Crowds, Trash, Overrun the Eastern Sierra, CA

Taylor Stephan | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Mammoth Lakes
Mammoth Lakes. Photo Credit: ASO Mammoth

No matter the season, the Eastern Sierra is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. The Eastern Sierra encompasses the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in California and includes ski areas such as Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain, as well as portions of both Yosemite and Death Valley National Parks.

During the summer months, large amounts of visitors descend upon the region, and this summer tourist season is pushing the region to its breaking point. More and more people are traveling closer to home with travel restrictions in place due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. With Southern California a 5-hour drive away, and the San Francisco Bay Area having access via mountain passes during the summer months, the Eastern Sierra is being overrun.

“I have never seen our public lands busier. I have never seen as much violation of rules as we are seeing right now such as illegal campfires, dispersed fires, trash dumping, and vandalism.” – Deb Schweizer, Inyo National Forest Public Affairs Specialist

June Lake Loop
June Lake Loop. Photo Credit: Visit Mammoth

Larger amounts of visitors usually lead to greater problems due to capacity constraints. This summer, along with visitation, an increase in illegal camping, fires, littering, and vandalism is being reported. Hiking trails have never been busier, campgrounds at and above capacity, rest stops are being trashed, and more.

I’m sure these problems aren’t only being seen in the Eastern Sierra. Regardless, it’s saddening to hear such blatant disregard for the surrounding environment. I haven’t been up this summer, but it seems like it’s best to wait until the peak summer season is over. From riding Mammoth and June in the winter to backpacking outside of Bishop and Big Pine in the offseason, the Eastern Sierra holds a special place in my heart. Let’s all do our part to keep our public lands safe, clean, and open for everyone in these challenging times.

Big Pine Lakes
Big Pine Lakes. Photo Credit: Bon Traveler

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5 thoughts on “Crowds, Trash, Overrun the Eastern Sierra, CA

  1. I have lived in Bishop all my life and have never seen such disregard for our land. Illegal camping, trash, human waste and toilet paper everywhere. The speeding traffic through our town, the number of vehicles and people here are overwhelming.

  2. I agree with California mountain gal , most “tourists “ have no clue how to camp or behave in the mountains, trash attracts bears . Imagine how these “tourists “ would feel if thousands of people from the mountains came to their front yard and dumped food and trash and then built a campfire then just left ? Be better stewards of the environment .

  3. Y’all realize you are merely a recreation colony for the inconsiderate hordes from So-Cal, right?

  4. Mammoth Lakes the new #BigBearNorth
    There is a different “Element” to our visitors this summer and some of them have no clue how to camp or be in a wilderness area.

  5. So very sad!!!!…..Crestview Rest Area, restrooms, Highway 6 Bridge, in the Owens River, June Lake Beaches and restrooms and a dirt pull out off 395 to go to Glass Creek, are just a few of the places I have been recently. ALL full or riddled with way to much trash!!!! Why do you leave your Starbucks cups in restrooms and why do you throw your empty water bottles everywhere????? Stay at home and contribute to your own “pig pen”…..

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