Dine and Discover: Sierra Tree Mortality — Death of the Ponderosa Pine

Gain a new understanding of the Ponderosa Pine and Yosemite ecology on a guided tour with a Yosemite expert naturalist.
April 21, 2017 to April 22, 2017

Conifer trees are a classic sight in Yosemite and the surrounding Sierra Nevada. In recent years, however, the park’s forests have transformed due to destruction caused by the western pine beetle, a native insect that thrives in drought conditions. Curious about the causes and consequences of the changing forest landscape? Join us in Yosemite Valley for a Friday evening presentation, complete with a buffet meal. Spend Saturday learning from park ecology and fire experts, who will answer your questions about beetle biology, the future of Yosemite’s pine forests and more.


Included with your registration:

  • An evening presentation with food and refreshments (Friday, April 21, starting at 5 pm) and a guided hike in Yosemite Valley (Saturday, April 22, starting at 9 am and lasting about eight hours)
  • Park entry (as needed)
  • Two nights of camping (as needed, April 21 and April 22) at Upper Pines Campground in Yosemite Valley
  • Note: There is no discount if you choose not to use our gate pass or campsites. Information about upgrading your accommodations to stay at Yosemite Valley Lodge will be emailed to you after you sign up.


Interested in our Dine and Discover programs?  Here are our options:

April 21–April 22   Sierra Tree Mortality — Death of the Ponderosa Pine
May 5–May 7   Spring Feathers and Flowers
June 2–June 3   Geology Underfoot with Greg Stock
Aug. 6   Full Moon Hike to Taft Point
Sept. 15–Sept. 17   Exploring Yosemite Wildlife
Sept. 29–Oct. 1   American Indian Food Preparation and Acorns
Oct 6   Full Moon Hike to Taft Point


Experience Level: Any
Hiking: Moderate; three to four miles throughout the day
Elevation: 4,000 feet–4,500 feet
Registration price: $169
View a suggested packing list
Expert Naturalist Guide Dan Webster; Drought Specialist Anne Kelly; NPS Fire Chief; Kelly Martin; NPS Forester Brian Mattos
Naturalist Guide Dan Webster

Dan Webster

Dan's first wilderness job in California was as a forest fire fighter. He now teaches about the role played by fire in forest ecology. These days, he is a Sierra Nevada-based naturalist, birder, hiker, and father of two boys who love being outside. In addition to enjoying and interpreting the wonders of Yosemite, Dan was the director of a summer camp in Western Maine where he led wilderness trips for 23 years. Dan's motto is, "Any day in the mountains is a good day." His guided tours weave together science, wonder and joy for a deeper appreciation of nature.