Mono leaders approve Bodie RV park |

Mono leaders approve Bodie RV park

by Christy Chalmers

Mono County leaders have approved a seasonal resort that would cater to visitors of California’s best-known ghost town.

The Mono County board of supervisors unanimously approved the proposed Bodie RV Park Tuesday. Developer Bill Lapham, a Yerington resident whose family has owned the 13 acres the resort will occupy for several decades, said construction could start this summer if remaining issues concerning water quality are resolved.

Lapham is proposing a general store, 10-room motel, museum, 32 RV spaces, tent and cabin camping and laundry and shower facilities. Two single-family homes for employees are also planned.

The resort would be located just east of the intersection of highways 270 and 395, about 80 miles south of Gardnerville. The resort would straddle Clearwater Creek, which runs along California Highway 270 – also known as “the Bodie Road.”

The RV park would be 13 miles from the ghost town.

Bodie peaked in the 1870s, gaining a reputation as a rugged and violent place. In 1881, Bodie began to decline, and a fire in 1932 destroyed many of the buildings. The town is now a state park that is held in a state of arrested decay.

Though critics have voiced concerns that the RV park would detract from Bodie’s historic integrity, Lapham said he got support from residents of Bishop, 90 miles south, who are anticipating an increased tax base, more jobs and better tourist accommodations.

“We had a lot of support on our side,” he said. “We have to give the Mono County planning department some credit. They worked very hard in trying to get this right, and it turned out really well.”

The project has been in the works for more than two years. Lapham said the RV park was reduced from 40 to 32 spaces and some road parking was eliminated. More recently, he agreed to increase the space between the RV park and Clearwater Creek to 30 feet instead of 10.

Lapham said California authorities want more information on water quality impacts, which could translate into more stream monitoring and a delay in construction. He said he plans to meet with them in coming weeks.

Once the issues are resolved, Lapham said he will begin installing utilities at the site. The general store and motel will be done first, followed by the RV park and a final phase for the camping facilities.

Each phase could be done in successive summers, with completion in 2003.

Lapham said he doesn’t have a final cost estimate for the project because he isn’t sure how much of the work his family, which includes three contractors, will do. He also didn’t have project budgets handy but said the cost will top $1 million.