Yosemite National Park *** Thursday, August 26, 2021

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Yosemite National Park
Thursday, August 26, 2021

Yosemite National Park Zone Forecast
Today: Sunny. Haze in the morning. Highs 79 to 87 at 5000 feet…68 to 76 at 8000 feet.
Tonight: Mostly clear. Haze and areas of smoke. Lows 57 to 67 at 5000 feet…47 to 57 at 8000 feet.
Tomorrow: Sunny. Haze and areas of smoke. Highs 83 to 91 at 5000 feet…73 to 81 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-19 PREVENTION, TESTING & VACCINATIONS
With increasing positive cases of COVID-19 in the greater Yosemite region, this is to clarify some confusion related to prevention, testing, and vaccinations.

COVID-19 Prevention Recommendations
Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. COVID impacts different people in very different ways and it is impossible to tell exactly how a specific person will react if they become ill. While vaccinations do not 100% prevent illness, they do provide protection against getting sick and help to greatly reduce serious complications from the illness if you do test positive for COVID.

Most importantly, if you are showing signs of any illness (headache, runny nose, cough, etc.), stay home and either visit Yosemite Medical Clinic or your healthcare provider. Even minor signs of illness can be signs of COVID. Please help prevent the spread of illness in the workplace. Remember to wear a mask and wash your hands frequently with soap and water. These small actions can prevent and reduce the spread of illness.

COVID-19 Testing
In addition to vaccinations, frequent testing is a critical tool to help protect the Yosemite Community. Many people carry the COVID virus but show no signs of illness. Surveillance testing helps to quickly identify anyone who is actively shedding the virus, but not showing any signs of illness. For people with frequent contact with large numbers of the general public or who work in the hospitality and public service sectors, our local Public Health officials recommend getting tested once every 7 to 14 days.

Free COVID-19 testing is available in Yosemite Valley on Mondays and Thursdays for the foreseeable future.
– On Mondays, testing is available by LHI outside of the Yosemite Medical Clinic Building from 10 am to 6 pm.
– On Thursdays, testing is available by LHI at the Curry Village Wellness Center from 10 am to 6 pm.

Walk-Ins are welcome! If you happen to know your LHI patient ID number, please bring that with you to expedite your check-in process. To schedule an appointment, visit please https://www.lhi.care/covidtesting

Yosemite Medical Clinic does perform COVID testing as needed for symptomatic individuals. The Yosemite Medical Clinic is open 6 days a week (Mon-Sat). Patients will be evaluated by a provider to determine if testing is indicated.

COVID-19 Vaccinations
Are you interested in getting vaccinated? Free COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be provided by the Yosemite Medical Clinic on Wednesdays from 9 am to 5 pm. Online registration 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. The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson Vaccines are currently available.

The Pfizer vaccine is now available for anyone ages 12. If you are interested in the Pfizer vaccine, free clinics are available through Mariposa County Public Health.

Booster shots are now available for immunocompromised patients. Information about booster shots for the general public will be coming soon.

For more information, please visit www.mariposacounty.org/2466/COVID-19-Vaccination (J. Richards)

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NEW AND HAPPENING TODAY

Yosemite Bear Facts – August 21, 2021
2021 Total Bear Incidents: 39
2021 Total Property Damage: $2,290

Bear Incident Comparisons (year to date—previous years):
Last year: +129.4%
Most Incidents (1998): -96.51%
Fewest Incidents (2019) : +116.7%

Bear Activity Summary: In the last month, bear incidents have risen significantly in frequency and severity. Several residences in both Yosemite West (just outside the park) and Wawona were broken into by bears. In Yosemite Valley, there were major incidents involving a sow and cubs getting large food rewards after entering buildings at Curry Village and The Ahwahnee. Multiple bears this month have been targeting picnic areas and beaches, often showing up only to have people abandon their food, resulting in these bears learning that they can continue to get food this way. Videos on social media has shown this bear behavior, as well as visitor behavior as alarming—taking pictures and videos from mere feet away from the bear while allowing it to eat their lunch, reinforcing the behavior in these bears and ultimately putting these bears lives in danger.

