Friday, October 14, 2011

Yosemite News Release: Merced River Plan Meetings schedule

Media Contacts:
Scott Gediman 209-372-0248
Kari Cobb 209-372-0529

     Yosemite National Park Announces Merced River Plan Fall Workshops
        Public Encouraged to Help Develop Alternatives for the Plan

Yosemite National Park is currently working on developing alternatives for the Comprehensive Management Plan for the Merced Wild and Scenic River (MRP).  This plan will provide the framework for management decisions regarding the Merced River and the Merced River Corridor in Yosemite National Park.  The park contains 81 miles of the Merced River, which was designated a Wild and Scenic River in 1987.

Public participation in the planning effort is vitally important.  The park will be conducting five workshops this fall concerning various aspects of the plan and alternative development.  These workshops are an opportunity for people to provide suggestions to the park about what options and topics should be included in the alternatives.  Suggestions will be used to help shape the alternatives that will presented in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the MRP.  Each workshop is designed to engage the public and elicit feedback and ideas about management issues necessary to complete the Merced River Plan.

The workshops will be used to share significant issues and options concerning the MRP.  A companion workbook will be released in advance of the meetings in order to familiarize the public with significant components of the plan.

The public is highly encouraged to attend these important workshops.

Fall meetings on the Merced River Plan will occur on the following dates:
   Date          |  Time              |  Location                 
   October 27,   |  5:00 p.m. to 8:00 |  El Portal Community      
   2011          |  p.m.              |  Center                   
                 |                    |  El Portal, California    
   October 28,   |  1:00 p.m. to 5:00 |  Wawona Community Center  
   2011          |  p.m.              |  Wawona, California       
   October 29,   |  10:00 a.m. to     |  Garden Terrace, Yosemite 
   2011          |  4:00 p.m.         |  Lodge                    
                 |                    |  Yosemite National Park   
   November 7,   |  10:00 a.m. to     |  Garden Terrace, Yosemite 
   2011          |  4:00 p.m.         |  Lodge                    
                 |                    |  Yosemite National Park   
   November 9,   |  5:00 p.m. – 8:00  |  The Palm Room, San       
   2011          |  p.m.              |  Francisco Film Centre    
                 |                    |  San Francisco,           
                 |                    |  California                

People entering the park to attend a workshop will have the entrance fee waived.  These people should inform the Park Ranger at the entrance station that they are entering the park to attend the workshop.

For more information about the Merced River Plan, please visit


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yosemite Daily Report for Oct 13

Daily Report - Yosemite National Park
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Yosemite Valley 
Today: Sunny, with a high near 78. 
Tonight: Clear, with a low around 53. 
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 81. 
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 76.  

El Portal 
Today: Sunny, with a high near 95. 
Tonight: Clear, with a low around 55. 
Friday: Sunny and hot, with a high near 98. 
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 93.  

Today: Sunny, with a high near 89. 
Tonight: Clear, with a low around 44. 
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 91. 
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 84. 

Tuolumne Meadows
Today: Sunny, with a temperature falling to around 55 by 5pm. 
Tonight: Clear, with a low around 34. 
Friday: Sunny, with a high near 68. 
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.

Planned Electrical Service Interruption at Hodgdon Meadows Area
PG&E will be temporarily interrupting electric service to replace electric power poles on Thursday October 13 from 9:00AM-12:00PM. All of Hodgdon Meadows area, including Big Oak Flat Entrance, Visitor Center, Housing area, and the Maintenance Yard will be affected. For further assistance and questions, please contact: Heather Gonzales, PG&E Planned Outage Coordinator at (209) 726-5588. (K. Bablitch - 10/6)
Valley Backpacker's Campground will close for the season on October 23. (M. Carter - 10/13)

