Half Dome Permits

by Ted on June 18, 2016

Half Dome Permits https://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm

{ 1 comment }

Nelder Grove in the Snow

by Ted on November 16, 2015


The Sierra’s by Greg Aiello of Motion

by Ted on August 16, 2015

Highlights from a solo trans sierra backpacking trip through the heart of Ansel Adams Wilderness by Greg Aiello


Bullfrog Lake

Bullfrog Lake


Hijacking Yosemite 

by Ted on December 25, 2014

A private corporation that operates concessions at the national park claims that it “owns” the names of some Yosemite’s most iconic places, including the Ahwahnee Hotel and Badger Pass.


For most visitors, Yosemite National Park is far more than just Half Dome and El Capitan. Indeed, the jewel of the US national park system includes numerous iconic locales, such as Yosemite and Nevada falls, Tuolumne Meadows, and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. But a large and politically influential corporation that runs concessions at Yosemite is attempting to appropriate some of the names of the park’s most well known places. And if the company, Delaware North, is successful, the nation may forever lose the rights to such place names as the Ahwahnee Hotel, Badger Pass, Curry Village, the Wawona Hotel, and Yosemite Lodge.

Earlier this year, Delaware North, which has held the concessions contract at Yosemite since 1993, quietly informed the National Park Service of its claim of owning the names to several of Yosemite’s most famous spots, including the historic Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Valley, according to park service documents. Starting on July 12, Delaware North sent a series of letters to the park service, stating that it had filed federal tradename and servicemark registrations for nearly all of the names of places within Yosemite in which it operates concessions.

Delaware North’s trademark claims come at a time when the park service is soliciting bids for a new concessionaire’s agreement at Yosemite. Delaware North contends that if the park service decides to award the concessions agreement to another company, then the park service must pay Delaware North $51 million in “intellectual property rights” fees for the right to continue to use the names Ahwahnee Hotel, Badger Pass, Curry Village, the Wawona Hotel, and Yosemite Lodge, park documents show.

“This came as a complete surprise to us,” said Yosemite chief spokesperson Scott Gediman, who is also a park ranger. “We did not think [Delaware North] would claim ownership to these names. … These names belong to the American people.”

Not surprisingly, Delaware North’s claims are sparking outrage among California’s environmental community. “The whole notion that they have the right to these names — to the Ahwahnee Hotel and to other iconic places in Yosemite — is ludicrous,” said Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin. Trainer keeps close tabs on national park service issues. “It’s a hijacking.”

Delaware North representatives did not return phone calls seeking comment for this report. On Monday, the park service extended the deadline for prospective concessionaires to submit applications for the Yosemite contract to January 21. The previous deadline was January 8.

On November 20, the park service informed prospective concessionaires that, because of Delaware North’s claims, the new concessionaire could choose to rename the Ahwahnee Hotel, Badger Pass, Curry Village, the Wawona Hotel, and Yosemite Lodge (with the park service’s approval). That way, neither the park service nor the new concessionaire would have to worry about Delaware North’s $51 million intellectual property rights claims. But if that were to happen, those world-famous locales would no longer have the names that Americans have come to hold dear.

“It sounds like extortion,” said Jeff Miller of the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity. “It sounds like a company that we don’t want working in our national parks. I hope they don’t get the new concessions agreement.”

To be clear, Delaware North is not laying claim to the actual places and facilities it operates in Yosemite — just to their names. But if rival companies are required to either pay $51 million to Delaware North or stop using some of the best-known place names in the park, they will likely consider the concessions agreement to be less valuable. Gediman declined to reveal the names of other companies interested in bidding on the deal, but said that Delaware North has informed its competitors of its intellectual property claims.

Delaware North originally took over the Yosemite concessions agreement in 1993, signing a fifteen-year contract valued at $1.5 billion at the time. The Yosemite deal is known as the largest and most lucrative concessions agreement in the national park system. Before Delaware North, the Curry Company operated concessions at Yosemite for 94 years. But the George H.W. Bush administration ruled in the early 1990s that the Curry Company was no longer eligible for the Yosemite contract because a Japanese firm had bought it.

