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Freitag, 6. September 2019, 22:02

Climber is killed in fall from Half Dome cables in Yosemite National Park

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A 29-year-old woman died in a fall from the cables used to climb Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, officials said Friday.
Danielle Burnett, 29, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., was killed Thursday when she “fell over 500 feet down steep, rocky terrain, and was deceased when park rangers arrived on the scene,” according to a statement from the National Park Service.
The incident remains under investigation.
Picturesque Half Dome rises almost 5,000 feet above Yosemite Valley. Two metal cables allow hikers to climb the last 400 feet of the formation without rock-climbing equipment.
In May 2018, a male hiker was killed when he slipped and fell from the cables, according to the park service. The victim was hiking with another person during a thunderstorm when the accident occurred.
This is the second fatality at the park in recent weeks.
On July 31, a Romanian tourist was killed in a fall near a waterfall in the park, authorities said. Lucian Miu, 21, was scrambling on some wet rocks below Bridalveil Fall when he fell about 20 feet, authorities said.

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Montag, 18. November 2019, 23:26

Yosemite National Park Announces Tioga Road (Continuation of Highway 120 Through the Park) and Glacier Point Road will Temporarily Close on Tuesday Afternoon, November 19 Due to Incoming Weather System

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Yosemite National Park officials report the first hint of winter is on the way.

As a result, Tioga Road (continuation of Highway 120 through the park) and Glacier Point Road will temporarily close due to an incoming storm on Tuesday, November 19 at 3:00 p.m.

These closures could last several days or longer. Call 209/372-0200 (then 1, 1) to check on updates.
US National Weather Service Hanford California has issued a winter storm watch for several inches of snow above 6,000 feet (but just a slight amount of rain in Yosemite Valley).

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Freitag, 22. November 2019, 22:03

Mit diesen Fotos hat Ansel Adams das Yosemite Valley weltberühmt gemacht

Er gilt als der Meister der Landschaftsfotografie: Wie kein anderer fotografierte Ansel Adams über Jahrzehnte die Nationalparks im amerikanischen Westen. Seine Schwarz-Weiß-Aufnahmen unterliegen einer strengen Bildästhetik, die bis heute fasziniert.

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Es sind Ikonen der Schwaz-Weiß-Fotografie: die Aufnahmen von Ansel Adams. Seine technisch perfekten Landschaftaufnahmen aus der High Sierra, speziell aus dem im Bundesstaat Kalifornien gelegenen Yosemite National Park, haben Generationen von Naturliebhabern in die von ihm fotografieren Landschaften gelockt.
Der in San Francisco geborene Fotograf (1902 bis 1984) war Mitbegründer der Gruppe f/64 – die Bezeichnung steht für die kleinste Blendenzahl einer Fotokamera –, die sich zu Beginn der 1930er Jahre in den Vereinigten Staaten formierte. Zu deren Mitglieder gehörten auch der Fotograf Edward Weston und die Fotografin Imogen Cunningham, die sich in ihrer klaren Ästhetik als Gegenbewegung zu dem seinerzeit vorherrschenden und verklärenden Stil des Piktorialismus verstanden.
Es sind Ikonen der Schwaz-Weiß-Fotografie: die Aufnahmen von Ansel Adams. Seine technisch perfekten Landschaftaufnahmen aus der High Sierra, speziell aus dem im Bundesstaat Kalifornien gelegenen Yosemite National Park, haben Generationen von Naturliebhabern in die von ihm fotografieren Landschaften gelockt.
Der in San Francisco geborene Fotograf (1902 bis 1984) war Mitbegründer der Gruppe f/64 – die Bezeichnung steht für die kleinste Blendenzahl einer Fotokamera –, die sich zu Beginn der 1930er Jahre in den Vereinigten Staaten formierte. Zu deren Mitglieder gehörten auch der Fotograf Edward Weston und die Fotografin Imogen Cunningham, die sich in ihrer klaren Ästhetik als Gegenbewegung zu dem seinerzeit vorherrschenden und verklärenden Stil des Piktorialismus verstanden.
"Eine großartige Fotografie ist eine solche, die vollständig ausdrückt, was man in Bezug auf das, was gerade fotografiert wird, in der ureigenen Bedeutung des Wortes fühlt", sagte Ansel Adams einmal. Eigentlich wollte er Konzertpianist werden und war mehr nebenbei Fotograf. Doch 1929 erhielt von der Parkverwaltung, der Yosemite Park and Curry Company, den Auftrag das Tal im Winter öffentlichkeitswirksam zu fotografieren, damit Touristen nicht nur in den Sommermonaten das Tal aufsuchen.

