From the monthly archives:

June 2011

Tioga Road: Opens Saturday June 18

by Ted on June 15, 2011

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Yosemite National Park plans to open Tioga Road at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The avalanche danger at Olmsted Point was eliminated Tuesday when warm weather caused tons of snow and ice to slide from the granite face onto the road. Crews are cleaning up the road.

Vault toilets are available at some sites, such as Tenaya Lake, but the sewage treatment plant will not be online for a few weeks.

There will be several no-stopping zones that will be clearly marked, officials said. All campgrounds are still closed.  All commercial services at Tuolumne Meadows , including the gas station, store and village grill, also will remain closed at this time.

Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/

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By: Yosemite Conservancy

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Tenaya Lake’s postcard views are a popular draw with visitors. Yosemite Conservancy is contributing $850,000 for initial improvements to the lake’s East Beach area. Credit: Keith Walklet

Yosemite National Park, June 14, 2011 – The first phase of a major makeover at Tenaya Lake, one of Yosemite National Park’s most popular summer destinations, will restore wetlands and improve beach access with funding by Yosemite Conservancy.
"Tenaya Lake is a jewel of the park’s high country," said Mike Tollefson, president, Yosemite Conservancy. "We’re focused on restoring and protecting it so that the visitor experience is as exceptional as its location."
Picnickers, hikers and rock climbers are drawn to the lake’s picture perfect beaches, deep blue water, surrounding granite domes, and lodge pole pine forests. Its eye-catching scenery is visible from Tioga Road, which provides easy access to the lake for park visitors of all ages and abilities. However, its popularity has resulted in challenges of crowded parking areas, unsafe traffic conditions, unintended harm to fragile ecosystems, shoreline erosion and unwanted run-off.
"This initial phase restores and protects habitat and improves accessibility for all visitors to this magnificent location," said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher.
Yosemite Conservancy will provide $850,000 for initial improvements at the lake’s East Beach area. Work begins this summer on a new ecologically friendly trail that will provide easy access for all from the parking lot to the shore and minimize future impacts to wetlands. The beach area will be enhanced for family use and picnicking with installation of new tables including a common "long table" that will accommodate family gatherings. Wetlands and riparian areas also will be restored to natural conditions with re-establishment of native willows.
Neubacher said future enhancements at Tenaya Lake would address ecological restoration of roadside parking areas, additional habitat protection, and redesign of the parking lot at the East Beach to accommodate tour buses that now park on the road and replace parking spaces removed from the roadside. "Initial restoration efforts will improve habitat surrounding the lake and protect it better for the future, while providing a better experience for park visitors. Both the park and its visitors benefit from this Conservancy-funded project," said Neubacher. Tenaya Lake sits at 8,150 feet, 31 miles east of Highway 120 and nine miles west of Tuolumne Meadows along Tioga Road.
About Yosemite Conservancy
Yosemite Conservancy is the only philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to the protection and preservation of Yosemite National Park and enhancement of the visitor experience. The Conservancy works to restore trails, protect wildlife through scientific research and habitat restoration, and offers outdoor programs that provide visitors with unique ways to connect with the park. It has funded over 300 projects through $60 million in grants in areas including trail and habitat restoration, wildlife protection, education, volunteering, and the production of award winning books and DVDs. Learn more at www.yosemiteconservancy.org or call 1-800-469-7275.

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Kaiser Pass open

by Ted on June 10, 2011

Kaiser Pass opened today, thus allowing access to Florence and Edison Lake – popular fishing destinations on the Sierra National Forest.
Visitors should exercise caution while traveling the pass – it may be icy in the morning and evening.
"Forest roads and weather conditions can change within minutes of an approaching weather front and unprepared visitors can be in danger if unprepared," said Armentrout. "It’s worth the time and energy to pack appropriate clothing, food, water and blankets and be prepared for an unexpected emergency. Remember to tell someone where you’re going and your expected return."
Campgrounds are available, but without concessionaire services. Jackass and the Island at Mono Hot Springs remain closed.
For information on roads, camping and backpacking call the High Sierra Ranger District Visitor Information Services located in Prather at (559) 855-5360 or the Clovis office at (559) 497-0706. Visitors can also find safety and recreation information on the Sierra National Forest Web site: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/sierra/. The California Department of Fish and Game Web site contains all pertinent fishing information: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/.

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by Rhonda Kay on June 9, 2011

in Coin or Numismatic News,Featured Coin News Articles,New Coin Releases,US Mint News and Information

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Yosemite National Park 5 Oz Silver Uncirculated Coin

The United States Mint on Thursday released the 2010 Yosemite National Park 5 Oz Silver Uncirculated Coin at 12 noon Eastern Time. The Yosemite coin is struck in collector quality and has an introductory price of $279.95, plus $4.95 for shipping and handling.

As mentioned in an earlier article, only 27,000 were produced, and there is a one coin per household order limit. The uncirculated coins are three-inches in diameter, contain five ounces of .999 fine silver, and sport special edge lettering. The Yosemite design, by Phebe Hemphill, depicts the iconic El Capitan, which rises more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor and is the largest monolith of granite in the world.

