Daily Report – Yosemite National Park
Thursday, August 3, 2023
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park Zone Forecast
Today: Sunny. Highs 59 to 73. Southwest winds up to 15 mph.
Tonight: Clear. Lows 41 to 53. Northwest winds up to 10 mph shifting to the east after midnight.
Tomorrow: Warmer, sunny. Highs 61 to 77. Southeast winds up to 10 mph shifting to the southwest in the afternoon.
Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:
Yosemite Valley | Wawona | Tuolumne Meadows | Glacier Point | Big Oak Flat | Hetch Hetchy | El Portal | Mariposa | Badger Pass
NEW & HAPPENING TODAY
Kudos for Katie Sheetz
“I’m proud to give a lot of kudos to Katie Sheetz for the work she’s done in helping with my retirement. She did a beautiful, fantastic job on my retirement flyer. Please welcome her to Yosemite and make her feel at home. She has a lot of talent, so please utilize her skills. You won’t be disappointed! A real asset to the Facilities team. Thanks, Katie!” (D. Muench)
PG&E Vegetation Removal and Maintenance Work
From 8/2/23 to 8/9/23, PG&E contractors from Arborworks will be conducting vegetation removal and maintenance work in the Old El Portal and Rancheria residential areas. Some traffic control may be necessary. This will include locations along Red Bud Lane and River View Road in Rancheria and along Foresta, Crane Creek, and Rocky Roads in Old El Portal (A. Kunz)
Yosemite Leadership Program Summer Internship Symposium Tuesday, August 8th 9-12
The Yosemite Leadership Program Summer Interns have been hard at work and they’re eager to present their summer projects! Come celebrate them by joining the YLPSI Symposium, which will be held in Wawona at the Grey Barn on Tuesday, August 8th from 9am until 12pm. Topics include testing for cyanobacteria in Yosemite’s waters, determining the building a historical CCC chimney belonged to, improving visitor experience and reduce deferred maintenance through the use of LiDAR and virtual reality headsets, creating a recruitment and retention plan, rebuilding the Umacha at the Yosemite Museum, plus many more. This will be open to the public, but friends, family, and coworkers are encouraged to join. Coffee and snacks will be provided. (R. Chan)
Yosemite Conservancy Centennial Celebrations on Friday, August 4
Yosemite Conservancy cordially invites you to join us on Friday, August 4 in celebrating 100 years. There will be cake and a Happy Birthday sing-along at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center at 4 pm. Then from 6 – 7 pm there will be a free naturalist program beginning at the Yosemite Museum and led by Conservancy naturalist, Dick Ewart. We hope to see you there! (H. van der Grinten)
Yosemite GIS User Group
The next meetup for parkwide GIS users is today at 10am in the RMS Conference Room and on Teams. GIS User Group meetups are a chance for any interested NPS employee to share and hear about what GIS users across the park are working on. The Knowledge Fair will include a demo of the Memento field data collection app and a presentation on recent scanning projects undertaken by Design & Engineering Facilities Management. Contact Elizabeth Hale for a calendar invite. (E. Hale)
Pika Fire Update 8/1/23
Location: Just west of North Dome
Discover date: June 29, 2023
Size: 841 acres
Yosemite Fire crews are using a management strategy utilizing natural barriers and trails to confine the spread of the fire in a predefined area. A confine and contain strategy under favorable conditions allows fire to move naturally across the landscape, providing ecological benefits to plants and wildlife, while also meeting protection objectives to minimize risk to people and infrastructure.
Fire management in Yosemite provides for the reduction of hazardous fuels, increasing the diversity of habitats, promoting new plant growth and a return of a natural fire cycle to the landscape.
Trail closures are still in effect for trails on Indian Ridge and within the Pika Fire burn area, Lehamite Creek Trail and the southern trail to North Dome are now open. Areas of unburned fuel remain active northwest of North Dome. Crews will remain onsite to ensure the fire stays within the current perimeter and will continue to monitor for the coming weeks.
Smoke from the Pika Fire is expected to impact Yosemite Valley in the evenings and overnight with conditions improving as smoke lifts during the late mornings. Slight impacts may also be seen on trails near the fire including in Yosemite Valley.
