Last Month in Yosemite: September 2018

Last Month in Yosemite: September 2018

Sunset on Mount Clark, captured during a September 2018 Outdoor Adventure trip to Clouds Rest and Half Dome. Photo: Fred Turner

A monthly recap of what we saw, heard and did in the park. Here's what happened in September...

Participants in the 2018 No Limits Yosemite program used handcycles to explore the Valley. Photo: No Limits Yosemite

Defying limits

On September 4, a group of Bay Area-based adaptive athletes kicked off a camping trip with the No Limits Yosemite program. For nine of the campers, the trip was their first Yosemite experience! Among the adventurers was Amrita Gyawali, a disability rights advocate from Nepal who is currently serving as a Community Solutions Program Fellow at the World Institute on Disability in Berkeley.

Over the course of four days, the group met with park ranger Shelton Johnson, who discussed the importance of inclusion in public lands, handcycled to Mirror Lake and around Yosemite Valley, climbed the park's famous granite walls, and learned from pioneering adaptive climber Mark Wellman (renowned for making the first paraplegic ascents of El Capitan and Half Dome, among other feats). Thanks to our supporters for funding this year's No Limits program in Yosemite!

The Yosemite Wilderness — which covers more than 700,000 acres, including Lyell Canyon — was designated through the federal California Wilderness Act of 1984. Photo: Luiz Arroyo


September brought the anniversaries of two notable pieces of public-lands legislation: the Wilderness Act, which President Lyndon Johnson signed on September 3, 1964, and the California Wilderness Act, which was passed on September 28, 1984. The former established the National Wilderness Preservation System, which originally covered 9.1 million acres (and has since surpassed 109 million acres); the latter added more than 3 million acres of California land to the NWPS, including the now 704,624-acre Yosemite Wilderness.

In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefit of an enduring resource of wilderness. ... A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. — Wilderness Act, 1964

The 2018 California Conservation Corps trail crews wrapped up their Yosemite season at the end of September. Photo: Yosemite Conservancy/Ryan Kelly

Catching up with the CCC

After spending months living and working in remote parts of the Merced and Tuolumne River watersheds, the 2018 California Conservation Corps trail crews emerged from the wilderness to wrap up their Yosemite season. Our project manager headed to Camp Mather to welcome them back and snap some post-backcountry portraits. When asked about her experience, Isabel, above, said, "I feel a lot of love for my crew and even more love for the beautiful park we had the privilege of living and working in all summer."

Thanks to our donors for supporting the CCC program in Yosemite! Stay tuned for more updates on what the crews accomplished, learned and experienced during their time in the park.

A group of Mesa Rim volunteers spent a weekend working on a climbing trail restoration project in Yosemite's high country. Photo: Yosemite Conservancy/Mark Marschall

Cleaning up climbing trails

This technically happened at the end of August, but we didn't want to skip it! A group of volunteers from Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness spent a weekend in the Tuolumne Meadows area helping out with a project to improve an access trail for a popular climbing route. Trail restoration is an important aspect of the Conservancy-supported Yosemite Climbing Stewardship Program, which also includes outreach, education and climbing patrols. The volunteers worked with park and Conservancy staff, enjoyed evening campfires, and made a noticeable difference on the trail. Thank you to the volunteers and to Mesa Rim for supporting Yosemite!

Volunteers picked up thousands of pounds of microtrash during the 2018 Yosemite Facelift. Photo: NPS

Speaking of volunteering ...

Volunteers flocked to the Valley and high country at the end of September for the 15th annual Yosemite Facelift, a parkwide clean-up event. Over the course of five days, participants collected more than 14,500 pounds of litter, including 8,745 pounds of cigarette butts, granola bar wrappers and other microtrash. During Facelift, park staff also led other volunteer projects, such as replanting and mulching to restore habitat at a former building site in Yosemite Village. Mark your calendars for next year's Facelift event at the end of September 2019, and in the meantime, remember to properly dispose of or pack out all your trash when you visit the park — including food scraps, bottle caps and ripped backpack straps.

Hikers take in the view from the top of Half Dome. Photo: Fred Turner

View from the top

You've seen countless photos of Half Dome...but have you ever wondered what it's like to be on that famous feature? Last month, a group of intrepid Outdoor Adventure participants got to experience the thrill of taking in the view from the summit during a guided trip along tree-lined trails, over Clouds Rest and up the cables. We're coming to the end of our backpacking season, but keep an eye out for our 2019 adventure calendar for more opportunities to summit Half Dome — or explore other parts of the park — with one of our expert naturalists!


Coming up on our calendars: With summer firmly behind us, we're entering a quieter season in the park, but we still have a few weeks of activities before our art and theater programs wrap up for the year. Head to Happy Isles for watercolor and nature illustration workshops (10am-2pm, Monday-Saturday), and catch the final weeks of shows at the Yosemite Theater (7 pm, Tuesday-Saturday). If you're craving some naturalist knowledge (and a hike), join our resident naturalist for a "Day of the Woodpecker" outing on November 17, or get in touch with us to plan a Custom Adventure. Already looking ahead to a Yosemite trip next year? We'll be posting our 2019 program calendars soon.

Main image: Sunset on Mount Clark, captured during a September 2018 Outdoor Adventure trip to Clouds Rest and Half Dome. Photo: Fred Turner

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