Mono County is a rural region located on the eastern side of California's Sierra Nevada range that encompasses 3,103 square miles and hosts a population of 14,309. Mammoth Lakes, the only incorporated area, has a resident population of 8,296. During peak visitation the town's population can exceed 35,000.
Approximately 94% of the county is public or quasi-public land administered by the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the State of California, or the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. As a result, tourism/recreation is the major industry, accounting for approximately 80% of all employment. Annually, more than 6 million visitor-days of use occur on public lands in Mono County. Most visitors travel to and through the county on the highway system.
Unincorporated communities are scattered throughout the region, primarily along or near highways: US 395 (Topaz, Coleville, Walker, Bridgeport, Mono City, Lee Vining, June Lake, and Crowley communities of Long Valley, McGee Creek, Hilton Creek, Aspen Springs and Sunny Slopes); and US 6 (Tri-Valley: Benton, Hammil and Chalfant). The US 395 communities are small, rural in character and oriented toward recreational and tourist traffic as well as residential and agricultural uses.
Development is increasing in the Mono Basin, June Lake and Long Valley communities partly due to growth of the town of Mammoth Lakes. The Tri-Valley is experiencing similar development pressures from Bishop in Inyo County and, to a lesser degree, from the town of Mammoth Lakes. The Tri-Valley experiences far less recreational and tourist traffic than the rest of the county.