After being closed for more than two weeks due to wildfire, Yosemite Valley will reopen to visitors at 9 a.m. Tuesday, park officials announced Friday.
Much of the park has been closed since July 25 due to the Ferguson Fire, which has burned more than 95,000 acres over the past month, filling the iconic park with hazardous levels of choking smoke and fire crews working to put the blaze out.
Visitors will be able to access Yosemite Valley from El Portal Road (Highway 140), Big Oak Flat Road (Highway 120) or Tioga Road (Highway 120).
“We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to the firefighters and incident command teams for their great efforts in suppressing the Ferguson Fire,” said Yosemite Superintendent Michael Reynolds in a statement. “We’d also like to express our gratitude and thanks to our gateway communities who tirelessly helped visitors to the area while they were being impacted by the fire. This is truly a historic and unprecedented event in park history, and we are thrilled to welcome back visitors to Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove.”
But not all of the park will be open Tuesday.
Wawona Road (Highway 41) will remain closed from Wawona to Yosemite Valley for at least another week, park officials said, because firefighters are still working in the area.
At first, hours and visitor services at park facilities will be limited as the park returns to normal operations, officials noted.
The Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias will reopen to the public a day earlier than Yosemite Valley, at 9 a.m. Monday. Visitors can access the Mariposa Grove through the the park’s south entrance (Highway 41) and park in the newly constructed parking area.
Glacier Point Road remains closed and is expected to open when Wawona Road (Highway 41) reopens. The Hetch Hetchy area remains closed due to smoke impacts but is expected to reopen soon, park officials said. Tioga Road and high country, including Tuolumne Meadows, never closed and remain open.
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For updated 24-hour road and weather conditions for Yosemite National Park, call 209-372-0200, press 1 and press 1 again. Updated information is also available on the park’s website, www.nps.gov/yose, and on the Yosemite National Park Facebook page.
For the latest information on the Ferguson Fire, go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5927/.
Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle