One-lane traffic between Yosemite Lodge and Camp 4
Northside Drive between Yosemite Lodge and Camp 4 will be reduced to one-lane traffic for one week starting Monday, 4/10/17. There may be short delays, with occasional 30-minute delays. Contractors will install two sewer lines and one culvert.
A hard closure is in place between Half Dome Village and Yosemite Village on Northside Drive. Northside Drive is closed to all vehicles and pedestrians from Stoneman Bridge to Camp 6 through Ahwahnee Meadow. Sentinel Drive is configured as a one-way road running south to north. Access to Half Dome Village from Yosemite Village and Yosemite Valley Lodge is via El Cap Cross. A detour map is available at https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/roadwork.htm. (L. Acree)
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update for April 4, 2017
New snow: 3 inches
Total settled snow depth: 96 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 54°F (March 1)
Low temperature: 16°F (March 1)
Ski Conditions and Weather: We had a busy week of conducting the five area snow surveys. Travel conditions were mostly good and the surveys provided some interesting data. There are still several prominent dense ice layers in the snowpack which made pushing the federal sampling tube to the ground quite challenging at times. Snow Flat still had snow as deep as 191 inches. In spite of the dryer than average March, the surveys at Dana and Rafferty Meadows showed the most snow water equivalent (SWE) in the history of the April 1 surveys. These two courses date back as far as 1927 and 1948 respectively.
Otherwise, spring skiing at the middle elevations has been great this week. There is some good corn snow out there as long as the good overnight freeze continues. As the sun arcs through the sky, snow softens up on east aspects first, followed by south and then west. ..unless, it’s cloudy of course. It looks like a change in the pattern for the upcoming weekend as snow is in the forecast for the Sierra Nevada high country. Perhaps winter is not over yet…
Avalanche and Snowpack Condition: Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.
Winter conditions still exist in the alpine zone. Although small pockets of windslab could be triggered, the biggest danger is the “slide for life” scenario on the firm snow surfaces.
On solar aspects, one should be aware of possible wet slides depending on time of day and temperatures.
Anyone entering via Lee Vining Canyon should be prepared with an ice axe and crampons and good route selection skills. Just because the snow is soft coming in, it may not be when heading out. The road corridor above the Warren Fork is not recommended at this time due to a prolonged steep traverse above cliffs. All of these conditions are very dynamic this time of year and may become easier or more difficult depending on the weather.
Caution is advised traveling over lakes and waterways at mid elevations as the ice and snow bridges are rapidly melting.
Wildlife: Alright, we saw more than one lone bird this week. In reality, the diversity of species increases by the day up here. The violet-green swallows have returned, darting through the air. Dark-eyed juncos and Steller’s Jays are moving upwards as are the bears. We saw bear tracks at the outlet of Tenaya Lake this week so campers be bear aware! After a winter like this, we bet they are hungry. We sure are. Corn anyone?
Questions: The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is firewood and 10 bunks that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Power has been intermittent and there is NO phone service in Tuolumne Meadows this winter. We can be contacted via email, but we may be delayed in responding if we are on patrol. Contact the wilderness office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns. Come prepared, and please make good decisions while travelling in the wilderness this winter. Happy Skiing! Follow our blog: http://www.nps.gov/yose/blogs/tmconditions.htm - Laura and Rob Pilewski - Tuolumne Winter Rangers (R. and L. Pilewski)
April 1 Snow Survey Results
Park Staff have completed the April 1 snow surveys. The water content of the snowpack in the Tuolumne drainage is 177% of average; in the Merced drainage it is 168% of average. The snow pack is heavily weighted toward the higher elevations. Below 7,500' the snow is deep but not exceptional; 143% of average across the park. Above 8,500' the water content of the snowpack is the highest on record. The snow on the high elevation courses is 10-14 feet deep and contains 5-7 feet of water. (M. Fincher)
Yosemite National Park Continues to Repair Big Oak Flat Road - Yosemite News Release April 4, 2017
Significant progress has been made to the repair work on Big Oak Flat Road
Yosemite National Park reports that significant progress has been made on repairs to the Big Oak Flat road. Road crews have hit the bottom of an underground spring that caused soils to erode, and are working to stabilize and rebuild the road. The park pledges to announce an opening date for the Big Oak Flat road as soon as it becomes available.
“We are very pleased with the progress being made on the repairs to the Big Oak Flat road,” stated Acting Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “We appreciate the support of the Federal Highway Administration to repair this critical roadway in a safe and expedient manner. The communities along the Highway 120 corridor have been impacted by this closure and we appreciate their patience and support as we work as quickly as possible to get the road reopened.”
Severe winter storms that have given new life to an underground spring caused saturated, heavy soils under the road to slide downhill. Over 200 feet of roadway has been impacted. As a result of the slide, the Big Oak Flat road from Crane Flat to Foresta Junction has been unsafe for vehicular travel and closed for repairs since late February.