Mit der großformatigen Plattenkamera entstanden die kontrastreichen und extrem scharfen Aufnahmen der Granitkolosse insbesondere vom Half Dome. Dieses Motiv fotografierte er im Laufe der Jahrzehnte immer wieder.
Adams schrieb auch die auf Deutsch übersetzen Lehrbücher wie "Die Kamera" und "Das Positiv als photographisches Bild" und engagierte sich im Vorstand des Sierra Clubs, der ältesten und größten Naturschutzorganisation in den USA.
Seine berühmten Bilder aus dem Yosemite Valley sind jetzt in einem neuen Buch unter dem Titel "Ansel Adams' Yosemite" erschienen. Für den Bildband hat Pete Souza, der offizielle Fotograf von Präsident Obama im Weißen Haus, ein Vorwort verfasst, in dem er schreibt: "In der heute meist farbigen Welt der Online-Fotografie ragen seine Bilder mehr denn je heraus."
fühlt", sagte Ansel Adams einmal. Eigentlich wollte er Konzertpianist werden und war mehr nebenbei Fotograf. Doch 1929 erhielt von der Parkverwaltung, der Yosemite Park and Curry Company, den Auftrag das Tal im Winter öffentlichkeitswirksam zu fotografieren, damit Touristen nicht nur in den Sommermonaten das Tal aufsuchen.

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Mittwoch, 27. November 2019, 20:11

Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road are closed for the winter

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Tioga Road (continuation of Highway 120 through the park) and Glacier Point Road are closed for the season due to snow.

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Mittwoch, 27. November 2019, 21:58

New Yosemite archive photos show the park in the 1910st

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While the majesty of Yosemite is still much the same, a donation of photos to the Yosemite archives provides a small window into the past that was previously unknown to the public. A number of black-and-white photographs were donated by the grandson of Herbert Asa Sawin, a photographer who worked with H.C. Best in Yosemite and showcased Yosemite in the mid-1910s, according to a recent post on Yosemite's Facebook page.

One of the major changes between the photographs and now: the bears. While Yosemite now keeps strict rules on interacting with wild animals, one older photo from the collection showed a man feeding a "begging" bear, while another photo described a bear as a "park pet."
"How times change!" Yosemite's caption noted at the unwise feeding of the bear.
See just a handful of the new images, alongside other archival images of Yosemite in its early days, in the slideshow above.

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Mittwoch, 11. Dezember 2019, 20:24

Visiting California’s Mariposa Grove: 9 Things To Know

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In the southern portion of Yosemite National Park, you’ll find the world-famous Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. One can make the argument that this grove -- combined with the famous Yosemite Valley -- is the reason that the National Park System began. In 1864, years before President Theodore Roosevelt established the National Park System, the Mariposa Grove and the Yosemite Valley were named the first federally protected lands in the United States by President Abraham Lincoln.

The Mariposa Grove is home to more than 500 giant sequoia trees. The most famous of these trees -- the drive-through tree -- is no longer standing, unfortunately. Spend some time near the Mariposa Grove and you’ll hear people reminisce about the times they drove through the tree years ago.
The area has changed significantly since then; in fact, the road that used to access the drive-through tree is no longer in existence. The National Park Service began renovating the Mariposa Grove in 2015, and the area was closed for more than three years. Gone are the parking lots near the grove and the hard-surface roads that were encroaching on the roots of the famous trees. Instead, a brand-new visitor center was built miles away, with a shuttle service that takes guests up the mountain to the Mariposa Grove.
Here are nine things to know about visiting the new and improved Mariposa Grove.

1. The Wawona Hotel Is The Best Place To Stay
I cannot emphasize this one enough. Yosemite is famous for its central valley, and for good reason. Rock cliffs like El Capitan and Half Dome hover over the valley like soldiers keeping watch. The central valley is known for its lodges as well, including the Ahwahnee Hotel and Camp Curry, places visitors have stayed for decades.
But tucked away 25 miles to the south is the historic village of Wawona, California, and the incredible Wawona Hotel. If you’ve heard of it before, or if you’ve stayed there in the past, it hasn’t changed much, and that’s a good thing. It’s a massive lodge that was built in the 1800s with six individual buildings. Some rooms have bathrooms, while some have a common bathroom down the hall -- it’s exactly like a lodge in the area would have been in 1915.
When my wife and I visited the Mariposa Grove, this is where we stayed. We chose a room with a bathroom in one of the five buildings separated from the main lodge. It was like traveling back in time -- there was no television or phone in the room, just a window cracked open a bit to let in the fresh mountain air.
We ate our meals at the lodge restaurant and then lounged on the massive porch with waiter service in the evening. Even now, recalling sitting on those wicker chairs and watching the sunset brings me great joy.

2. The Parking Process Has Changed
If you’ve visited the Mariposa Grove in the past (before 2015), please note that the entire arrival/departure experience has changed. Right next to the Wawona Road entrance to Yosemite (the southern entrance off of Highway 41) is now a massive parking area and shuttle center. Park in the parking lot (there are more than 300 spaces, but in the summer they may fill up by mid-afternoon) and then wait for one of the free shuttles up to the grove.
In the spring, the shuttles run every 15 minutes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the summer, they run every 10 minutes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. There’s a constant stream of shuttles going up and down the mountain, so you don’t have to worry about waiting long. For information about shuttle times, check the website before you go.

3. Drinking Water Is Only Available At The Shuttle Areas
Once you are within the Mariposa Grove, there are no drinking fountains along the trails. So if it’s going to be a warm day, remember to grab some water at the shuttle pickup/dropoff areas (or bring some with you).
The experience of walking through the Mariposa Grove is not like walking through a public park with benches and drinking fountains everywhere. The area, especially after the removal of roads during the 2015 renovation, is completely natural. So plan ahead for drinking water, especially if you’re going to hike the full loop.

