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Category: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite exhibit will feature early park visitor photos

Historic photograph of Yosemite visitors in the 1880s I find myself enthralled by photographs from bygone days, drawn to vintage images of people and their trappings who have traveled to places before me.

So I hope to make it to Yosemite National Park to check out a new exhibit opening Wednesday.

Entitled "View & Visitors: The Yosemite Experience in the 19th Century," the exhibit features early park visitor photographs, souvenirs, paintings, prints, artifacts and ephemera and will be on display in the Yosemite Museum.

Made possible through a grant from the Yosemite Conservancy as well as funding from the National Park Service, a highlight of this unique exhibit is a historic hotel register, called the "Grand Register of Yo-Semite Valley," that was used at the Cosmopolitan Bathhouse and Saloon, located in Yosemite Valley from 1873 to 1884. 

The register contains more than 800 pages of entries, weighs more than 100 pounds and contains more than 18,000 signatures, including those of four U.S. presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Rutherford B. Hayes, and James Garfield.

A reception will be held Tuesday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Yosemite Valley Museum. There is no cost to attend and food and drinks will be served.

The Yosemite Museum is located in Yosemite Valley next to the Visitor Center. The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 31.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Historic photograph of Yosemite visitors in the 1880s taken by Gustav Fagersteen. Credit: National Park Service

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Yosemite's Half Dome cables go up for the season on Wednesday, June 16

Hikers scale the steel cables that traverse Half Dome's sloping northeast face.

The cables allowing access for hikers to the summit of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park will be in place and open for the season Wednesday, June 16.

Visitors are required to have a permit to ascend the Half Dome cables on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.  The majority of permits have been reserved, though those still interested in trying to get one should visit www.recreation.gov for more information and availability. Permits are not required for using the Half Dome cables Monday through Thursday, and visitors hiking the trail leading to the cables do not need a permit.

This interim permit program, implemented this year by the National Park Service, is part of an effort to better regulate the number of hikers using the cable system to get to the top of Half Dome and address safety issues that have arisen from crowding, which has led to unsafe conditions and long waits.

Park rangers would like to remind visitors that they should take appropriate precautions when planning a hike of this length and difficulty, and to be prepared for changing weather and trail conditions. Thunder and lightning are common in the High Sierra during the summer and fall.  Hikers should not attempt to summit Half Dome during thunderstorms and are advised to use extreme caution when the rocks are wet.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Hikers scale the steel cables that traverse Half Dome's sloping northeast face. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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Busy Memorial Day weekend expected at Yosemite National Park

A deer pauses in a Yosemite Valley meadow.

A busy commute is expected just about everywhere for the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, and Yosemite National Park will be no exception.

To help visitors better enjoy their time while there, the park communications office has released the following update, featuring travel suggestions, current conditions and facilities status:

People planning trips into the park are strongly encouraged to arrive before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. to avoid long waits at the entrance stations.  Visitors may also choose to ride the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System, which picks up in multiple locations along Highway 140 from Merced and provides multiple drop-off locations throughout Yosemite Valley.  Once visitors arrive in the park, they are urged to ride the free shuttle throughout Yosemite Valley, utilize the bike paths, or walk.

All campgrounds on the reservation system are full.  There are a very limited number of first-come, first-served campsites available throughout the park -- visitors should arrive early to secure a campsite.  All trails within Yosemite are open, however some may still have snow patches and ice present on the trail.  Hikers should be aware that spring weather can be unpredictable and change without warning.

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Rock climber falls from Yosemite's El Capitan, sustains head and chest injuries

ElCapitan A rock climber fell while scaling El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, sustaining head and chest injuries.

The 48-year-old man from France was climbing with a partner Thursday evening when he fell approximately 65 feet from El Cap Spire, part of the climbing route on El Capitan called the Salathe Wall, approximately 1,600 feet above Yosemite Valley. A second party on the route was able to provide basic emergency medical assistance until park rangers arrived.

Darkness prevented a helicopter from flying to the scene Thursday, so the injured climber, his companion and two other climbers stayed on site overnight. Two rangers were flown to the site early Friday morning to further assist the injured climber and prepare him for transport. Once secured, the man was airlifted to Doctors Medical Center of Modesto.

