People hoping to see the gorgeous winter views of Yosemite National Park are going to have to wait longer than originally planned. Following a destructive event wind that toppled trees, destroyed cars and heavy equipment, and damaged infrastructure, park officials announced the area was closed to the public. After 18 inches of snow fell in the past few days, it will now stay closed until at least February 1.
“Heavy, wet snow has caused trees and branches to fall throughout the park, causing damage to park facilities and vehicles,” park officials said in a statement.” Yosemite’s road crews continue to do an amazing job to clear park roads and parking areas. However, with ongoing falling snow and tree failures, it is not safe for the park to reopen.”
This is the second time park officials delayed the reopening after 15 giant sequoias fell in the Mariposa Grove area. The repair work is now impossible to achieve in a short amount of time with snowfall and even a February 1 opening seems overly optimistic.
When the park reopens, it will be open 24 hours per day. Upper Pines Campground will open on February 8. Yosemite Valley Lodge and The Ahwahnee will open on February 5. Visitors will be able to enter the park using El Portal Road (Highway 140), Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120 from the west), and Hetch Hetchy Road. Areas south of Yosemite Valley (including Badger Pass, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, South Entrance, and Wawona Road) will remain closed until further notice.
The price of the damage has yet to be fully assessed, but photos show serious damage throughout the park. Boardwalks, houses and other infrastructures were found to be destroyed by falling trees. Many of the damage was done in the Mariposa Grove area of the park.