Daily Report - Yosemite National Park
Friday, January 26th, 2018
Today: Mostly sunny. Highs 39 to 44 at 5000 feet...31 to 36 at 8000 feet.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows 25 to 35 at 5000 feet...15 to 25 at 8000 feet.
Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. Not as cool. Highs 47 to 57 at 5000 feet...43 to 49 at 8000 feet.
Additional Point Forecast Weather Links:
NEW AND HAPPENING TODAY
Yosemite National Park’s Michael Pieper wins Prestigious Award - News Release January 25, 2018
Civil Engineer wins NPS Pacific West Regional Director’s Award for Natural Resource Stewardship through Maintenance
Yosemite National Park announces Michael Pieper as the 2016 Recipient of the NPS Pacific West Regional Director’s Award for Natural Resource Stewardship through Maintenance. Michael is a Civil Engineer in Yosemite National Park and he has been recognized as an exemplary employee for his commitment to natural resource protection while working on a wide variety of maintenance projects in Yosemite National Park, including the restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.
While Michael is responsible for overseeing many important maintenance projects in Yosemite, he has been recognized for his work as the NPS Construction Supervisor for the restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Over the past three years, Michael has been the NPS Construction Supervisor overseeing the restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Michael has been coordinating and overseeing multiple phases of restoration work, including the removal of a 115-car parking lot, a gift shop, and a fueling station that were all constructed on top of giant sequoia roots. Michael is working with park partners, contractors, and NPS trail and vegetation crews to oversee the construction of a new parking area.
“Michael Pieper is an integral part of a talented team that has made the restoration of the Mariposa Grove possible,” stated Acting Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “We are proud to celebrate and honor Michael for his leadership and the contributions he has made to the restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias.”
These prestigious awards are bestowed annually to outstanding NPS employees working on natural resource projects at parks throughout the Pacific West Region. Additionally, Michael has been nominated for the 2016 Director’s Award for Natural Resource Management through Maintenance. (J. Richards)
Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update for January 24, 2018
New snow: 6 inches
Total settled snow depth: 10 inches (at 8,600 feet)
High temperature: 45°F (January 23)
Low temperature: -5°F (January 21)
Ski Conditions and Weather: This was the first week that actually felt like winter in the Yosemite high country this season. Cold temperatures and a little bit of snow made things look more wintry as well. The snowpack is still shallow at 8,600 feet (10-16 inches), but as one ascends from this elevation the snow becomes progressively deeper. South aspects at most elevations are mostly bare and north aspects continue to hold the whole winter’s worth of snow.
The best opportunity for making turns is on north aspects above 9,500 feet. We found some very good skiing this week while out on our daily patrols. The Unicorn Creek and Rafferty drainages, and the surrounding high country, are skiing quite well. Coverage is good along the Tioga Road between the Warren Fork in Lee Vining Canyon and Tuolumne Meadows. The touring in Dana Meadows and Tuolumne Meadows is also good as there is presently 4 inches of low density snow on top of a hard supportable layer beneath.
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: Please refer to the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center (ESAC) for the avalanche advisory for this part of the Sierra Nevada.
The avalanche hazard in the Tuolumne Meadows area is currently low. The light snow that fell this week did not provide enough of a load to stress underlying weak layers that still exist on northerly aspects above 9,200 feet. With more snow in the forecast and potentially high winds, the potential for wind slabs to develop on lee slopes will exist. Wilderness travelers should be cautious on slopes in alpine terrain where touchy wind slabs may develop over the next couple of days.
Wildlife: We continue to see evidence of porcupine each winter we are out here. This season, however, we have been seeing tracks in a couple of higher elevation places we hadn’t before. One place was on the south slope of Altusky-Unicorn Peak. Another location was just north of Johnson Peak. We assume they are hunkering down among the talus during the cold nights and catching some rays of sun on nearby trees during the day as evidenced by their tracks.
