarily under evacuation orders or closure. The Eastern Sierra is experiencing persistent heavy smoke. While we manage these complex and difficult fires the following wilderness areas are closed for day hikes as well as overnight use:

• Ansel Adams

• John Muir (includes Mt Whitney area)

• Golden Trout

• South Sierra

• Owens River Headwaters

• Hoover Wilderness (Inyo portion)

This closure is in effect through December 1, 2020 and may be rescinded or extended as needed.

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
dbd #58132 10/07/20 07:26 AM
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Well, the forest service could have closed down that entire area, including the trailhead, if they so desired.

At any rate, I called the ranger station and they confirmed the Mosquito Flat trailhead is open but any hiking past the Inyo NF boundary is not permitted.

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
jackeichler #58133 10/07/20 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jackeichler
Well, the forest service could have closed down that entire area, including the trailhead, if they so desired.
...

Yes they could. But it is easier to use boundaries that are already signed and to enforce closures where there are already gates. So when they say they have picked such boundaries, I believe them and look at a map. Sometimes you might need to look at a better map. They are available. They've been posted here.

Dale B. Dalrymple

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
dbd #58134 10/07/20 01:24 PM
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Well, if the goal is to prevent people from hiking into wilderness areas, it would actually be more effective to block off all major trailheads completely. Stating that a trail head is open (which is clearly stated on the Little Lakes Valley Trailhead page within the Inyo NF website) is only inviting folks to hike into areas where they should not be hiking.

And the "better map" that was posted by Ian B was just a zoomed in section of a CalTopo map, showing the boundary of the Inyo NF. It didn't help in trying to decipher where the unclosed area was located in the map posted by the Inyo NF Service, which clealry shows a section of unclosed wilderness bisecting the entire closed section of Inyo NF. Bottom line, no reason for you to act like grumpy smurf here in the message board...

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
jackeichler #58138 10/08/20 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jackeichler
Well, if the goal is to prevent people from hiking into wilderness areas, it would actually be more effective to block off all major trailheads completely.
National Forests contain many resources, developed at government expense, that can still be safely accessed today. The portion of Mosquito Flats above the next gate below the trailhead provides parking, restrooms, great views, picnicing and fishing. The stream hosts abundant wild brook trout, a few wild brown trout and, most years, hatchery rainbows. Why should these safe opportunities be closed?

Originally Posted by jackeichler
Stating that a trail head is open (which is clearly stated on the Little Lakes Valley Trailhead page within the Inyo NF website) is only inviting folks to hike into areas where they should not be hiking.

Only willful criminals and incompetent map readers.

Originally Posted by jackeichler
And the "better map" that was posted by Ian B was just a zoomed in section of a CalTopo map, showing the boundary of the Inyo NF.
Yes, a "MapBuilder Topo" base layer. A forest service topo base layer is also available there with the same information. Ian B seems to have been careful enough to include a section on the left that clearly labels the wilderness boundary to those who read maps.

Originally Posted by jackeichler
It didn't help in trying to decipher where the unclosed area was located in the map posted by the Inyo NF Service, which clealry shows a section of unclosed wilderness bisecting the entire closed section of Inyo NF.
I find it hard to accept any suggestion that the map posted with the Forest Order shows anything clearly, but the text in the order is accurate and higher resolution maps clearly show the boundries.

Originally Posted by jackeichler
Bottom line, no reason for you to act like grumpy smurf here in the message board...

I was not aware that the grumpy smurfs had come out against ignorant map reading. Thank you for that information. I'm sure that they too hope that anyone who intends to travel in wilderness will acquire map reading capability first. There are already a number of well organized hiking groups that also make this suggestion.

Dale B. Dalrymple

Last edited by dbd; 10/08/20 09:53 AM. Reason: Added "not" in last response
Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
Ian B #58139 10/08/20 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jackeichler
which clealry shows a section of unclosed wilderness bisecting the entire closed section of Inyo NF

I am thinking jack is referring to the below? This is the lower portion of the Rock Creek drainage, which is not Wilderness. There is a road that goes all the way to the southern end of this open portion of the Forest. The paved road terminates at the Mosquito Flat TH. I provided a zoomed in map of the southern part of this non-red finger of open INF land, with the Wilderness boundary shown as a purple line.

Apologies jack for the confusion, I made the classic mistake of trying to be helpful.

[Linked Image]

Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
Ian B #58140 10/08/20 11:24 AM
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Yea, that's the area to which I was referring. I had seen the same map on the Inyo NF site, but definitely appreciated you posting it here as well. The confusion came about because I thought they would have marked all of the closed wilderness areas, not just the Inyo NF boundary. After calling the ranger station it became clear the closure map provided by Inyo didn't mark the other closed wilderness areas that border Inyo to the west (John Muir, Sierra, etc.). Additionally, it seemed odd to me they would keep the Rock Creek Drainage open given the closed areas that surround it. With the high fire danger and closed areas being so close, keeping that area free of human activity would seem like the prudent decision. At any rate, I thought it would be helpful to the message board in general to clarify exactly what was open in that area. The fact their map was low res and didn't mark all of the closure areas wasn't your fault.

Not sure why that line of questioning/discussion set off Mr. dbd. Perhaps displaying an aura of self-rightousness helps boost his self esteem...

Last edited by jackeichler; 10/08/20 11:25 AM.
Re: Inyo NF Partial Reopening, Wilderness still closed)
jackeichler #58143 10/09/20 12:32 PM
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Early season we had people blaming the Forest Service for county, state and rec.gov problems that were out of FS control. At least those people were in favor of access.

Late season, while coping with a record fire year, we get someone who, confused by the rules, despite direct accurate responses to his questions keeps suggesting that it would be easier to close down what safe recreation access remains so he wouldn't be confused.

There are still a lot of people outdoors looking for mountain access. (See So Cal Jim's post.) The forest service is doing what it can to preserve safe access and now people suggest shutting access down to cure their confusion. A tough year for the FS, but I think that where they had a say, they got it right.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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