ECM: Inyo County Approves Grants to Local Non-Profit Groups for 2019


Inyo County Approves Grants to Local Non-Profit Groups for 2019

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors recently approved nine grants to various local, non- profit community groups and organizations, for a total of $20,984. The grant process is part of the county’s Community Project Sponsorship Program, which awards grants to projects and programs that will help promote the area to visitors, create events that attract local residents and visitors, or enhance the cultural life of residents. For 2019 the Board of Supervisors approved roughly 19 CPSP grants, with a total allocation of $95,000.

The grant awards included providing $7,500 to each of the four local Fishing Derbies (the Lone Pine Early Opener, The Blake Jones Trout Derby, the Big Pine Trout Derby, and the Independence Trout Derby). In addition, $5,000 was set aside for other longstanding fishing-related promotions and events. Also, $39,016 was allocated to other successful, yearly projects and events (The Wild Wild West Marathon, the Inyo County Visitor Guide, the Death Valley Visitor Guide, the California High School Rodeo Finals, and the Inyo Shootout Photo Contest).

The third segment of the grant program involves dispersing $20,984 through the CPSP “competitive grant” process. Nine local non-profit groups submitted grant applications for 13 separate events or programs. The total requested was $58,085. A grant review panel made up of three residents scored each grant application based on the criteria in the Grant Guidelines. The panel also worked collaboratively to award the total of $20,984 in available grant funding. The grant review panel recommended funding for nine grants. The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the grant award recommendations at its March 12 regular meeting.

The following is a list of the nine projects, events and programs approved for CPSP grant awards in 2018.

  • Fifth Annual Owens Lake Bird Festival (Friends of the Inyo): This well-received event continues to highlight the birding and wildlife viewing opportunities on the Owens Dry Lake, which has become a notable, statewide birding destination. The festival attracts visitors from around the region, state and the country. Grant award, $2,600.

  • First Annual SIH Salvation Foundation Car Show (Southern Inyo Hospital Salvation Foundation): This new, non-profit foundation will host a Car Show and related activities on the grounds of the Southern Inyo Hospital. The event will raise funds for the foundation. Grant award $1,667.

  • Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair Entertainment (Friends of the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair): This non-profit group will use the grant proceeds to augment the aggressive online, social media and digital marketing campaign for the 2019 Tri-County Fair Concert/Grandstand entertainment. Grant award, $2,500.

  • Mule Days Digital Promotion of the 50 th Annual Mule Days Video (Mules Days): The Bishop Mules Days Celebration is marking its 50 th anniversary with a historical, promotional video. The grant will help promote the video to a national audience though online and social media campaigns, which will also highlight and promote visitation to Inyo County and the Owens Valley. Grant award, $3,000.

  • Music in the Courtyard (Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce): This popular event brings live music from local bands and musicians to Lone Pine on summer evenings, which is enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. Grant award, $2,883.

  • Easy Hiking Trails Brochure (Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau): Grant funds will be used to help reprint this popular brochure, which highlights hikes in the Bishop, Independence and Lone Pine areas. Grant award, $1,117.

  • Eastern Sierra Dispersed Camping “Leave No Trace” Visitor Handout (Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau): This new brochure will highlight “Leave No Trace” and other ecologically friendly camping guidelines to help visitors learn how to reduce impacts from dispersed camping. It is hoped local and regional public land management agencies will also contribute to this educational effort in the future. Grant award, $1,600.

  • Inyo County FAM Tours (Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau): This project helps educate front-line hospitality employees about the numerous attractions and events in Inyo County so they can provide useful, up-to-date information to visitors. Grant award, $2,000.

  • First Friday Market (Bishop Mural Society/Eastern Sierra Artists): This event debuted last year and generated a great response and impressive attendance from visitors and residents. The event works to highlight the Bishop Farmer’s Market and add food and beverage vendors and a contingent of local artists, crafters and performers to the event, which will be held on Warren Street in Downtown Bishop. There will be four, First Friday Markets during the summer. The City of Bishop has offered its support, as well. Grant award, $3,667.

