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Author Topic: CA 203  (Read 4641 times)

Max Rockatansky

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CA 203
« on: July 06, 2017, 11:12:27 PM »

The last route for today was CA 203:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskZK3qK7

Sadly its not just the Devil's Postpile that is closed but also Minerat Summit, the furthest you can do is the Mammoth Ski Area.  It doesn't appear CA 203 actually goes to the Madera County Line anymore as there is an end sign I captured about a mile east well within Mono County.  I'm very interested in sorting this route out as I know the road to Lake Mary was what was originally under state maintenance, but I'll get to that this weekend.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2017, 03:40:53 PM »

CA 203 was originally LRN 112 before the state highway renumbering in 1964.  The route was also substantially different than modern CA 203 with the route running to what is known as "Old Mammoth" in the city of Mammoth Lakes where it terminated at Lake Mary.  Essentially the original alignment of LRN 112 appears to have used:

1.  An unnamed dirt road east of the modern US 395 expressway on the roadway known as "Old Highway" which was once US 395.
2.  On the west side of modern US 395 Mammoth Creek Road west to Old Mammoth Road.
3.  Old Mammoth Road through what is the original town site of Mammoth.
4.  Lake Mary Road to Lake Mary.

So essentially none of the original LRN 112 is part of CA 203, the original alignment can be seen on the 1935 Mono County Road Map:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~247318~5515370:Mono-County-?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:california%2Bdivision%2Bof%2Bhighways;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=50&trs=163

The move from LRN 112 to CA 203 can be seen on the 1963 and 1964 State Highway Maps.  Note; even in 1964 the alignment of CA 203 was still to Lake Mary:

1963 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239528~5511852:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1963?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=29&trs=86

1964 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239525~5511850:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1964?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=27&trs=86

Between 1967 and 1969 CA 203 was shifted onto the modern alignment which ends near the Madera County line close to the Mammoth Ski Area.  This alignment shift took CA 203 from Old Mammoth and through the modern downtown Mammoth Lakes.  It appears that this change was actually done in 1967 according to cahighways and it appears CA 203 wasn't signed before the shift.  The changes can be seen on the 1967 and 1969 State Highway Maps:

1967 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239516~5511844:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1967?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=21&trs=86

1969 State Highway Map

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239513~5511842:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1969?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=19&trs=86

Interestingly if you look at the 1969 State Highway map the modern expressway of US 395 isn't completed yet and an adopted alignment is shown.  That means that CA 203 extended east to Old Highway over the modern expressway, this appears to have changed to the modern terminus point by 1970:

http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~239509~5511840:State-Highway-Map,-California,-1970?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No&qvq=q:caltrans;sort:Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No;lc:RUMSEY~8~1&mi=17&trs=86

Mammoth Lakes was a very much different place than the tourism crowd might see on a trip to the ski resort.  The area known as "Old Mammoth" was the original site of "Mammoth City" which was built for the Mineral Hill Mine which opened in 1878.  Apparently the mine at Mineral Hill was large enough that two smaller mining camps known as Mill City and Pine City also popped up.  Apparently Mammoth City almost died out with far less than 100 people by the early 1900s before rebounding to a population sizable enough to warrant post office service by 1923.  Apparently a gold boom in 1905 near the Devils Postpile likely played a large role in reviving Mammoth. 

The Postpile was originally in the boundary of Yosemite National Park but some of it was made public during the gold boom.  The Postpile was made into Devils Postpile National Monument in 1911 and really has been the subject of conjecture from things such as a reservoir or even a Trans-Sierra highway.  The Park Service actually has an interesting article on the subject that would lend suggestion that CA 203 might have be in part realigned from Lake Mary to the modern alignment as part of a longer reaching plan to cross the Sierras via the San Joaquin River:

https://www.nps.gov/depo/learn/historyculture/trans-sierra-highway.htm
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2017, 04:01:37 PM »

So....CA 203 starting from southbound US 395:

