Yosemite National Park Friday, August 20, 2021

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Daily Report – Yosemite National Park
Friday, August 20, 2021

Yosemite National Park Zone Forecast
Today: Sunny. Haze and areas of smoke. Highs 77 to 85 at 5000 feet…65 to 73 at 8000 feet.
Tonight: Mostly clear. Haze and areas of smoke. Lows 52 to 62 at 5000 feet…42 to 50 at 8000 feet.
Tomorrow: Sunny. Near the crest, areas of smoke in the morning. Haze. Highs 75 to 83 at 5000 feet…63 to 71 at 8000 feet.

Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:
Yosemite Valley | Wawona | Tuolumne Meadows | Glacier Point | Big Oak Flat | Hetch Hetchy | El Portal | Mariposa | Badger Pass

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COVID UPDATES

Free COVID-19 Testing Provided by LHI is Available on Mondays and Thursdays in Yosemite Valley
Over the past week there has been a significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the greater Yosemite region. One of the best ways to protect yourself and our Yosemite Community from COVID-19 is through regular surveillance testing. Free COVID-19 testing provided by LHI is returning to Yosemite Valley.

Mondays: Yosemite Medical Clinic from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
Thursdays: Curry Village Wellness Center from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

To schedule an appointment, visit please https://www.lhi.care/covidtesting
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COVID Prevention & Testing
If you are feeling sick, stay home.
– If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, go to the Yosemite Medical Clinic or your healthcare provider to get tested. Please help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
– Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. If soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer to help reduce the spread of disease by touching surfaces.

The Yosemite Medical Clinic is open Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (walk-ins accepted until 6:30 pm unless clinic capacity is reached earlier). Some kinds of COVID testing are available at Yosemite Medical Clinic.

Consider visiting your health care provider or Yosemite Medical Clinic if you:
– have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, whether or not you are fully vaccinated, or
– have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated,

If you come to Yosemite Medical Clinic, providers can take note of any symptoms you are having, perform a physical exam, and if they determine it is necessary, order COVID-19 testing, which may be performed in-house and/or by an external laboratory.
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Free COVID-19 Vaccinations Available Wednesdays At Yosemite Medical Clinic
Free COVID-19 vaccinations will be provided by the Yosemite Medical Clinic on Wednesdays from 9AM to 5PM. This vaccination clinic will be located at the Yosemite Medical Clinic. On-line registration is required.

On-line registration for the vaccine is required and can be completed in advance on your computer or mobile device or onsite, at https://myturn.ca.gov

Online registration may take up to 10 minutes. Registering in advance is highly recommended. When registering before vaccination day, please select the appropriate clinic and date from the options on the website. If you choose to register on-site, you will be asked to use your mobile device or a provided loaner. Assistance will be available if needed.

Remember to bring photo ID and insurance card (if you have one). Loose-fitting clothing and/or short sleeves are recommended. Please expect the whole process to take approximately 30-40 minutes, including check-in and observation.

Vaccinations available at Yosemite Medical Clinic are for individuals 18 and older. Moderna and Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) Vaccines are currently offered. The Pfizer vaccine can now be given to ages 12 and up and is available through Mariposa County.

The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool to protect selves, families, and co-workers from serious complications associated with COVID-19. For more information go to www.mariposacounty.org/2466/COVID-19-Vaccination (J. Richards)

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NEW AND HAPPENING TODAY

Updates to Mask Requirements
By order of the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park and the under authority of Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, the following existing closures, public use limitation, and general regulations are hereby modified:

I. VISITING HOURS, PUBLIC USE LIMITS, CLOSURES, AREA DESIGNATIONS FOR SPECIFIC USES OR ACTIVIES AND CONDITIONS

36 CFR § 1.5 (a)(2) – DESIGNATE AREAS FOR A SPECIFIC USE OR ACTIVITY OR IMPOSE CONDITIONS OR RESTRICTIONS ON A USE OR ACTIVITY.

In response to Executive Order no. 13991 The following conditions apply to all federal employees, contractors, volunteers, park partners, and visitors:
Regardless of vaccination status or local community transmission levels, all individuals over the age of two years must wear masks, except when actively eating or drinking, in all common areas and shared workspaces in federally owned buildings administered by the National Park Service and in office space leased by the National Park Service.

