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Just Added! Mono Lake Coupon Codes 2012

High Sierra Mono Lake Pictures

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High Sierra Mono Lake

Located in the spectacular Eastern Sierra, Mono Lake, an oasis in the dry Great Basin. Mono Lake, is among the oldest lakes in North America, being at least 760,000 years old, and a vital habitat for millions of migratory and nesting birds. Mono Lake and its surrounding watershed constitute a unique region in California. This unique world at the transition between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Great Basin Desert features sagebrush, Jeffrey pines, volcanoes, tufa towers, gulls, grebes, brine shrimp, alkali flies, freshwater streams, and alkaline waters. Trillions of brine shrimp eat and mate beneath the briny waters of Mono Lake and Wilson Phalaropes feast on alkali flies in preparation for their non-stop flight to South America. Boasting 14 different ecological zones, over 1000 plant species, and roughly 400 recorded vertebrate species within its watershed, Mono Lake and its surrounding basin encompass one of the richest natural areas of California.

High Sierra Mono Lake Picture

Unfortunately, Mono Lake was on its way to become a dry salt bed surrounded by a barren landscape, and humans are to blame. In 1941, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power began diverting Mono Lake tributary streams 350 miles South to meet the growing water demands of Los Angeles. Deprived of its freshwater sources, the water level of Mono Lake decreased drastically, while its salinity doubled. Unable to adapt to these rapidly changing conditions, the ecosystem began to collapse. Visitors started to notice islands emerging in the center and a creepy complex of tufa towers, previously submerged, rose above the surface.

High Sierra Mono Lake State Park

Fortunately, the alarm was raised in time and today the state is managing the water supply and is rebuilding the wetlands of Mono Lake. Now new and more efficient river dams send regulated amounts of water back into the lake. Since their lowest point in 1982, the waters are slowly rising, and willows and cottonwood forests that once fringed the freshwater tributaries of the lake are reviving, now when water flows in those channels again. Of course, it is a great progress, but Mono Lake is not going be what it was.

High Sierra Mono Lake View

The unique beauty of this ancient lake, with those eerie tufa towers, which are limestone deposits formed by underground springs, attracts thousands of visitors a year. The Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitors Center runs guided tours of the area and has a terrific display telling the story of the lake. Now when its wetlands are being restored, Mono Lake is a major bird-watching area, with about 300 species either resident or migrating through. On summer weekends, guided canoe tours explore the tufa towers and the wetland of the creek delta.

High Sierra Mono Lake Sky

Having explored the unique nature of Mono Lake be sure to stop by the Mono Inn. Overlooking the beautiful Mono Lake, the Mono Inn offers a truly special experience well worth the scenic 30-mile drive from Mammoth Lakes. One of the finest restaurants in the region, the Mono Inn features haute-hearty cuisine, craftsman-style rusticity and beautiful views of Mono Lake and White Mountains. Dishes served here are delicious; especially the braised lamp shank with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, flat iron steak with heirloom tomatoes and chimichurri sauce, as well as crispy-skin salmon served with couscous and roasted beets. Vegetarian specials are available as well. Enjoy a cocktail in the upper-level gallery or peruse the original Ansel Adams photographs and panoramic lake views from the cocktail lounge.