4. The Big Trees Trail Is The Easiest But Also The Busiest
The main attractions of the Mariposa Grove are the named trees. If you’ve been there before, you’ll remember the names: Faithful Couple, Clothespin Tree, and more. While there are 500 giant sequoias in the Mariposa Grove, only the largest are given names. Each of the trails passes by some of these named trees.
The easiest trail is the first loop: the Big Trees Trail. The main attraction of the Big Trees Trail is the Fallen Monarch. While it might seem silly to take a loop trail to access a dead tree, it’s truly a spectacular site. The size of the tree is hard to take in, and so are the roots sticking out of the end.
This trail is the busiest because all trails return to the Big Trees Trail to access the shuttle center. But it is also the easiest, flattest trail. So if you’re just looking for a simple, accessible loop to see some of the massive trees, this should be your choice.

5. Pets Are Not Allowed
Please note that pets are not allowed at the Mariposa Grove. The main reason is the shuttle-only access. If you bring your pet to the parking lot at the bottom, your pet will not be allowed onto the shuttle bus. And the only parking at the top is the handicap parking area, so you won’t be able to drive your pet to the top to skip the shuttle bus. So, when visiting the Mariposa Grove, be sure to leave your pet at home.

6. Handicap Parking Is Available Near The Grizzly Giant
The main attraction in the park is the Grizzly Giant, one of the 10 oldest trees in the United States. If you have a handicap sticker on your car, you will be allowed to access the handicap parking area at the top and walk the accessible, non-sloping path from the parking lot to the Grizzly Giant.
Cars with visible handicap placards will be allowed to take the shuttle bus road up to the top. Once there, follow the signs beyond the shuttle dropoff loop to the handicap parking lot. From that parking lot, it’s a short walk (less than an eighth of a mile) to the Grizzly Giant.

7. The Road Is Closed From The End Of November Through Mid-March
The Mariposa Grove is technically open year-round, but in the winter, it’s really only open to winter adventurers on snowshoes or cross-country skis. The road closes once the snowfall is too much (generally late November) and doesn’t open again until mid-March. The park is still open, and those who like to snowshoe can have the grove to themselves, but to get there you’ll have to hike up from the parking lot. And if you’ve ever driven that road from the bottom to the top, you’ll know that the hike would be an extreme climb. So between Thanksgiving and Saint Patrick’s Day, just know that there’s no way to access the grove besides snowshoes or skis.

8. The Grizzly Giant Loop Trail Offers Views Of The Most Famous Trees
As I said above, the Grizzly Giant is one of the grove’s main attractions. This tree has been studied for decades and is reported to be between 1,900 and 2,400 years old. One estimate put the age of the tree at 2,700 years, which would mean it dates back to around 600 B.C.!
Because of the Grizzly Giant, the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail is the best trail in the park. If this were Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the Mariposa Grove Trail would be too hard, the Big Trees Trail would be too soft, and the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail would be just right. It’s a 2-mile trail with a total elevation gain of 300 feet, so it’s not a flat trail, but the climbs are very gradual. My wife and I completed the full Mariposa Grove Trail (a climb of more than 1,200 feet), and the portions that trail shares with the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail were the most gradual climbs (with plenty of places to rest).
The loop will take you from the shuttle dropoff up to the Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree (a tree you can walk through) and then back down to the shuttle center.

9. The Hike To The Top Is Strenuous, But Worth It
If you’re feeling really adventurous (like we were), you can hike all the way to Wawona Point. This is a 7-mile loop trail from the shuttle center all the way to the top of the mountain. It’s a strenuous climb (more than 1,200 feet), and it’s long, so I’d recommend bringing plenty of water and taking several breaks.
The climb, however, is worth it. The views from Wawona Point are absolutely incredible. As a bonus, the trail snakes through the Mariposa Grove past nearly every named tree in the park. You will see them all, followed by an overlook at the top. Then you’ll have a relaxing climb back down, since the second half of the trail is 100 percent downhill.
In short, Mariposa Grove has it all: a short trail to see a few trees (still spectacular), a medium-length trail to see the most famous trees, and a long trail to see all of the trees. Take your pick, and enjoy your day in the mountains with these amazing, hard-to-believe trees.

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Samstag, 11. Januar 2020, 20:27

Yosemite hit with outbreak of stomach illness, prompting ‘extensive clean-up and disinfection’

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At least a dozen people in Yosemite National Park have fallen ill with gastrointestinal problems, prompting federal health officials to conduct widespread inspections of the park’s food service facilities, including at the Ahwahnee Hotel.
The National Park Service and the U.S. Public Health Service confirmed Thursday that they launched an investigation into the origin of the reported illnesses after Yosemite Valley employees and visitors came forward this month with stomach issues.
Federal officials said it was too early to identify the illness, or illnesses, or where it might have come from. But Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said that federal officials were working with the operator of Yosemite’s many restaurants, snack shops and hotels, Philadelphia-based Aramark, to carry out an “extensive clean-up and disinfection” of food service areas in the valley. No dining facilities have been closed.
Aramark officials declined to comment, referring inquiries to the park service.
Park officials did not specify how many people have reported stomach flu-like symptoms in the valley, only that those who had gotten sick are getting better or already recovered.
“The park is reminding all employees and visitors to wash their hands frequently and stay home if they experience any symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness,” Gediman said in a statement to The Chronicle.
The incident comes as Yosemite and Aramark struggle to maintain adequate visitor services at the park. Aramark, which has run Yosemite’s concessions for nearly four years, has been repeatedly criticized for poor food quality, shuttle service and other guest amenities.
Earlier this week, The Chronicle reported that the Ahwahnee Hotel has been downgraded from its prestigious four-diamond rating by AAA to three diamonds.