Continue to Need Community Participants to Volunteer for Bracebridge 2011 Performances at the Ahwahnee
Still have need of Yosemite Park and Community residents to register to participate in non-speaking parts as Villagers, Forest Folk, and Litter Bearers in the Bracebridge Dinners at The Ahwahnee. Even if you have registered last year or in past years, please contact us again. We must renew our listings every year. Performances this year include December 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24 and 25. Necessary to attend performances for at least 4 nights. You will be required to attend a rehearsal scheduled at a later date prior to the first performance (TBA). Performances and waiting periods during the evening are long, and you may need to kneel and be in reasonably good shape! Your contribution will be voluntary but you will be able to view the live performance on a TV monitor and be provided with a hearty Dinner Buffet. Sign up TODAY with Cynthia McFann, Sales Manager for DNC at (559) 692-8951. Leave a voice-mail with name, mailing address, phone number, and work unit, or email PRIOR to November 4, 2011. She will send you the required paperwork to be completed and turned in. Hope you can join us this year. Martha Miller, Production Manager. (C. McFann - 10/13)

Join Park Staff on Friday for a Public Site Visit for the Mariposa Grove Restoration Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
Come join park staff on a site visit for the Mariposa Grove Restoration EIS on Friday, October 14, 2011, from 9:30 am to 11:00 am. The site visit will include a guided walk through the lower portion of the Mariposa Grove where park staff will discuss the project, the history of the Mariposa Grove, and ecology of giant sequoias. We encourage you to come and share your ideas about how to improve the overall visitor experience and protect resources in and around the grove. If you wish to attend this site visit, meet us in front of the Mariposa Grove Gift Shop and come prepared for hiking in fall weather conditions. Park entrance fees will be waived at the entrance stations for those attending the site walk.

When: Friday, October 14, 2011
Time: 9:30am - 11:00am
Where: Mariposa Grove Gift Shop

On August 31, 2011, we began public scoping for preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and improvements to the nearby South Entrance Station. We encourage you to submit comments about this project electronically through the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) System at or comments may be mailed to: Superintendent, Yosemite National Park, Attn: Mariposa Grove Restoration EIS, PO Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389. The formal scoping period will continue until 30 days after publication of the Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS in the Federal Register (forthcoming.) For more information on this project and the Mariposa Grove, visit our website: (M. Ortiz - 10/12)

Roadside Brushing and Tree Hazard Mitigation
Park Forestry crews will be working along the Big Oak Flat road between Crane Flat and the North Park boundary. Expect minor traffic delays. (B. Castro - 10/12)


Welcome to New Term Archives Technicians
The Yosemite Archives Program would like to welcome three new term GS-7 Archives Technicians who joined the staff in September. Laura Patten holds a B.A. in Economics from Oberlin College and began work in the Yosemite Archives as an SCA intern in 2010, remaining on as a STEP during 2011. Jamie Shriver holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science (Archives Management concentration) from the University of Pittsburgh and worked for many years as an archivist at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh; she has been a temporary employee with the Yosemite Archives since March. Jackie Zak holds a PhD in Archeology/Conservation from University College London and will be completing an M.S. in Information Science from the University of North Texas in early 2012. We are fortunate to have their experience and enthusiasm, and look forward to their help tackling the ambitious Flexible Park Program archives backlog cataloging project! (10/12)

Arrow Glass
We have a couple of vehicles needing windshield replacements and repairs. Arrow Glass will be here at 8:00am Thursday October 27th. If anyone else within the Park needs to have a government vehicle or personal vehicle repaired please notify the Machine Shop at 379-1150 or call Sharon of Arrow Glass at 533-3700. Just a note that the vehicle needs to remain here for at least 24 hours before being driven. (G. Tilley - 10/12)
Wawona Road - Southside Drive Delays
The crews will continue installing a concrete curb along the east side of Wawona Road between Bridalveil parking lot and Southside Drive.  The crews will complete the remaining curb installation during the day, October 12th thru the 18th crews will be working days 5:00 am to 7:00 pm with up to 5-minute delays.  During this same daytime work, they will also be repairing two small sections of existing curb between El Capitan Crossover and Sentinel Beach Picnic Area with single lane traffic control and minimal delays.  Also, they will be repairing the existing ditch and shoulder along Southside Drive in the area just east of El Capitan Crossover with single lane traffic control and minimal delays. (M. Pieper - 10/13)
El Portal Area Roads
Crews will be completing some spot shoulder repairs on the Foresta Road and in Old El Portal.  Crews will have traffic control set-up with minimal delays (less than 5-minutes).  They plan to work Monday and Tuesday nights, October 17 and 18, from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am. (M. Pieper - 10/13)

