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  • Road Closures Due to El Portal Fire

    The Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and the El Portal Road is temporarily closed. There is no access to Yosemite Valley via the Big Oak Flat Road or Highway 120. Tioga Road is open and accessible via Big Oak Flat and Tioga Pass Entrances. More »

  • Campground Closures Due to Fire

    Crane Flat, Bridalveil Creek, and Yosemite Creek Campgrounds are temporarily closed. More »

  • Yosemite National Park is Open

    Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, and Wawona/Mariposa Grove areas are open and accessible via Highways 140 and 41. Tioga Road is not accessible via Highways 140 and 41 due to a fire.

Spring has Sprung Somewhere

March 15, 2013 Posted by: BW - Volunteer Interpreter

California poppy, California bay laurel, and California buckeye
California poppy, California bay laurel, and California buckeye

Spring in the mountains is a funny thing. Like a wave slowly washing over the Sierra Nevada, spring will crash first onto the foothills and then, following the warmer temperatures, work its way up to the highest peaks in a spray of late summer wildflowers.  For the next six months, it will always be spring somewhere in the mountains. The unseasonably warm temperatures we have been experiencing this week in Yosemite Valley have made other normal signs of spring even more apparent. Here are a few observations from this week:

  • Red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and common mergansers (Mergus merganser) have been sighted in meadows and streams, respectively. These regional migrators are often some of the first to return to the Valley in the spring. We are looking forward to the arrival of many other migratory birds in the weeks to come. 
  • Loud frog chorus can be heard along Tenaya Creek and Mirror Lake. The beautifully subtle colors of this Pacific treefrog (Hyla regilla) were observed after it was rescued from inside the Visitor Center Theater. The rangers took care not to handle it more than necessary and released it in the adjacent Indian Village. We were glad to see it hop away. 
  • The explosion of wildflowers that is spring in the foothills can be seen on the drive in to Yosemite Valley. The showiest participant is the state flower, the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) which can cover entire hillsides in its bright orange bloom. Also notable are the small but sweet smelling flowers of the California bay laurel (Umbellularia californica). The fresh, spring-green leaves that you may see are those of the California buckeye (Aesculus californica), the first deciduous tree to leaf out in our area.
Pacific treefrog
Pacific tree frog

Nature Scene, Yosemite Valley, BW

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Did You Know?

Yosemite Museum

When it opened to the public on May 29, 1926, the Yosemite Museum became the first museum building in the national park system, and its educational objectives served as a model for parks nationwide. It still functions much as it was originally intended, and currently exhibits items which mainly reflect the Native occupation of Yosemite Valley and its surroundings. When in the park, you can visit with one of three cultural demonstrators who primarily staff the Museum.