OldWestNewWest.com: History & Travel Magazine

Feb 21st
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Yosemite Conservancy is now accepting lottery registration forms for the 2013-2014 season at the newly restored Ostrander Ski Hut, the cherished rustic stone cabin used by intrepid skiers and snowshoers who make the 10-mile journey from the park's Badger Pass Ski Area to Ostrander Lake.

"Yosemite (National Park) is open and new memories for winter enthusiasts await," said Mike Tollefson, president of the Yosemite Conservancy. "Trekking to Ostrander Ski Hut offers an unforgettable winter adventure because of its solitude and breathtaking views of Half Dome, the Clark Range and Mount Hoffmann. Improvements to the ski hut made earlier this year restored original features to ensure that it can be enjoyed by new generations of visitors."
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The Final Environmental Impact statement for the restoration of Yosemite National Park's Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias has been released, moving the start of the project one step closer.

This landmark plan provides the foundation for the restoration and site improvements in the park's largest grove of giant sequoias, tentatively scheduled to get underway in 2014.
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With Yosemite National Park now closed due to the federal budget shutdown, the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau in Oakhurst, California has been busy helping travelers who had intended on visiting the park find alternative things to do and places to visit.

Currently only through traffic is allowed in one of the West's most popular national parks, meaning travelers can still see many of the iconic features of the park such as Half Dome and El Capitan. Any side roads, however, are closed as are the vast majority of concessions. So tourism officials have been busy helping people find alternatives to Yosemite.
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Closed for more than three years due to a massive rock slide that took place just below Half Dome, Yosemite National Park in California reopened the Mirror Lake Loop hiking trail to the public on Oct. 18, 2012.

The five-mile loop that follows Tenaya Creek around Mirror Lake in Yosemite Valley had been closed since March 28, 2009 due to a rockfall from Ahwiyah Point so large that it generated ground shaking equivalent to a magnitude 2.4 earthquake.
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UPDATE / Sept. 15, 2013: Progress continues to be made in fighting California's massive 255,560-acre Rim Fire, and the 77,919 acres within Yosemite National Park that has burned, with containment holding at 81 percent as of Sept. 15, 2013.

One of Yosemite National Park's main routes from the west, California Highway 120, also known as Big Oak Flat Road and Tioga Road inside the park, is now open to the public from Groveland, into the park and through the burn areas. Visitors now have access to Yosemite Valley from Highway 395 via Highway 120. Stopping along the highway, however, is prohibited due to continued fire activity in the area.
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Even though smoke has settled into the Yosemite Valley, as of Sept. 3, 2013, the Rim Fire was now 80 percent contained and most of Yosemite National Park remains open for the public to enjoy.
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While the Rim Fire has burned into Yosemite National Park, rangers said on Aug. 30, 2013, that the majority of the park remains unaffected by the fire and the park is open for visitors.

"Only 6 percent of Yosemite's land mass is on fire," said Kari Cobb, a Yosemite National Park spokesperson. "Yosemite Valley is fully open and fully operational and remains clear of smoke."
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A 28-year-old climber visiting from the United Kingdom died in a rock climbing accident at Yosemite National Park in northern California on June 2, 2013.

Felix Joseph Kiernan, from London, England, on Sunday afternoon was climbing on the East Buttress of El Capitan, a popular climbing route in Yosemite Valley, when he was struck by a rock, rangers said.
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In what may prove to be the first water fatality for 2013 at Yosemite National Park in California, a man was swept over Nevada Fall on Saturday, and search and rescue teams on Sunday were still trying to find the man.

At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, a visitor was witnessed being swept over the precipice of Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park. Aleh Kalman, a 19-year-old male from Sacramento, Calif., came to the park with a church group and was hiking the Mist Trail when the accident occurred.
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Weather permitting, the cables on Half Dome in Yosemite National Park in California will be in place and open for the season on Friday, May 24, 2013, according to park service officials.

The cables provide access to the summit of Half Dome, one of Yosemite's most popular hikes. The hike is not to be taken lightly, however.
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Yosemite National Park's Half Dome cables day use permits for the 2013 hiking season are now available for reservation through March 31, 2013 at the www.recreation.gov Web site, according to the National Park Service.

Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required seven days per week and reservations will be distributed via a lottery system. Successful parties will be notified in early April. A maximum of 300 hikers will be allowed on the Half Dome cables per day.
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Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, and other waterfalls in Yosemite Valley in northern California are flowing again after a series of storms over the Nov. 17-18, 2012 weekend produced just under two inches of rain in Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite Falls, which has been dry for several months due to an exceptionally dry year, is flowing again for the first time since mid-July. Yosemite National Park recorded one of the driest years on record, and the driest winter since 2007.
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Yosemite Conservancy is accepting lottery registration forms for the 2012-2013 season at Ostrander Ski Hut, a popular overnight destination for those making the stunning 10-mile trek from Badger Pass Ski Area to Ostrander Lake in Yosemite National Park.

The lottery applications must be returned by 5 p.m. PST on Nov. 14, 2012. The annual registration lottery is scheduled for Nov. 15. Starting on Nov. 26, remaining reservations can be booked by calling (209) 379-5161.
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A stranded Canadian climber at risk from hypothermia was rescued off El Capitan Monday, Oct. 22, by Yosemite National Park Rangers and search and rescue personnel during a high-angle, high-risk operation during a snow storm.

The incident began on Sunday, Oct.21, 2012, when two rock climbers were trying to reach the top of the El Capitan climb just before a large storm, with several inches of snow, was predicted to hit.
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As Thanksgiving approaches, many Yosemite area businesses are offering attractive deals and travel incentives for those looking for a place to celebrate and give thanks.

According to the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau, here are a few businesses offering visitors great deals for Thanksgiving 2013.
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Following a $3 Million Restoration effort, a much-needed makeover to Yosemite National Park's historic Tunnel View Overlook has been completed, the first project of the National Park Service's Centennial Initiative.

"The rededication of this famous site shows that we can rise to the challenge of reinvigorating our national parks with stunning results," Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said at dedication ceremonies held Oct. 24, 2008. "It is our hope that this project, and vistas like this will inspire support and interest in preserving our national parks into the next century."
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