The cause of the climber’s fall is unknown.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: El Capitan towers over the Yosemite Valley floor. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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Charles Cuvelier named chief ranger at Yosemite National Park

Charles Charles Cuvelier has been selected as the chief ranger at Yosemite National Park, announced Park Supt. Don Neubacher. Cuvelier has been acting chief ranger since Steve Shackelton moved to Washington, D.C., earlier this year to serve as the associate director of visitor and resource protection for the National Park Service.

Before the appointment, Cuvelier was the park's deputy chief ranger, and has been at Yosemite since 2006. He assumes leadership of a complex division with many functions park visitors may not even be aware of, including law enforcement, search and rescue, fire and aviation, the mounted horse patrol program and emergency medical services.

Before working at Yosemite, Cuvelier served at Natchez Trace Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Cuvelier, his wife, Beth, and their three daughters will continue to live in Yosemite National Park.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Charles Cuvelier. Credit: National Park Service

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Yosemite National Park debuts new 'green' store and hotel rooms

The new, environmentally-friendly themed store

Yosemite National Park is going green(er).

Just in time for Thursday's 40th anniversary of Earth Day, park officials cut the ribbon on two new environmentally friendly concepts in the park.

"Habitat" is a new, eco-friendly store located in Yosemite Village. Operated by Delaware North Cos. Parks & Resorts at Yosemite Inc., the 1,000-square-foot shop is a floor-to-ceiling exhibit of green interior design and retailing.

Store fixtures are made from recycled items used in the park -- displays are supported by bales of recycled cardboard; tables are constructed of stacked, recycled tires topped with recycled glass and reused shelving from the Ahwahnee hotel kitchen; and the cash-register counter is made from wood that was once a Curry Village bar top.

Items for sale in the store are also eco-friendly, including glassware made of recycled wine bottles, jewelry made of recycled metals or paper, and purses that once were computer keyboards, tires or soda-can pop-tops.

The other concept awaits overnight guests at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, where two prototype guest rooms featuring cutting-edge environmentally friendly interior design are now available.

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Free admission offered during National Parks Week

Panoramic view of the Grand Canyon.

National Parks Week begins Saturday and runs through April 25, and to celebrate, all 392 national parks nationwide will offer free admission.

Parks will also offer additional activities as well as special offers on lodging, tours, food and souvenirs. A list of all special events and discounts, searchable by state or by park, can be found on the National Park Service website.

"We are rolling out the red carpet and inviting everyone to visit a national park and help celebrate National Parks Week," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a news release. "Parks are fun and affordable destinations and great places to engage in healthy outdoor activities, whether for a few hours or a few days."

146 of the 392 national parks usually charge entrance fees ranging from $3 to $25. The fee free waiver does not include other fees collected, such as those for reservations, camping or use of concessions.

"National parks preserve our heritage, promote recreational experiences, and provide places for quiet refuge," said National Parks Service Director Jon Jarvis. "Most people live within a short drive of a national park so I encourage everyone to spend some time enjoying America's Great Outdoors during National Park Week."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Panoramic view of the Grand Canyon. Credit: National Park Service

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Delays expected in Yosemite due to road construction

A view of Yosemite Valley from inside the Wawona Tunnel.

Yosemite National Park visitors may face 30 to 60 minute delays beginning in May, due to road construction planned for Wawona Road.

The project is planned to improve 24 miles of Wawona Road, from the south entrance of Yosemite to the junction at Bridalveil Straight in Yosemite Valley.

Visitors entering Yosemite via Hwy 41/Wawona Road may experience delays of up to 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays, and possible 60-minute delays from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Friday.

The project to resurface and restripe the roadway, improve grading and drainage and add new signage is expected to be completed by November.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A view of Yosemite Valley from inside the Wawona Tunnel. Credit: Brian Vander Brug \ Los Angeles Times

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Free guide to California campgrounds now expanded to include more sites

Barbara and Erik Jan Gerke, from The Netherlands, enjoy camping out in Yosemite Valley near Half Dome.

With temperatures warming, plants abloom and birds merrily chirping for mates, it's obvious that spring is here -- a time when one's thoughts may turn to getting outside to enjoy the change of season by taking a camping trip.

For those looking for campgrounds in California, a free, handy guide has recently been updated to include almost all our Golden State has to offer to campers.

The "Camp-California! Guide -- the Camper's Guide to California" now includes all federal, state and locally run parks as well as privately owned campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts.