Prior to winning the Yosemite contract, Delaware North had never before run a concessions operation in a national park. Until the early Nineties, the Buffalo-based company was best known for operating concessions at sports stadiums. Delaware North, which is now one of the largest privately held companies in North America, is owned by the billionaire Jacobs family, which has extensive holdings in New York and Florida. CEO Jeremy Jacobs also owns the Boston Bruins professional hockey team. The company also owns casinos, horseracing tracks, and greyhound dog-racing facilities, and currently holds the concessions agreements for the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and the Kennedy Space Center.

Federal and state campaign finance and lobbying records show that, over the years, Jeremy Jacobs and the Jacobs family have donated large sums to the Republican and Democratic parties and politicians in Washington, DC, California, New York, Florida, Arizona, and other states. California Democrats who have received big campaign donations from the Jacobs family include Governor Jerry Brown, US Senator Barbara Boxer, and Congressman George Miller. The Jacobs family also has donated thousands of dollars to Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Kerry, and Mitt Romney.

Delaware North also has an infamous past. The company used to be known as Emprise Corporation when it was run by Jeremy Jacobs’ father, Louie Jacobs, a racetrack kingpin who was known as the godfather of the sports betting industry, according to a 1972 Sports Illustrated exposé, “Look What Louie Wrought.”

When I asked Yosemite spokesperson Gediman whether he thought Delaware North was attempting to extort cash or a renewal of its concession agreement by claiming that it owns many of the park’s most well known names, Gediman declined to speculate.

In all likelihood, the park service will have to fight Delaware North’s intellectual property claims in court if it decides to not renew the company’s concessions agreement. After all, the Ahwahnee Hotel, which opened in 1927, is a National Historic Landmark, as is the Wawona Hotel, built in 1876.

On Monday, the park service issued a memo to prospective concessionaires asserting that it does, in fact, own the rights to Yosemite’s most famous names. But it seems clear that the park service should have issued such a memo long ago and trademarked the place names of Yosemite well before Delaware North decided to do it.


High Sierra Camps in Yosemite

by Ted on September 29, 2014

High Sierra camp Trail

High Sierra camp Trail

High Sierra Camps
Nestled in some of the most breath-taking settings in the world, the High Sierra Camps are a series of campsites located along trails in Yosemite’s high elevation alpine country. Most are accessible on by hiking or by horseback and only in summer. Reserving a space at the High Sierra Camps requires participants to enter a lottery.
Glen Aulin
Glen Aulin is one of the easiest camps to hike to as the trail from Soda Springs follows the Tuolumne River and its meadows most of the way. The camp is set alongside the 80 ft. high White Cascade and its lovely pool. Campers enjoy catching the sunset from a nearby promontory with a view of Mt. Conness. Located in a geological wonderland, Glen Aulin offers a great view down the Tuolumne River and the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. A popular daytrip down to Waterwheel Falls passes through this unique granite canyon with California Fall & LeConte Fall along the way.
May Lake
Towering above May Lake, Mt. Hoffman is the geographic center of Yosemite and an excellent, though strenuous, hike for May Lake visitors. Located on a quiet, high mountain lake, perfect for relaxing and fishing, the camp is a fantastic blend of hospitality and high country scenery. The ridge just behind the camp has a grand view of the southern end of Yosemite and is a popular sunset spot for hikers and photographers. This is the easiest camp to access via a short, one-mile hike from the parking lot off Tioga Road and a great overnight family destination.
Merced Lake
Merced Lake High Sierra Camp provides a wilderness experience for those who may never experience wilderness in any other way.
This high sierra camp is located along one of the largest lakes in Yosemite in a granite basin surrounded by ridges and domes. Because of its lower elevation, the camp is relatively warm and has slightly different vegetation, such as large white firs, aspen, Jeffrey and lodgepole pines.
Well-named for the spectacular morning views as the sun creeps over the mountains, Sunrise offers incredible vistas towards both the Cathedral & Clark Ranges. Local peaks include Colombia Finger, Tenaya Peak, Echo Peaks, Matthes Crest, and Cathedral Peak and are dramatic examples of Yosemite’s famous granite formations.