It is critically important that you – whether you’re a Yosemite visitor, employee, or resident – respect the rules that protect wildlife. Giving wildlife space is critical, even if an animal seems to be comfortable near you. A bear that is allowing people to get close is no longer displaying natural behaviors—and the more people that take advantage of this reduced fear for their own enjoyment, photo opportunities, or just the thrill of being close to a wild animal, the less fearful a bear will become. Your actions (feeding or getting close to wildlife) may seem minimal, but even these small actions can ultimately get a bear killed.

Whether you live in the park or are visiting, it is absolutely crucial right now to secure your homes, work buildings, hotel rooms, etc. in all areas of the park. Do not leave windows open in unoccupied buildings. Do not leave food unattended at a picnic or beach. If a bear approaches you, yell as loudly and aggressively as possible to scare it away as soon as you see it. Do not try to get a good photo first. As drought conditions persist and resources continue to dry out, bears are desperately seeking food, and a human-food reward during this time will drastically change that bear’s behavior for the rest of its life.

Report bear incidents and sightings: Call the Save-A-Bear Hotline at 209-372-0322 or e-mail yose_bear_mgmt@nps.gov. For more information, visit KeepBearsWild.org

Red Bear, Dead Bear: Please help protect wildlife by obeying speed limits and being prepared to stop for animals in roadways. At least 15 bears have been hit by vehicles this year in Yosemite. (C. Lee-Roney)
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High Voltage Transmission Line Repairs – El Portal Road Delays Beginning Friday, August 27, 2021
PG&E crews will begin Thursday, August 26, with repairs to the high voltage transmission line between Yosemite View Lodge and the Powerhouse. Then on Friday, August 27 they will begin with intermittent single lane traffic control with up to 15-minute delays along these 5 miles of the El Portal Road. Crews will be working Monday through Saturday, 7AM to 5PM.

This project is scheduled to continue through the end of October. The repairs are similar to what you may have seen along California State Route 140, just west of the Park 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 allow enough time as you along the El Portal Road over the next couple of months. Here are the following delays along the El Portal Road that will continue thru the end of October:
*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.
– 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 can 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. (M. Pieper)

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RECENT NEWS

El Portal, Badger Pass & Chinquapin Power Outages August 27 & 31
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 and also Tuesday, August 31 from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. For more information call Heather Gonzales, PG&E Outage Coordinator, at 726-5588. (C. Flores)
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Wawona Road Traffic Control
There will be traffic control along Wawona Road for vegetation management from 7:00 am to 3:30 pm on 8/25 and from 6:30 am to 2:00 pm on 8/26. Wait times will typically be five minutes or less, but could be up to ten minutes. Traffic control will begin at the tunnel on 8/25 and continue towards Chinquapin (Glacier Point Road Junction). This project will continue the week of 8/30. (D. Campbell)
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Sewing Volunteer
The Yosemite Volunteer Program is looking for an intermittent volunteer (can be local or not but local is easier) with sewing skills who would like to help sew patches onto volunteer uniforms.
– Volunteer(s) to sew 2″ round uniform patches onto volunteer shirts and jackets
– Intermittent throughout the year; no more than 10 hours a month (The program may get another batch of uniform items before December and help would also be needed at that time)
– Must have own sewing machine, other materials provided
– Must have experience and skills to work a sewing machine or hand-sew on different cloth thicknesses
– Benefits: Volunteer hours, connections and support, possibly other assignments if desired (other assignments dependent on volunteer’s proximity to park.)

Email yose_volunteers@nps.gov for more information or to volunteer. (J. Gonzales)

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CONSTRUCTION & TRAFFIC DELAYS

South Side Drive Tree Removal
Valley Forestry is conducting hazard tree removal operations along South Side Drive East of Pohono Bridge from 7:3am to 4:30pm. Expect traffic delays up to 30 minutes. (B. See)
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Biomass Removal & Thinning On Merced Grove Road, Garnet Moutain Road, & Goat Meadow Road
Multiple biomass removal and thinning projects are occurring to protect the 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. Email garrett_dickman@nps.gov For more information. (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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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)