Yosemite National Park Wednesday April 5th, 2017

April 05, 2017  •  Leave a Comment
Daily Report - Yosemite National Park
Badger Pass
Wednesday April 5th, 2017
 
Today: Mostly cloudy. Highs 61 to 70 at 5000 feet...50 to 60 at 8000 feet.
TonightMostly cloudy in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. Lows 40 to 50 at 5000 feet...29 to 39 at 8000 feet. Over higher elevations, south winds around 25 mph after midnight, gusts up to 55 mph after midnight.
Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy. Chance of snow showers and slight chance of showers in the afternoon, gusts up to 45 mph in the afternoon. Near the crest, a 50 percent chance of snow showers in the afternoon. Breezy. Snow level above 8000 feet. Highs 55 to 65 at 5000 feet...46 to 52 at 8000 feet. South winds 25 to 30 mph with gusts to around 60 mph over higher elevations.
 
Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:
 
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NEW AND HAPPENING TODAY
 
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)
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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)
 
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RECENT NEWS 
 
Campground Updates
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)
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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:
 
Telecommunications Shop
David Thorpe: 209-379-1090
Tolley Gorham: 209-379-1092
Kimberly Smeltzer: 209-379-1212
Mariposa Administration Office
Charlene Flanagan: 209-379-1179
Brittney Arrington: 209-379-1808
Lorene Schafer: 209-379-1873
Superintendent’s Office
Renee Madrid: 209-372-0286
Alan Kunz: 209-372-0496
 
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)
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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)
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YOSE EGIS Editor Training April 11
Yosemite GIS staff will be offering training for potential EGDB Editors on Tuesday, April 11th from 10am to 12pm in the Resources Conference Room in El Portal.  The training will focus on how to edit datasets that were migrated into the Yosemite Enterprise GIS geodatabases (YOSE EGDB). Note: previous editing experience in ArcMap is required. Editing will be similar to what you're used to, however there will be a few new things to learn in the workflow. 
 
Contact YOSE GIS Support (yose_gis_support@nps.gov) with any questions. Please RSVP by Friday 4/7 to ensure that you have a properly configured laptop to use for the training.  (K. Hastings)
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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)
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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)
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Book Donations
Yosemite Public Library is accepting book donations for the Earth Day Booth on the Mall and our First Open House on April 22nd.Please bring any book donations for resale to our Library during our business day: Tue-Wed 10:00-3:00 and Thurs. 1:30-6:30. All proceeds benefit our Friends of the Library and improvements in our branch in Yosemite Village.
We look forward to participating in Earth Day 2017!  (C. Reynolds)
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Yosemite Forum Tuesday April 11 
"Climate change communication and the articulation of local and scientific knowledge in Yosemite National Park" by Kelsey Lahr, University of Utah
 
As a high-profile, heavily visited national park that is already experiencing climate change impacts, Yosemite is a valuable case study of climate change communication in a public lands setting. This talk explores articulations of climate change among Yosemite's visitors and employees. Based on in-depth interviews, it examines the blending of local and scientific knowledge and the use of diverse environmental discourses in the construction of arguments about climate change, highlighting the potential of national parks as productive contexts for climate change engagement.
 
The Forum will take place Tuesday, April 11, from 3:30 to 4:30 pm in the Yosemite Valley Auditorium.  Please contact Ami Knighten at 379-1301 for additional information.  (G. Stock)
 
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CONSTRUCTION & TRAFFIC DELAYS
 
Tenaya Way Closed 3/28-4/20
Tenaya way, between the Courthouse and Valley Electric Substation in Yosemite Valley, will be closed from March 28th to April 20th to all vehicle traffic. Courthouse vehicle access and parking will not be affected. This closure is necessary to stage equipment for the upcoming power outage in Yosemite Valley. For more information call Josiah Brown, High Voltage Shop Supervisor at 379-1236.  (J. Brown)
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Glacier Point Road Closure
The Glacier Point Road is now closed to public access as of Sunday, April 2nd. The gate at Chinquapin has been closed and locked. The road will be open to Administrative Traffic Only to Badger. Roads crews began snow clearing operations on the road starting at Badger  April 3rd. No traffic will be allowed beyond Badger Pass. Bicycles are not permitted on the Glacier Point Road during snow removal.  (E. Scott)
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Construction-related Detours in East Yosemite Valley
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. The closure also applies to the bike/pedestrian path that runs along Northside Drive through Ahwahnee Meadow. Pedestrians and bicyclists, please use the trail from Housekeeping Bridge along the north side of the Merced River or the bike path from Half Dome Village to Sentinel Bridge, then cross Sentinel Parking lot to the path/boardwalk toward Yosemite Village.
 