IMG_1968 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

The first couple westbound miles of CA 203 are an expressway to Mammoth Lakes.  The Postpile was closed apparently due to winter storm damage:

IMG_1969 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

IMG_1970 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Entering Mammoth the speed drops but the expressway remains until Minerat Road:

IMG_1972 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

CA 203 turns right westbound on Minerat Road:

IMG_1973 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

IMG_1974 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Which traverses the modern ski-resort downtown area:

IMG_1975 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Before leaving Mammoth for the Ski Area and points beyond:

IMG_1976 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Interestingly the "Mammoth Scenic Loop" was originally called the "Mammoth Escape Route" which was built after the 1980 Long Valley Earthquake.  The Escape Route was built for an additional way out of Mammoth if there was some sort of disaster on the Long Valley Caldera.  Apparently the name was changed because the business owners in Mammoth don't like being reminded...or more importantly probably would like the fact that the town is on top of a volcano to be on the down low.

IMG_1978 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Despite what the advisory signs might say the climb to the Mammoth Ski Area and Madera County line is actually very tame which is odd for the Eastern Sierras.  Hard to believe the elevation is so high, no wonder the idea of a state highway to Fresno was explored:

IMG_1979 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2017, 04:07:22 PM »

CA 203 ends a mile or so east of the Madera County Line with Mammoth Mountain in view:

IMG_1980 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

IMG_1986 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Still a copious amount of snow on the mountains:

IMG_1984 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

End of the line at the Mammoth Ski Area....they weren't even allowing traffic to Minerat Summit much less the Postpile:

IMG_1983 by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

Which really sucks because there wasn't much of a crowd, usually the ski area is just a mob of people.  Minerat Summit is worth a look but the Postpile is dicey if you have to ride the shuttle bus...I wouldn't recommend it personally.  Thankfully I have pictures from last year of both:

https://flic.kr/s/aHskZsHyrK
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hm insulators

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 12:43:30 PM »

The late summer of 1976, my parents and I rented a little condo for a couple of weeks up there.
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At what age do you tell a highway that it's been adopted?

Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 04:35:30 PM »

The late summer of 1976, my parents and I rented a little condo for a couple of weeks up there.

There are some great deals going on right now with the damage from the winter to Minaret Summit and Devils Postpile.  Mammoth is a pretty jumping off point for Tioga Pass, Bodie, and the alpine lakes in the eastern Sierras.
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sparker

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2017, 06:21:07 PM »

Mammoth has historically priced its accommodations in line with its status as a recreational destination; it was always a bit pricey for simple overnight or "pass-through" use (Bishop facilities were invariably more reasonable).  But looking at some of the deals you can get these days at the place (mostly online advance bookings) it appears that the cumulative fiscal effects from the '07-'11 recession plus the weather issues this year during what would have been their peak season have prompted management to consider offering a wider range of pricing structures -- particularly in the "off-season".  Since much of Mammoth clientele is drawn from Southern California, they need a reasonably compelling reason in this day & age to schlep 250 miles for both winter sports and summer mountain recreation; deep discounts may well accomplish that.  It'd be interesting to compare Mammoth rates with those of other Sierra resorts -- especially those more readily accessed from Bay Area or Sacramento -- to see if they've responded to the current environment in similar fashion.   
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2017, 10:55:08 PM »

Interestingly I think the trend has reversed with Bishop and Mammoth.  The last couple years every overnight stay I've had in Bishop has been well over $100 dollars while Mammoth has been consistently below the $100 threshold. This time around I only paid $65 dollars for my room with tax, not bad for really what was just an overnight trip.  Can't say I had much to complain about having something so close to Tioga and Bodie....I still prefer Bishop though simply because it is less of a tourist town and easier to get around.
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sparker

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2017, 02:03:17 AM »

Interestingly I think the trend has reversed with Bishop and Mammoth.  The last couple years every overnight stay I've had in Bishop has been well over $100 dollars while Mammoth has been consistently below the $100 threshold. This time around I only paid $65 dollars for my room with tax, not bad for really what was just an overnight trip.  Can't say I had much to complain about having something so close to Tioga and Bodie....I still prefer Bishop though simply because it is less of a tourist town and easier to get around.

So room-rate inflation has hit Bishop as well!  Haven't stayed there since 2001, so my conjecture is obviously dated.  Won't have the opportunity to check it out for quite some time, as the only out-of-Northern-California trip planned is a quick (1 week or so) down-and-back to Hesperia in late September or early October, with a side trip via Glendale and Billy's Deli (my old hometown, so I'm a bit prejudiced -- but that place can give Canter's or Jerry's a run for their money!).  If my schedule will allow, I might reacquaint myself with some of the more obscure highways & local roads in the "Orange Belt" on my return trip (possibly CA 216 and/or CA 201 may be on the agenda, along with parts of CA 63 -- or i may just "wing it").  Haven't done this sort of trip for the last 15 years or so (either business or health issues have intervened); it'll be good to get out there once again.   
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #9 on: July 13, 2017, 12:44:35 PM »

Interestingly I think the trend has reversed with Bishop and Mammoth.  The last couple years every overnight stay I've had in Bishop has been well over $100 dollars while Mammoth has been consistently below the $100 threshold. This time around I only paid $65 dollars for my room with tax, not bad for really what was just an overnight trip.  Can't say I had much to complain about having something so close to Tioga and Bodie....I still prefer Bishop though simply because it is less of a tourist town and easier to get around.

So room-rate inflation has hit Bishop as well!  Haven't stayed there since 2001, so my conjecture is obviously dated.  Won't have the opportunity to check it out for quite some time, as the only out-of-Northern-California trip planned is a quick (1 week or so) down-and-back to Hesperia in late September or early October, with a side trip via Glendale and Billy's Deli (my old hometown, so I'm a bit prejudiced -- but that place can give Canter's or Jerry's a run for their money!).  If my schedule will allow, I might reacquaint myself with some of the more obscure highways & local roads in the "Orange Belt" on my return trip (possibly CA 216 and/or CA 201 may be on the agenda, along with parts of CA 63 -- or i may just "wing it").  Haven't done this sort of trip for the last 15 years or so (either business or health issues have intervened); it'll be good to get out there once again.

43 has seen a lot of recent upgrades with the roundabouts at Lacey Blvd in addition to CA 137.  I published photos from Lacey but the 137 roundabout appears to be brand new and not quite complete.  Outside of that 201, 216, 63, and 65 haven't seen much changes recently.
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sparker

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2017, 04:06:01 PM »

43 has seen a lot of recent upgrades with the roundabouts at Lacey Blvd in addition to CA 137.  I published photos from Lacey but the 137 roundabout appears to be brand new and not quite complete.  Outside of that 201, 216, 63, and 65 haven't seen much changes recently.

Thanks much for the info -- I'll probably check out the 43/137 roundabout -- it should be done by late September.   I've always liked taking 43 because of the proximity to the BNSF line (photo ops). 
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #11 on: July 13, 2017, 09:27:09 PM »

43 has seen a lot of recent upgrades with the roundabouts at Lacey Blvd in addition to CA 137.  I published photos from Lacey but the 137 roundabout appears to be brand new and not quite complete.  Outside of that 201, 216, 63, and 65 haven't seen much changes recently.

Thanks much for the info -- I'll probably check out the 43/137 roundabout -- it should be done by late September.   I've always liked taking 43 because of the proximity to the BNSF line (photo ops).

Doesn't hurt you can skip a lot of the traffic on 99 to Fresno either.  Usually I jump off at Avenue 56 and take that west to 43.  99 is six lanes north of 43 which make it way more tolerable. Compared to 65 there are way less people as well which makes it a more peaceful alternate.
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sparker

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2017, 04:42:01 AM »

43 has seen a lot of recent upgrades with the roundabouts at Lacey Blvd in addition to CA 137.  I published photos from Lacey but the 137 roundabout appears to be brand new and not quite complete.  Outside of that 201, 216, 63, and 65 haven't seen much changes recently.

