High Country Notebook

About This Blog

NOTE: This blog has been discontinued, however, future posts similar to these will appear in Yosemite Ranger Notes.

Ranger-naturalists have been interpreting Yosemite and its natural and cultural treasures for visitors since its early days as a park. In this blog, some of Yosemite's High Country Naturalists share recent observations from areas north of Yosemite Valley. Topics focused on in the blog are:

Wildlife and Other Sightings:

In Yosemite, especially in the high country, we have a unique opportunity to step beyond our cars and the chatter of our daily lives into the realm of the other than human world. The wilder life of animals, plants, fungi, rocks, and even air and water, is ever-changing and fascinating to pay closer attention to.

Roadside Naturalist:

With over 100 miles of paved roads within Yosemite National Park's boundaries, visitors can spend a great deal of time in their cars traveling around the park. Amid all of the grand scenery there are smaller natural wonders to appreciate as well. With a good eye and a few hints from us you can spot these things along the roadside, even while driving the speed limit. If you wish to stop, please do so only where parking is provided off the roadway.

Bird Monitoring and Research:

Yosemite National Park provides essential habitat for over 165 species of migrating, wintering, and breeding birds, in addition to nearly 100 species recorded as transient or vagrant. For nearly two decades, the breeding populations of songbirds in Yosemite have been studied in one of the longest continuous research projects in the Park. Each summer, from late May to early August, researchers work at bird banding stations throughout Yosemite. They collect valuable information about bird populations in Yosemite by capturing, banding, and then releasing birds following a strict scientific protocol. This year, this important work is being funded by the Yosemite Conservancy.

Wildflowers of White Wolf:

The White Wolf area is a botanically-diverse and simultaneously accessible part of the park. We'll give you a taste of what we see blooming throughout the summer. Please help protect the flowers and plants by not picking flowers and staying on trails to observe them.

Mather Musings:

The Mather District of Yosemite National Park includes such diverse areas as White Wolf, Hetch Hetchy, Crane Flat, May Lake, North Dome and Hodgdon Meadow. Here you'll find some collected thoughts of Ranger Naturalists working throughout this unique district.

Roadside Naturalist: Fire Danger Signs

September 15, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

As visitors enter Yosemite National Park, they are confronted with large signs that describe the current fire danger level.


Roadside Naturalist: Effects of the Mono Winds

September 08, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Have you noticed a lot of downed trees near the Mono Pass Trailhead this past season? Dramatic evidence of the regional phenomenon known as the Mono Winds can be seen just off the Tioga road near this area.


Roadside Naturalist: "Speeding Kills Bears" Signs

August 25, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Learn more about the important "Speeding Kills Bears" signs that you may see during your visit to Yosemite.


Roadside Naturalist: Pearly Everlasting

August 18, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

Dense clusters of white flowers can be seen right now along the side of the road between Crane Flat and White Wolf.


Roadside Naturalist: Scarlet Gilia, August 4, 2012

August 04, 2012 Posted by: AH - Mather District Interpretive Ranger

A member of the phlox family, these brightly colored flowers were blooming along the roadside this week.


Roadside Naturalist: A lot of great sightings from the past week!

August 04, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Check out these roadside sightings from the week of July 29 - Paintbrush, coneflowers, and more!


Roadside Naturalist: July 14 - 15, 2012

July 15, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Check out these roadside sightings on July 14-15, 2012 along the Big Oak Flat Road between the Big Oak Flat Entrance and Yosemite Valley.


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PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389


(209) 372-0200

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