Located creekside near Fletcher Lake, Vogelsang is often named as a favorite spot in Yosemite by many a veteran visitor. This is truly an alpine setting at the highest elevation of all the camps with peaks, lakes, meadows and vistas within close proximity.



by Ted on September 10, 2014

On the 20th of May, 1852, a party of eight prospectors started from Coarse Gold Gulch on a trip to the upper waters of the Merced River. They had just entered the Yosemite Valley when they were set upon, by a band of Indians and two of them, named Rose and Shurborn, were killed and a third badly wounded. The others got away and after enduring great hardships arrived again at Coarse Gold Gulch on the 2d of June. The same day about thirty or forty miners set out to punish the treacherous Yosemites. This party found the bodies of the murdered men and buried them at the edge of Bridalveil Meadow, where their graves are still to be seen, but they were compelled to return without punishing the murderers.


Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoias

by Ted on August 27, 2014

Trail Map  ·
Hike Distance:  1 mile (1.6 km) loop
Distance from Yosemite:  18 miles (29 km)
Trailhead Elevation:  5,600 feet (1,680 meters)
Elevation Gain:  less than 100 feet (30 meters)
Hiking time:  30 minutes – 1 hour
Why visit Nelder Grove?  This is the best chance you’ll get to have a grove of giant sequoias all to yourself, especially on a weekday.
Crowd Factor:  Low compared to the sequoia groves in Yosemite. Sound carries well in the grove, though, so if there are other people on the trail, you’ll likely hear them.
Scenery Factor:  The grove is near Nelder Creek flowing through the grove, besides the giant sequoias, you’ll find lots of other big evergreens, especially cedars, plus dogwoods on a smooth trail. If the elevation winds you, stop and read the interpretive signs along the way.
Best Time to Visit:  It’s pretty any time the road is passable (usually May to Oct), but there’s bonus scenery in the spring, when the dogwood trees are blooming,and in October, when their leaves are turning.
Bathrooms:  At times near the trailhead (outhouse variety)
Nearest Snacks:  in Oakhurst, 10 miles (16 km) south
Driving Directions:  Nelder Grove is off Road 632, also known as Sky Ranch Road. You’ll find it 10 miles (16 km) south of Yosemite Park’s south entrance. If you’re approaching from the south, it’s 4 miles (6.4 km) north of the intersection of highways 41 and 49 in Oakhurst.
The road sign for 632 is small and easy to miss if you’re buzzing past at 50 mph, so watch for the larger sign to the Sky Ranch Inn, which (the inn, not the sign) is just up the road. Here’s a Google Street View panorama of the turnoff.
Once you’re on Road 632, stay on it for just under 7 miles (11 km), until you reach a signed left turn to the Nelder Grove just as the pavement ends. Take the left turn and travel just over a mile (1.6 km) until the road forks. There’s a sign at the fork that appears to indicate that Nelder Grove is to the right, but it’s actually the Nelder Grove Campground that’s off in that direction. What the sign calls “Shadow of the Giants”, half a mile to your left, is your destination. Once you reach the grove you’ll find a sign and a short but steepish and rutted driveway leading to the parking lot and trailhead.
Parking:  There’s a dirt lot at the trailhead that will hold half a dozen or so cars. If it fills up, an uncommon occurrence, you can park along the road.

The last two miles of the road to the grove are unpaved, and the short driveway leading to the parking lot can be a challenge for cars with poor clearance. The road is often undrivable in the winter, and there can be snow on the road well into May.


Yosemite in HD

by Ted on February 5, 2014

Yosemite HD from Project Yosemite on Vimeo.


Snow in the Sierra’s and Yosemite NP

by Ted on February 5, 2014