Yosemite National Park ## Wednesday, August 18, 2021

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Yosemite National Park
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Yosemite National Park Zone Forecast
Today: Sunny, haze. Highs 73 to 80 at 5000 feet…61 to 69 at 8000 feet.
Tonight: Mostly clear. Haze. Lows 51 to 61 at 5000 feet…40 to 49 at 8000 feet.
Tomorrow: Sunny. Haze in the morning. Near the crest, areas of smoke in the morning. Haze through the day. Highs 74 to 82 at 5000 feet…64 to 72 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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Masks Required In Federal Buildings
Mariposa, Tuolumne, and Madera counties are now in the High Level of community transmission per the CDC COVID-19 data Tracker. Mono County is now in the Substantial Level. The High Level is the equivalent to the Purple Tier in California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which was retired earlier this summer.

Based on updated CDC and DOI guidance for parks located in communities with Substantial or High levels of community transmission, beginning as of start of business on Wednesday, July 28, 2021:
– All Federal employees, onsite contractors, and visitors to Yosemite National Park, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask while inside all Federal Buildings.
– Any Federal employees, onsite contractors, and visitors who are not fully vaccinated must also continue to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others, consistent with CDC guidance.
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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

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 Fridays 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 Update 8/18/21
Tiltill Fire now 1,960 acres and 90% contained

Lukens Fire now 867 acres and 85% contained

Cold Fire from 8.14.2021 Lightning 2 acres 0% contained. Fire is North of Glen Aulin, near Cold Peak along the Pacific Crest Trail. There are NO threats to trails, or infrastructure currently. This fire will be seen from Toulumne Meadows and other high-country viewpoints.

Smoke will also be present from other regional fires in California throughout parts of Yosemite NP.
Air Quality Conditions for Yosemite National Park can be found at: www.nps.gov/yose/learn/nature/aqmonitoring

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RECENT NEWS

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

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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Bridalveil Fall Rehabilitation Project
Monday 8/16 and Tuesday 8/17 there will be up to 15-minute traffic holds on Southside Drive in the Bridalveil Straight area to allow for replacement of a drainage culvert. Please drive carefully in this area. (B. Lewis)
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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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Biomass Removal & Thinning On Garnet Mountain Road & Big Oak Flat Road
Contractors are felling hazard trees on Garnet Mountain Road and removing biomass. Do not enter Garnet Mountain Road without arranging an escort.

CHIPS, native persons sawyer crew are thinning, piling, and chipping fuels on Big Oak Flat Road between the Merced Grove parking lot and Crane Flat. Brief, under 5-minute delays may be periodically encountered. Work is being conducted to support prescribed fire. Email Garrett_Dickman@nps.gov will questions, comments, or for access to Garnet Mountain Road. (G. Dickman)
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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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Tree Removal On Happy Isles Loop
Valley Forestry is removing dead trees on Happy Isles Loop Road. Expect traffic delays of 20 minutes plus. Thanks for your patience. (B. See)
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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 & Goat Meadow Road Biomass Removal
Contractors are removing biomass along Wawona Road between Alder Creek and the South Entrance, as well as on Goat Meadow Road. Delays up to 15 minutes may occur. Biomass removal is part of an ongoing project to reduce fuel loading along road corridors and to prepare for prescribed or wildland fires. Material is sent to co-gen facilities where it is converted to electricity. For more information email garrett_dickman@nps.gov (G. Dickman)
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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)