Mono Lake dominates the volcanic landscape east of the Sierra Nevada between Yosemite National Park and Nevada. The lake’s unusual water chemistry produces algae and brine shrimp, feeding millions of birds and creating strange mineral formations called tufa, for which the lake is famed. From the early days of the Kuzedika Paiutes to the arrival of miners and settlers in the late 19th century, the lake has stood sentinel for the surrounding camps, mines, and towns. Around the lake, the town of Lee Vining has served travelers and residents since 1926, and Carson Camp has been a recreational destination for generations. Some of the world’s earliest hydroelectric plants were established here, and Los Angeles began diverting streams and channeling their waters beneath the Mono Craters to the city’s aqueduct in the 1940s. Impacts of those water diversions gradually became apparent, generating controversy around this otherwise placid landscape.
About the Author
Authors Don Banta, a 75-year Lee Vining resident, and David Carle, a Mono Lake ranger for 19 years, present here a collection of vintage Mono Lake photography. Working with archival materials from local families and the Mono Lake Committee, Carle and Banta show the lake, its environs, and its history through stirring imagery, including the lengthy court battle over the lake and its tributary creeks.
Table of Contents
1 Forming the Watershed 9
2 The Natural History of Mono Lake 17
3 The Kuzedikas 23
4 The Search for Gold 27
5 Early Farms and Ranches 33
6 Mono Lake Resorts and the Town of Lee Vining 49
7 The June Lake Loop 77
8 Winter Challenges and Recreation 87
9 A Source for Water and Power 101
10 Saving Mono Lake 109