hiking in Yosemite's high country 9.7.23

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Daily Report – Yosemite National Park


Yosemite National Park Zone Forecast

Today: Sunny. Highs 57 to 71. South winds 5 to 15 mph with gusts to around 35 mph.

Tonight: Clear. Lows 36 to 50. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph with gusts to around 35 mph.

Tomorrow: Sunny. Highs 57 to 71. South winds 5 to 20 mph with gusts to around 40 mph.

Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:

Yosemite Valley | Wawona | Tuolumne Meadows | Glacier Point | Big Oak Flat | Hetch Hetchy | El Portal | Mariposa | Badger Pass



Yosemite Conservancy Bookstore at Big Oak Flat Closed Today

The Yosemite Conservancy Bookstore at Big Oak Flat is closed TODAY Thursday, September 7th due to staffing. (K. Bouchard)

The Yosemite Volunteer Awards for 2023 are live!
Nomination categories for exceptional volunteers that have served in the past fiscal/calendar year include:

Individual Adult VIPs (over 30 or if veteran 35)
Individual Youth/Young Adult VIP (under 30 or if veteran 35)
Team VIP (Organized group, collective, or family)
Volunteer Supervisor
Innovation Award *New Category
Intern (non VIP)*New Category (under 30 or if veteran 35)
Email Yose_Volunteers@nps.gov for more details and instructions.
Deadline for nominations is September 8th, Friday, at midnight Winners will be recognized during Yosemite Facelift!
(A. Martinez)

Yosemite Bear Facts — Aug 27 – Sept 2, 2023

2023 Total Bear Incidents: 26
2023 Total Property Damage: $10,020

Bear Incident Comparisons (year to date—previous years compared to 2023):
· Last year (2022) – Up 18% in incidents, up 633% in property damage
· Most incidents (1998) – Down 98%
· Least incidents (2019) – Up 30%

Bear Activity Summary: Bears remained very active on the Yosemite Valley floor in August. As the raspberries dry out in late summer, black bears are starting to eat other fruit such as non-native cultivated apple trees. Last month park employees and volunteers picked over 1.5 tons of non-native apples to prevent bears from coming into developed areas to eat these non-native foods. When bears spend time in development (even eating natural food), they can lose their fear of people or possibly obtain human food. The significant effort spent picking non-native fruit goes a long way to keep bears from entering developed areas and keeping bears wild.

Bears obtained unsecured human food at least twice in Yosemite Valley in August. One incident was in Curry Village, where a bear entered an open locker and obtained bagels and sandwich rolls. The following day, the same bear obtained ramen from an occupied Housekeeping Camp tent cabin. This is an example of how quickly a bear’s behavior can escalate when they get human food. If the bear had not obtained food from visitors in Curry Village, the bear may not have then entered an occupied tent cabin looking for more food. Visitors are reminded to treat your food storage locker like a refrigerator—even if you are nearby, food storage lockers should always be kept closed and latched except for when you are actively taking food out or putting food away. Turning away from your food for a second can change the trajectory of a bear’s life. Proper food storage means keeping food within arm’s reach at all times if not locked away. Proper food storage at all times is critical to protecting bears and visitors in Yosemite National Park.

There were an additional seven incidents in the El Portal administrative site in the last week of August and first few days of September. A bear obtained dog food and birdseed left outside on two occasions by a resident and then caused property damage to multiple other buildings. Bears that obtain food at a location will often continue to return and cause damage to access more food. Residents are reminded to close and latch all windows and doors when they are not home—bears are active day and night but this bear has obtained most of its people food from unsecured homes in the middle of the day. Residents should also remove attractants from around their homes—feed pets indoors, remove bird feeders, keep trash and recycling secured inside a building, and pick fruit from fruit trees. Residents and visitors are also reminded to yell aggressively at any bear inside areas of development because wild bears should not feel comfortable in these areas.

Red Bear, Dead Bear: Eight bears have been reported hit in August in Yosemite National Park for a total of fourteen bears reported hit so far this year. Three of these bears have been confirmed killed by vehicle strike in 2023. Please slow down especially around blind corners and in weather! Speeding kills bears.

Fascinating Bear Facts: The oldest wild American black bear recorded was 39 and a half years old when she died in Minnesota.

