Electronic Newsletter

Superintendent Michael Tollefson with Hetch Hetchy Program Manager, Martha Lee.
Superintendent Michael Tollefson with Hetch Hetchy Program Manager, Martha Lee.

NPS Photo

April 2004

Superintendent’s Message

Employee of the Month
Martha Lee: Hetch Hetchy Program Manager
Office of the Superintendent

Martha was recently hired as the Hetch Hetchy Program Manager. In that role, she coordinates the relationship (including funding, ongoing programs, and one-time projects) between the NPS and the City and County of San Francisco on issues of mutual concern in the Tuolumne River/Hetch Hetchy watershed.

Soon after her official assumption of these duties, she was also charged with taking over as leader for the support team for the ongoing Merced River Plan litigation.

In typical “Martha Lee” fashion, she has managed to juggle two full-time positions at once, somehow providing superior leadership and expertise to both. Her dedication to the NPS and Yosemite National Park are being recognized.

Thank you, Martha, for your continuing enthusiasm!

Michael J. Tollefson
Park Superintendent

National Park Week
April 17-24, 2004

National Park Week is an annual Presidentially proclaimed week for celebration and recognition of America’s national parks. While in Yosemite, check local posters for a variety of events taking place, including a free performance of actor Lee Stetson , as he portrays John Muir on what would have been Muir’s 166th birthday! The event takes place April 21 at 8:00 p.m. at the Valley Visitor Center Theater.

National parks are your places, preserved for the American people so that all may experience our heritage. The 387 units in the National Park System are living examples of the best this nation has to offer—our magnificent natural landscapes and our varied yet interrelated heritage. Parks can provide recreational experiences, opportunities to learn and grow, and places of quiet refuge.

This year, take a moment, an hour, a day to visit Yosemite or any national park near you. For more information about National Park Week, visit www.nps.gov/npweek.

Earth Day 2003
Earth Day 2003.

NPS Photo

Yosemite Celebrates Earth Day—April 22

A number of activities will take place in the park in recognition of Earth Day. Come join the Earth-Friendly fun! Take part in a stewardship project. Check out a variety of environmentally-safe products. Tour the Valley Recycling Center. Enjoy Yosemite staff engaged in a live performance of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.

Earth Day Schedule

9:30 am-11:45 am
Stewardship Project
Take part in a stewardship project and help make the park a better place. Meet in front of Valley Visitor Center.

9:00 am-2:00 pm

  • Yosemite Village Mall Celebration
    Wander between the Village Store and the Visitor Center to see displays on Delaware North Parks & Resorts at Yosemite's (DNC) “GreenPath” efforts, NPS Bear Patrol, NPS sustainability practices, educational Discovery Vans, Ansel Adams Gallery display, exhibits detailing the “good works” of partner organizations Yosemite Institute, Yosemite Association, and more. Stop by and pick up a Yosemite Earth Day souvenir.
  • Earth Friendly Products
    Over 40% of cleaning products at the Village Store are environmentally friendly. Stop by the mall side of the Village Store for free samples.
  • Discovery Vans will be on the Yosemite Village Mall to engage visitors in fun and educational activities that teach about the Sierra Nevada.

Noon-1:00 pm
Earth Day cake & lemonade in front of the Valley Visitor Center for everyone!

2:00 pm-3:00 pm
Tour the Recycling Center
Join Mark Gallagher for a behind-the-scenes tour of an award-winning recycling center where 880 tons of materials are recycled, keeping 40 percent of DNC’s waste from landfills. Meet Mark in front of the Valley Visitor Center.

2:00 pm-6:00 pm
NPS Open House
Come and learn about Yosemite’s future and the latest park improvement efforts at the Visitor Center East Auditorium.

7:30 pm-9:00 pm
Family Earth Day Program
Yosemite interpreters will lead a sing-a-long and a dramatization of The Lorax by Dr. Suess at the Yosemite Lodge Amphitheater. (This program will be inside the Yosemite Lodge Cliff Room if weather is inclement.)