MLRT: Mountain Culture Month - Speaker Ryan Tetz

MOUNTAIN CULTURE MONTH: This Week Come Climb California’s Highest Peaks


Mammoth Lakes, CA – Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director Shira Dubrovner announced a unique partnership with Lia Webb of Adventure Hub to co-produce a series of extraordinary presentations titled Mountain Culture Month throughout the entire month of March.  The week’s series speaker is Ryan Tetz, presenting On My Own Power – Records on California’s 14ers on Wednesday March 20th at Edison Theatre. Tetz is a Mammoth Lakes local, nurse, and accomplished endurance athlete whose most recent adventures combine biking and “peak bagging:” a unique endurance challenge involving climbing a series of mountains peaks in rapid succession. Come here Ryan speak about his attempt to set a new record Fastest Known Time (FKT) biking and climbing the California 14ers: a list of all the mountains in California higher than 14,000 ft, including Mount Muir, Mount Shasta, and Mount Whitney summit. To achieve the record, Ryan had to complete the list in just about 8 days.

“Most people would be satisfied with just making it to the top of Mount Whitney once,” Webb stated, “but not Ryan. His daring spirit and single-minded dedication to pushing himself to his limits is incredibly inspiring, and hearing him talk about these attempts makes you feel like you’re on the adventure with him.”

Ryan Tetz is a mountain guide, climber, and longtime eastside resident. A powerful and accomplished endurance athlete, one of his proudest accomplishment is earning the record for FKT on the Badwater to Whitney Duathlon in 2017. The bike/hike challenge took him from Badwater, Death Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney in less than 14 hours, requiring 132 miles of uphill road cycling before he even began the climb. He originally set the record several years prior, before losing it to Don Bowie in 2014. In his post on, Ryan wrote “I went 47 minutes faster than my first attempt, taking back the record at this moment as the fastest man to go from the lowest to highest points in the lower 48 on my own power! I'm wrecked, couch bound, not functional! #grateful” In September of last year, he chose to tackle the California 14ers. The list is a grueling challenge for any climber, including highly technical peaks in the Palisades and stretching from Mount Shasta in the Northern Cascades to Mount Langley in the Sierra Nevada. Add to that the challenge of biking from peak to peak and trying to set a multi-sport record on his own power, and you can understand the unique mental and physical endurance required for such an attempt.

Please join Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre and Adventure Hub at Edison Theatre next Wednesday, March 20th at 7pm to hear Ryan share stories from the trail as well as some memorable stories from his childhood in the Eastside. Ticketing, information and details at

WHO: Mammoth Lakes Repertory Theatre
Mountain Culture Month – On My Own Power – Records on California’s 14ers
WHEN: March 20 at 7:00 PM
WHERE: Edison Theatre, 100 College Parkway, Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
COST: Tickets online: $10; Tickets at the door: $12 No discounts

ICA: SAVE THE DATE - Banff Mountain Film Festival


Ignite your passion for adventure, action, and travel! This year’s exhilarating and provocative films explore remote landscapes, highlight mountain cultures, and feature exciting adventures and adrenaline-packed sports.

Doors open at 6pm, films start at 7pm, with different films shown each night.

Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival is brought to the Eastern Sierra by Inyo Council for the Arts.
When: Mar. 29-30, 2019 (6:30pm nightly)

Where: Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds - Charles Brown Auditorium
Cost: $15 per night
Ticket Location: Bishop - Eastside Sports & Inyo Council for the Arts. Mammoth - Booky Joint
Questions: Inyo Council for the Arts at 760-873-8014 or visit

Sage to Summit: Winter Race Series #3


We are teaming up again with the Inyo Search and Rescue to bring you the amazing Winter Race Series! This is the third (and final) race of the series - it will be a 5k loop. All ages and ability levels welcome.
 and Altra Running reps will be at the race from 8-10am. Try out shoes and pick one to RACE in. Get a head start on wearing your favorite shoe this season!

When: Sat. Mar. 16 (8am-11am)
Registration starts at 8am
Race starts at 9am
Where: Millpond Recreation Area - Bishop, CA
Suggested donation: $10 - all funds raised will go to the Inyo SAR

Alabama Hills Stewardship Group: Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Becomes Law


Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Becomes Law

Lone Pine, CA (March 12, 2019) – The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, along with dozens of area stakeholders and the community of Lone Pine are celebrating the passage of a congressional measure that will create the first ever “Alabama Hills National Scenic Area”!

