Yosemite National Park closed almost two weeks ago after the 748,000-acre green space was damaged by strong storms. Though the park might reopen as soon as Monday, its famous thicket of redwoods at Mariposa Grove will remain off-limits to visitors for some time.
2020 was a fiery hellscape for California’s parks as historic wildfires, wind storms, and growing populations of invasive species scorched and scared protected parklands. And 2021 is already proving to be an unsettling echo of past problems for our state's national parks after a strong windstorm maimed Yosemite earlier this month. But after being closed since January 19 for repairs and servicing, the postcard-darling greenspace might reopen to the public tomorrow — however, the same can't be said for its Mariposa Sequoia Grove.
A significant Mono wind event occurred in Yosemite National Park on 1/19/21. The winds caused damage to facilities throughout the park, but especially in the southern area of the park and in the Mariposa Grove. There is currently no timeline for when the grove will reopen. pic.twitter.com/qnOAsVLlVZ— Yosemite National Park (@YosemiteNPS) January 30, 2021
As reported by the Chronicle, Yosemite National Park released a statement (and coinciding alert) which hinted that the park could reopen as soon as Monday. Whenever the park does reopen, the park has stated "El Portal Rd (HWY 140), Big Oak Flat Rd (Hwy 120 from the west), and Hetch Hetchy Rd" will also open in tandem, as well.
All this said: many parts of the park will still remain closed when Yosemite again starts ushering guests through its gates — which in 2019 numbered 4,586,463 visitors.
"Areas south of Yosemite Valley (including Badger Pass, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, South Entrance, and Wawona Rd will remain closed," reads an alert from the park. The Chronicle also noted that another statement from the park proved that there is currently no timeline for when the Mariposa Grove will reopen; its unclear if Badger Pass, Wawona, and the other still-closed parts of the park are also without reopening timelines.
Recent snow flurries — with each adding between 6" to 15" of new snow accumulations — have forced the Tioga Pass entrance and Tioga Road to close for the season.
Starting February 8, those entering the park in cars, trucks, or other vehicular means of transportation will need to make a reservation in advance to enter Yosemite National park, per its amended COVID-19 social-distancing policies. The $2 reservation fee is also in addition to the $35 automobile park entrance fee, which will still apply for both annual or lifetime park pass holders.
Image: Getty Images/agaliza