8:00 pm-9:00 pm
Performing Arts Piece
Weaving music and poetry together, park rangers Margaret Eissler and Shelton Johnson will celebrate Earth Day with their program, This Everything Dance. Meet them upstairs in The Ahwahnee Tudor Lounge for this special presentation exploring the human relationship with place.

Tuolumne River at Tuolumne Meadows, April 8, 2004.
Tuolumne River at Tuolumne Meadows, April 8, 2004.

NPS Photo

April Snow Survey Results

With the record breaking warm temperatures in March, there is a lot of interest in how the snow pack survived. The April 1st courses are generally thought to be the most representative of the year's snow pack. Here are the results for the Yosemite’s Tuolumne and Merced drainages. The high densities are normally not seen until

May, and may trigger a faster run-off this spring. Remember that the depth and water content averages were well above average last month, so this does not necessarily indicate a dry year.

The following figures are the real time amount of snow left on the ground (“stored water”) as of April 1, 2004.

Tuolumne Drainage
Location Elevation (feet) Snow Depth (inches) Water Content (inches) Density Average

Dana Meadows 9,800 57.0 27.4 48% 88%

Rafferty Meadows 9,400 60.6 29.5 49% 90%

New Grace Meadow 8,900 91.9 44.7 49% 93%

Tuolumne Meadows 8,600 39.9 19.4 49% 85%

Wilma Lake 8,000 85.5 41.9 49% 97%

Vernon Lake 6,700 38.6 18.1 47% 81%

Beehive Meadow 6,500 41.4 19.5 47% 83%

Basin Average Percent of April 1: 83%

Merced Drainage
Location Elevation (feet) Snow Depth (inches) Water Content (inches) Density Average

Snow Flat 8,700 70.8 45.3 64% 102%

Ostrander Lake 8,200 55.7 25.2 45% 77%

Tenaya Lake 8,150 60.0 26.5 44% 79%

Gin Flat 7,000 59.0 28.0 47% 88%

Peregoy Meadows 7,000 55.1 22.1 40% 75%

Basin Average Percent of April 1: 84%

State Average Percent of April 1: 82%

User Capacity Program for the Merced River Corridor

The National Park Service recently released the User Capacity Program for the Merced Wild and Scenic River Corridor. This document presents a detailed look at the park’s efforts to address user capacity throughout the 81 miles of the Merced River that flow through Yosemite National Park. It takes a network of mechanism and methods to assist park managers in making decisions relating to use. From guiding legislation to systems that have been in place for decades to the latest park efforts, the program provides an elaborate system of protection for the Merced River’s Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs).

One tool used in the program is the Visitor Experience and Research Protection (VERP) framework, as called for in the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan. VERP serves as a report card to measure how well the park is protecting and enhancing the river’s ORVs. Through VERP, the park has adopted a set of indicators and standard which identify and quantify the kinds and levels of use that are appropriate, as well as where and when such uses should occur. The results of this first year of monitoring will be presented to the public at the end of the year.

Upcoming Events

Open House
April 22, 2:00 pm-6:00 pm
Valley Visitor Center East Auditorium
Learn about park improvements efforts. Project managers and part staff will be on hand to provide updates on a number of projects, including improvements at Lower Yosemite Fall, the redevelopment at Yosemite Lodge, continued restoration at the site of the Cascades Diversion Dam, and more. See the schedule of future open houses…

Yosemite Forum
May 11 at Noon
Valley Visitor Center Theater
Spend a fascinating hour with a researcher for an interactive lecture on topics relating to our evolving knowledge of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. The next presentation will feature Amy Scott from the Autry National Center who will discuss Yosemite: Art of an American Icon. In 2006, an exhibit of this same name will be on display at the Autry National Center Museum of American West in Los Angeles.

Future Schedule

June 8: Fire history
July 13: Causes of amphibian decline in Yosemite
August 10: Local and regional air quality
September 14: Water and atmospherically-deposited pollutants
October 12: How climate change affects the Sierra snow pack.

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389


(209) 372-0200

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