Thanks much for the info -- I'll probably check out the 43/137 roundabout -- it should be done by late September.   I've always liked taking 43 because of the proximity to the BNSF line (photo ops).

Doesn't hurt you can skip a lot of the traffic on 99 to Fresno either.  Usually I jump off at Avenue 56 and take that west to 43.  99 is six lanes north of 43 which make it way more tolerable. Compared to 65 there are way less people as well which makes it a more peaceful alternate.

At some point I'll need to shift back over to 99 to get to Bravo Farms in Traver, between Goshen and Kingsburg (have a standing cheese order from friends!).  I'll probably access 43 down by Wasco, take it north to 137, then use 137/63/201 and local roads to get to Traver.  I'll miss the other roundabouts on 43 north of 198, but will save that for another day.   
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Quillz

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2017, 07:46:25 PM »

I don't know how accurate that "END" shield is. There is also an "END" shield on CA-198 well before the entrance gate to the national parks, yet that segment is still maintained by the state. Seems CA-203 ending at the county line is still the legal definition, despite the shield saying otherwise.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2017, 07:58:47 PM »

I don't know how accurate that "END" shield is. There is also an "END" shield on CA-198 well before the entrance gate to the national parks, yet that segment is still maintained by the state. Seems CA-203 ending at the county line is still the legal definition, despite the shield saying otherwise.

Actually 198 is right on the Sequoia National Park boundary line.  There is even a new shield and end placard this year.  If you go to the Generala Highway thread I believe it is the second picture on the road blog I did. 

Tricky thing was I don't recall seeing any mileage markers past that end sign for 203.  But then again I wasn't really looking for them either past the shield.  I'll check some recent state highway maps when I get home to see if there is a gap to The Madera County line.

Edit:  Most of the maps I have are too zoomed out to get an accurate depiction if CA 203 ends at the Madera County line or just east of it.  Since the eastern terminus of CA 198 became topical here are some pictures of the new signage that was put up this year:

CA 198 Truck End at the Salt Creek Bridge:

198CAendTb by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

And the new CA 198 END signage at the boundary line to Sequoia National Park that was put up this year:

198CAEndA by Max Rockatansky, on Flickr

 
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 11:08:26 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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Quillz

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2022, 05:26:07 PM »

So I might be suffering from a Mandela effect here. I know that at one point, there was a proposal to bring CA-203 over the Sierra by following the San Joaquin River. Thing is, I can't find a map of this. I'm sure I've seen one in the past. I've found several articles about this planned trans-Sierra highway, but most just discuss why it wasn't built. If you trace the general course of the river from Devils Postpile, you can see a potential route eventually ending at CA-168 near Huntington Lake. But I can't find this map... Did it ever exist? Maybe it's just something I drew myself.

If anyone has a map showing this proposed routing, can you share it?

EDIT: Okay, I actually found a sketch on this message board. By me. I guess I did it some years ago and totally forgot. Seems to confirm that there wasn't even an actual proposal on a map, so the idea didn't get very far then.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2022, 05:29:00 PM by Quillz »
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2022, 05:27:55 PM »

So I might be suffering from a Mandela effect here. I know that at one point, there was a proposal to bring CA-203 over the Sierra by following the San Joaquin River. Thing is, I can't find a map of this. I'm sure I've seen one in the past. I've found several articles about this planned trans-Sierra highway, but most just discuss why it wasn't built. If you trace the general course of the river from Devils Postpile, you can see a potential route eventually ending at CA-168 near Huntington Lake. But I can't find this map... Did it ever exist? Maybe it's just something I drew myself.

If anyone has a map showing this proposed routing, can you share it?