Tioga Road Delays
October 12th thru 14th crews will be repairing the Tamarack Flat Campground Road. Due to the large number of trucks entering and exiting the Tamarack Flat Campground Road there will be traffic control along the Tioga Road with single lane traffic control and up to 15-minute delays, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week. (M. Pieper - 10/11)

Wawona Road--Big Oak Flat Road Delays for Tunnel Inspections (October 17th thru 20th)
October 17th and 18th (Monday and Tuesday) a design team will be inspecting the Wawona Tunnel at night, from 7:00 pm to 3:00 am, with single lane traffic control and up to 15-minute delays. October 19th and 20th (Wednesday and Thursday) a design team will be inspecting the 3-tunnels on the Big Oak Flat Road at night, from 7:00 pm to 3:00 am, with single lane traffic control and up to 15-minute delays. (M. Pieper - 10/11)

Planned Power Outage for Degnans Deli and Upper Tecoya Housing
DNC is in the process of updating electrical service that will affect Degnan's Deli and Upper Tecoya Housing. At 7:30am to approximately 8:30am on October 17th and October 26th, Upper Tecoya will have a power outage. >From October 17th-October 26th, Degnan's Deli will remain on generator power during the installation of the electrical upgrade. For further questions, please contact Brian Fulce at DNC, 209-372-1453. (K. Bablitch - 10/7)

Upper Pines Sewer Line
Beginning Tuesday, October 4 and continuing for approximately 2 weeks construction will occur from Southside Drive near Boys Town to the entrance of Upper Pines Campground. The work includes installing a new sewer line to serve Upper Pines CG. Work will cause minor traffic delays during the day that will be managed with flaggers. Trench plates will cover the excavation after hours. (G. Rothell - 10/5)

Big Oak Flat Road Delays
Please be advised that roads crews are performing roadside brushing and ditching operations on Big Oak Flat Road between Crane Flat and Highway 140. Short traffic delays should be expected in this area. (D. Dozier - 9/27)

Trailhead Work Along Tioga Road
Alison Sierra will continue working at trailheads along Tioga Road until the road closes for the winter. This project is sponsored by the Yosemite Conservancy as part of the Trails Campaign--improvements include better delineation to prevent resource damage, universal design principles to better support visitors with disabilities, and installation of wayside exhibits. The trailheads under construction (from west to east) include Tamarack Flat/Aspen Valley, Yosemite Creek/Ten Lakes, May Lake, Snow Creek, and Gaylor Lakes at the Tioga Pass entrance station. The construction requires temporary, short-term closure of trailheads parking areas, however adjacent parking remains available. For visitor safety, May Lake trailhead will be closed (gate will be locked) to visitors from September 26th until the end of construction. (G. Stromberg - 9/23)

Work Begins on East End of Tenaya Lake
The Yosemite FM Trails bridge crew is working at the east end of Tenaya Lake, rerouting the existing beach access trail away from a designated wetland. The trail crew will likely work until Tioga Road closes for the winter. A portion of the asphalt parking lot is being used as staging of materials, but the area remains completely open to the public. Next summer/fall, after the trail reroute is complete, the Yosemite RMS Restoration crew will restore the existing trail to natural condition. (G. Stromberg - 9/23)

