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Daily Report - Yosemite National Park Thursday, March 15, 2012

Daily Report - Yosemite National Park
Thursday, March 15, 2012


Winter Storm Watch
A Winter Storm Watch above 6000 feet remains in effect from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon for the higher elevations of the southern Sierra Nevada. Snow accumulations: 1 to 2 feet above 6000 feet and 2 to 3 feet in the high country. Timing: snow will begin falling Friday afternoon and continue through Saturday afternoon. The heaviest snow will fall Ffriday night and through the day Saturday.

Yosemite Valley
Today: A 50 percent chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 52. 
Tonight: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Friday: Rain. High near 47. Chance of precipitation is 90%.
Saturday: Snow. High near 31. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

El Portal
Today: A 40 percent chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 70. 
Tonight: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a low around 47. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Friday: Rain. High near 66. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Saturday: Rain. The rain could be heavy at times. High near 47. Chance of precipitation is 100%.


Today: A 40 percent chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 61. 
Tonight: Rain likely. Cloudy, with a low around 39. Chance of precipitation is 60%.
Friday: Rain. High near 54. Chance of precipitation is 80%.
Saturday: Rain and snow. The rain and snow could be heavy at times. High near 35. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.



Tuolumne Meadows Winter Conditions Update
Weather: (March 7 through March 14)
High temp: 55°F (March 9)
Low temp:  2°F (March 7)
New Snow: 1 inch                                      
Total settled snow depth: 16 inches as of  March 14

Skiing Conditions and Weather: At the time of this writing, it is snowing again and conditions are constantly changing. There were several days this week where the high temperature was in the 50’s and this has created a supportable surface, when re-frozen, on most aspects below tree line.  he snowpack is shrinking due to the warm temperatures this week, but coverage is still good for ski touring. The Tioga Road  is still 100% snow covered from above the 9,000’ elevation on the east side to about the 8,000’ elevation in Yosemite Park. The forecast is for wet weather to continue through the weekend so there should be some much needed depth added to the snowpack. We went on a ski tour up Lyell Canyon this week and the conditions were fantastic all the way up to the Sierra Crest.  
Avalanche and Snowpack Conditions: For the latest avalanche advisory for this area go to for the Eastern Sierra Avalanche Center and click on advisory. The ESAC site is updated several times a week and more often during weather events.
No natural avalanche activity has been seen in the Tuolumne backcountry area yet this season. High winds have affected most slopes above tree line. In between storms, the sun has also created crusts between snow events. Backcountry travelers should be cautious of these when on slopes greater than 30 degrees, primarily on North and East aspects. There are signs of instability out there, as evidenced by the “whoompfing” (the collapsing of weak snow layers within the snowpack) that has been observed in recent weeks. There is a dense slab overlaying weak snow that is all sitting on top of an old suncrust. If these slopes are loaded with new snow, or wind loaded, there could be a significant avalanche cycle in store. Do not be fooled by the lack of snow this season. If the forecast for this weekend holds true backcountry travelers need to be wary of all slopes greater than 30 degrees that have had snow on them since the late January storm.

Wildlife: The coyotes of Tuolumne have been vocal this week, perhaps also excited about the prospects for some more snow. The ground critters seem ready for spring as there is much activity on the forest floor where the ground has been exposed. A long tailed weasel was seen in the meadows this week. Not much to report in the way of spring bird activity yet. 

Questions: Power and phones are out for the season. Contact the Wilderness Office at 209/372-0740 with any questions or concerns. Bring your ski & skin wax and happy skiing!!

-Laura & Rob Pilewski, Tuolumne Winter Rangers

For regular updates, bookmark our blog on the park's website: (M. Ortiz)

Resource Advisor Training Opportunities in the Pacific West Region
Yosemite National Park along with the Pacific West Regional Office and the NPS-National Interagency Fire Center is pleased to offer three training opportunities for Wildland Fire Resource Advisor (READ). The READ serves as a point of contact between resource managers and fire managers, evaluating, synthesizing and communicating resource concerns. The READ will also aid in developing and implementing protection measures, and will serve as a launching point for post-fire response.This unique, scenario-based training covers topics such as roles and responsibilities, national fire policy, strategies and tactics and specific resource considerations. We hope to have multiple federal, state, local and tribal governments represented as well as specialists from diverse disciplines. The courses are being offered in:

Klamath Falls, OR May 16-17,
Boise, ID May 23-24
Yosemite (El Portal), CA June 5-7.

