By Jora Fogg, Preservation Manager
“I will give thanks and marvel at how an awesome place got even better.”
Every day that I wake up in my home, nestled in an ancient alpine meadow connecting two mountain lakes, I give silent thanks for the beauty that surrounds me and the ability I have to walk out my door and venture to a trail for my daily run, hike, or a gentle stroll with my five-year-old daughter.
There are so many ways to find adventure in the June Lake Loop, but my favorite is hiking the winding trails that climb the canyon walls and pinyon-sagebrush hills. USFS trails are the gem of Horseshoe Canyon; Reverse Peak leads to spectacular views stretching out to the Mono Basin and west into the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Fern Lake is a steep aerobic workout to a pristine pocket lake surrounded by marsh and sandwiched between tall granite peaks. Parker Bench leads through carpets of tiger lilies and dense blazing aspens to connect to the Parker Lake trail.
Trails are one of the many reasons I moved to the tiny village of June Lake four years ago. When I first joined the small coalition of locals called the June Lake Trails Committee I started to understand the potential for recreation on the public lands surrounding this community and the need for the many aging Americans and young families who come to June Lake each year to be able to walk, hike, cycle, and ride on a connected system from the village to down canyon.
The Down Canyon Trail already exists as spaghetti of user- and wildlife-created trails from just east of June Mountain down to the Double Eagle, a private resort that has long been a supporter of trails in the area. With the help of Mono County, formalizing the Down Canyon Trail with maps and signage may become a reality with public support. The next year will engage residents, property owners and visitors, and other stakeholders to explore different options for a sustainable trail that multiple users can enjoy and invest in for future generations. The June Lake Trails Committee, Friends of the Inyo and trails lovers around the Eastern Sierra will help give back to this trail and the many others cherished in this special Sierra Nevada canyon. For the past several years, volunteers have gathered in late June to help maintain and care for the USFS trails in the June Lake area. With community support, we will continue this tradition and celebrate with the addition of the Down Canyon Trail.
Friends of the Inyo continues to work towards collaborative, conservation-oriented land management practices, such as the recent USFS management plan revision, that have a major impact on the quality of life and the landscape in June Lake. We commented that trails were particularly important in future land management planning and the JLTC wrote comments regarding the importance of building new trails in the loop.
When I see small children running in hiking boots, teens perfecting their technique on mountain bikes, or retirees enjoying the many vista points along the trail, I will give thanks and marvel at how an awesome place got even better.
*Photos courtesy, from top to bottom: Jora Fogg, Jora Fogg, Jora Fogg, Casey Penn, Ben Wickham.