“All these years of community input has helped improve and strengthen both our stewardship efforts and this important legislation; as well as our coalition of support” stated Kevin Mazzu, board member of the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group (AHSG). “The heavy lifting was done early in the process; with several final enhancements - based on stakeholder feedback - helping the legislation reach the perfect balance between conservation and access”.

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors have also been enthusiastic in their support behind the bill, voting unanimously to endorse the legislation and traveling repeatedly to Washington DC to lobby for its passage. “We are excited to see the cooperation and hard work of local stakeholders finally coming to fruition.” Matt Kingsley, 5 th District - Inyo County Supervisor said.

The legislation states: “The purpose of the National Scenic Area is to conserve, protect, and enhance for the benefit, use, and enjoyment of present and futures generations the nationally significant scenic, cultural, geological, educational, biological, historical, recreational, cinematographic, and scientific resources”…With current recreational activities in the Alabama Hills allowed to continue: “including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, sightseeing, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and appropriate authorized motorized vehicle use”.

Friends of the Inyo, a local public lands advocacy group, has been a critical partner in this legislative journey, beginning with AHSG founding board member and current secretary for the FOI, Mike Prather. Mike wrote the initial legislation before handing it off to federal legislators, with most of his initial draft making it into the final legislation.

“Friends of the Inyo worked closely with our local community [Alabama Hills Stewardship Group] to bring protection to the geologic wonder of the Alabama Hills”, said Mike Prather with Friends of the Inyo, “We saw that the future required more effective management in order to head off a slow decline in the area’s beauty “The Alabama Hills are the birthplace of the American Western film genre and the Act will also allow the continuation of commercial filming and still photography, as well as grazing on two BLM allotments; and recreational prospecting/rock hounding in the historic mining area. These were all “must haves” expressed by key stakeholders in the designation study process.

In addition, as a part of this Act there will be a corresponding land transfer between the Inyo National Forest, BLM and the local Lone Pine Paiute - Shoshone Reservation of 132 acres of culturally sensitive land, a portion of which will be within the NSA.: “After years of discussions with all interested parties, we are confident that a National Scenic Area is the best way to protect the Alabama Hills. Our Tribe is very excited about the landmark land transfer included in the legislation.” said Kathy Bancroft, AHSG President and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Lone Pine Paiute - Shoshone Reservation. “This is the first time since 1939 that the Tribe has acquired any land, and we will finally take ownership of our own cemetery.”

Mike Johnston, President of the Eastern Sierra 4WD Club who have participated in several restoration projects in the Alabama Hills, adds: “It is important that the public has access to the many beautiful areas that Mother Nature provides us, such as the Alabama Hills. And it is just as important, that the public knows how to protect the land, as they enjoy it. This new designation should help provide a means to move in that direction, and we look forward to the implementation of this National Scenic Area.” Finally, the development of a comprehensive plan for the long-term management of the National Scenic Area shall be in consultation “with appropriate State, tribal, and local governmental entities, and members of the public” including all our key stakeholders.

The current bill is the culmination of a collaborative 10-year process led by the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group that gathered input from over 30 stakeholder and 40 different user groups. Feedback was received from a diversity of groups ranging from local government, conservation, chambers of commerce, local cattle ranchers, rock climbers and ATV riders.

This input helped direct the effort to explore a federally legislated designation and led to a final recommendation to designate 18,610 acres in the Alabama Hills, a National Scenic Area under the National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS), which will be the first-of-its-kind designation managed by the Bureau of Land Management. National Conservation Lands are the nation’s newest class of protected lands, established in 2000 to “conserve, protect, and restore…nationally significant landscapes that have outstanding cultural, ecological, and scientific values for the benefit of the public”. The BLM has been a supportive partner with the AHSG, the local Tribe and the Lone Pine community throughout their 12-year relationship. This designation will protect both the spectacular landscape and the various user groups’ access to the Alabama Hills.

Chris Langley, past president of the AHSG and current Inyo County Film Commissioner states “The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group appreciates Congressman Cook’s passion and commitment to serving his constituency in Inyo County. He has proven he can listen, learn and lead on issues that are important to conservation and our local economy. In addition, we are thankful that Senator Dianne Feinstein, has been an ardent sponsor of our legislation, since the beginning of our grassroots effort.”