Other Wildlife: Voles comprise almost 90% of the diet of great gray owls (Strix nebulosa). (C. Lee-Roney)



Now Hiring Winter Wilderness Patrol Volunteers

Ever wanted to work with NPS at Badger Pass? Learn the ways of the Yosemite Wilderness Ranger! Join this Volunteers-in-Parks opportunity for the winter season! Work with Wilderness patrol staff to issue backcountry wilderness permits, patrol ski trails, conduct snow surveys, assist and educate visitors, and respond to emergencies. Gain valuable Wilderness snow travel and winter rescue experience. Volunteers will work from approximately early December through early April. Park housing is available. Experience skiing and WFR/EMT certification is preferred but not required. If interested in this opportunity, please send a resume that includes details of your wilderness travel, winter skills, and customer service/public speaking experience to Lisa_Kahn@nps.gov. Bring on winter 2023-2024! (L. Kahn)


Next Yosemite Forum, September 12th

The next Yosemite Forum will take place in-person at the Yosemite Valley Auditorium on Tuesday, September 12 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm, with a special program at 3:00 pm.

George Melendez Wright: The fight for wildlife and wilderness in the National Parks

By author Jerry Emory

When twenty-three-year-old George Meléndez Wright arrived in Yosemite National Park in 1927 to work as a ranger naturalist – the first Hispanic person to occupy any professional position in the National Park Service – he had already visited every national park in the western United States. Two years later, he would organize the first science-based wildlife survey of the western parks, forever changing how the agency would manage wildlife and natural resources. At a time when national parks routinely fed bears garbage and killed predators like wolves, mountain lions, and coyotes, Wright’s new ideas for conservation set the stage for the modern scientific management of parks and other public lands.

Please consider attending in person if you can, otherwise you can join virtually via Teams:


Before the forum, at 3:00 pm join Yosemite Valley Interpretation for a 15-minute living history program on George Melendez Wright portrayed by park interpreter, Brian Chavez. See the Yosemite Valley of nearly a century ago through the eyes of one of the Park’s most influential rangers. Meet in front of the Museum at the fire pit Amphitheatre. (G. Stock, B. Chavez)


El Portal Warehouse Elevators
The construction work in the El Portal Warehouse lobby is temporarily on hold, so the elevator is available for use for the time being. The lobby stairs are still incomplete and therefore blocked off. Another notice will be posted and barriers put back up before work starts again. (N. Belle Isle)

Kudos to Backcountry Sawyers

Thank you so much to the backcountry sawyers, who have been absolutely crushing it this year. Tuolumne Hydro is extremely thankful for you all helping us pack heavy equipment to/from our backcountry weather stations. Additional props to your noble steeds, without whom none of this would be possible. (M. Hoffman)


Picture-a-Scientist Movie Showing & Dialogue

Showing: September 14, 6:30pm – 8:30pm @ EP Community Hall

Discussion: September 21, 4:00pm – 5:00pm @ EP Community Hall

Join the Allies for Inclusion group for a showing of the Picture A Scientist, a 2020 documentary highlighting gender inequality in science. We will host a showing in El Portal, followed by an optional facilitated discussion regarding the interaction between gender and one’s experience in the workplace. All are welcome! (S. Soroka)


Indian Cultural Program Seeking Winter Volunteer

Ever wonder what our in park cultural demonstrators do in the Yosemite Museum. Want to learn how to make an arrow point? Or make a necklace with plant fibers? The volunteer will perform duties to demonstrate traditional and contemporary arts and skills of native people in California within the Division of Interpretation and Education.

As a demonstrator they will develop and present interpretive demonstrations, lectures, structured talks, impromptu talks, guide tours and other presentations about cultural resources of the park to a variety of individuals and groups, using teaching methods and devices geared to the characteristics and interests of the audiences. All demonstrators will learn gender neutral skills, like making cordage, game play, pine nut beads, etc. Individuals may also learn traditional food preparation, traditional gathering methods, basket making, beadwork, stone and obsidian tool making, feather work such as topknots, and many other cool projects!

This position will run from October 2023 – March 2024. Housing will be provided.

Please send your interest and resume to yose_interpretation@nps.gov (E. Dayhoff)


Womxn’s ERG “Girl Dinner” Potluck 9/13 @ 6:00pm

Girl dinner (noun): meal thrown together of small portions of snacks and/or whatever you have available, that ends up resembling a snack tray or charcuterie board but is a whole meal. Example: popcorn, cheddar cheese and apple slices OR crackers, cheese, olives, nuts, dried fruit and salami. Come to the Valley Library (“Girl’s Club) and bring your favorite “girl dinner” snack to enjoy with the group at this informal mixer!

