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SAM Magazine--June Lake, Calif., Feb. 5, 2013-—Residents and visitors can now access backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing in and around June Mountain Ski Area for the rest of the winter season. The Forest Service approved a plan this week that outlines how Mammoth Mountain Ski Area (MMSA), owner of June Mountain, will manage the ski area this season, even though June Mountain is not in operation.

Approval required management plans regarding issues such as public access, administrative access to facilities and communication sites, avalanche control, ski patrol duties and safety concerns. Those safety concerns were critical this season because guests will be recreating on Forest Service lands without the level of safety June Mountain usually provides (ski patrol, avalanche control, grooming of slopes and trails, etc.).

“It is important that anyone who travels in the June Mountain area treats this as the backcountry environment that it is,” District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge said. “Avalanche control activities will be very limited. Dangerous avalanches can and likely will happen in areas normally controlled were the mountain operating.” Ski patrol will not be conducting normal patrols in the area.

Under the plan, according to Regelbrugge, ski patrollers are authorized to prohibit access to the area during avalanche control activities.

After 25 years of annual deficits for June, operations were suspended on June 21 by MMSA. CEO Rusty Gregory and MMSA have said the area will reopen for the 2013-14 ski season, with a projected opening date in the first week of December.