I donít think it ever got that far.  It would have popped out around what is now Sierra National Forest Route 81/Mammoth Pool Road.
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Quillz

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2022, 05:30:03 PM »

So I might be suffering from a Mandela effect here. I know that at one point, there was a proposal to bring CA-203 over the Sierra by following the San Joaquin River. Thing is, I can't find a map of this. I'm sure I've seen one in the past. I've found several articles about this planned trans-Sierra highway, but most just discuss why it wasn't built. If you trace the general course of the river from Devils Postpile, you can see a potential route eventually ending at CA-168 near Huntington Lake. But I can't find this map... Did it ever exist? Maybe it's just something I drew myself.

If anyone has a map showing this proposed routing, can you share it?

I donít think it ever got that far.  It would have popped out around what is now Sierra National Forest Route 81/Mammoth Pool Road.
Yes... I edited my post. What happened was some years ago, I actually did a little mock-up on Google Maps that followed the course of the river. I was re-reading on the proposal last night and realized I couldn't find a map when I was sure I had seen one. Turns out I was remembering my own Google Maps mock-up.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2022, 05:32:59 PM »

So I might be suffering from a Mandela effect here. I know that at one point, there was a proposal to bring CA-203 over the Sierra by following the San Joaquin River. Thing is, I can't find a map of this. I'm sure I've seen one in the past. I've found several articles about this planned trans-Sierra highway, but most just discuss why it wasn't built. If you trace the general course of the river from Devils Postpile, you can see a potential route eventually ending at CA-168 near Huntington Lake. But I can't find this map... Did it ever exist? Maybe it's just something I drew myself.

If anyone has a map showing this proposed routing, can you share it?

I donít think it ever got that far.  It would have popped out around what is now Sierra National Forest Route 81/Mammoth Pool Road.
Yes... I edited my post. What happened was some years ago, I actually did a little mock-up on Google Maps that followed the course of the river. I was re-reading on the proposal last night and realized I couldn't find a map when I was sure I had seen one. Turns out I was remembering my own Google Maps mock-up.

Part of me wonders that if the Forest Service has just extended Mammoth Pool Road would have anyone actually cared enough to object?  Somehow I donít think so given how very few people realize Sherman Pass Road exists.
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Inyomono395

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2022, 12:45:23 AM »

I can confirm that CA 203 goes all the way to the Madera County line. The END shield you saw is a turnable sign for winter maintenance. Mammoth mountain takes over maintenance from that sign to main lodge during the winter months and Caltrans maintains it the rest of the year. I work for Caltrans District 9
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pderocco

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Re: CA 203
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2022, 06:02:00 PM »

I can confirm that CA 203 goes all the way to the Madera County line. The END shield you saw is a turnable sign for winter maintenance. Mammoth mountain takes over maintenance from that sign to main lodge during the winter months and Caltrans maintains it the rest of the year. I work for Caltrans District 9

It's "turned" 90 degrees in the current Google Street View.
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Re: CA 203
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2022, 06:15:09 PM »

Part of me wonders that if the Forest Service has just extended Mammoth Pool Road would have anyone actually cared enough to object?  Somehow I donít think so given how very few people realize Sherman Pass Road exists.

Enviro activists will always object, and the existence of the Ansel Adams Wilderness means they will win.
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Re: CA 203
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2022, 06:45:03 PM »

Part of me wonders that if the Forest Service has just extended Mammoth Pool Road would have anyone actually cared enough to object?  Somehow I donít think so given how very few people realize Sherman Pass Road exists.

Enviro activists will always object, and the existence of the Ansel Adams Wilderness means they will win.

Seemingly they never objected to Sherman Pass, the question is why?  My theory is that the Forest Service isnít viewed as the same Evil Empire that the DOH was by the late 1960s/early 1970s environmental groups. 

All the same, the Ansel Adams Wilderness could always be rescinded if there was enough momentum to do so.  Considering what has happened elsewhere with stuff like National Monument designations this past decade Iím always skeptical when someone claims something is forever permanent.  Likely to happen though?Öof course not. 
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