Last Month in Yosemite: November 2016

A recap of things we saw, heard and did in the park last month, straight from our El Portal office to you! In November, we welcomed Yosemite's newest ovine residents, announced the winner of our annual Art from the Park contest, watched (and listened to) the latest episode of Yosemite Nature Notes​, and much more.

A monthly recap of what we saw, heard and did in the park, from our El Portal office to you. Here's what happened in November...

Yosemite's newest bighorn rams bound off into their new Cathedral Range home. Photo: Derek Halsey


• Five Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep joined Yosemite’s Cathedral herd. The new additions — all rams — were relocated by helicopter from areas south of the park. The original herd, which was released in March 2015, was predominantly ewes.

Biologists hope that the males will help the herd grow and, ultimately, become self-sustaining. To learn more about donor-supported efforts to restore the park’s population of these endangered mammals, dig into the history, and check out our blog posts about sheep surveys (here and here).


"Yosemite Valley," by Shirley Spencer (the 2016 Art from the Park winning entry)

• On November 10, we officially closed the Art Center for the season — but first, we celebrated. At the year-end reception, we admired artwork created by Yosemite park and partner staff (thanks to all who submitted a piece for the show!), and announced the winner of our annual Art from the Park contest:  Shirley Spencer!

An artist, author and adventurer who has lived in the Sierra Nevada for three decades, Shirley took the top prize for her watercolor of Yosemite Valley. You can see more of her work in her illustrated guide to flowering shrubs and her new national parks alphabet book … and you can join her in March for a snowshoe hike to Dewey Point! (She’ll be serving as the trip’s naturalist guide, but we bet she’d be happy to share some painting tips along the way.)


• On the day after Thanksgiving, some of our naturalists took to the trails to celebrate “Green Friday” as part of REI’s second annual #OptOutside initiative. Thanks to everyone who joined them in the park to explore the Valley and enjoy a beautiful late autumn day!

The Yosemite Research Library is home to thousands of images, articles and books - including bound copies of the original Yosemite Nature Notes. Photo: NPS


• You might have heard that Yosemite has its own library … but we’re pretty sure you haven’t heard this news. As of this fall, the Yosemite Research Library’s book collection has officially switched systems, from Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress. What’s the big deal? Dewey is great for general knowledge, but the Library system works best for more specialized classifications — and it’s what research organizations (and other NPS libraries) typically use.

The shift, made possible through a grant funded by our donors, makes the Yosemite library more compatible with other institutions around the world, and makes it easier to search for park-related resources. Try running some searches on the NPS Libris site to see what books are available in Yosemite and other parks.


• Autumn might be winding down, but we found time to bask in Fall Moments, a classic Yosemite Nature Notes video that lets you pretend it's leaf-peeping season any time of year. We also checked out the latest episode from that series: Soundscapes. Haven’t seen it yet? Turn up your volume (and put in your headphones, if needed) and click the play button below!



View from our Half Dome webcam on Nov. 30, 2016. November brought snow to the Valley and high country, making for some beautiful webcam views. Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road have both closed for the season – and that means it’s just about time for winter adventures.

We’re excited for skiing, skating (did you know that Yosemite has a hockey league?), snowshoeing, the annual Christmas Bird Count … the list goes on. What are you looking forward to? Tell us on Twitter!


See you in the park, and thanks for reading!

Yosemite Insider