For current smoke conditions: http://nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/aqmonitoring.htm
Current Fire Conditions INCIWEB: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/caynp-pika-fire (M. Ruggiero)
Apple Picking Day at Curry Village Tuesday August 1st, starting at 8am
Come on by and help the bear team knock down/ collect apples from the historic apple trees in the curry village parking lot. Yosemite’s black bears are attracted to the apples as they begin to ripen and it can lead to trouble for both them and visitor’s cars parked in Curry Village.
Questions? Contact Yose_Volunteers@nps.gov (A. Martinez)
Tamarack Flat Campground Opening August 5th
Tamarack Flat campground will open on Saturday, August 5. It is on a 2-week rolling booking window for reservations. (E. Bissmeyer)
Chad Andrews Retiring after 20 years in Yosemite!
Please join us in wishing Chad Andrews and his family a wonderful retirement from a career of exceptional government service.
Yes- it’s true! Wawona District Ranger Chad Andrews has retired after over 20 years of service to Yosemite National Park. Chad will be remembered as the consummate Ranger: very skilled in Law Enforcement, Emergency Medical Services, and Search and Rescue.
He was recognized by the community of Wawona as exceptionally kind and compassionate. Chad Andrews was a dedicated professional who always answered the call to help others in their time of need.
Chad and his family were honored by a wonderful celebration on July 20 where many long-time employees and community members recounted how much they appreciated Chad and his family. Special thanks to Heidi Edgecomb who helped organize such a special event.
Chad and his family will be greatly missed, but will be residing just down the road in Oakhurst, CA. He might even be found racing his car with it’s new tires and rims gifted from the community! Well wishes may be sent to: Chad Andrews, Wawona Ranger Office, PO Box 2027, Wawona, CA 95389 (J. Webb)
Tuolumne Meadows Water System
Water in Tuolumne Meadows is now potable. The distribution system is open to the public for the summer season. (S. Zumbrunnen)
Daytime Closure of Curry Village Drive: July 31st – August 3rd
Curry Village Drive will be closed to all vehicles for tree removal at the site of shuttle bus stops 14 and 19 from July 31 to August 3. During this time, Southside Drive will be re-opened through Stoneman Meadow so that vehicles may access Trailhead Parking and east valley campgrounds. Shuttle bus stops will be temporarily relocated to Curry Village Registration, formerly known as shuttle stop 13b. Curry Village Drive will be re-opened and Stoneman Meadow closed to vehicles if tree work is completed before August 3. (J. Donovan)
Construction in Bug and Ranger Camps is underway in Tuolumne Meadows
Several crews are repairing damaged structures and replacing the underground and overhead electric. Please avoid the area unless you are a resident. Any questions, contact Matt Outhier. (M. Outhier)
Tuolumne Meadows Lodgepole Pine Removal: 7/31 – 8/17
CCC crews and volunteers will be removing lodgepole pine saplings in the Tuolumne Meadows area until 8/17. Cut material will be piled along the roadside to be chipped. Lodgepole pine encroachment is present in many parts of Tuolumne Meadows due to shifting climatic conditions and other anthropogenic factors. This has consequences for meadow vegetation composition, wildlife communities, downstream ecosystem services, and the visitor experience. Once established, lodgepole pine will persist unless restoration actions are taken. (K. Russell)
Mist Trail Repair: July 10th – November 2nd
The Lower Mist Trail – from the John Muir Trail (JMT) junction (just uphill from the Vernal Fall Footbridge) to the top of Vernal Fall – will be closed M-TH between 7:00am and 3:30pm from 7/10/23 – 11/2/23 (subject to change). The trail will be open on Labor Day and Columbus Day. The trail will remain open Fridays and on weekends. It is expected to be open overnight, however there may be certain days when trail crew is not able to make it safe to open overnight. In that case, the gates will remain closed, and signs will be posted at the two closure gates that the trail is closed.
