Owens River Water Trail
Just east of Lone Pine, between Narrow Gauge Road and Highway 136 lies the Lower Owens River (LOR), a six-mile stretch of controlled, easy flow perfect for beginning and novice boaters. Inyo County saw recreational opportunity in the LOR, and pursued turning the section into a boater’s paradise. As the river is constantly under managed flow of 40 cubic feet per second, there is little chance for organic matter to flow through the river ecosystem in a natural way. Which means that the bulbrush and cattail (tules) have taken over the river, choking flow and sediment.
Friends of the Inyo’s role has been to gather volunteers for a series of work weekends on the LOR. Since 2016, we have held annual three day-long volunteer events to do experimental tule control work in the river. Our efforts are to clear the river for habitat health and vibrancy, and in order to make it navigable.
After three pleasant days floating the future Owens River Water Trail with volunteer groups this summer, we’ve opened up 3,070 feet of navigable river channel! It’s exciting to see this project take shape. Stay tuned for future opportunities to join us on the river.