Ben Wickham

Ben presenting programs

22 Nov: 1 Week in November

There’s an assumption that summer is our busy season, but in one week this past November, Friends of the Inyo’s staff illustrated how ambitious and inspiring we are at the following events: Presented about the connection between stewardship and advocacy at Winter Wildlands Alliance’s Grassroots Advocacy Conference in Lake Tahoe. Mobilized our members and the public to provide overwhelming opposition to the proposed gold mine at Conglomerate Mesa at the Inyo County Board of Supervisor’s meeting. Took 91 Mammoth Elementary students out for a Fall Field Day for SnowSchool to learn about watersheds and have fun in the Mammoth Lakes…

meet a tree 2-480x320

06 Nov: SnowSchool Grows in Mammoth

Partner Profile: David Page of Winter Wildlands Alliance Friends of the Inyo’s Ben Wickham sat down at Mountain Rambler Brewery in Bishop with David Page, Mammoth local and Advocacy Manager for Winter Wildlands Alliance, to talk about SnowSchool, a national education program designed by Winter Wildlands Alliance with 60 sites across the U.S. that educate 30,000 youth each year. For more about SnowSchool, visit SnowSchool’s website. What is SnowSchool?  David Page: Snowschool is a program that is developed by Winter Wildlands Alliance and has expanded to about 60 sites, and reaches about 32,000 kids a year. The goal is to…

conglomerate mesa and owens lake

27 Sep: Conglomerate Mesa

Conglomerate Mesa is, once again, under attack from mining interests. Conglomerate is the first roadless area in California targeted for development under the Trump administration. We are not being alarmist when we say these exploratory drill sites are only the beginning. The ultimate land management goals of the current administration are explicitly extractive: mine the land until it stops making money, and then abandon it with as little regulation as possible.

pack stock

08 Sep: Photos from the Ansel Adams Wilderness Project

Check out photos by volunteer, photographer, and Bishop resident Ken Miller from the Ansel Adams Wilderness Project. This year, we partnered with the Inyo National Forest, and 6 volunteers helped on trail maintenance and campsite restoration around Shadow Lake and the John Muir Trail. It was such a great experience for everyone involved, and check back this fall because we’ll be posting stories about how much fun we had and work we got done in the coming weeks.

Rachel monarch butterfly

08 Sep: Help Monitor Monarch Butterflies

Saline Valley Monarch Overwintering Opportunities: As you may know, monarch butterflies have declined by around 80% over the last 20 years. Scientists and citizens alike have been working to gather data that will help us make informed decisions about this species. Monarchs from the eastern U.S. overwinter in central Mexico while western monarchs typically overwinter on the coast of California. However, in some very unique areas in California, Nevada, and Arizona, monarchs are known to overwinter at inland sites. One of these areas is Saline Valley, part of Death Valley National Park. Starting in the 1970’s, a naturalist named Derham…

rock moving trail work wheelbarrow

08 Sep: Making up for Winter Damage with SEMBA and the Inyo National Forest

We went out with the Inyo National Forest and SEMBA (Sierra Eastside Mountain Bike Association) and repaired a section of the Lower Rock Creek Trail that was damaged by flooding this winter. Lower Rock Creek is a classic trail for mountain bike riding. While we had a beautiful day out there, and finished the job, it was really nice to spend a morning with really nice folks stepping up to care for a place they enjoy and love. Best way to make an impact on trails you enjoy? Join us on another trail event soon. Thanks to the Inyo National…

astra lincoln resting on tree

15 Aug: How Can We Love a Place?

Check out Trail Ambassador Astra’s intellectual exploration of connecting to a place: While leading my third “Wild Harvest” interpretive hike for FOI this summer, one of the participants mused about what’s underfoot. We were three-quarters of a mile up the Parker Bench Trail, pausing in the ecotone between sage steppe and forest riparian corridor. The group had just come to a stand of aspen, and we were discussing the interconnectedness of trees: how a web of fungi in the soil allows trees across species to share nutrients and knowledge amongst themselves for the betterment of the forest writ large. “There’s…

crosscut black and white volunteers

15 Aug: Getting Nostalgic in the Mammoth Lakes Basin with the Trail Ambassadors

Watching the Trail Ambassadors run the cross cut saw to remove a log from a trail in the Mammoth Lakes Basin put us in an old time kind of mood, so here’s pictures of them working in black and white. Look for the Trail Ambassadors on high country trails this summer, or join them for Trail Work Thursday or an interpretive hike.

ruby saw great

15 Aug: Trail Ambassadors in Little Lakes Valley

For a month now, Friends of the Inyo’s Eastern Sierra Trail Ambassadors have been on the ground, working hard to open up and clear out high country trails after an epic winter. One place they’ve really enjoyed working is Rock Creek and the trails leading out of Little Lakes Valley. On the way up to Ruby Lake, a few Whitebark pine fell across the trail and they spent an afternoon sawing them out. Check out photos below, and look for the Trail Ambassadors out on trails all summer long.