Yosemite National Park has been active over the last few years to restore damaged parts of the park, including many that we hikers visit when day hiking or backpacking our favorite trails.
Here is info a recent press release from the park with details of past and present projects…
Yosemite National Park Ecological Restoration Projects
In the past several years, Yosemite National Park has completed a wide variety of ecological restoration projects throughout the park. These projects are designed to protect the ecosystem while still providing visitor access and enjoyment. Several projects are ongoing in the park and include a wide variety of park ecosystems such as meadows, invasive plants, social trails, and wetlands.
“Yosemite National Park is known throughout the world for its stunning beauty and diverse ecosystems. It is important to preserve these qualities and reduce the impacts that people have had on Yosemite National Park over the years. These restoration projects restore functioning ecosystems while still providing access to visitors. We are proud of the work that has been accomplished and will continue to focus heavily on restoration projects in the future,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher.
Several examples of recently completed ecological restoration projects include:
* Lukens Meadow Restoration (2008):
The primary goal of this project was to restore natural ecological and hydrological processes at Lukens Meadow and enhance wilderness character by removing 2,000 feet of human caused impacts in the meadow, redirect foot traffic from the meadow to a pre-existing forest trail, and restore the nearly 3,000 square feet of bare ground at the far end of the lake.
* Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias (2007):
Restoration and protection of the giant sequoias included mitigating trampling on the sequoia roots and other vegetation, as well as reducing soil erosion. Placement of mulch and downed branches and logs helps the soil to absorb water making it available for sequoias and other vegetation, decreasing soil erosion and soil compaction and keeping visitors from impacting natural resources by discouraging off-trail use.
* Happy Isles Dam Removal (2006):
The purpose of this project was to restore the free-flowing character and pool-riffle morphology of this reach of the Merced River through the removal of Happy Isles Dam and associated diversion structures.
Examples of ecological restoration projects completed over ten years ago include:
* Tenaya Lake Walk-in Campground Restoration (1998):
The walk-in campground was closed in 1990 due to water and sewage system issues. Restoration of the campground area included removing campground infrastructure, revegetation and soil decompaction.
* Mirror Lake (1997):
The objective of this project was to consolidate multiple social trails, improve ADA access, decompact soils, revegetate denuded areas, protect cultural resources, provide interpretive information and improve visitor services.
* Stoneman Meadow Boardwalk (1994):
This project restored and protected Stoneman Meadow through the removal of social trails, the construction of a boardwalk across the meadow and fencing to protect the meadow from continued impacts.
Various ongoing ecological restoration projects in Yosemite National Park include:
* Wawona Meadow Ecological Restoration:
The purpose of this project was to restore wetland hydrology by filling in ditches constructed by the CCC in 1936. Asphalt removal on the Wawona Meadow Loop trail will help facilitate water conveyance into the meadow.
* Cathedral Peak Route Delineation:
This project will mitigate and reduce the ecological and wilderness impacts from multiple social trails that lead up to the popular climbing peak by delineating a single trail.
* Harden Road Removing and Restoration:
This project will remove 1.5 miles of abandoned road near Harden Lake, allowing the park to recommend designation of 38 acres of potential wilderness to Wilderness status. This project connects with the 2009 Yosemite Fund project, Re-wilding Harden Spur Road, which reduced ¼ mile of the old road to a single-track trail and removed non-historic debris from the area. Together, the two projects will re-establish natural topography where possible, improve hydrologic function, restore wilderness character and improve the wilderness experience of visitors hiking out of the White Wolf area.
Yosemite National Park strives to maintain the park’s ecosystem and let natural processes prevail. As human impacts have occurred since the park was established, these restoration projects seek to restore the natural balance of the park. Yosemite National Park will continue to conduct these restoration projects with the goal of resource protection while still providing for visitor access and enjoyment.
For more information about restoration efforts in Yosemite National Park please visit: http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/environmentalfactors.htm or http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/research-and-studies.htm.