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Freitag, 17. Januar 2020, 19:51

Yosemite National Park Reports Multiple Cases of Gastrointestinal Illness
Two cases thus far have been confirmed as norovirus

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Yosemite National Park has received reports of approximately 170 people who have experienced a gastrointestinal illness. Affected individuals include park visitors and employees, and most of these individuals spent time in Yosemite Valley. As of today, there have been two confirmed cases of norovirus. Most of the cases occurred on and around the first week of January 2020 and there has been a significant decline of new cases reported over the past several days.
Yosemite National Park officials and medical professionals with the National Park Service Office of Public Health (OPH) are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the illness and are continuing to conduct interviews with affected people. The overwhelming majority of the reported cases are consistent with norovirus.
Norovirus spreads very easily, including through direct contact with an infected person, touching a surface or object contaminated with norovirus, or eating food or drinking liquids contaminated with norovirus. Symptoms of norovirus usually begin 12–48 hours after exposure.
Yosemite National Park, OPH, and other public health agencies are working together, and in collaboration with park partners, to prevent additional illnesses. The Park continues to undertake extensive cleaning and enhanced sanitation protocols.
An individual can help prevent norovirus transmission through the following actions:
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol can be used.
Avoid sharing food or drinks with other people, especially when you’re sick or they’re sick.
If you do experience any illness, please stay hydrated and contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns. Please limit your interaction with other people as much as possible to prevent further spread.

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Mittwoch, 29. Januar 2020, 19:36

Rare photo archive donation shows glory of Yosemite National Park in 1903

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Inside lay a total of 120 slides depicting life in Yosemite National Park in the early 1900s at iconic locations like Half Dome, Nevada Falls and El Capitan. Yosemite had become only the third national park in the United States just 13 years before, and a man by the name of Charles F. Oehler set about taking photos of the park, which were passed on through the generations of Oehler's family and donated by his great-grandson.
About 89 of the slides were original photos taken by Oehler, with each painstakingly painted to add details like a multi-hued sunset or a rainbow curving over Bridal Veil Falls. Also known as lantern slides, each individual slide is a photo negative pressed between two pieces of glass and used in a projector known as a magic lantern, which could then be shown to groups of people.
Amy McKinney, the Archives Technician with Yosemite National Park who is working with the lantern slides, remarked on the unique character and details of the slides. "The methods are so different of how they're capturing photography... and then someone [took] the time to go back in and hand draw in the little rainbows and sunset."
McKinney's team meticulously scanned and documented each slide from the donation and is working to place the photos online as part of the park's online digital archives. (Other slides in the collection include photos of Yosemite Park made by other photographers from the same time period.)
"It's really fun to see how things are very similar to what they looked like a hundred years ago," McKinney said of the images.

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Sonntag, 23. Februar 2020, 20:17

CalVet: Buffalo Soldiers Once Protected Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks

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As Black History Month continues, CalVet recognizes the African American “Buffalo Soldiers” who once protected Yosemite and Sequoia national parks in the central Sierra in the years before the national parks systems was established in 1916.
One day many summers ago, Yosemite Park Ranger and Historian Shelton Johnson had just finished his portrayal of a Buffalo Soldier who once served in Yosemite and Sequoia national parks. A particular park visitor in the audience that day still needed some convincing that African American cavalrymen protected the Sierra parks in 1899, 1903, and 1904, as Johnson explains when he portrays Buffalo Soldier Elizy Boman. The man went to Johnson’s supervisor and expressed his skepticism.
“He didn’t believe it was true,” Johnson said. “The implication was that it was some kind of politically correct thing.”
His supervisor assured the guest that Buffalo Soldiers were, indeed, the real deal and among the state’s first park rangers. In fact, while doing research Johnson found a roster of roughly 500 Buffalo Soldiers who served their summers in the Sierra then wintered at the Presidio in San Francisco. Boman, the soldier whom Johnson portrays, was among them (although his name appears on the roster as Elizie Bomane).
The segregated Buffalo Soldier regiments were formed of freemen and former slaves in 1866, a year after the Civil War ended. They remained segregated for more than 80 years. Their missions in the Sierra involved patrolling and stewardship.
The soldiers were caring for the parks as far back as 1899. They served during the summer of 1903 under Colonel Charles Young, the third African American to graduate from West Point and ostensibly the first African American superintendent of a national park. The soldiers built roads and trails. They stopped illegal timber harvests in the parks. They confiscated firearms, went after wildlife poachers, and fought wildfires. In 1904, they built an arboretum in Yosemite and the first trail to the top of Mt. Whitney.
They remained active as a segregated unit until President Truman ordered the desegregation of the military in 1948. The last of the Buffalo Soldier units disbanded in 1951. Their story is left for historians like Johnson – the son of a military veteran who served from 1946 through the Vietnam War – to tell.

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Donnerstag, 9. April 2020, 20:54

Video Shows Animals Having a Grand Old Time at Deserted Yosemite National Park

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In a recently posted video, Yosemite National Park is showing us humans that, if we wish to see wildlife abound in the great outdoors, we're probably better off screaming "IT'S A WOLF" from the comfort of our own homes.
The video, titled "Stillness in Yosemite Valley," was posted to Facebook April 2. It depicts wild animals--like grey wolves, deer, and coyotes--living their best furry lives, bopping around once overcrowded park spaces with pre-colonial tranquility.
Yosemite closed on March 20 (indefinitely) after first waiving entry fees to encourage distancing. Now the animals are freely exploring once-dangerous roads, and walking around parking lots that are usually filled with tourists.
"While so much has changed for humans in recent weeks," the Facebook post reads, "it's reassuring to see that nature carries on as it always has."
Humans love to joke about what sort of mischief their pets are getting into when they aren't home, but a recent series of Twitter videos capturing ruthless goats galavanting around a Wales town under COVID-19 lockdown has got us all thinking about how our absence in public spaces changes the way animals live their wild lives.
"Spring seems to be slowly creeping into the valley, the sun finally emerging after a week or two of rain and snow," Yosemite's video caption reads. "Waterfalls are gradually picking up momentum, and wildlife is becoming more active, perhaps enjoying having the park mostly to themselves."
Let's set the record straight for a sec--fish are probably not returning to the puddle outside of your urban residence now that humans are social distancing inside. Lots of misinformation is spread online as COVID restrictions increase, including bogus claims that swans were flocking to and thriving in the Venice canals. That was false, but as you can see in the Yosemite video, there are certainly some cuties coming out of hiding.
If you'd like to keep exploring our great landscape in a pseudo-IRL way, you can check out Google Earth's list of 31 virtual national park tours. The Yosemite tour is pretty incredible.

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Montag, 3. August 2020, 19:03

Four bears hit by vehicles, two killed at Yosemite National Park

Zitat

Officials are urging drivers to slow down after four bears were struck by vehicles and two were killed in Yosemite National Park in recent weeks.
The surviving bears were believed to be seriously injured after being hit by vehicles going faster than the 25-mph speed limit, the Fresno Bee reported.
The National Park Service estimates more than 400 bears have been hit by cars in Yosemite dating to 1995, the newspaper said. Wildlife protection zones were established for motorists to slow down and help protect animals.
Officials are asking guests to tell park rangers if they hit any animals with their cars.
Yosemite is open during the coronavirus pandemic, but only to guests who make reservations.

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Freitag, 18. September 2020, 21:53

Yosemite-Nationalpark macht dicht

Zitat

Ein weiteres Touristenziel in Kalifornien schließt infolge der Waldbrände: Ab sofort kann der Yosemite-Nationalpark im Sierra-Nevada-Gebirge wegen der starken Rauchentwicklung in der Umgebung nicht mehr besucht werden.

Der beliebte Yosemite-Nationalpark im kalifornischen Sierra-Nevada-Gebirge wird wegen Rauchs von Waldbränden in der Umgebung geschlossen. Die Parkregion werde für Besucher bis auf Weiteres geschlossen, gab die Verwaltung kurzfristig bekannt. Die Rauchbelastung habe gesundheitsschädliche Ausmaße erreicht, hieß es zur Begründung.
Seit Mitte August toben an der US-Westküste Dutzende Feuer. Wegen Waldbrandgefahr und Rauchbelastung waren schon Anfang September zahlreiche Nationalparks für Besucher gesperrt worden. Betroffen sind auch Touristenziele wie der für seine Mammutbäume bekannte Sequoia National Forest und das Gebiet um den Mount Whitney (4421 Meter).

Schließung bereits im März wegen Corona-Pandemie
Der für seine Wasserfälle und imposanten Granitfelsen wie El Capitan und Half Dome bekannte Yosemite-Park lockt jährlich mehr als vier Millionen Besucher an. Zuletzt war die Touristenattraktion im März mit Beginn der Corona-Pandemie geschlossen worden. Die Maßnahmen waren erst im Juni gelockert worden. 2018 hatten schwere Waldbrände den Zugang zum Yosemite-Tal versperrt. Die mehrwöchige Schließung des Parks war damals vor allem wegen der starken Rauchbelastung notwendig.