Visitors are encouraged to visit Yosemite National Park via the Big Oak Flat entrance. The park has waived the entrance fee for all vehicles entering via the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station. Visitors entering the park via Highway 120 can enjoy camping at Hodgdon Meadow Campground, snowshoeing and Nordic Skiing from Crane Flat and hiking in the Merced and Tuolumne Groves of Giant Sequoias. Park entrance fees still apply to all visitors entering the park via the Arch Rock and South Entrance Stations.
Highway 140 (El Portal Road) and Highway 41 (Wawona Road) are open and clear for all vehicular traffic to access Yosemite Valley and Wawona. Visitors traveling to and from Yosemite National Park are urged to drive with caution, follow posted speed limits, and be aware of rocks and debris on the roadway.
For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, please call 209-372-0200
, press 1 and press 1 again. (J. Richards)
Lower Pines opened on March 29.
Upper Pines opened the back 3 loops and returned to reservations March 31.
North Pines opened April 3.
Camp 4 is now staffed by rangers as of April 3.
Wawona returns to reservations and opens all sites on April 10.
Hodgdon Meadow returns to reservations and opens all sites on April 10.
For current campground status, please call 372-0266. You may give this number out to the public. (E. Bissmeyer)
Changes to the Valley Administration Building Access Effective May 15
Starting May 15, 2017 the doors to the Valley Administration Building will be secured at all times. Weekday access during normal business hours (0800-1700) will be available only via one of the following methods:
- Door Key
- PIV card registered with the Access Control System (see below for details)
- Visitors or employees without PIV card or key will need to be screened by the Superintendent’s Office or Public Information Office staff.
Weekend and evening access will be by door key or “Pre-Approved” PIV card access only. Supervisory approval is required if “After Hours” access is needed. Employees can register their PIV card with the Access Control System by contacting any of the following:
Mariposa Administration Office
In the near future an alarm system will also be installed in the Valley Administration Building. Information on this system will be disseminated when it is determined how the Access Control System integrates with the building alarm. Park Visitors will be directed with a sign and map to the visitor’s center for park information related questions. (K. Killian)
April Zero Landfill Initiative Tip
Technically, almost all plastics can be recycled. All NPS-managed facilities in Yosemite, accept plastics numbered 1 through 7 except plastic film, bubble wrap, Styrofoam, and biodegradable plastic. Check the triangle with a number in it, which is usually found on the bottom or some other out of the way location to find out what kind of plastic you have. No number? It cannot be recycled. Better yet: avoid plastics altogether since plastic can typically only be recycled once or twice before its quality has degraded to the point where it can no longer be recycled again. #dontfeedthelandfills #yosemitezerohero (J. Bailey)
Yosemite National Park Developmental Opportunity - Facility Operations Specialist, GS-1640-7/9
Opening Date: April 4, 2017 Closing Date: April 11, 2017 EOD: May 15, 2017
Brief Description of Development Opportunity: Will serve as an assistant to the Branch Chief of Utilities, fully responsible for the implementation and administration of special programs and utility facilities compliance. Incumbent will:
- serve as the Park coordinator of State Water Quality authorities for complying with water and wastewater regulations and advise Branch Chief and Supervisors of compliance requirements;
- interpret Federal and State regulations;
- collect daily water quality data and prepare/submit monthly and annual reports to State and Federal regulatory authorities;
- plan, prepare, and oversee the execution of routine and non-routine maintenance programs and projects including research, design, cost analysis, and project supervision in the Branch of Utilities, and serve as branch coordinator for project review for compliance;
- assist with development of long range programs related to utilities and estimate funding needs for existing and new programs;
- serve as branch training coordinator; serve as branch coordinator for the Facility Maintenance Management System (FMSS) and for required utility compliance programs such as Backflow Prevention;
- serve as coordinator for the branch Water Quality Compliance database; prepare project completion reports for special projects related to water and wastewater compliance.
- Occasional travel may be required.
To Apply: If you are interested in this developmental assignment, you must discuss this opportunity with your first-line supervisor and obtain concurrence from your Manager prior to applying. Once approval is gained, you should submit:
- A resume detailing your work history, educational background, and any special qualifications.
- Your most current SF-50 reflecting your tenure and grade level
- An approval email message from your first-line supervisor
Submit your application materials electronically to Human Resources at: Kitty_Lewis@nps.gov. Please include “Facility Operations Specialist (Water)” in the subject line of the message.
For further information regarding this developmental opportunity, please contact Jim Allen at 209-379-1039. (K. Lewis)
Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Conservancy Launch New Website to Protect Bears with First-Ever Online Bear Tracker - Yosemite News Release April 3, 2017
Wildlife Management Technology and Programs Reduce Bear Incidents; Orphaned Bear Cubs Returned to Dens in the Park and Are Hibernating
Yosemite National Park, April 3, 2017 – Yosemite National Park and Yosemite Conservancy today announced the launch of KeepBearsWild.org, a new website to protect the park’s iconic black bears. The website features the National Park Service’s first online bear tracker, information on ways for the public to help save bears, and eye-opening photography and videos not before available to the public.
