Yosemite National Park to partially reopen Saturday
YOSEMITE - After closures due to heavy snowfall, Yosemite National Park will be partially restoring public access starting Saturday.
The announcement came in a post on Yosemite's official Facebook page, just a day after the closure was estimated to go on until next Thursday at the earliest.
The park will be open from sunrise to sunset starting Saturday, with very limited services available. The only access to Yosemite Valley will be via Highway 140 and El Portal Road, with a short detour in El Portal. Hetch Hetchy will reopen from 8 am to 5 pm daily, but will only be accessible via Highway 120 west of Yosemite and Evergreen Road. All other roads and areas of the park, including Big Oak Flat and Wawona Roads, will remain closed.
While several miles of paved pedestrian paths in Yosemite Valley are plowed, all hiking trails are still covered in snow. The park advises visitors to wear waterproof boots and traction devices, as even plowed paths can be icy. Hiking on snow-covered trails is not recommended.
Winter weather is again in the forecast next week, so the reopening announcement is tentative. However, conditions permitting, Yosemite Valley will open 24 hours per day starting Monday, March 20, with limited overnight lodging. Campgrounds are still buried in snow and will not open immediately. Visitors should be prepared for the possibility of road closures and tire chain requirements. Please call 209/372-0200 (then 1, 1) to check road conditions.
The park has been closed since February 25 due to a series of storms that damaged roads and other facilities. Since February 21, when the series of storms started, Yosemite Valley has received over 21 inches of liquid precipitation and Tuolumne Meadows has received over 15 feet of new snow. The park has documented 22 rockslides, debris flows, and other slope failures along park roads during this time, most of which have been mitigated.
Other services and areas of the park will reopen as park recovery efforts such as these continue.
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