Yosemite National Park Thursday, March 5, 2020

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Yosemite National Park

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Yosemite National Park Zone Forecast
Today:  Mostly cloudy. Highs 60 to 68 at 5000 feet…47 to 53 at 8000 feet. Over higher elevations, south winds around 25 mph in the afternoon.
Tonight:  Partly cloudy. Lows 40 to 48 at 5000 feet…29 to 37 at 8000 feet. Over higher elevations, south winds around 25 mph after midnight.

Tomorrow:  Mostly sunny. Breezy. Highs 57 to 65 at 5000 feet… 45 to 51 at 8000 feet. Over higher elevations, southwest winds 25 to 30 mph with gusts to around 45 mph 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 





Women’s History Month – March 5

On this day in 1922 “Annie Oakley” (Phoebe Ann Moses) broke all existing records for women’s trap shooting. She hit 98 out of 100 targets. 


In 1917 the United States had been pulled into World War I. Oakley, taking a break from her performing career, offered to raise a regiment of woman volunteers to fight in the war. She had made the same offer during the Spanish-American War; neither time was it accepted. She also volunteered to teach marksmanship to the troops. Oakley instead gave her time to the National War Council of the Young Men’s Christian Association, War Camp Community Service, and the Red Cross. 


Oakley began making plans for a comeback in 1922. By 1924, she was performing again, but her recovery did not last long. By 1925, she was frail and in poor health. She and husband Butler moved to her hometown in Ohio to be near her family. They attended shooting matches in the local area, and Oakley began to write her memoirs, which were published in newspapers across the country.


In 1926, after fifty happy years of marriage, the Butlers died. Annie Oakley died on November 3 and Frank Butler died November 21, within three weeks of each other. Both died of natural causes after a long and adventuresome life.


From On-this-day.com and CenterofTheWest.org  (M. Roubal)



Tuolumne Winter Conditions Update for March 4, 2020



New snow: 10 inches

Total settled snow depth: 25 inches (at 8,600 feet)

High temperature: 54°F (March 3)

Low temperature:  12°F (March 2)


February Weather Summary

New snow:  1 inch (Tuolumne Meadows average: 62.1 inches)

New water: 0.06 (Tuolumne Meadows average: 4.53 inches)

Average temperature: 28.6°F (Tuolumne Meadows average: 25.2°F)

March 1 snow survey results:  Tuolumne drainage snowpack is 34% of average


Ski Conditions and Weather:  We were delighted to wake up on March 1 to fluffy, white snow blanketing the ground! Coming on the heels of the driest February ever measured at our weather plot, it sure was a welcome sight. But what Mother Nature giveth, she can also taketh away. March 2 was one of the windiest days of many this winter. Furthermore, warm temperatures this week have taken its toll on the already meager snowpack. South-facing slopes at the middle elevations are now mostly bare and the only places still holding consistent snow coverage are north aspects, the road corridor, and the meadows and drainages. Above 10,000 feet, where there is good snow coverage, the snow surface has been so hammered by the wind that the skiing is pretty adventurous.      


Based on the above dismal snow and weather synopsis, one could easily surmise that sitting in the sun with a good book would be the activity of choice these days. You know what they say about a “bad day of skiing” however, and we are snow rangers after all. We took advantage of a good four-day weather window this week in order to assist in an ongoing carnivore study. We did a patrol from Virginia Lakes to Tuolumne Meadows. Snow coverage was good enough to keep our skis on nearly the entire journey and we found some pretty decent conditions for touring. Camping in the winter environment has such a different vibe than during summer. It is very peaceful. Travelling by skis through the wilderness is such a unique way to experience the grandeur and serenity of the Sierra Nevada.     


Caltrans had moved most of the snow off of the road east of Tioga Pass prior to recent weather events. But, coverage is very dynamic given the winds and upcoming forecast.  


Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: For the avalanche advisory for this area of the Sierra Nevada go to https://www.esavalanche.org/for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center.