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, membership-based, employee-led affinity groups that celebrate employees’ identities and values. For more information about Employee Resource Groups in the park, see yoscommunity.com/erg. (S. Soroka)

Kudos to Paul Scharfy

Paul is working his first season in Yosemite at the Hetch Hetchy ES. He is does excellent work with day use visitors at the entrance window as well as issuing wilderness permits. Paul is an excellent ranger. We are lucky to have him!!! (Palacio Jimenez, S.)

Highlighting the Yosemite Ancestral Stewards Crew

The Yosemite Ancestral Stewards (YAS) crew are wrapping up their first season and have done a stellar job working on multiple restoration projects including reducing heavy fuels and building burn piles in black oak groves, installing beaver dam analogs at Ackerson, native seed collection, fuel reduction work at Wahhoga and revegetation work at Tenaya Lake/Murphy Creek. They worked alongside multiple crews and with tribal elders. A special thanks to the National Park Foundation for grant support. (I. Vasquez)


Parkwide Fire System Inspections

It’s been another year (hard to believe) and it is time for the Annual Fire Protection System Inspections. Contractors will be on site from Sept. 11 thru Sept. 27 to inspect fire alarm and fire suppression systems, this is an annual requirement for all of our systems. Contractors will be escorted by NPS staff (Steve Lyon will be the lead) during all inspections. Residents of NPS housing units will be nitified of the specific dates that thier units will be inspected.

Here are the tentative dates for each district:

El Portal – 9/11-9/15

Yosemite Valley – 9/18-9/21

Wawona – 9/22-9/26

Mather – 9/27

The residential inspections will take between 10-20 minutes per unit. This will be a visual inspection of the sprinkler heads and smoke detectors and a flow test of any sprinkler systems, which may or may not set off an alarm bell.

Thanks in advance for your assistance with completing this annual inspection. (C. Toepper)


Yosemite Medical Clinic

Hours of operation during the week of Sept 4th: Monday (Closed), Tuesday and Wednesday 9am – 12 noon and 1-3:30 pm and closed on Thursday and Friday for systems transition. We apologize for this inconvenience. We are making improvement to better serve our patients.

If our primary care patients need to reach our provider, please text 209-372-5452. If you have an emergency, please call or text 9-1-1. (P. Ulrich)


Yosemite Sustainability Council: Sept. 13th Brownbag Luncheon

Join the Yosemite Sustainability Council for our 2nd summer brownbag! This focus-group style session will meet in-person on Wednesday, Sept. 13th from 12pm – 1:30 at Degnan’s Loft. All park-related staff, partners, and volunteers are encouraged to attend and participate in action planning towards the 2023 Green Parks Plan. Discussion groups will include infrastructure, energy & water, waste, fleet, and education. Please RSVP with our google form at: https://forms.office.com/pages/responsepage.aspx?id=urWTBhhLe02TQfMvQApUlPrEfr7x9jpIsySe3tGmg1ZUMVhFNDhaNlBENVhYMjc2UE1XN1BLQkdMNS4u

For more information, please contact Jamie_Gonzales@nps.gov or tgoehring@yosemite.org (V. Vines)


The Free Yosemite Community Counseling Program is FULL for the 2023 season!

All those already enrolled, we will be in touch when we reach you on the waiting list. Otherwise, we are unable to take on additional individuals at this time.

For anyone in an immediate mental health crisis please contact Jenni Buczko, LPCC, MA through September 30th. Contact information below.

After September 30th, for anyone in crisis please contact local Law Enforcement, the Mariposa County 24 hour crisis line 209-966-7000, or call 911.

Jenni.Buczko@gmail.com or 209-732-6118 (J. Buczko)



Ackerson Meadow Restoration Project
The long-planned Ackerson Meadow Restoration Project, on Evergreen Road, is set to begin. Be aware of potential truck traffic in the area between August 14 and October 31.