Trockenheit durch Klimawandel erhöht Waldbrandgefahr
Die verheerenden Waldbrände im Westen der USA sind aus Sicht des Potsdamer Instituts für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK) auch eine Folge des menschengemachten Klimawandels. Dieser trage seit etwa 20 Jahren wesentlich dazu bei, dass Dürreflächen im Westen der USA zunehmen, sagte die Waldbrand-Expertin Kirsten Thonicke der Nachrichtenagentur dpa. Ein kleiner Funke und extreme Winde reichten schon aus, um Brände mit großem Zerstörungseffekt entstehen zu lassen.
Zur Einschätzung von US-Präsident Donald Trump, fehlerhaftes Forstmanagement sei die Hauptursache für die Waldbrände, sagte Thonicke: Kalifornien sei sehr erfahren im Legen kontrollierter Brände, um Totholz zu beseitigen und die Auswirkungen späterer Waldbrände zu mindern. Der Minderungseffekt sei aber in der jetzigen Extremsituation begrenzt. "Extrem hohe Winde in einem gebirgigen Gelände, das von der Dürre stark ausgetrocknet ist, wirken da einfach viel stärker. Und diese werden durch den Klimawandel häufiger und stärker, die Feuersaison dauert länger."

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Sonntag, 4. Oktober 2020, 23:41

These vintage photos of Yosemite National Park are incredibly cool

Happy birthday, Yosemite!

Zitat

This month marks Yosemite National Park’s 130th birthday -- which was Thursday, Oct. 1, really -- so we thought we’d celebrate by sharing some old photos of the California hotspot.
Yes, Yosemite National Park was designated by an Act of Congress on Oct. 1, 1890, making it the third national park in the United States, after Yellowstone (which happened in 1872) and Sequoia (1890).

We found this bit of history on the National Park Service’s website:
“Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias have (actually) been preserved since 1864. Congress passed a bill, which was signed by President Abraham Lincoln on June 30, 1864, that set aside Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove, that stated the lands be held ' … for public use, resort, and recreation … inalienable for all time.' This was truly the birth of the national park concept, since this was the first time in history that land was set aside purely for preservation and recreation for all people.”

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Freitag, 29. Januar 2021, 20:42

15 giant sequoias blew over in Yosemite. Now the park works to reopen

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First came the wind — gusts Yosemite National Park spokesman Scott Gediman estimated at 80 to 100 mph. Then came the crashing and crunching in the park’s Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. Then rain and snow.
Now, as the toll becomes clearer, Gediman said, the “Mono wind event” that began Jan. 18 has caused perhaps “the most damage” measured in the park’s recorded history, including hundreds of fallen trees and crushed structures.
“We found 15 giant sequoias that were completely toppled by the wind” in the Mariposa Grove in the southern part of the park, Gediman said. “There could be more.”
He said early estimates suggest that the cost of repairs “will be in the ballpark” of the park’s flood of January 1997, in which damage was estimated at “upward of $200 million.”
The park closed Jan. 19 to keep visitors safe from the storm. It remained off-limits to the public Thursday as rangers assessed the damage and marveled at the lack of storm-related injuries. Downed trees in Yosemite Valley include black oaks, ponderosa pines and incense cedars. There may be many more downed trees along Glacier Point Road, Gediman said. “We have not been up that road yet,” he said.
Electricity was still out in the Wawona area, which includes the Mariposa Grove.
Though park officials had hoped to reopen on Saturday, Gediman said, that is now scheduled for Monday — a reflection of many safety risks rangers are dealing with.
“And there’s more damage happening, too,” Gediman said. “We’ve got heavy snow falling and snow accumulations in the trees and that’s causing tree failures…. One fell on a ranger’s house in the valley.”
When the park does open Monday, large areas will remain closed, including the southern entrance, Wawona Road (Highway 41), used by most northbound visitors from Southern California.
Gediman said rangers will reopen the park entrances on Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120), El Portal Road (Highway 140) and Hetch Hetchy Road. Visitors who enter that way will have access to Yosemite Valley.
But those visitors won’t be able to access Tunnel View, Wawona, Badger Pass, Mariposa Grove and some other areas south of Yosemite Valley, he said.
“We are anticipating several weeks” before visitors can enter the park from the south, Gediman said, citing repairs that need to happen first.
These measures come just as park management was responding to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision on Monday to loosen COVID restrictions for most of the state. When the park reopens, Gediman said, it will be again be open 24 hours a day, no day-trip advance-reservations required, with reopened lodgings soon to follow.
On Feb. 5, the park’s concessionaires are expected to open the Ahwahnee Hotel and the Yosemite Valley Lodge. On Feb. 8, rangers plan to open the Upper Pines Campground.
Meanwhile, in the southern reaches of the park, rangers and others have much destruction to sort out.
In the Wawona area, falling trees destroyed or damaged 15 to 20 homes, including ranger residences, Gediman said. The fallen giants in the Mariposa Grove, he said, included eight tall trees in the upper grove and seven in the lower grove.
Park pioneer Galen Clark’s Mariposa Cabin, a landmark in the upper grove that goes back more than a century, was undamaged, Gediman said. But elsewhere in the grove, damage included a new bathroom and section of boardwalk that were part of a $40-million restoration project completed in 2018.
As for the timetable for reopening the park’s southern entrance, Gediman said, “We will not be reopening until power is restored.” And even after that, he added, many other safety measures may be necessary before reopening is possible.

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Dienstag, 9. März 2021, 21:04

Yosemite 'Moonbows' Are Coming & Here's How You Can Watch Them
Just one of the park's must-see spectacles.

