Following a nearly month-long closure in which the Washburn Fire grew to nearly 20,000 acres in Yosemite National Park, the famed trees of Mariposa Grove will once again be open to visitors.
On Wednesday, August 3 Mariposa Grove will once again open to the public, marking a celebratory occasion after the scary wildfire threatened the world’s largest collection of mature trees. Although the region will once again be open to visitors, these areas within the grove will remain closed:
- The Washburn Trail (between the Mariposa Grove Welcome Plaza and the Arrival Area).
- The western portion of the Perimeter Trail (from the Galen Clark Tree to near the Grizzly Giant Loop Trail).
- The trail from the Mariposa Grove toward Wawona
Officials are asking all visitors to stay on the trails, since hazards left by the fire may still exist in the region. Firefighters will continue to patrol the area until the fire is declared out.
Giant sequoia trees live exclusively in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, typically in the middle of California. These trees can grow taller than 300 feet and wider than 30 feet, a can live to 3,000 years old. Sequoias actually use wildfire to reproduce, with embers spreading their seedlings and thinning larger trees to allow sunlight to hit the smaller trees. But with recent wildfires burning at a higher intensity than ever seen by modern humans, the trees are seeing long-lasting harm.
Following the Castle Fire in 2020 and the recent Windy and KNP Complex fires in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, officials have estimated that 7,500 to 10,400 giant sequoias burned over the past 15 months. That accounts for roughly 13 to 19 percent of the world’s sequoias greater than 4 feet in diameter. The revelation illustrates the devastating impact of recent California wildfires on the wilderness.
Mariposa Grove has seen its fair share of turmoil over the past few years. In January 2021, a wind storm blasted through Yosemite National Park, toppling the massive trees and destroying buildings and infrastructure in the area. The grove also saw a 3-year closure from 2015 to 2018, where the entire region was upgraded – roads, trails and buildings – as well as four new miles of hiking trails.