Questions: The Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut is open. There is firewood and 8 bunks that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no phone service in Tuolumne Meadows at this time. 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 traveling in the wilderness this winter. Follow our blog: https://www.nps.gov/
Secretary Zinke Announces Changes in National Park Service Leadership - National Park Service News Release January 24, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that he has selected Michael T. (Mike) Reynolds to be the superintendent of Yosemite National Park in California. He also named Paul Daniel (Dan) Smith the National Park Service’s acting director, replacing Reynolds, who has exercised the authority of NPS director since January 3, 2017.
Reynolds, a 31-year NPS veteran and a third-generation NPS employee, grew up in Yosemite and later returned to the park as a resource manager, planner and division chief.
Reynolds has served as the deputy director for operations of the NPS since 2016, and spent the majority of his tenure serving as NPS acting director. As Yosemite National Park superintendent he will oversee one of the nation’s oldest and most iconic national parks.
“Mike did an incredible job stewarding our parks through 2017,” said Secretary Zinke. “His leadership helping me combat sexual harassment and discrimination in the service as well as his big-thinking ideas to address the maintenance backlog is very much appreciated. I have all the trust in the world that Mike will bring his years of experience in field and in management to Yosemite."
“When I think about my family’s history in Yosemite, this feels like coming home—it’s an incredible honor that I take very seriously,” said Reynolds. “Times have changed since my grandparents served as 40-year concession employees in the park. However, we should still provide world-class service and experience to visitors in ways that sustain Yosemite into the next century. My focus will be on that, and on supporting our employees, repairing infrastructure and working closely with the communities and people around and associated with the park.”
Secretary Zinke announced Smith’s appointment to the position of NPS deputy director on January 9, 2018 and outlined his deep history of leadership across government and specifically with the National Park Service (News release).
“Dan has a strong record of leadership in the National Park Service both in Washington and on the front lines as a superintendent of a park that tells the stories of some of the most consequential moments in American history,” said Secretary Zinke. “I can think of no one better equipped to help lead our efforts to ensure that the National Park Service is on firm footing to preserve and protect the most spectacular places in the United States for future generations.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to return to Washington D.C., with the invaluable perspective from the field that I gained during my time as Superintendent of Colonial National Historical Park,” said Smith.
In the role of acting director, Smith will lead an agency with more than 20,000 employees, a nearly $3 billion budget, and 417 national parks. These national parks attract more than 300 million visitors every year who generate over $30 billion in economic benefit across the nation.
Reynolds will begin his assignment at Yosemite National Park in early March. Located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada in California, parts of Yosemite National Park were first protected in 1864 through legislation signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Yosemite was established as a national park in 1890. Today the park covers more than 750,000 acres, and is home to granite peaks, domes and waterfalls that overlook broad meadows, wildflowers and groves of ancient giant sequoias. The park receives millions of visitors each year who are served by 1,200 NPS employees during summer months in addition to 1,700 hospitality employees who work at park lodges, restaurants and provide recreational activities such as skiing and horseback riding. (S. Gediman)
Volunteer Program Seeking Spring Break Projects
Do you have a spring project or deadline, and not enough staff or funds to complete it? Could you use a little help from college students? The Volunteer Office is getting more and more applications for groups of service-minded undergraduates who would like to offer their labor to the park, and we'd like to help you out! We can arrange camping, paperwork, and other logistics - you just provide the work and someone to lead it safely. Contact the volunteer office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 379-1850 if you have ideas. (S. Kintner)
Research Library Closure
The Research Library is currently closed, and will reopen with regular hours on January 29th. (G. Cox)
CONSTRUCTION & TRAFFIC DELAYS
Art Center Demolition
The AAC demolition is completed except for the sand removal under the building. This will require a contract modification and so the project is on hold until the modification is completed by PWR, likely in late January - early February. Completion of the sand removal is expected by early February. (D. Miller)
Museum/District Building Electrical Rehab Project
This project will rehabilitate the electrical system in the Museum/District Building by installing grounding in the existing electrical circuits. The Contractor mobilized on Monday, December 18th and the project is expected to run for 6 months. The 8 parking stalls to the west of the building between the sidewalk on the south and the south end of the fence to the north will become the Contractor's staging areas. Please do not leave any vehicles parked there on Sunday night. Thank you. (K. White)