“Federally owned buildings administered by the National Park Service” include, but are not limited to, visitor centers, administrative offices, maintenance facilities and shared government quarters; buildings assigned to concessioners or other park partners; and buildings leased for commercial purposes to individuals or entities other than the National Park Service.
All individuals over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status or local community transmission levels, must wear masks in the following outdoor areas when others are present, except when actively eating or drinking, where the Superintendent has determined that physical distancing (staying at least six feet apart) cannot reasonably be maintained:
• Parking Lots and Viewpoints: Within 100 feet of any parking area or pullout
• Trails: Lower Yosemite Fall Trail, Mist Trail, trails within Mariposa Grove below the Clothespin Tree, Tuolumne Grove, and Merced Grove, and within ½ mile of any trailhead.
• Interpretive Facilities and Programs: Indian Cultural Village and Pioneer Yosemite History Center, and within 50 feet of any park employee speaking to a group, gathering, or people attending an interpretive program.
• Buildings: Within 25 feet of any public building, including (but not limited to) visitor centers, entrance stations, wilderness centers, campground offices, and ranger stations.
• Shuttle stops: Within 25 feet of shuttle stops (during seasons and hours when shuttles are operating).
• Gathering Places: Village Mall (including the area from Yosemite Village Parking Area to the Yosemite Cemetery); Glacier Point area, including all trails from the parking lot to the amphitheater, geology exhibit, and main viewpoint area.
• Eating Areas: Picnic areas and outdoor food service areas, when not eating or drinking.

(El Portal areas)
• Interpretive Facilities and Programs: El Portal Train Exhibit and within 50 feet of any park employee speaking to a group or gathering.
• Buildings: Within 25 feet of any public building, including (but not limited to) the entrance station, post office, fire station, community hall, and gas station.
• Bus stops: When entering, riding, and exiting buses and shuttles (during seasons and hours when buses are operating).
• Gathering Places: Prominent beaches along the river.
• Eating Areas: Picnic areas and outdoor food service areas, when not eating or drinking.

Masks must cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly around the nose and chin with no large gaps around the sides of the face. Masks not designed to be protective, masks with ventilation valves, and face shields do not meet the requirement.
Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals must comply with all orders regarding masks issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
CDC prevention measures continue to apply to all travelers on public transit, regardless of vaccination status. Masks remain required on all forms of public transit that operate within parks, including buses, trains, boats/ferries, and in transportation hubs.

This designation rescinds all prior and will remain in place until rescinded or superseded.
https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/management/closures.htm
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Hodgdon Meadow Power Outage August 20
PG&E will be doing a temporary commercial power outage in the Hodgdon Meadows area on Friday August 20 from 0800 to 1600. For more information call Heather Gonzales, PG&E Outage Coordinator, at 726-5588. (K. Bablitch)
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Knap-In Saturday/Sunday
Interested in the art of making Stone Tools? Stop by the Yosemite Knapping Event in the Indian Village Saturday August 21 and Sunday August 22 to observe and visit with some excellent tool makers. We will be around from 8 am to 5 pm each day. (B. Cunningham-Summerfield)
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Fire Update 8/20/21
As of August 19th, Yosemite has had 43 fires started by lightning and 11 human-caused fires for the 2021 calendar year. The park is utilizing a mix of strategies to suppress, monitor, or contain these fires throughout Yosemite’s fire-adapted ecosystems. Currently there are four active fires, and these have all been contained or in the process of being contained using control lines and natural barriers.

Fire management actions have adhered to Minimum Impact Suppression Techniques (MIST). This minimizes impacts in the wilderness while allowing the healthy ecological effects of natural fire. The overall strategy for managing all wildland fires is to provide for the safety of employees and the public and protect and enhance natural and cultural resources. Smoke may be present in parts of Yosemite National Park due to other regional fires in California. Please see below for links to air quality in Yosemite.

Tiltill
Location: North of Hetch Hetchy, Tiltill Valley.
Discovery Date: July 31. 2021 Size: 1,960 acres
Containment: 90% Strategy: Confine and Contain
Cause: Lightning

County Line
Location: Near Yosemite Creek Campground Road. 8361 elevation.
Discovery Date: June 28th, 2021 Size: 224 acres
Containment: 100% Strategy: Confine and Contain
Cause: Lightning

Lukens
Location: West of Lukens Lake, North of Tioga Road. 8243 elevation.
Discovery Date: June 28, 2021 Size: 867 acres
Containment: 100% Strategy: Confine and Contain
Cause: Lightning