Continuation of Village Store Parking Lot Repairs
NPS will be completing some remaining work around the Village Store Parking Lot such as cleanup, curb installation, raising of manholes, etc.. The daytime work is scheduled to begin today, September 23rd and continue for the next couple of weeks Monday through Friday 7am to 3pm. Please be aware that if some of the remaining work causes extensive impacts to visitors and/or park operations, then it may require some of the remaining work to be completed at night. The parking lot will remain open; however crews will barricade off small work areas necessary to complete the remaining work. If you have any questions, please contact Michael Pieper (209) 379-1263. (M. Pieper - 9/23)

Hodgdon Meadow Wastewater Improvement
Construction of the replacement winter wastewater treatment system for Hodgdon Meadow will begin this week (Sept 19) and continue for approximately ten weeks. The contractor is AMA Diversified Group. The first phases of the project will entail demolition of the existing septic tank and leach field in the meadow above the Cuneo house, as well as some tree removal from the existing spray field between Carlon Road and the existing wastewater treatment facility. Be aware of construction traffic and road restrictions at Carlon Road and near and below the residential area as well as construction activity. We apologize for any inconveniences that this project may cause. Thank you. (P. Pyle - 9/20)


Ann Roberts (379-1383) will be Acting Program Manager of Environmental Planning and Compliance from 10/13 - 10/18. Elexis Mayer will return on 10/19.

Dave Humphrey will be Acting Division Chief for Resources, Management and Science 10/13/2011. He can be reached at 379-1029.
Sue Vezeau (379-1458) will be Acting Branch Chief for Visitor Use and Social Science from Tuesday, October 11th through Friday, October 14th.
Sue Beatty (379-3290) will be Acting Branch Chief for Vegetation and Ecological Restoration Oct. 11-14 and Oct. 17-20.
Sonny Montague is Acting Branch Chief for Anthropology Programs for Thursday and Friday, October 13 & 14
Eric Gabriel will be acting Deputy Chief Ranger from Sunday 10/9 - Friday 10/14.
Tony Brochini will be Acting Chief of Facilities Management October 17 through noon on October 19. He can be reached at 379-1008.
Jim Allen will be acting Branch Chief of Utilities October 9-19, 2011. He can be reached at (209) 379-1071.
Ron Watson has been selected as the acting, Supervisory IT Specialist until the position is permanently filled. Ron can be reached at 379-1074.

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.

6th Street Cinema
Located upstairs in the historic Old Masonic Lodge on 6th Street, in downtown Mariposa. Film Entrance is $7 per film for non-members; non-member students pay $5. Monthly membership is $12 allowing film entry for $3 each. Opera seating is $22 gen. admission; $18 SSC members; $15 students (Please note: we are not accepting credit cards this year.) More information is available on the website: This week: Friday-Saturday, October 14 -15, 7:30 p.m.: The Tree of Life. Running time: 138 minutes; Rated PG. Saturday, October 15th, 9:55 a.m.: Met Live in HD: Anna Bolena. (Please note earlier time). Running time: approximately 213 minutes, including intermission. (T. Arfsten - 10/13)
Live Music Events This Weekend
This weekend, come and hear your community’s next generation of musicians at the Beat Harvest Sonic Celebration: Friday, October 14th, 7:00pm - El Portal Community Hall. Saturday, October 15th, 7:00pm - River Rock Inn, Mariposa. These events are an opportunity for local music students of all ages to perform at local venues in front of a live audience. They choose what to play, get together with friends and family to rehearse and then share their talents with the community. Each show will feature several student performances followed by a live set by Adam Burns and Kristin Ramsey from the Adam Burns Band. Bring your own snacks and drinks to the El Portal show. The River Rock Inn will be serving dinner from 6:00 pm on Saturday. Admission is free to the public. We will be collecting donations to the Cousin Jack Music Foundation (, which is dedicated to promoting passion for music in youth.For more information, visit or contact Adam Burns, (209) 379-4344. (A. Burns - 10/12)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Madera Pomegranate Celebration to feature numerous events

Jarrod Lyman
Director of Media
Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau
(559) 683-4636 

The Pomegranate Celebration and Festival is coming
Madera, CA. – The inaugural Madera Pomegranate Celebration and Festival is shaping up with numerous events taking place the week of Oct. 29 through Nov. 5.

