Exploring the Unique History of the Mono Basin


Since 2007, more than 4,000 acres in the Mono Basin have been preserved; our AmeriCorps partners help us maintain these vital lands.

Elise Robinette, our ESLT AmeriCorps partner, has been busy working on the land! Together with Aaron Johnson, our Lands Director, she has been monitoring conservation projects to make sure that they are being preserved as intended. Recently, they’ve focused on properties in the Eastern Mono Basin. This area is rich in unique human and natural history; in partnership with the private landowners, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and other partners, ESLT has been working to preserve key parcels in the area.


On her last visit, Elise found an old sledgehammer head that can probably be dated back to the 1890s, when workers would have been pounding spikes on the railroad or splitting wood for Bodie!

Situated in an area of transition between the Great Basin Desert and the Sierra Nevada, these properties support wildlife habitats for species such as the pronghorn antelope, bi-state sage grouse (formerly known as the Mono Basin sage grouse), and mountain lion. They also contain historic significance: both the Cedar Hills and Parraguirre properties were used to harvest timber for the construction of the railroad that ran through the region to the town of Bodie.

The Mono Basin is a critical watershed in the Western United States, and is an area of special concern for ESLT. During her term as our Sierra Nevada AmeriCorps Partnership (SNAP) member, Elise’s primary focus is on watershed assessment, restoration, monitoring, and community education, making this project particularly relevant to her own personal mission. She helps us maintain this vital region and preserve its habitats and historical values for future generations.


Beautiful, historical, unique: Mono Basin was the first congressionally-designated “National Scenic Area,” back in 1984. The Parraguirre property offers a fantastic perspective of the lake from the less-traveled Eastern side.