High demand was expected and there were some delays for those choosing to place orders early via the United States Mint website at http://www.usmint.gov, but no serious issues were reported. The Mint again forewarned customers with the following statement:

“Because of the anticipated demand for the coins, we expect that our online catalog ordering system will be much slower than usual and may encounter periods of down time," the Mint said on the product’s web page. "We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience and ask them to be patient during this time.”

The United States Mint also indicated that once the coin orders reach the 27,000 marker, it will institute a “waiting list” in case any prior order is cancelled. Orders on the waiting list will not be guaranteed fulfillment and will be notified if the Mint is unable to complete the order. Buyers using credit cards are asked to make sure the information remains current up through shipment time to avoid problems.

The two earlier issues in the America the Beautiful 5 Oz Silver Uncirculated Coin series experienced initial high volume sales of roughly 19,000 each in fewer than 12 hours. Both coins sold out in two weeks. The Mint did use a waiting list for the first Hot Springs National Park Uncirculated Coin, but it did not for the second Yellowstone National Park Uncirculated Coin.

The Yosemite National Park 5 Oz Silver Uncirculated Coins are available to anyone interested in buying them, as they are sold directly by the United States Mint to the public. Each uncirculated coin is encapsulated, packaged in a protective outer box, and accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity. The companion Yosemite 5 Oz bullion coin was sold through the Mint’s network of distributors last year. The investment-grade coin sold out with a mintage of 33,000.

In addition to the United States Mint website, buyers may place orders for the Yosemite National Park 5 Oz Silver Uncirculated Coin by calling the Mint’s toll free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).

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Date: June 7, 2011

New Policies Implemented to Ensure Equity and Fairness to Park Visitors
Yosemite National Park announces three changes to the way in which visitors make camping reservations for campgrounds operated by the National Park Service (NPS) in the park. These changes are being implemented in an effort to thwart and discourage misuse of the camping reservation system that all visitors currently use when making campground reservations within Yosemite National Park.
The first change will require all visitors checking into a campsite in the park to show identification upon arrival at the Campground Reservation Office. Currently, campers do not need to present any form of identification to secure their reserved campsite. However, this new identification policy is being implemented to make sure that the person who arrives at the campground office is the same person who made the campground reservation. This new procedure will commence for all check-ins beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, June 8, 2011.
Also starting tomorrow, campground reservation holders will no longer be able to change the name of the person on the campground reservation. Previously, the original name on the reservation could be changed online on the reservation contractor’s website. This would not change any components of the existing reservation. However, this change precludes the ability to change the name on a reservation once the reservation is made. There is a $10 cancellation fee for any reservation that is cancelled. Further, the same reservation under a different name is not guaranteed.  
The final change to the campground reservation system will be implemented later this summer. This alteration will change the way in which cancelled reservations are released back into the system. Currently, once a reservation is cancelled, the campsite is put back online to be purchased. However, under the newly implemented system, the campsites that become available can only be reserved by calling the campground reservation phone number. There is no date available for this change.  
All campsites reserved in Yosemite National Park are reserved through a contractor, Active Works. The website is www.recreation.gov. They can also be reached at 1-877-444-6777. The park is implementing these changes to ensure equity and fairness for visitors wishing to make a campsite reservation within Yosemite National Park.


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The Glacier Point Road opened on Friday, May 27, 2011.

There is no estimated opening date for the Tioga Road.
(View a list of opening dates from previous years.)

The Tioga Road has been partly plowed for its entire length. Now, road crews are working to remove snow from the entire width of the road and plow turnouts and side roads. In addition, road crews will be removing rockslides and redirecting snowmelt across the road to reduce icy road conditions. Finally, Olmsted Point is still unsafe due to avalanche danger.

The Tioga Road is now open to bicycles from Crane Flat to Yosemite Creek Bridge. Please watch out for debris on the road and road crew traffic. If conditions allow, we will extend the bicycle zone farther east prior to the opening.

Plows approaching each other from opposite directions.

Mono County Public Works

Mono County and Mammoth Mountain road crews meet up with National Park Service road crews. May 31, 2011.

Plow amidst several feet of snow

Entrance to Bridalveil Creek Campground, 5/19/11.

Once plowing of the Tioga Road is completed, additional work must be completed before the road can safely be opened.

Factors affecting plowing operations:

  • Avalanche zones (26 potential areas). The Olmsted Point avalanche zone requires a lot of work, including application of charcoal over the snow to help with melting and blasting the snow slab to make it safer for personnel.
  • Heavy snow pack slows the whole operation.
  • Trees that have fallen across the road and been buried in the snow. These can cause substantial damage to the equipment and result in a stop to all operations until they’re cleared.
  • Rock slides buried by the snow. These can cause substantial damage to the equipment and result in a stop to all operations.
  • Snow storms during the opening require a stop to Tioga Road operations and in order to plow and sand the park roads.
  • Road repairs and ditching and brushing operations once snow has melted back enough.

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