“KeepBearsWild.org is an important way to raise awareness, appreciation and respect for Yosemite’s beloved black bears,” said Yosemite National Park Acting Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “Our message is simple: everyone can keep bears wild by driving slowly, storing food properly and staying at a safe distance when you see them.”
Yosemite Conservancy grants of more than $1.2 million since 1998 have funded a variety of bear-management tools, including the creation of KeepBearsWild.org. Conservancy support has also gone to improving monitoring and tracking technologies, purchasing and installing thousands of bearproof food lockers, and funding research and educational programs. As a result of such programs, there has been a massive reduction in annual bear-related incidents in the park, from 1,584 in 1998 to fewer than 100 in 2016.
“People love to see bears, and protecting them is something we can all do,” said Yosemite Conservancy President Frank Dean. “There’s a dual benefit here of helping park managers to learn even more about bear habits to protect them and raising awareness among visitors about what they can do to save bears. These types of programs are made possible by the generosity of our donors.”
Since 2014, Yosemite’s bear biologists have benefitted from previously unprecedented access to real-time spatial data of bears captured in the park and fitted with GPS collars. This high-resolution data that identifies the bear’s location has allowed park managers to better understand responses of bears to seasonal changes in the distribution of natural foods, as well as the lure of human food. Yosemite’s bear team has utilized this information to better strategize and manage park bears in near real-time and keep bears out of developed areas.
The movement patterns being observed over the past three years have inspired park managers to take this powerful information one step further. For the first time, delayed tracking of some bears will be shared with the public on the KeepBearsWild.org Bear Tracker. With the ultimate goal of keeping bears wild in Yosemite, managers are taking great care that sensitive data, such as den locations and exact coordinates, are not shared in real-time. To this end, delay intervals will not be made available to the public. In fall and winter months, delayed tracks will be removed to ensure the safety of these animals during hibernation. Historic tracks and blog post data will remain available on Bear Tracker for people to explore and interact with. As new bears are collared, their tracks may appear on Bear Tracker, while other tracks may disappear as collars are dropped, removed, or if data may jeopardize the safety of individual bears.
Yosemite Human-Bear Management Program experts will update perspectives regularly on the KeepBearsWild.org Bear Team Blog. KeepBearsWild.org also provides detailed information from bear managers on the most important part of saving bears in Yosemite: properly storing food at all times in bearproof infrastructure. Visitors can more easily learn how to do their part to prevent bears from becoming food conditioned by properly using provided lockers or allowed wilderness food-storage containers to keep bears wild. In addition, the new website provides a call to action for visitors to properly observe bears, informs on appropriate actions to take if you see a bear and where to report bear sightings, and provides insight into the bear management program and fun facts about Yosemite’s bears.
While great strides have been made in reducing food related human-bear incidents, each year vehicles strike dozens of black bears in Yosemite, including 28 in 2016. Another Yosemite Conservancy bear-protection grant in 2017 provided yearling-sized GPS collars to track and study three cubs orphaned when a car on Tioga Road struck their mother last year. The cubs spent months in the Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care Center (LTWC Inc.) and are currently hibernating in a den in Yosemite. Park managers have identified reduction of wildlife-vehicle collisions as a top priority for the future. You can do your part by obeying speed limits and staying alert while driving on park roads.
Other Yosemite Conservancy grants have provided for GPS collars and hand-held data-collection devices to replace older, outdated models, allowing wildlife managers to gather invaluable real-time information about park wildlife, and readily share this information to visitors in the field.
Yosemite National Park is home to between 300 and 500 American black bears. Despite their name, most of Yosemite’s black bears are actually brown in color. Black bears are incredibly strong, curious and intelligent animals. They are fast sprinters, agile climbers, excellent swimmers and quick learners with an extraordinary sense of smell — and a huge appetite. The average female bear weighs 150 pounds and males often exceed 300 pounds. The average lifespan is 18 years in the wild. Black bears naturally avoid humans, but when they learn to associate food with people, that behavior can change quickly, which is why vigilance and proper food storage are so important.
About Yosemite Conservancy
Through the support of donors, Yosemite Conservancy provides grants and support to Yosemite National Park to help preserve and protect Yosemite today and for future generations. Work funded by the Conservancy is visible throughout the park in trail rehabilitation, wildlife protection, and habitat restoration. The Conservancy is also dedicated to enhancing the visitor experience and providing a deeper connection to the park through outdoor programs, volunteering, wilderness services, and its bookstores. Thanks to dedicated supporters, the Conservancy has provided more than $113 million in grants to Yosemite National Park. Learn more at www.yosemiteconservancy.org or call 415-434-1782. (J. Richards)