Presently the avalanche hazard in the Tuolumne Meadows area is low. There may be isolated pockets of wind slab. Hard and potentially hazardous (i.e., slide-for-life) snow surfaces exist at the higher elevations. Ice-axe and crampons are recommended.


Wildlife: We heard the American pika alarming in two very different locations this week. One in the talus on Spring Hill east of Tenaya Lake and one in upper Virginia Canyon. It seemed a bit early to hear their shrill chirps, but the temperatures were warm and the snowpack was shallow. These cute little alpine critters (also known as “rock rabbits”) are very sensitive to the weather and are quite vulnerable to changes in the climate. They don’t hibernate in winter, but tend to stay underneath the snow and talus feeding on the haystacks of alpine vegetation that they spent the summer gathering and curing in the sun.


General Info: The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is firewood and 10 bunks that are available on a first come, first served basis.  For those visiting the Tuolumne Ski Hut from the east (only) permits are self-issued at the Ski Hut.  For those entering from other areas, please see Yosemite’s website: “#3 Do I need a wilderness Permit during Winter?” https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm or you may contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740.  There is no phone service in Tuolumne.  We can be contacted regarding winter travel to Tuolumne Meadows via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol.  Come prepared, and please make good decisions while travelling in the wilderness! (L. & R. Pilewski)





Yosemite Library Stakeholder Meeting March 11

Next week there will be a stakeholder meeting regarding changes to the YOSE Library – Wednesday, March 11, 8am-9am at the library. The Museum and Media branch plan to merge the park library and archives together in El Portal into a research center. As the team begins to take action, feedback is solicited about the needs of internal staff such as I&E, RMS, Wilderness, etc and secondary customers as well. If you want to participate but cannot attend, please email paul_rogers@nps.gov with comments/thoughts/feedback. If you plan to attend, please RSVP – meeting planners want to make sure there is room for everyone.



– overview of the vision provided by Ephriam and Paul

– identifying primary and secondary customer needs

– brainstorming on logistics, space options and timeline


All staff are encouraged to participate.  (P. Rogers)



Yosemite Hydroclimate Update – February 2020

Continued dry conditions persisted in the park throughout February.  Air temperatures were warm and fluctuated daily between around 20°F and 50°F for most stations in the park. A short cold streak brought sub zero temperatures to the high country on February 3 (-7°F at Dana Meadows). Conversely, the end of the month brought daily maximum temperatures to above 80°F in El Portal during the last few days. 


Snow depths in the park at the end of February ranged between 0 inches (Lower Kibbie Ridge station) and 35 inches (Dana Meadows). However, the storm on March 1 brought around 8 inches of fresh snow in many areas of the parks’s high country, with a maximum of 14 inches at Slide Canyon in the northern part of the park.


Snow water equivalent generally fell during February, with stations loosing up to 5 inches (Lower Kibbie Ridge) and remaining relatively constant (Paradise Meadows).


Snow density was consistently between 25% and 50% for most of the stations within the park, with densities generally rising a total 5 – 10 % throughout the month.


To request graphs which display the February air temperatures, snow depths, snow water equivalent (SWE – i.e., the amount of water held in the snow pack), and snow densities for multiple meteorological stations within the park, email rachel_hallnan@nps.gov. Also feel free to email if you have any questions about the hydroclimate network in Yosemite or would like any additional information.  (R. Hallnan)



March 1 Snow Survey Results

Park Staff have completed the March 1 snow surveys.  The water content of the snowpack in the Tuolumne drainage is 34% of average; in the Merced drainage it is 38% of average.  (M. Fincher)



Loss Of Valued Colleague & Friend

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of Michael Yochim on Saturday, February 29.  Mike was a member of Yosemite’s Merced River Planning Team and steered the Tuolumne River plan completion through the last few years of that planning effort. He then took leadership for the park’s Wilderness Plan and was the team leader for the three years that plan was active.  Mike was a prolific writer and publisher (Essential Yellowstone: A Landscape of Memory and Wonder – 2019, Protecting Yellowstone: Science and the Politics of National Park Management – 2013) and was at his desk working on his latest book when he passed. 