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)
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El Portal Well Rehabilitation
Construction of a new booster pump station in El Portal began on Monday, April 3rd.  Initial efforts will include demolition of the existing booster pump station and construction of a new pump house. Interruptions to water service in El Portal are not planned at this time.  (R. Hall)
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Power Outages Planned April 3-14
PG&E will be performing needed repairs to the Exchequer Yosemite transmission line near Briceburg, beginning on Monday, April 3rd. This will require the transmission line to be offline for twelve (12) consecutive days. The repairs are planned to occur from 7am April 3rd through April 14th. This will affect Arch Rock and Yosemite Valley.  Residents and park personnel should plan accordingly.
 
It is anticipated there will be two 8-hour outages, the first planned for Monday, April 3rd, to install the temporary power generation, and a second on April 14th, to return to normal commercial power. These dates and times may be changed, and outages may need to be extended. It is unknown if the PG&E temporary generators installed in Yosemite Valley will effectively maintain power for the duration of the repairs.
 
NPS Utilities, High Voltage, is working with PG&E to prevent an extended outage. This will require installation of temporary power generation in Yosemite Valley, provided by PG&E.  PG&E is planning to install multiple large generators staged in the Valley Administrative Area near the new cellular tower and Bear Management Offices. The decibel output rating for the generators is 87db at 3 feet.  These generators will run continuously to provide power to Yosemite Valley. Arch Rock will also have a generator running continuously during the outage.  (A. Shapiro)
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Wawona Road Curb Repairs
April 3rd thru May 3rd crews will be completing spot repairs with asphalt grinding and curb replacement along Wawona Road between Chinquapin and the Rostrum. Crews will be working from 7AM to 5PM (Monday thru Friday) with single lane traffic control and up to 15 minute traffic delays.  (M. Pieper)
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El Portal Sanitary Sewer Rehabilitation – Phase 1

Construction Hours: M-F 9:00AM – 5:30PMPedestrian Detours: The stairs behind Nature Bridge will be closed for the duration of the project. Please observe pedestrian detour signs. Additional information available at the Construction Update Boards located at the Post Office, El Portal Market, and the Project Office Trailer (parking lot west of Nature Bridge). For any questions or concerns, please contact Jamie Richards at jamie_richards@nps.gov. (Y. Lugo)

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Emergency Services Complex
Construction continues. Insulation is nearly complete and wall and ceiling finishes are being applied; electrical and telecom cables are being pulled; mechanical control systems are being installed. Siding and roofing is being installed as weather allows. Completion is expected in the spring.  (K. White)
 
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ACTING DESIGNATIONS
 
Rob Grasso will be acting Branch Chief of Wildlife until April 21. He can be reached at 379-1438.
 
Heather Huppe will be acting Branch Chief of VUSS until April 21. She can be reached at 379-1434.
 
Heather Boothe will be acting Hetch Hetchy Program Manager and Yosemite Conservancy Liaison until May 15. She can be reached at 372-0238.
 
Sally Kintner will be acting Volunteer Program Manager until May 15. She can be reached at 379-1850.
 
Kristin Kirschner will be acting SAR Coordinator until mid June.  She can be reached at 372-0216. 
 
Joe Meyer will be acting Division Chief for Resources Management and Science until further notice. He can be reached at 379-1185.
 
Josh Keyes will be acting Utilities Branch Chief until further notice. He can be reached at 379-1077.
 
R. Brad Lewis will be acting Branch Chief of Design and Construction for Project Management until further notice. He can be reached at 379-1006.
 
Garrett Dickman will be acting Park Botanist until further notice. He can be reached at 379-3282.
 
John Barton will be acting Wawona Utilities Supervisor until further notice. He can be reached at 375-9510 or john_barton@nps.gov
 
Shawn Zumbrunnen will be acting Valley Utilities Supervisor until further notice. He can be reached at 372-0560 or shawn_zumbrunnen@nps.gov

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