The additions have increased the database to more than 1,000 campgrounds throughout the state, said Debbie Sipe, executive director of the California Assn. of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which compiled the information.

"We think consumers will love what we've done because we're creating a one-stop-shop for people looking for camping opportunities in California in both public and privately owned campgrounds, RV parks and resorts," said Sipe.

Next year, the association plans to also include the nearly 1,000 U.S. Forest Service campgrounds in the state.

"Consumers want complete content. They want to get all the information they need in one spot," said Sipe. "But until now, there was no single source for all camping information in California."

The complimentary guides are available at visitor and welcome centers statewide as well as at RV shows. They can also be requested sent via mail on the Camp California website or by e-mailing [email protected] Those in a hurry can also view a digital copy and/or download the guide on the website.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Barbara and Erik Jan Gerke, from The Netherlands, enjoy camping out in Yosemite Valley near Half Dome. Credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times

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Yosemite Half Dome cable permits for May and June available beginning Monday

Yosemite

Just a reminder that Yosemite National Park day-use permits will be required for those wanting to use the cable system to the top of Half Dome.

Reservations for May and June permits will be accepted starting Monday, March 1, at 7 a.m.

This interim program, implemented by the National Park Service, is being done in an effort to better regulate the number of hikers using the cable system, to address safety issues that have arisen from crowding, which has led to unsafe conditions and long waits on the popular hike.

The Half Dome day-use permits will only be required on weekends, including Fridays, as well as holidays. Four hundred will be issued per day, with 100 of those to be included in wilderness permits. The permits are required for the use of the trail from the base of the subdome to the summit of Half Dome and include the Half Dome cable route.

It is anticipated that the demand for permits will be high, so those interested in obtaining them should, prior to Monday, read the step-by-step instructions posted on recreation.gov on how to secure a reservation. 

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: A winter look at Half Dome. Credit: Dan Blackburn / Image Associates

RELATED:

Yosemite will require permits for Half Dome hikes, starting in May

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Visitation to national parks increases in 2009

Smoky_mtns

Perhaps a sign of the economic times, or inspired by Ken Burns’ popular documentary series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” 10 million more people visited national parks last year than in 2008, a 3.9% increase.

More than 285.5 million people visited national parks during 2009, close to the all-time visitation record of 287.2 million in 1987.

The most-visited national park last year was the Great Smoky Mountains. At more than 9.4 visitors, it surpassed the second- and third-most-visited parks combined (Grand Canyon, 4.3 million and Yosemite, 3.7 million).

No matter the reason, it's great to hear that both American and foreign tourists took advantage of the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the natural treasures that make up the national park system.

The top 10 most visited national parks were:

  -- Great Smoky Mountains, 9,491,437 visitors
  -- Grand Canyon, 4,348,068
  -- Yosemite, 3,737,472
  -- Yellowstone, 3,295,187
  -- Olympic, 3,276,459
  -- Rocky Mountain, 2,822,325
  -- Zion, 2,735,402
  -- Cuyahoga Valley, 2,589,288
  -- Grand Teton, 2,580,081
  -- Acadia, 2,227,698

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Winter in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Credit: National Park Service

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Yosemite will require permits for Half Dome hikes, starting in May

A view of Half Dome and climbers using the cables to get to the top.
In an effort to better regulate the number of hikers using the cable system to the top of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park will begin requiring day-use permits for the popular climb when the cables are put back up in May.

This interim program, implemented by the National Park Service, is being done in an effort to address safety issues that have arisen from crowding, which has led to unsafe conditions and long waits.

The Half Dome day-use permits will only be required on weekends, including Fridays, as well as holidays. Four hundred will be issued per day, with 100 of those to be included in wilderness permits. The permits are required for the use of the trail from the base of the subdome to the summit of Half Dome and include the Half Dome cable route.

The hike has become extremely popular, and crowded. About 84,000 people climbed to the top of Half Dome in 2008. Last summer, daily visitor numbers on peak days were estimated to be 1,100 to 1,200.

This overcrowding on the cables has led to unsafe conditions and long waits. Last year, Manoj Kumar, 40, of San Ramon, Calif., fell to his death from the cables. The previous weekend, a woman fell during a rainstorm and sustained serious injury.

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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.



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