Local Agency-Community Partnership Unveils New Accessible Recreation Spot at Buckley Ponds


June 26, 2024

The County of Inyo, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), Wounded Warrior Project, and Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra (DSES) are excited to unveil the latest local project to expand recreational opportunities to all residents and visitors.


An official ribbon-cutting will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, June 28, 2024 to celebrate a newly installed adaptive kayak launch at Buckley Ponds near the Owens River in Bishop. The public and media are invited to attend. Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra will have program information available and LADWP will provide reusable water bottles while supplies last.


The new launch adds more access consistent with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the Buckley Ponds – popular with warm-water anglers and oarsmen. It joins existing ADA docks that were installed more than a decade ago by the Bishop Lions Club and other groups with the support of the LADWP. It is a pilot project for LADWP as the agency seeks to increase accessible recreation opportunities on City of Los Angeles-managed property.


Randy Short, a DSES Advisory Council member, led the effort in bringing the Wounded Warrior Project and DSES together with the City of Los Angeles and County of Inyo. Winter meetings preceded a site visit this past spring that resulted in Buckley Ponds being selected as the location for the pilot project.


Short was continuing the volunteer work he and late Bishop resident Dick Noles started more than 10 years ago. Noles was a staunch advocate for increasing accessibility to popular fishing and recreation areas and worked closely with LADWP to see various projects to fruition. Noles helped lead the monumental effort to dredge the ponds in 2013 and have ADA docks installed as part of the rehabilitation project. 


“It has been some time now since Dick Noles and I began working with LADWP to provide Wounded Warrior access to some of the lakes and ponds in the Owens Valley,” Short said. “Adam Perez has provided welcome leadership on the LADWP side and now Nate Greenberg has also assisted from the Inyo County side to provide the first LADWP Wounded Warrior kayak launch site on Buckley Ponds. I know Dick would be so pleased to see this now come to fruition for not only Wounded Warriors but all that need a little help to easily launch their kayaks.”


The County of Inyo provided funding for the materials for the launch and LADWP contributed the labor and equipment for installation. DSES and Wounded Warriors offered valuable input and will promote the new feature to their communities.


“Inyo County supports inclusiveness and innovation and was happy to be able to contribute to this exciting project,” Inyo County CAO Nate Greenberg said. “Providing all community members access to our wonderful recreation opportunities is a noble goal and we eagerly await future opportunities to support efforts that both improve the visitor experience and residents’ quality of life.”


“We are thrilled to be breaking down barriers in the Eastern Sierra and opening access to unique sites like the Buckley Ponds for all,” said Marisa Gierlich Executive Director of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra. 


All parties hope this is the first of many projects like this in the Owens Valley. 


“It has always been LADWP’s long-standing commitment to find ways to give back to the community and allow for the majority of City of L.A. property to be accessible for public use,” LADWP L.A. Aqueduct Manager Adam Perez said. “Working together with Inyo County and with the support of community groups, we are thrilled to create another opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to experience the Eastern Sierra, safely and responsibly.”