National Parks Conservation Association interviewed Mike recently for an article that is expected in a publication of National Parks. Here is an article by the Mountain Journal that was put out last August: https://mountainjournal.org/author-with-lou-gehrigs-writes-book-about-yellowstone-with-his-eyes


Mike was an avid outdoorsman and explorer.  His love of wilderness manifested itself in periodic visits to the most remote corners of Yellowstone, Yosemite and other national parks.  His family requests that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made to the St. Louis ALS Association in his memory.  


ALS Association – St Louis Regional Chapter

2258 Weldon Parkway

St. Louis, MO 63146   (K. Morse)



Town House In Mariposa For Rent Now

2 bedroom 1.5 bath condo steps away from private gated swimming pool . 1100 Sq feet 2 story, covered parking. Location : Acuerdo Con Dios in Mariposa Ca. Approximately 30 miles drive to el portal, 45 to Yosemite valley, 30 miles to Merced. No smoking, No pets. Washer and Dryer, wood burning fireplace. Sewer, water and refuse included in price already. Great central location walk/ bike to mariposa, home is mostly furnished and we would like to rent it as such. Asking $1300 month plus utilities ( First and security deposit of $2300 total of $3600 required ) ,1 year lease, we prefer max of 4 people living in unit. Renter is responsible for utilities. No yard work. Text 209-606-4784 for more information or to schedule a walk through.  (M. Deger)



Seeking Rental in El Portal
Year round employee is seeking rental in El Portal. Will live either in a single or with roommates. Please contact Eric at (216) 644-9030 or at esgersonmu@gmail.com with any leads.  (E. Gerson)



ICM Exhibits Closed

The Indian Cultural Museum exhibits will be closed from Monday, March 2 through Friday, March 6 for remodel of the demonstration area, including installation of new flooring. Weather permitting, demonstrators will be available on these dates in the Indian Village from 10am to noon, and 2 to 4pm. The exhibits will reopen fully on Saturday, March 7 at 10am (possibly earlier). The Yosemite Renaissance will still be accessible, and the museum store will remain open with unimpacted hours. For more information call Sharon Miyako at 372-0338. (S. Miyako)



Yosemite Conservancy Job Opening: Seasonal Warehouse Assistant
Seeking an organized yet flexible, hard-working yet affable individual capable of working independently in a small team setting. The Seasonal Warehouse Assistant works as part of Yosemite Conservancy’s retail team. This is a seasonal, full-time job from April through the end of October based out of Yosemite Conservancy’s warehouse in El Portal.  Local housing options available. Visit yosemite.org/careers for a full job description and application details. Application deadline is March 16.  (K. Coit)



Positions Available With Yosemite Conservancy Wilderness Team For Summer 2020

Share your local knowledge and love for Yosemite’s back country. Help make wilderness permit reservations, answer questions and issue permits. For more information, visit YC’s website or contact Simon at Smcintosh@yosemite.org

https://yosemite.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Wilderness-Seasonal-Reservation-Assistant.pdf  (S. McIntosh)






El Portal Road Delays Through March 13
Work will continue on vegetation and hazard tree removal near the electric transmission line supplying power to Arch Rock and Yosemite Valley. These efforts will improve the reliability of power deliveries to customers. Delays up to 15 minutes are possible through March 13, with work beginning again mid-July and lasting through September.  (S. Anderson)



Wawona Road Delays Through Early March

Construction crews began utility work along Wawona Road between the Wawona Campground entrance and Chilnualna Falls Road Monday, February 10. Workers will be installing new sewer and water lines to connect the Wawona campgrounds to the area sewer collection system, improving water quality of the Merced River and enhancing visitor experience for years to come. Workers will be closing sections of the southbound lane for trenching, reducing traffic to one lane. Delays up to 10 minutes are possible through early March.  (A. Hylko)