There is no tuition for the class but the home unit will cover all travel and salary. Please contact Yosemite Fire Archeologist Jun Kinoshita at for the announcements, more information and nomination forms. (J. Kunoshita)

Job Posting - Yosemite Conservancy - Interim Outdoor Adventure & Administrative Assistant
The Temporary Outdoor Adventure and Office Assistant reports to the General Manager and provides administrative support; and provides support to the Outdoor Adventure program by coordinating the sales and registration process for Yosemite Outdoor Adventure programs and Custom Adventures. This office-based position works collaboratively with the Resident Naturalist. This is a temporary 40 hour/week position starting in mid-June, 2012 ending in October or November 2012, while the staff person who normally fills this role is on maternity leave.  For more information about Yosemite Conservancy, the position and how to apply, see (R. Miller)
Wawona School BBQ and Silent Auction
Please join us for the 2012 Wawona School BBQ & Silent Auction Saturday, April 14th, 11:30AM - 2:30PM, at the Wawona Elementary School. BBQ Chicken Lunch ~ Adults: $8.00 / Children: $6.00. Come bid on hundreds of great items from businesses, restaurants, theme parks, artists, etc! Extra bidding incentives will start at 2:00PM, bidding closes at 2:30PM, items will be ready for pickup at 4:30PM. (N. Meeker)

Badger Pass Daily Snow Report - 3/15
New Snow: 1”
Snow Conditions: Packed Powder
Forecast: 0% Chance of Rain
Temperature: High 53, Low 36
Runs Groomed: Bruin, Eagle, Badger, & Red Fox
Lifts Open: Turtle, Bruin, Eagle, Badger
Runs Open: All except Beaver & Turtle
XC trail snow conditions: GP Road Not Groomed. Teaching Area Groomed 3/10/12. Conditions on GP road are good in some areas and thin in other areas. In general, areas that are shady and protected from the wind will have good coverage. However, snow pack is thin, so areas that are in the sun a good part of the day are melting fast. Road pavement is now exposed in some of the normal sunny trouble areas: Summit Meadow, the top of the hill after the Bridalveil Creek Bridge, just past the Mono Meadow Trailhead, along the road at Clark’s Range View area, near the Sentinel Dome parking area, and on the switchbacks down to Glacier Point. These areas will grow every day until we get more snow. (S. Costello)



Be Aware of Possible Tree Failures
The National Weather Service forecasts the coldest and wettest storm of the season blowing through Yosemite Friday-Sunday, so be advised of potential for tree failures. Warm rains this week may saturate soils in riparian areas, facilitating tree uprootings with heavy winds or snow. Gradually lowering snow levels may cause limb and top breakage. Be aware of your surroundings and do not park or linger under snow loaded trees. (B. Mattos)

EL Portal Service Station Update
DNCP&R at Yosemite, Inc. is managing a CIF project to upgrade the El Portal service station to meet current regulatory standards. The project will commence March 26, 2012; with fencing and equipment staging on site as early as March 19. Construction activity is estimated to last up to 12-weeks or more and involves removal of existing equipment and the installation of new fuel tanks and a dispensing system. Updates regarding the progress of the project will be posted in the Daily Report. (V. McMichael)

Fire Management to Continue Pile Burning
Due to the predicted wet weather, Fire Management will continue burning vegetation debris handpiles in the communities of El Portal and Foresta. Pile burning is done to protect park infrastructure and cultural and natural values at risk from potentially catastrophic wildfire. Burning reduces hazardous vegetation accumulations in the absence of frequent, low intensity natural fires. These treatments also serve to restore natural forest systems and provide firefighters and residents 'defensible firefighting space' around structures. Thank you for tolerating the minimal local smoke impacts that occur during burning operations. Burning will be done on permissive burn days and conclude as conditions dry out. Please contact the prescribed fire staff @ 209-375-9576 or 372-0413 with questions. (T. Pusina)

