In last month's Juniper, I said that despite the pandemic and current social unrest, threats to the Eastern Sierra have not slowed. This is even more evident this month.

The fight for Conglomerate Mesa ramps up as K2 Gold takes over the gold exploration project and intends to move the it forward. Also, a proposed trail in Solitude Canyon threatens the health of the last remaining roadless canyons of the area. You can read the latest on both of these campaigns below.

In this issue, you will also find news of the release of the Alabama Hills National Scenic Area draft plan Environmental Assessment. Attend the virtual meetings later this month to make your voice heard and to learn more. 

And finally, read a double feature in this month's "Meet the Staff," featuring Desert Lands Organizer, Bryan Hatchell, and FOI Trail Ambassador, Lindsay Butcher. I hope you enjoy this month's issue of the Juniper!


Kyle Hamada
Communications Director


Conglomerate Mesa Update

K2 Gold has taken over the gold exploration plan for Conglomerate Mesa that permits seven drill locations accessed only by helicopter. Under this plan, no roads can be built. But K2 Gold filed to amend the plan and proposes 30 new exploration sites with full road access. To best fight back against mining threats, we must know our opponent: K2 possess the finances and political power to execute this devastating exploration plan at Conglomerate Mesa. 

What can you do? We suspect that we will have public comment opportunities in the Fall. So we must arm ourselves with knowledge and passion and be ready to make our voices heard when the time comes. Read Bryan's full update by clicking the button below. Click here to subscribe to our Conglomerate Mesa newsletter.


Alabama Hills National Scenic Area Draft Plan Environmental Assessment

Make your vision for the future of the Alabama Hills heard! On July 8th the Bishop BLM Field Office released the Alabama Hills Draft Plan Environmental Assessment (EA). We are now in an active 30-day comment period that ends August 8th, 2020. In the month of July, there will be two virtual meetings where those interested can ask questions about the EA and share their insights. The virtual meetings will be held on July 22nd and July 23rd. Click the button below to learn more.


An Uncertain Fate for Solitude Canyon

In recent weeks, we issued an Action Alert asking you to let the Forest Service know your concerns regarding a proposal to build an entirely new trail in Solitude Canyon, an inventoried roadless area in Mammoth Lakes known to be critical wildlife habitat. We asked you to point out that not only does the proposed use of a Categorical Exclusion to build the trail provide very little in the way of opportunities for environmental studies and public participation, but in this case, the scoping letter provided inaccurate information. It wrongly indicated that the new trail would be constructed in an area currently characterized by heavy use, when in fact the proposed trail is actually located in an area of infrequent use.

Friends of the Inyo submitted detailed and exhaustive comments. Click here to read our comment letter. We remain concerned, however, that the trail proponents seem to be pushing ahead quickly, instead of waiting to review the comments that were submitted, or for the results of studies that would provide adequate information regarding the potentially devastating effect on wildlife a trail in Solitude Canyon. Thank you for your support and email info@friendsoftheinyo.org let us know if you would like more information on how you can help protect Solitude Canyon.


Returning to Public Lands During Covid-19

While restrictions remain ever-changing, visitation to the Eastern Sierra's public lands continues to increase. It is important to keep in mind some best practices to recreate responsibly. Here are a few resources to help inform you if and when you decide to recreate in the Eastern Sierra again:


Featured this month is Bryan Hatchell, Desert Lands Organizer, or DLO, as we call him in the office. His job covers all things policy and organizing in Southern Inyo County. We know Bryan to be silly and fun to be around, truly dedicated to his work, and most likely to have an electric drum kit in the background of our video conference (he does!). Read on to learn more about Bryan.

Kyle: Forever spring, summer, winter, or fall and why? Bryan: Probably Fall. The weather is nice in town, I love changing leaves, it reminds me of being home in NC, and you still have the Alpine open to you so you can do some day adventures in the sun.

If next Monday were a holiday, what activity in the Eastern Sierra would you choose to do? I'd probably find a peak to go get on top of–find a good scramble to do.

Choose one perfect fit: running/hiking shoes or ski/snowboard boots? Definitely hiking shoes, I use those almost every day. Climbing shoes isn’t an option?

All-time favorite book: "48 Laws of Power" by Robert Greene.

Current favorite song: Probably "Jennifer” by Little Comets or anything by Little Comets.

Favorite donut: Classic chocolate glaze with sprinkles.

Lightning round! Say the first word that comes to your mind: 

salsa - Chip
floppy disk - 6th grade computer class
superhero - Superman
coffee - Necessary
Harry Potter - An escape

Drum solo or guitar solo? That's easy–guitar solo.


Stewardship Update

Lindsay and Alex have been working out on trail, from Lone Pine up to Bridgeport. They had a big weekend on the 4th, talking to people, ad they continue to look forward to a great season. There will be more updates on our stewardship season to come. Click the button below to learn more about this year's stewardship season.


Meet Our Trail Ambassador, Lindsay Butcher!

Originally from San Diego, Lindsay grew up spending summers in the Sierra on family camping trips. After graduating from SDSU with a B.S. in Nutrition she dove into a career in enology and wine making. However, after working multiple vintages in California and Australia she discovered her hobby of rock climbing was becoming an obsession. So she ran away from real life to work and play in Yosemite National Park. She made the transition to the east side permanent last year and is excited for the opportunity to be an ambassador for the land and trails she now calls home.

Alex: Forever spring, summer, winter, or fall and why? Lindsay: Fall, the temps are good sending temps. It's the all-sport season.

If next Monday were a holiday, what activity in the Eastern Sierra would you choose to do? Tri-sport day. Bike to a climb, and then hike. Bike/climb/hike.

Choose one perfect fit: running/hiking shoes or ski/snowboard boots? Running/hiking.

All-time favorite book: The King Killer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss.

Current favorite song: I dunno, let's ask Spotify...."See Lion Run" by Omar Velasco.

Favorite donut: Anything from Hing's. I had a chocolate maple something once that was ridiculous[ly good].

Lightning round! Say the first word that comes to your mind:

salsa - chips
floppy disk - obsolete
superhero - Batman
coffee - delicious
Harry Potter - fantastic

Favorite Wine? (Lindsay worked on a vineyard) - Malbec


Reminder: New Office Location!

I'd like to remind you that we have moved from our previous location on Barlow Lane to a new downtown office on West Line Street. Please also take a moment to update our address in your contact records so that all donations and correspondence will go to the right address. Thank you.

Friends of the Inyo
621 W. Line St., Suite 201
Bishop, CA 93514


Want to support Friends of the Inyo? Consider making a donation online today! Thank you for your generous support. 


Friends of the Inyo appreciates the following organizations and local businesses for their generous sponsorship of our programs:


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