YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Impact of Mammoth Airport Expansion

April 13, 2002

Re "A Mountainous Misstep," editorial, April 5: There is much more to this story on Mammoth Lakes and the possible expansion of its airport operations. Intrawest, the Canadian company behind much of this growth wish, needs more water than the area has, to expand its skiing operation and for the associated housing boom. It is planning on drilling water wells in the forested area between Mammoth and June Lake. This aquifer supplies water for several creeks in the area, notably Big Springs, which is the headwaters for the Owens River. The Owens ultimately flows into Lake Crowley, and several runs of rainbow and German brown trout use the river for their spawning beds. The loss of the river flows would cause the loss of the fishery.

Mammoth Lakes has been in trouble for illegally diverting water from Mammoth Creek that is designated for Hot Creek and, ultimately, Lake Crowley. All this to keep the lawns green and swimming pools filled. Imagine how lovely the area would be with large jets roaring overhead, a huge ski town, dead and dying trees and dry creek beds.

Michael Schweit

Outings Director, Sierra

Pacific Flyfishers, Northridge


The Times is suggesting that it knows what is better for Mammoth Lakes than the people who live there. This is just symptomatic of the problem we face of urban bureaucrats, activists and media thinking that they are better qualified to manage suburban, rural and wilderness areas.

If their logic is true, maybe we should also have the Mammoth Times suggest policies and procedures to manage Los Angeles. After all, our record is not so terrific and maybe the experts from a small town have more insight into some of our problems than we do.

Bill Davis



The problems with the proposal are not just limited to the environmental impacts of a massive increase in tourism. Every pilot in the area knows that the site is dangerous and unreliable, as winter storms and crosswinds hit here with particular ferocity, and there are hills, mountains and a highway dangerously close to the runway.

Also, it seems that a primary goal of the town's plan is to use the runway expansion as a means to expand its developable territory outside the town limits--condos, an RV park and shopping centers are planned for the airport site and the acreage across the highway.

Andy Selters


Los Angeles Times Articles