Cold
Location: Three miles North of Glen Aulin, in Cold Canyon.
Discovery Date: August 14, 2021 Size: 6.6 acres
Containment: 10% Strategy: Confine and Contain
Cause: Lightning
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RECENT NEWS
Hodgdon Meadow Power Outage August 20
PG&E will be doing a temporary commercial power outage in the Hodgdon Meadows area on Friday August 20 from 0800 to 1600. For more information call Heather Gonzales, PG&E Outage Coordinator, at 726-5588. (K. Bablitch)
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YARTS Hwy 140 Schedule Change
Due to a driver shortage that could not be anticipated, YARTS will immediately reduce service on the Highway 140 route through Sept 1. Service is suspended on park inbound runs 140-1, -5, and -9; and outbound runs 140-8, -12, and -16. YARTS and service contractor VIA are working diligently to hire and train new operators. (J. Donovan)
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Yosemite Hospitality Operations
There have been multiple modifications to hours of operations and select closures due to some staffing shortages for seasonal workers. Please visit the Yosemite Hospitality website for a complete list of services available: https://www.travelyosemite.com/alerts/covid-19-guest-updates/ (L. Cesaro)
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Forestry Work on Big Oak Flat Road
Valley Forestry will be removing hazard trees on the Big Oak Flat Road between the Foresta Junction and Cascades on 8/18 and 8/19. Traffic control will be in place with short delays. (B. See)
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Mist Trail Closure Starting 9/7
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 Mondays through Thursdays from September 7th to November 4th between the hours of 630am and 4pm. The trail will remain open on weekends.

The trail 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 Half Dome, Cloud’s Rest, 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 630am, Mon–Thurs. Otherwise, they must hike up the JMT (approx. 1 mile longer).

Mon–Thurs, hikers and backpackers traveling downhill/returning to the trailhead are encouraged to use the JMT to descend at all times since it will not be possible to change the sign at the trail junction at the Nevada Fall restroom anytime the Mist Trail needs to remain closed overnight.

There is a $280 fine for entering a closed construction zone. (W.Weaver)
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Please Conserve Water in Wawona and Tuolumne Meadows
The Yosemite region typically experiences dry conditions and reductions in the available surface water flow in rivers and waterfalls each year as the spring snowpack melts off. This year’s low snowpack followed by this summer’s extremely hot and dry conditions has exacerbated drought conditions. The surface water flow in the South Fork Merced River dropped below 3 cfs earlier this summer, a clear indicator of serious drought conditions and a trigger for proactive conservation measures.

Water levels in both the South Fork Merced and the Tuolumne River continue to drop, and our traditionally driest month (September) lies ahead. During the coming months, please maintain your vigilance in conserving water to ensure we continue to protect our precious water resources.

Due to the ongoing drought conditions and decreased surface flow, particularly on the South Fork Merced River and the Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park is implementing water conservation measures in Wawona. Similar measures may soon go into effect in Tuolumne Meadows as well.

You can help save water by taking the following actions:

Ensure faucets, toilet, pipes, and other water sources do not leak.
Take shorter showers and install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors.
Don’t let the water run when brushing your teeth or shaving, use a wash basin.
Don’t let the faucet run while preparing food or cleaning and use your automatic washing-machine or
dish washer only for full loads.
Use a broom to clean driveways, sidewalks, and steps, and don’t run the hose while washing your car.
Water your lawn only when it needs it, do so when cool and avoid watering on windy days.

Want to Learn More? Check out

Yosemite Hydrology: http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/hydrology.htm

Stream gage at Wawona:
https://cdec.water.ca.gov/jspplot/jspPlotServlet.jsp?sensor_no=15500&end=07%2F19%2F2021+15%3A15&geom=small&interval=10&cookies=cdec01 (J. Trust)
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Fire inspections
Fire System Inspections continue this week in Yosemite Valley, starting on Monday (8/16) and continuing until Thursday (8/19). Then they will be moving to the Wawona District, on Friday (8/20) and Tuesday (8/24). The Valley Museum will be inspected on Monday (8/23). Finishing the inspections in Mather District on Wednesday (8/25). Thanks to all for your patience with the annual fire system inspection and testing. (C. Toepper)
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El Portal, Badger Pass and Chinquapin Power Outage August 27
PG&E will be doing a temporary commercial power outage in the El Portal area, from old El Portal to the Administration Building, Chinquapin and Badger Pass areas on Friday August 27 from 6:30 PM to 7:00 PM. For more information call Heather Gonzales, PG&E Outage Coordinator, at 726-5588.
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Badger Pass Ski Area Early Bird Season Pass
Early Bird Season Pass sale is available now for the Badger Pass Ski Area. Ski all season for less than the cost of three lift tickets. Season Pass sale ends 9/15/21.