Madera is known as the Heart of Pomegranate Country, as so many pomegranates are both grown in the region and come to Madera for Processing.  

“The vast majority of the pomegranate products from recognizable brands you see on grocery store shelves use pomegranates either grown here or processed here. SO Madera really is the heart of pomegranate country,” said Jarrod Lyman, chairman of the Madera Chamber of Commerce’s Tourism Alliance Committee, which is putting the event on.


The celebration week kicks off Saturday, Oct. 29 at Homegrown Cellars, a pomegranate farm and country store in Madera with the Pomegranate Run For Your Life 5K run/walk. Proceeds from the event will go to help fund a Christian orphanage for special needs children. To register for the race or for more information, call 559-664-8599.

Taking place later that night is the annual Madera Rotary Club Halloween Costume Ball and Dinner Dance. This year’s theme is tied in to the Pomegranate Celebration to help kick things off. The event takes place at Hatfield Hall at the Madera District Fairgrounds, doors open at 6 pm. Call 559-674-5401 for more information.

Valley Pistachio Country Store, a popular spot off of Highway 99 featuring local produce will be offering pomegranate-themed appetizers Tuesday, Nov. 1. 559-674-0020.

Stiebs is also holding a recipe contest aimed at finding the best pomegranate inspired dishes prepared by professional chefs and home chefs as well as pomegranate drinks. The winner of each of the three categories will take home $500. To enter, go to Recipes will be judged Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the catering kitchen of Madera Community Hospital where finalists will be selected. Winners from that group will then be announced at the festival Nov. 5.

Also taking place Wednesday is a dinner at The Vineyard Restaurant in Madera. The Vineyard will be serving Martinis made with pomegranate-blossom infused vodka. 

“Many of the beneficial compounds in pomegranates are concentrated in the blossom. By macerating them in vodka for three months, these compounds are released in to the vodka in your martini,” explained Chris Mariscotti, owner of The Vineyard and committee member of the Madera Chamber’s Tourism Alliance. “Finally, a healthy martini,” he added with a laugh.

Those martinis will be complimented by a dinner with each course featuring pomegranates. The first course is Filo cups with whipped Brie, pomegranate molasses pistachios and pomegranate seeds, which are known as arils.

The second course is grilled Portobello mushrooms with pomegranate-mustard vinaigrette and pumpkin seed frisee and arugula salad. 

The third course is pomegranate-glazed Mary’s Chicken with beet risotto and watercress. The dinner is finished off with a desert consisting of pomegranate gelato with crème fraiche.

Pomegranate Festival

The week-long celebration wraps up Saturday, Nov. 5 with the first annual Pomegranate Festival hosted by the Madera Chamber of Commerce Tourism Alliance Committee.  The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at Appellation California Wine Tasting and Visitor Center located at Avenue 7 and Highway 99 in Madera. The festival will feature live music by the popular band Deja Blues, cooking demonstrations, booths, a kids area and more.  “It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said Lyman. “The Tourism Alliance Committee is teaming up with Twin Pomegranates Winery, one of our sponsors, to do a ‘Pom-a-pult”. Guests will have the chance to shoot pomegranates at a target, with bulls eyes getting prizes.” 

Local restaurants will be on hand selling dishes using pomegranates, local author Karen Adler will be showcasing a children’s book telling the history of the pomegranate while vendors will be selling various pomegranate products.

“This even will definitely prove the versatility and health benefits of the pomegranate, as well as show why Madera is known as ‘The Heart of Pomegranate Country’,” said Lyman. 

Major sponsors for this event are Stiebs and Stellar Distributing along with a host of other sponsors who are supporting this highly anticipated event.  For additional listing of sponsors and more information regarding the celebration and festival please visit or find them on facebook at