Zitat

California's Yosemite National Park is filled with countless natural wonders and one of them will be posing for photos this spring.
The park's waterfalls are known to produce breathtaking rainbows, but not many people know about the elusive moonbows, which only occur at night under the right conditions.

Moonbows are created by rays of bright moonlight meeting water droplets like those that splash from the world-famous Yosemite waterfalls.
In order for one to appear, the night sky must be clear and the moon must be mostly full and low over the horizon.
The spring months have the best odds of producing numerous moonbows thanks to melting snow adding to the intensity of the park's waterfalls.
The predicted ideal days to spot a moonbow this year are April 24-28, May 23-27 and June 22-26.
Yosemite waterfalls that have the best odds of showcasing the spectacle include Bridalveil Fall, Lower Yosemite Fall, Columbia Rock/Upper Yosemite Fall, Cook’s Meadow, The Mist Trail (Vernal and Nevada Falls), Glacier Point, Ribbon Fall and Wapama Falls.
If you are looking to make the trip and snag a photo for yourself, it is recommended that you bring a camera that is capable of manual focus and long exposures in low light settings.

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Freitag, 9. April 2021, 19:49

Yosemite National Park will limit the number of visitors this summer.

Zitat

Reservations will be required for day visitors to Yosemite National Park beginning next month, the park said on Thursday, a system that officials hope will reduce the risk of Covid-19 exposure as the demand for domestic travel increases around the United States.
Yosemite, in central California, has seen more than four million annual visitors in recent years, with people drawn to its giant sequoia groves, wilderness and waterfalls. Last year, that number was cut nearly in half, according to the National Park Service.
Day-use reservations will be required for all visitors this year, including annual and lifetime pass holders, the park said in a news release. Reservations will be valid for three days and will be required from May 21 through Sept. 30, or until local public health conditions improve.
“The health and safety of park visitors, employees and partners continues to be our number one priority,” the park said. It added that it would continue to work with local public health officials to ensure that visitation would not overwhelm the region’s “limited rural health care system.”
Yosemite National Park also instituted a reservation system last summer, and this summer similar programs have been announced by Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Glacier National Park in Montana.
Reservations will be required for day visitors to Yosemite National Park beginning next month, the park said on Thursday, a system that officials hope will reduce the risk of Covid-19 exposure as the demand for domestic travel increases around the United States.
Yosemite, in central California, has seen more than four million annual visitors in recent years, with people drawn to its giant sequoia groves, wilderness and waterfalls. Last year, that number was cut nearly in half, according to the National Park Service.
Day-use reservations will be required for all visitors this year, including annual and lifetime pass holders, the park said in a news release. Reservations will be valid for three days and will be required from May 21 through Sept. 30, or until local public health conditions improve.
“The health and safety of park visitors, employees and partners continues to be our number one priority,” the park said. It added that it would continue to work with local public health officials to ensure that visitation would not overwhelm the region’s “limited rural health care system.”
Yosemite National Park also instituted a reservation system last summer, and this summer similar programs have been announced by Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Glacier National Park in Montana.

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Mittwoch, 30. Juni 2021, 20:06

Heute mal ein Buch-Tipp:

John Muir: „Yosemite“
Naturjubel und schmerzhafte Erinnerung

Zitat

300 Kilometer östlich von San Francisco liegt der drittälteste US-Nationalpark: Yosemite. Im 19. Jahrhundert durchstreifte John Muir diese Landschaft und schrieb darüber. Seither wird er als Wildnis-Prophet verehrt.
Das Buch „Yosemite“ kam 1912 im Original heraus und ist nun bei Matthes & Seitz auf Deutsch neu erschienen. Darin setzt der Geologe und Schriftsteller John Muir dem Naturparadies an den westlichen Hängen der Sierra Nevada mit seinen seltenen Pflanzen- und Tierarten, den schroffen Granit-Formationen, beeindruckenden Wasserfällen, kristallklaren Flüssen und Riesenmammutbäumen ein poetisches Denkmal.

Halsbrecherische Expeditionen
Von 1868 an durchwanderte John Muir Yosemite zehn Jahre lang. Hier und da verdingte er sich als Schafhirte, doch meist streifte er allein durch die Natur, durchwatete Flüsse, kraxelte mit halsbrecherischem Mut auf unzugängliche Berge oder ließ sich von Schneelawinen mitreißen, untersuchte geologische Formationen, katalogisierte die üppige Pflanzenvielfalt, entwickelte naturhistorische Theorien zur Landschaftsentstehung, lag nachts unter den Sternen und fror -und sprang frühmorgens gleich wieder auf, um immer weiter zu wandern und zu erkunden. Wer sein Buch liest, ist hautnah dabei.
Doch bevor Leserinnen und Leser in John Muirs ausdrucksstarke Sprache eintauchen können, bevor sie sich faszinieren lassen können von der Blütenpracht, den Canyons und Steinadlern, gibt die Herausgeberin des Buches, Judith Schalansky, ein Vorwort des kenianischen Ökologen und Essayisten Mordecai Ogada zu lesen.

Vom Rassismus durchwirkte Projekte
Freundlich im Ton, schmerzhaft in der Sache dekodiert er die Nationalparks als von Rassismus durchwirktes Projekt. „Die Bewunderung der Siedler für die Natur“, so schreibt der Kenianer, „nahm keinen Bezug auf die amerikanischen Ureinwohner, die mit der Natur lebten und deren Ressourcen nachhaltig nutzten.“ Schutzgebiete seien fast durchgängig durch Gewaltakte und Entrechtung geschaffen worden - und John Muir war als Advokat der Pogrome mit dabei.
Es folgen Kapitel um Kapitel Naturjubel, der sich vorwortbedingt kaum noch affirmativ lesen lässt, denn man lauert - bis Kapitel 13 zuschlägt. Unter der Überschrift „Die frühe Geschichte des Valleys“ beschreibt John Muir eiskalt, wie es mit der Einrichtung des Nationalparks vor sich ging. „Einige wurden friedlich umgesiedelt. Bei anderen war es notwendig, ihre Dörfer und Vorräte zu verbrennen.“
Ein Hauch Bewunderung für den alten Häuptling schwingt dabei zwar mit, plus Erwähnung einer Canyon-Namensgebung zu seinen Ehren. Das Kapitel endet aber wenig feinfühlig mit einem Hoch auf den Eisenbahnbau: „Im ersten Jahr beförderte die Bahn 4.000 Touristen, 1910 waren es bereits 15.000.“

Die Legende von John Muir
Und so landet, wer „Yosemite“ liest, in einem Wechselbad der Empfindungen aus Sehnsucht nach Wildnis, Romantisierung zerstörter Kulturen und knallharter Gegenwart.
„Wir in Afrika sind ständig Angriffen von ‚Rettern‘ ausgesetzt, die die afrikanische Tierwelt lieben, aber die afrikanischen Menschen verachten“, schreibt Mordecai Ogada. Idealerweise sei „die Legende von John Muir“ nicht länger als Inspiration für die Zukunft zu lesen, „sondern als ein Prisma, durch das wir jenes irrige Konstrukt betrachten können, das wir als ‚Naturschutz‘ bezeichnen.“

John Muir: „Yosemite“
Mit einem Vorwort von Mordecai Ogada
Aus dem Englischen von Jens Lindenlaub und Max Henninger
Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2021
200 Seiten, 25 Euro

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Dienstag, 7. September 2021, 20:02

In der Nähe des Leichenfundorts

Tote Wander-Familie aus Kalifornien: Giftige Algen im Yosemite Nationalpark entdeckt

Zitat

Bodycam-Aufnahmen zeigen den Wanderweg, den die Familie gelaufen ist
Neuer Hinweis im Fall der toten Wander-Familie aus Kalifornien. In einem Fluss stromaufwärts, in dem das Ehepaar, ein Baby und ein Hund unter mysteriösen Umständen starben, seien hohe Mengen an giftigen Algen entdeckt worden, die Menschen "extrem krank" machen können, schreibt die "The New York Post" unter Berufung auf die Ermittler.

"Algenblüten können Giftstoffe produzieren“
Am 17. August wurden die leblosen Körper von Jonathan Gerrish (45), Ellen Chung (30), Tochter Aurelia Miju (1) und dem Hund der Familie auf einem Wanderweg nahe des Yosemite Nationalparks in den USA gefunden. Ihr Tod ist rätselhaft: Die Polizei gab an, dass keine äußeren Verletzungen oder Spuren von Gewalt an den Leichen gefunden worden seien. Eine zunächst vermutete Kohlenmonoxid-Vergiftung gilt inzwischen als ausgeschlossen. Nun gibt es einen weiteren Hinweis auf die Todesursache: Einige Meilen entfernt von dem Ort, an dem die Leichen aufgefunden wurden, seien giftige Algenblüten im Merced River im Sierra Forest gefunden worden.
"Diese Algenblüten können Giftstoffe produzieren, die Menschen und Haustiere extrem krank machen können", zitiert die "New York Post" Elizabeth Meyer-Shields, Managerin des Bureau of Land Management, in einem Statement. Weiter heißt es: "Wir werden das Vorkommen der Algen weiterhin überwachen und bemühen uns, dass sich die Öffentlichkeit im Merced River schon bald wieder sicher erholen kann."

Wanderwege in der Gegend wegen „unbekannter Gefahren“ gesperrt
Nach Erhalt der Ergebnisse der Proben hatte die Bundesbehörde Campingplätze und Erholungsgebiete entlang des Flusses zwischen den Städten Briceburg und Bagby abgesperrt. Am Dienstag hatten Forstbeamte den Zugang zu den Wanderwegen in der Gegend wegen "unbekannter Gefahren" gesperrt.
Die Todesursache der dreiköpfigen Familie ist weiterhin noch nicht festgestellt worden. Derweil untersuchen Ermittler, ob die giftige Algenblüten oder andere Gefahren eine Rolle gespielt haben könnten. Die Toxikologieberichte der Familienmitglieder stehen bisher noch aus. Kristie Mitchell, die Sprecherin von Mariposa County, sagte gegenüber "The New York Post", sie wisse noch nicht, wann mit den Ergebnissen zu rechnen sei.

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