View rates and book online at: https://www.travelyosemite.com/special-offers/specials-packages/activities/early-bird-season-pass (L. Cesaro)
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HVAC Install Continues
HVAC installation continues in El Portal at Apartments in Bldg. 734 and 744. The contractors will be working on the second floor units, so they will be accessing the mechanical closets on the first floor porches to remove and rerun the condensate lines. They will access from a ladder when possible. They are planning on finishing this week. Thanks for your patience and understanding with schedule changes and any disruptions. (C. Toepper)

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CONSTRUCTION & TRAFFIC DELAYS

Biomass removal and thinning on Merced Grove Road, Garnet Moutain Road, and Goat Meadow Road
Multiple biomass removal and thinning projects are occurring to protect our sequoia groves from high severity fire and to prepare for prescribed fire. At each location Contractors, CCC, and CHIPS, native persons sawyer crew are falling and removing hazard trees, and thinning, piling, and chipping small fuels. The CCC and CHIPS crews are working on Merced Grove Road (aka Moss Creek Truck Trail). Contractors are felling hazard trees on Garnet Mountain Road (aka road to Rockefeller Grove) and removing biomass on Goat Meadow Road. Do not enter Garnet Mountain Road without arranging an escort. For more information email garrett_dickman@nps.gov (G. Dickman)
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Leidig Meadow Restoration Project 8/9-9/9
Vegetation and Ecological Restoration staff will be conducting a restoration project from August 9-September 9 in Leidig Meadow. This project will remove riprap, informal trails, abandoned infrastructure and conifers encroaching upon the meadow. Disturbed areas will be revegetated with native plants and restoration fencing will be installed to protect them while they establish. There may be very short closures of the bike path through Leidig Meadow as equipment enter and exit the site. Staff will be conducting traffic control for safety. This restoration project is part of the broader 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 visitor access and enjoyment of the river. To learn more about this effort, visit: https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/mercedriverrestoration.htm (E. Dickman)
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El Portal Transmission Line Repair Through October 31
PG&E crews have begun preparation for repairing the high voltage transmission line in the El Portal Administrative Areas of Yosemite National Park. During the week of August 23 their crews will begin working inside the Park between Yosemite View Lodge and the Powerhouse. As part of these transmission line repairs there will be intermittent single lane traffic control with up to 15-minute daytime delays scheduled to begin August 9 in the El Portal Administrative Area. Crews will be working Monday through Saturday. This project is scheduled to continue through October 31. The repairs are similar to what you currently can see along California State Route 140, where crews are using helicopters to assist with repairing the existing high voltage towers and replacing the conductors, etc.

Crews will be working Monday – Saturday, so please schedule your travel through the area to include the following delays and closures:
Monday – Saturday with 15 Minute Delays = 7AM to 5PM
No Sunday or night work is scheduled at this time. Also, no work around El Portal houses on Saturdays, however there will be other Saturday work.

Note:
– Due to safety concerns, the trails, picnic areas, and climbing routes will be closed when crews are working in these areas along the El Portal Road.
– PG&E is trying to minimize the delays, however there will also be intermittent road delays in the El Portal Administrative Areas, such as along the Foresta Road and roads within the residential areas of Old El Portal and Rancheria.
– Flight crews will be using the El Portal Sand Pit, an area adjacent to Yosemite View Lodge and an area in Foresta as landing zones, so please understand material and personnel will be flying back and forth between these areas to the transmission line repair areas, so please slow down and be patient.
– The reason crews are working Saturdays is because there is a limited period they work in these areas with the goal of completing this work in 2021 before the weather conditions prohibit any further work in this highly treacherous terrain for both crews and their aircraft support. (M. Pieper)
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PG&E Exchequer-Yosemite Transmission Line (TL) Rancheria & El Portal Work Schedule
The Rancheria and El Portal segments of the PG&E TL maintenance and repair project has commenced. The project schedule is through the end of September in the Rancheria and El Portal areas. During this period there will be daily helicopter activity but not directly over the residences except for one tower replacement in upper Foresta Road area the week of September 13. Work schedule will be Monday-Friday 0700-1730 at structures in El Portal residential areas. Work schedule will be Monday-Saturday 0700-1730 at all other locations

Above Rancheria housing area – Beginning week of 8/2 crews will fly to structures to perform tower modifications and reconductor prep work.

Locations in El Portal residential area
39/232 Upper Foresta Road. Week of 8/2 a tree crew will remove 1-12” tree near the new tower location. On 8/24 the crews will begin the concrete cap work. On 8/27 the concrete will be flown in by helicopter which will take about 2 hours. The concrete will be allowed to cure, and the crew will be onsite periodically between 8/27 and 9/1. Beginning 9/1 the drilling equipment will be flown in and will began drilling the foundation piles, this will take 2-3 days. The drilling equipment is very noisy.