Hikers and backpackers headed to Little Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and points beyond from the trailhead at Happy Isles may hike uphill on the Mist Trail if they reach the Mist Trail/JMT junction by 7:00am, Monday through Thursday. Otherwise, they must hike the JMT. (W. Weaver)
The Merced Grove is Closed for Restoration
Giant sequoias are adapted to frequent, low-intensity fire and depend on fire for reproduction. Frequent fires reduce fire intensity by thinning the forest of small and unhealthy trees and reducing the accumulation of dead branches and trees. But over the past century, fires were suppressed, and drought and insects killed millions of trees in Yosemite. In the Merced Grove, there is limited sequoia regeneration and fuel loading has increased to dangerous levels. Currently, we cannot safely introduce fire without first mechanically removing fuels first. Since 2020, wildfires have killed almost 20% of mature giant sequoias across their range due to extreme fuel loading, and we aim to prevent that outcome in the Merced Grove. Therefore, we are removing small diameter conifers, hazard trees, and dead and downed wood to reduce wildfire risk to the sequoias and firefighters as preparation for the first prescribed fire in and around the grove. The grove will be closed for 2.5 months during the restoration for visitor and worker safety. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for access. (G. Dickman)
Wawona and Yosemite Valley Wildfire Protection Project
As part of an ongoing hazardous fuels reduction project to protect communities, increase forest resilience, and decrease risk to firefighters and the public, small trees and dead and down wood will be removed in Wawona and Yosemite Valley. In Wawona, material north of the south fork of the Merced River on NPS land and private property through a partnership with Mariposa County Resource Conservation District. In Yosemite Valley, crews will be working along North Side Drive between Middle Brother and El Capitan picnic area and between El Capitan woodlot and Pohono Bridge. Actions within Yosemite Valley are in preparation of prescribed fire. Material is either piled to be burned later or transported for carbon capture where it is used for wood products, electricity generation, or used as fill in restoration projects. (G. Dickman)
Valley-wide Continuous Flow Intersection Improvement Project
Sentinel Drive remains closed for construction as the FHWA contractor pours and finishes concrete for pedestrian improvements at the site of the abandoned bus stop and Sentinel Drive parking area. Granite masonry work continues thru the week beginning July 17. Asphalt pavement patching is scheduled for the week beginning July 24. The contractor is also working on construction of traffic diverters (or raised medians) at the valley chapel parking area and Sentinel Drive intersections at Northside and Southside Drives. Completion of work depends on the readiness of labor and availability of equipment and materials. (J. Donovan)
Yosemite Valley Shuttle Bus Stop Improvements
The NPS contractor continues work at seven sites for new pavement construction in Yosemite Village, Curry Village, and on Happy Isles Loop. Disruption and delays in traffic circulation are to be expected. The contractor is authorized to conduct traffic control operations Monday through Thursday. (J. Donovan)
Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment
The contractor has completed work in Wawona and in Yosemite Valley. However, vehicle chargers are not available until the units can be energized and commissioning is complete. Until further notice, working charging stations are limited to eight at Yosemite Valley Lodge, two at the Ahwahnee Hotel, one at the Village Store, and two between the El Portal market and gas station. (J. Donovan)
Dispatch Expansion Project
The Dispatch Expansion project will convert most of the El Portal Warehouse lobby into office space for the Emergency Communications (Dispatch) Center. The lobby area is an active construction zone and therefore is off-limits to non-construction workers. To access the Dispatch office area, follow the signs in through the Trails area door just inside the fence/gate. Warehouse occupants and visitors need to use alternate means of ingress/egress until that portion of the construction is finished. Do not enter through the RMS building unless you work there. Expect intermittent construction noise throughout the project, which is scheduled to be completed in September of 2023. Contact Nicole Belle Isle, Project Manager, for more information. (N. Belle Isle)
Riverbank Restoration Between Sugar Pine Bridge and Ahwahnee Bridge, June through August
The Vegetation and Ecological Restoration branch will be conducting riverbank restoration work between Sugar Pine Bridge and just past Ahwahnee Bridge from June-August. This project will remove riprap from the riverbank, plant willows and other native species, and install an engineered log jam at one location on the riverbank to enhance riparian habitat and mitigate the effects of Sugar Pine Bridge on the Merced River. This restoration project is part of the Merced Wild and Scenic River Management Plan, which aims to reverse some of the past human impacts to meadows and riverbanks, to protect and enhance river values, and to promote public access and enjoyment of the river. To learn more about this effort, visit: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/mercedriverrestoration.htm (E. Dickman)