Last week’s Sierra Star headline shared that the level of Bass Lake was the highest it has been in seven years. What great news that is for those of us who are fortunate enough to actually live at the lake, as well as the good news for the surrounding communities.
The tourist season is just around the corner and the local business folks are gearing up to sell their wares and keep the economy of Eastern Madera County vibrant.
We need to do our part. All of us are involved in the tourist trade. Every single resident - whether they like it or not. Frankly they should love it. That seasonal influx of people clamoring to enjoy, for a week or a few days, what we get to enjoy every day of the year.
I have shared with you the notion that every single dollar spent by a tourist in this area actually generates $12 into the economy for the effects the first dollar creates. The waitress spends her tips or salary at the movies, and the movie employees spend their salaries at stores and those employees spend money at the lake and soon a robust economy develops.
So we need to get busy. Over the past 35 years, I have developed friendships with the tourists that rent cabins on my street at the lake. During the tough year with the water down, I have shared with them the idea of exploring local trails or heading into Yosemite for a bike ride.
When they are leaving for home they are already looking forward to returning to this area for another fun-filled week. They don’t go home complaining about the lack of water. However; some families were sharing concerns last year that it is harder for them to consider returning due to the fact that they miss the water sports.
I have been texting those families with photos each week showing the lake view from the homes that they usually rent. A picture is worth a thousand words and the rising water at each dock is bringing positive comments.
We need to be the tourist season ambassadors for the area. Call your out-of-the-area friends and encourage them to come for a vacation this summer. Call the tourists that you know, just like I have, and tell them the good news about the return of the wet stuff.
Many of you have Facebook so let’s use that tool and tell a million folks about the fun available here and that their vacation can be an affordable and enjoyable one right here in the Sierra Nevada forests, parks, and lakes.
Those of us in the area should consider “staycations.” Carol and I are planning to vacation right at home this year. We will select one week, turn off the phones, ignore the Internet, and plan a few day trips into Yosemite and Mariposa.
We have museums here to enjoy such as the ones in Raymond, or the Mono Museum in North Fork. I get busy and miss out on melodrama so this year I am making it a point to see as many productions at the Golden Chain Theatre as possible.
Needless to say I still find it necessary to wage yet another summer contest of the “Burger Wars.” When you live at Bass Lake you need to consume a Miller’s Burger with the charbroiled flavor and then compare it to the Fork’s Burger with the old-fashioned grilled flavor. Those old griddles sure have a way of becoming “seasoned” and that enhances the burger. I love them both so I figure it will take me another three or four more decades of burger tasting to finally select my favorite one.
One tourist youngster answered the question of which burger was his favorite. His choice? “Whichever one is in my hand at the time.”
We have great restaurants serving up fabulous food at fair prices with wonderful service. If you are looking for a special “staycation” experience try the new “Happy Hour” at Erna’s Elderberry House. Carol and I went a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed a couple of glasses of great wines, fine cheeses and a soup and sandwich meal. Elegant yet comfortable and very affordable.
My colleague Julie recently introduced me to The Cool Bean (owned by YHS graduate Casey Lucas) adjacent to Pizza Factory. I have been here since before that shopping center was even thought of, yet alone built. We met there for a business meeting and voila, I have been back because I had finally tried the place. So be sure to introduce your friends to a new or old place right here in their own back yard.
Our assignment is to remember that we are the ambassadors of the area. Invite folks to visit, welcome folks when they are here, share places to visit, thank them for coming and let them remember this place for the real treasure that’s here; the friendly wonderful people that reside in their vacation destination.