On 9/13 the helicopter will fly in the steel plate (1 hour) that goes on top of the concrete foundation. On 9/15 the helicopter will fly in the new tower in sections (1 hour) and fly out the old tower(1 hour). New wire install 9/17 – 9/25.
39/233 Lower Foresta Road. Beginning on 8/26 the crews will begin the concrete cap work. The concrete cap form material and rebar will be hauled to the site from the adjacent road. On 8/31 the concrete will be poured from a concrete truck which will take about 2 hours. The concrete will be allowed to cure, and the crew will be onsite periodically between 9/1 and 9/7. Beginning 9/1 the drilling equipment will be set up and drilling will take 2-3 days. On 9/16 the new tower will be set by a crane in sections and the old tower will be removed. New wire install 9/17 – 9/25.

While working in El Portal there will be traffic control flaggers that will always have radio communication with other crew members and the helicopter. The flaggers will help assist in keeping the roads clear and limiting any blockage to short periods of time. In case of an emergency or if a community member needs to exit, any vehicles/equipment in the road will be cleared in short amount of time and will not impede travel or emergency response. Flaggers and crew members will communicate with community members and can accommodate any special access requirements as needed. (J. Llewellyn)
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Ahwahnee Drive Traffic Delays Through Mid-September
The Historic Preservation Crew is working to restore the Ahwahnee Gatehouse and Gate Post. A one lane closure will result in single lane traffic control on Ahwahnee Drive. The closure will be in place Mondays through Thursdays, 24 hours per day. Traffic will be controlled by temporary stop lights. Wait times are expected to be minimal. This weekly closure is expected to be in place until mid-September. (M. Bablitch)
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Black Oak Restoration Through Late Fall
Extending into late fall, Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions (CHIPS) crew composed of local tribal members will be working on restoring California black oak groves in Yosemite Valley, specifically near Yosemite Valley Elementary School. Black oak is a cultural keystone species for the park’s seven affiliated tribes: North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians, Kutzadika’a Mono Lake Indian Community, Bridgeport Paiute Indian Colony, Bishop Paiute Tribe and the Southern Sierra Miwuk Nation. Groves in Yosemite Valley were planted, tended, burned and harvested by tribal members for centuries. They were removed from this role to the detriment of cultural traditions and the health of black oaks. Tribal and CHIPS crew members will tend to oaks, plant acorn, and prepare the groves for future prescribed burns. These activities will reestablish relationships with these groves, promote seedling and sapling recruitment and promote high-quality acorn production. This project is made possible through the generous support of Yosemite Conservancy donors. (E. Dickman)

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Highway 140 Delays Through October 7
The California Department of Transportation is conducting one-way traffic controls with lane closures on State Route 140, from Bear Creek Bridge in Midpines to the Foresta Road Bridge in El Portal. Crews will conduct utility work from 7AM to 5PM daily, through October 7. The work schedule is subject to change with traffic incidents, weather, availability of equipment and materials, and construction-related issues. Please drive safely and watch for workers and equipment and other motorists on the roadway. (J. Donovan)
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Power Line Right Of Way Work Along Hetch Hetchy Road Through August
Hetchy Water and Power will be clearing trees and brush along the road and power line corridor to Hetch Hetchy through August. The work will be happening Monday – Friday barring holidays. Expect short traffic delays with localized traffic control. (B. Spielman)
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Tioga Road Drainage Repairs Through Fall 2022
Crews are conducting drainage repairs on Tioga Road between Olmsted Point and Little Blue Slide (12 miles of road rehabilitation along with parking lot work). As part of these repairs there will be single lane traffic control with up to 30-minute daytime delays. This is a 2-year rehabilitation project, so the work and associated delays will continue through the fall of 2021 as weather permits. Crews will shut down for the winter when the road closes. They will start up again in the spring of 2022 and continue throughout summer. This project is scheduled to be completed by the end of fall 2022.

Crews will be working Monday through Friday, so please schedule your travel through the area to include the following delays:

Summary of Daytime Delays:
30 Minute Delays = 8AM to 3PM & 5:30PM to 11PM
15 Minute Delays = 6AM to 8AM & 3PM to 5:30PM

No weekend or night work is scheduled at this time. (M. Pieper)

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Wawona Road Maintenance Through August
The Wawona road crew is brushing, ditching, patching and scaling along Wawona Road through August with periodic traffic delays. Please remember to drive safely and slowly in this work zone. (M. Jones)