Los Angeles Times

Fed up with Forest Service cuts, some California towns are plotting a recreation takeover

BISHOP, Calif. - Just west of this Sierra Nevada town, thousands of people trundle out to boulders as big as billboards, carrying climbing gear and foam pads to break their inevitable falls.

They park haphazardly along dirt roads, litter and smash vegetation with their crash pads. On a recent morning, there were no rangers in sight at the Buttermilk Country climbing site, and only one functioning toilet.

Naturalist John Muir glorified the Mono Basin in his writings, but now a visitor center there is plagued by stinging wasps and a leaky roof.

The only access to Devil's Postpile National Monument is a dangerously narrow lane that winds unevenly along steep slopes.

The chronically underfunded U.S. Forest Service is partly responsible for these conditions, and some local officials in the

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