Congratulations to Our Protection Rangers
The Protection Division is very proud of rangers Dan Abbe and Ed Visnovske, they have been awarded the Valor Award by the Department of the Interior. For information on their actions that led to this distinguished recognition, please click on this link: . (K. Killian)

New Additions to the Yosemite Family
Russell and Chrissy Mitchell welcomed the arrival of Pyper Kennedy on Monday March 12th. Pyper was 8.6lbs and 20 inches long. Everyone is doing well and big sister Rylie can't wait to get everyone home again. Russell is the Lead on Crew 7 and Chrissy, who previously worked seasonally in dispatch, recently accepted a permanent dispatch position. Congratulations to the Mitchell family! (N. Bissmeyer)

On Monday, March 12th, Rangers Carrie and Dan Wilson welcomed a perfect baby boy into their family. Luke Daniel Wilson was born at 7:30 PM. He is 19.5" long and weighs about 7.5 lbs. Congratulations to the proud new parents! (C. Smith)

For Rent
2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home in Lushmeadows. This home features vaulted wood ceilings, picture windows, a large kitchen and a 3 car garage with automatic opener. The home is 1400 square feet with a spacious master bedroom and walk-in closet. One acre of the 2 acre property is completely fenced and there is a kennel and dog door into the garage, making this a perfect home for pets. The second acre features a 3000 sq. ft. fenced garden with fruit trees and excellent soil that has been amended for four years. This home can be completely heated with the wood burning stove or use the central heat/ac system if you like, and has a washer/dryer in the garage. $1200/month, which is slightly negotiable if tenant is able to sign at least a year lease. Contact Kim or Matthew at 379-2663. Available May 1. (K. Marcis)

A Period of Transition for the Division of Business and Revenue Management
On March 18, 2012, Marty Nielson, currently Chief of the Division of Business and Revenue Management (BRM), where he has served for the past twenty years, will be reassigned into a new position as Assistant to the Superintendent. From that position, he will continue to work on prospectuses for new concession contracts, park transportation issues, and other projects of specific importance to the park, and help bridge the transition as we recruit for a new BRM Chief. This new role will help the park make critical projects occur with extremely tight deadlines. The park's concession contract is the largest in the National Park Service.

To help fill the immediate vacancy this creates, Ethan McKinley will be the Acting Chief of Business and Revenue Management from March 19th through mid June 2012. Ethan comes to Yosemite from the Northeast Region, where he has been the Chief of Concessions for the last year and a half. Prior to serving in that role, Ethan worked as a Concessions Management Specialist in both the Intermountain Region and Northeast Regions. Ethan has a business degree from the University of Denver and specializes in project management, financial analysis, and asset management. He has worked in the NPS Concession Program for five years, has lead many concession review panels, has participated in national advisory board meetings, and is very skilled at managing complex prospectus development efforts. Ethan can be found on the first floor of the Valley Administration Building and his phone number is 209-372-0333.

Marty will serve as mentor to Ethan during his assignment and will continue to serve as a member of Yosemite's Executive Leadership Team. (D. Neubacher)

Yosemite in the News
Yosemite Half Dome's new lottery permit system begins
The process, which gives would-be hikers until March 31 to apply for a reservation, is intended to eliminate scalping.

By Jane Engle, Special to the Los Angeles Times - March 4, 2012
"If you're hoping to hike Half Dome at California's Yosemite National Park this summer, you'll want to take action by March 31. That's because, under a new system, permits to reach the summit will be allocated by a lottery this month for the whole season, instead of month by month……",0,3688139.story

Key route to Yosemite to reopen after rock slide
March 8, 2012
"A major route to Yosemite National Park will reopen a month ahead of schedule, six weeks after the road was smashed by a tumbling boulder……" ). (K. Cobb)

Yosemite National Park Ranger James Daniel Abbe Receives Valor Award - news release
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar Presented Award in Washington, D.C.

Scott Gediman 209-372-0248
Kari Cobb 209-372-0529

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar presented several prestigious Department of the Interior Valor Awards and the Citizen’s Awards for Bravery to National Park Service rangers, staff and citizens at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. last week. Among the recipients was James Daniel (Dan) Abbe, a Park Ranger at Yosemite National Park.

