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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.

Significant Ecological Restoration Projects Completed and Ongoing in Yosemite Valley

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Date: October 12, 2006

Recent projects continue to decrease the overall human footprint in Yosemite Valley while providing for an improved visitor experience.

Many Yosemite Valley projects are improving visitor experience while restoring Valley areas for ecological benefits. These meadow and riverbank restoration projects include removal of dams, invasive plants, social trails, and outdate utilities from these sensitive habitats. Visitors can now experience restored wetlands and riparian habitat without impacting the resource. Interpretive signs have also been added to areas for visitor education and enjoyment.

Meadow restoration has taken place in numerous locations throughout Yosemite Valley. Since the early 1990s efforts have been made to remove multiple trails, replace asphalt trails with boardwalks in seasonally flooded areas, eliminate old drainage ditches, and remove old road beds. The actions improved the crucial hydrologic function of the wet meadows. Additionally, park resource managers and volunteers have removed numerous invasive plants, most notably Himalayan blackberry, allowing for resurgence of native plants. The Stoneman Meadow asphalt removal project and the Stoneman Meadow boardwalk building project encompass a total restoration area of 26 acres. The Cook's Meadow project restored 42 acres.

Riverbank restoration has occurred in numerous locations throughout Yosemite Valley. This process includes soil decompaction, mulching, seeding, and planting native vegetation to help stabilize the riverbanks. Invasive plants are removed and the restored area is protected with fencing. Restored areas include Housekeeping Camp, North Pines Group Camp, Swinging Bridge, Devil's Elbow, El Capitan Picnic Area, and several other areas in Yosemite Valley. Two stretches of the river terrace along the Merced River corridor below Stoneman Bridge, near Curry Village, and Clark's Bridge are being revegetated. These projects have restored about 19 acres of floodplain and riverbank in the Merced River corridor.

The dam near Happy Isles on the Merced River has been recently removed, thereby restoring the natural free flow of the river. The dam above Happy Isles and the dam near Cascade Creek (removed in 2004) were abandoned and outdated structures. There are now no longer any dams along the Merced River within Yosemite National Park.

Current utility projects are placing water, sewer, and electrical lines under roads, allowing for the removal of utility corridors from sensitive habitats such as meadows, floodplains, and other wetlands.

Other significant projects in Yosemite Valley have been completed at Fern Spring, Royal Arches Meadow, Yosemite Falls, Mirror Lake, and Sentinel Meadow. Future visitors to Yosemite Valley will continue to benefit from increased restoration of previously developed areas, contributing to a smaller development footprint and larger accessibility to natural areas.

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.