The project goal is to eliminate excessive soil erosion, slow water loss, and reverse loss of water-loving plants and animals, and impacts to endangered species. To do this, a contractor will completely fill the century-old human-caused erosion gully that is now more than 3 miles long, and up to 14 feet deep by 100 feet wide. Revegetation of the area will be completed using more than 425,000 wetland container plants and 700 pounds of native plant seeds. This project is planned for completion in spring 2025, and is a partnership of American Rivers, Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite Conservancy, and Yosemite National Park. Learn more: https://go.nps.gov/ackerson. For questions, contact tim_kuhn@nps.gov. (T. Kuhn)


Valley Forestry on Glacier Point

Valley Forestry will be removing hazard trees along Glacier Point Road through the end of September. Work will take place from 0800-1530 Monday through Thursday. Expect 15 minute delays. Thanks for your patience. (B. See)


Glacier Point Road Delays

Crews are continuing rehabilitation of the Glacier Point Road between Wawona Road junction (Chinquapin) and Glacier Point. The Crews will be working Monday thru Friday from 6AM to 6PM with alternating one-way traffic control and up to 30-minute delays. Delays should be diminishing as work progresses over the next couple of months; however, please expect delays thru September 29, 2023. Please contact Michael Pieper, with any questions or concerns at (209) 200-1131. (M. Peiper)

Tioga Road Delays

Crews are continuing to complete intermittent road repairs on the Tioga Road between Tamarack Flat Campground entrance road and Little Blue Slide. Over the next couple of months there will be multiple crews working at various locations along the Tioga Road corridor. The Crews will be working Monday thru Friday, from 6AM to 6PM with alternating one-way traffic control and up to 15-minute delays. These Tioga Road delays will continue thru September 29, 2023. Please contact Michael Pieper, with any questions or concerns at (209) 200-1131. (M. Peiper)

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)


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 – 9/1/23. Beginning 9/2/23 – 11/2/23 the trail will be closed M-Fr between 7:00am and 3:30pm. The trail will be open on Labor Day and Columbus Day.

The trail will remain open 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 Friday. 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, trees posing a hazard to firefighters and containment lines, 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 garrett_dickman@nps.gov with questions or for access. (G. Dickman)


Valley-wide Continuous Flow Intersection Improvement Project

Sentinel Drive was opened to traffic last weekend, but the northbound lane and the left lane on the Southside Drive approach will close intermittently as work is completed on the bulb-out (or diverter) at the intersection. These closures are required to establish a safe work zone as laborers complete tasks. Crews are also working this week on Yosemite Valley Lodge, the Yosemite Falls Promenade, and pavement patching at the Southside Drive intersection with Curry Village Drive. The contractor will also begin work at the Village Parking Area. The scope includes widening Northside Drive to two lanes, modifying the roundabout, building a new access driveway for the visitor parking area, and extending the length of bus stop #1. (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 will resume work at the Tuolumne Meadows visitor parking area in the week beginning Sept 10. New vehicle chargers will not be 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, six at the Ahwahnee Hotel, four at the Village Store, and two between the El Portal market and gas station. (J. Donovan)


Dispatch Expansion Project
The Dispatch Expansion project is converting most of the El Portal Warehouse lobby into office space for the Emergency Communications (Dispatch) Center. The work is temporarily on hold, so the elevator across from the RMS building can be used for the time being. The stairs are still blocked off and the rest of the lobby area is closed unless you are involved with the project. To access the Dispatch office area, follow the signs in through the Trails area door just inside the fence/gate. Warehouse occupants and visitors not using the elevator need to use alternate means of ingress/egress until the re-construction of the stairs is finished. Do not enter through the RMS building unless you work there. Contact Nicole Belle Isle, Project Manager, for more information. (N. Belle Isle)


Sugar Pine Floodplain Restoration Through November 10

The Vegetation and Ecological Restoration Branch will be conducting restoration work in the floodplain south of Sugar Pine Bridge from August 14 to November 10. This project will excavate fill from historic channels to reactivate the floodplain, provide habitat for aquatic wildlife and plants, and restore natural hydrology. This project is a recommended action from the Merced Wild and Scenic River Management Plan to mitigate the effects of the historic but undersized Sugar Pine Bridge on the Merced River. Earth moving machinery, including excavators and dump trucks, will be operating in this area. Please ask that the public stay out of this area for their safety. To learn more about Merced River restoration visit: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/mercedriverrestoration.htm (A. Puchkoff)


Y8 Fuel Station Down
The Y8 gas station is currently down. For gas needs in the meantime, please call the garage from 8 am – 5 pm, 7 days a week at 209-372-1060 to schedule a fill until further notice. We’ll update when the station is back up and running. (C. Layman)

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x