On May 26, 2009, Yosemite National Park Ranger Dan Abbe was flagged down by park visitors on his way to work in Yosemite Valley. Abbe was traveling on the Wawona Road and entered the pullout about 2.5 miles south of the Wawona Tunnel. He was informed that there was a vehicle over the side of the road and it was on fire.

The visitors told Ranger Abbe that there were people in the vehicle. He rushed to the vehicle, about 30' below the road surface and saw a full sized pickup truck resting on its side with an upright travel trailer behind it. Abbe also noticed that there was a fire in the engine compartment of the truck as he attempted to extricate the two park visitors from the truck. After trying to open the doors, he was able to help the visitors exit the truck and he escorted them downhill and away from the truck and trailer.

The visitors told Ranger Abbe that the truck was filled with 70 gallons of gasoline, they had an extra 50 gallon gas container, and the trailer had two full propane tanks. He then took the visitors through thick brush further away from the vehicle and back up to the roadway. At this point, he noticed the passenger compartment was filling with smoke and he heard crackling noises. Within minutes, the truck and trailer were fully engulfed in flames and a fire, about 1/4 of an acre, had started.

The fire was suppressed and Ranger Abbe and the park visitors were transported to the Yosemite Medical Clinic. They were all treated for smoke inhalation and released. The truck and trailer were a total loss.

Ranger Abbe, his wife, and their daughter, traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to receive the award. Other award recipients represented Grand Teton National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Zion National Park. (K. Cobb)

Crane Flat Store Reopening
The Crane Flate Store will re-open on Friday, March 16th. Hours of operation will be 10 am - 4 pm. There is currently is 24 hour gas available with a credit card. (W. Kearns)

YEA Saint Patrick's Day Celebration
Lads and Lasses of the Yosemite Community, please join the Yosemite Employee Association on Saturday March 17 for our annual Saint Patrick's Day Celebration! Enjoy a traditional-style Irish dinner by Chef Larry, music by Greg Stock and Whiskey in my Pocket, a bake sale sponsored by the Yosemite N.P. Childcare Center, face-painting, Irish-themed favorites at the bar, giveaways, and more! The party is from 3pm to 8pm at the El Portal Community Hall. Entry is free for current YEA members, $5 for new or renewing members (includes your new year-long membership), and $10 for non-members. Ethos will provide a $5 shuttle between the Community Hall, Rancheria Flat, NPS maintenance, and the Cedar Lodge Celebration! Come on out and enjoy the great
craic (that's Irish for FUN!). (M. Goldberg)

Documentary Screening in Mariposa
Save the date - March 21st 6pm, Mariposa Government Center (Board of Supervisor Chambers). We'll be screening the documentary, Miss Representation, right here in Mariposa! This program highlights the way that women are misrepresented in the media. Maybe you haven't really thought about how important this is. Tickets are $10.00 at the door; limited seating. We'll have a discussion following the movie; snacks are available for purchase, so bring some extra $$$. (K. Amstutz)

For Rent
2 BD Loft /1.5 BA Condo. Recent improvements include carpet and flooring, wooden window blinds, toilets, light fixtures, new dish washer, appliances, paint, in-unit laundry, carport parking and swimming pool. Water, sewer, garbage included. Located at Acuerdo Con Dios 5303 Hwy 49 North #18 Mariposa. No Smokers, No Pets. $875 per month, plus security deposit (available in April). Contact Ernie Milan (415) 734-6453 or email . (C. Baker)

Children's Book Writing Class in El Portal

During this course taught over 4 weeks you’ll discover the wide variety of styles and formats of current books, develop writing skills, get an inside look at publishing and have a chance to play with your writing. Classes will meet Mondays in El Portal, on April 25, May 2, 9 and 16th, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuition is $47 and scholarships are available. For registration information, please contact the Mariposa County Arts Council at (209) 966-3155 visit: or email: . This program supported by Poets $ Writers and the California Arts Council. (M. Ross)

Basic Wildland Fire Course
Fire Management will be hosting Basic Wildland Firefighter Training, sometimes referred to as "Basic 32". This class is entry level and required to perform arduous firefighting duties on the fire line. The class is comprised of S-110 Basic Wildland Fire Suppression, S-130 Wildland Firefighter, S-190 Intro to Wildland Fire Behavior, and I-100 Intro to the Incident Command System. These classes are mainly taken on-line but they do require a field portion, which is scheduled for May 19 and 20. In order to received certification, you must complete both the on-line and field portions of the class. The on-line portion must be completed prior to attending the field portion. After completion of these classes and completing medical/physical fitness screening, you will be eligible to obtain a "Red Card" as a wildland firefighter to assist the Yosemite Fire Management Program during the fire season. If you or an employee you supervise is interested in these classes please e-mail or call 209-372-0504 for more details. Bernard will need Name, Email address, and phone number to contact students with details on this course. (B. Spielman)

Volunteer Manager/Supervisor Training April 17-19, 2012 - Registration deadline extended to March 16
The previously announced How to Succeed with Volunteers in Parks and Yosemite Volunteer Management Training has had the registration deadline extended until March 16. It will take place in El Portal, is free, and is open to NPS and partner staff (paid and volunteer) who work with volunteers. Yosemite If you'd like to be in this course, apply by submitting your nomination form to . Nomination forms can be found on SharePoint at or by requesting a form from the volunteer office at . Please contact Heather with any questions at 379-1855. (H. Boothe)

St. Patrick's Day Celebration in El Portal
Join us for our 3rd annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Canyon Bar & Grill @ Cedar Lodge and enjoy the original string band music of THE TRESPASSERS — a local favorite. Enjoy drink and food specials and enter to win a $50 gift certificate and other fun prizes. So bring your family and friends to what is sure to be a fantastic annual event. Have fun, be safe and get a room at Cedar Lodge. Call 209-379-2612 and ask about their special St. Patrick’s Day room rates. We look forward to seeing you on March 17 th at the Canyon Bar & Grill. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. / Music starts at 9:30 p.m. / $5 Cover Charge. Ride the shuttle van from El Portal to Cedar Lodge provided by Ethos and YEA. 1st run begins @ 7:00 p.m. and final run is @ 2:00 a.m. Your suggested $5 donation will directly benefit the youth of Mariposa County. El Portal Shuttle Stops: The Community Hall, Bottom of Rancheria Rd, NPS warehouse, Canyon Bar & Grill. (C. Foraker)

El Portal Spring Fling, Saturday April 28 - Music, Crafts, Fun Run and More
On April 28, the greater Yosemite community is invited to gather at the El Portal Community Hall to celebrate spring and our fabulous community. Events include a Fun Run sponsored by the El Portal Elementary School PTA, the 4th annual Local Music Showcase, craft and food vendors, and an evening music lineup including Son of Dog featuring Kevin, Gary, and Dave of the El Portal Dogs. More bands and event details to be announced soon. Contact Rosemary at 379-2665 if you’re interested in being a vendor. Contact Todd at if you’re interested in performing in the Local Music Showcase. El Portal Community Association . (M. Carr)

For Rent
Guest house in Lushmeadows area. 1,200 sq ft, 1bd/1bath, , $650 + deposit, (209) 742-7597. (Y. Radanovich)



Kevin Killian
will be the acting Chief Ranger the week March 12-16. Charles will be attending the winter fire team meeting and remain available by email or cell phone.

Paul Laymon will be Acting Chief of Facilities Management from 3/1 - 3/19. He may be reached at 379-1077.

Madelyn Ruffner (379-1226) is on a 120-day detail as Acting Environmental Planning and Compliance Program Manager. Madelyn may be found at her regular desk location in the EPC Trailer. Elexis Mayer (379-1377) has temporarily moved to the Planning Trailer to continue her work on the Merced River Plan. For further assistance, you may also contact Jessica Zeek (379-1002), Administrative Support Assistant for Environmental Planning and Compliance.

Jack Hoeflich will be acting Valley District Ranger until further notice.

Andy Fristensky will be Acting Deputy Chief of Interpretive Operations until further notice. He may be reached at 372-0599.

Jeffrey Trust will be Acting Yosemite Valley Field Interpretation Supervisor until further notice. He may be reached at 372-0307.

Ron Watson will be the Acting Supervisory Information Technology Specialist until further notice. He may be reached at 379-1173.

Brenna Lissoway (379-1283) is on a detail as the Park Archivist. If you have need to access the Archives, or have archive related questions, you can call 379-1282 or 379-1104.

Yosemite Daily Report: