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‘Seasonal Update’ Category

Inyo National Forest fire restrictions in effect starting August 4

Saturday, August 4th, 2018 by Eric, Mono Lake Intern
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Starting today, fire restrictions are in effect for the Inyo National Forest. These restrictions are similar to those already in place on BLM land and will be in effect until further notice. Fire restrictions are put in place each year to protect local communities and public lands from wildfire.

Looking toward the Sierra crest from the South Tufa parking area in July, when a thick layer of smoke obscured the normally picturesque view. Photo by Eric Bergdoll.

Restrictions include: (more…)

Mudslides close the June Lake Loop (Highway 158)

Saturday, August 4th, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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On July 31 Caltrans closed Highway 158, the June Lake Loop, due to mudslides that occurred earlier that day. The closure remains in place and there is no estimated opening date.

On July 31, a short, powerful rainstorm brought mudslides and debris down on Highway 158, closing the June Lake Loop. Photo courtesy of Caltrans District 9.

The road is closed between Silver Lake and Grant Lake Reservoir, from roughly the Frontier Pack Station to the Aerie Crag parking area. Through passage around the loop is not available, but (more…)

Tioga Road (Highway 120) is closed; Yosemite is accessible from the east

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Caltrans closed Highway 120 at Crane Flat at 2:47am due to the Ferguson Fire.

The east side of the Tioga Road is open, from Highway 395 to the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park and beyond that to Tuolumne Meadows. But through passage along Highway 120 is not possible—travelers must use alternate routes to get from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other.

Always check road conditions before you travel, and in this season of major fires across California and the west, check the air quality for your destinations as well.

Update: Tioga Road through Yosemite open; Yosemite Valley, Wawona, more closed until at least August 5

Monday, July 30th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Late last week officials with the National Park Service announced that they would be extending temporary closures of Yosemite Valley, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Wawona Road, and Big Oak Flat Road from Yosemite Valley to Crane Flat through Friday, August 3 Sunday, August 5. Park officials made the decision to close parts of the park last week due to public health concerns related to extreme smoke from the Ferguson Fire. Highway 120 through the park, also known as the Tioga Road, remains open.

Firefighters are working day and night to contain the Ferguson Fire. Photo courtesy of Kari Greer.

Conditions permitting, the affected areas are scheduled to re-open and 4:00pm on Friday, August 3. The park will continue to assess conditions and reevaluate all closures on Sunday, August 5. Be sure to check current conditions before heading into the park.

In addition to these closures (more…)

Parts of Yosemite National Park closed due to wildfire

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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On Tuesday, July 24, National Park Service officials announced that Yosemite Valley, Wawona, and the Mariposa Grove would close temporarily due to the Ferguson Fire burning just west of the park boundary.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite Valley. Photo courtesy of Inciweb.

In addition, both the park’s South Entrance (Highway 41) and the Arch Rock Entrance (Highway 140) are closed. The closure took effect Wednesday at noon and is expected to last until at least Sunday, July 29. Tuolumne Meadows, the Tioga Road (Highway 120), and Hetch Hetchy remain open. (more…)

Help remove invasive plants at Mono Lake

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 by Anna, Mono Lake Intern
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One of the important goals of the Mono Lake Committee is restoration, and one thing we do to restore the area is removing invasive plants. And you can help too!

This could be you! Happy volunteers remove invasive plants with Ann Howald in 2016. Photo by Sandra Noll.

We’re hosting several mornings of invasive plant removals this summer. To start them off, we are lucky to be joined by two guest naturalists: Joe Woods and Ann Howald.

Saturday, July 28, 8:00–11:00am
with invasive plant removal specialist Joe Woods

Wednesday, August 8, 8:00–11:00am
with botanist Ann Howald

Joe has a background in invasive plant removal, and has helped with many removal events in the past. Ann is (more…)

Early bird special for Mono Lake canoe tours

Sunday, July 22nd, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator
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Each weekend the Mono Lake Interns wake with the sun and meet at 6:30am, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready for a day of paddling on Mono Lake. When they arrive at Navy Beach, they are almost always greeted by a calm, glassy lake and an empty parking lot.

Early morning is one of the best times to enjoy Mono Lake, especially from a canoe. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Mono Lake in the early morning is a magical place: the Sierra Crest is lit up by first light and its image is reflected on the lake’s still surface (more…)

Wildfires affect air quality in the Mono Basin and Yosemite National Park

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018 by Alison, Canoe Coordinator
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The sky remains hazy in the Eastern Sierra as smoke from two wildfires continues to affect air quality.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire in Mono Basin. Photo by Eric Bergdoll.

The Ferguson Fire started on Friday, July 13 and is currently burning over 21,000 acres in the Sierra National Forest just west of Yosemite National Park near the small community of El Portal. Highway 140 is closed, cutting off access to Yosemite via the Arch Rock Entrance. Air quality monitoring in Yosemite Valley rated the air quality as unhealthy or even (more…)

Join us on a free bird walk!

Tuesday, July 10th, 2018 by Nigel, Birding Intern
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Looking for something fun to do on a weekend morning in the Mono Basin? The Mono Lake Committee and California State Parks offer free bird walks at 8:00am every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout the summer. Join a naturalist for a leisurely 2-hour excursion through some of the most productive bird habitats in the area. The Friday and Sunday morning walks are at Mono Lake County Park, and the Saturday morning walk explores Lundy Canyon. All experience levels are welcome! We’ll provide loaner binoculars if you don’t have a pair.

The lush riparian habitat at County Park is a great place to spot Western Tanagers. Photo by Sandra Noll.

Fridays and Sundays: Meet at Mono Lake County Park (5–10 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 5 miles, then turn right on Cemetery Road (signs for County Park/Mono Lake Access). Follow Cemetery Road for a 1/2-mile to the parking lot on the right.

Saturdays: Meet at the Lundy Lake Resort (15 minute drive from Lee Vining). Take Highway 395 north from Lee Vining for 7 miles, then turn left on Lundy Lake Road. Follow the Lundy Lake Road for 5 miles to the Lundy Lake Resort, where you can park on the shoulder just before the main cluster of buildings.

For more information, contact the Mono Lake Committee at (760) 647-6595, stop by the Information Center and Bookstore in Lee Vining, or email Birding Intern Nigel. We hope to see you out in the field!

Scanning for birds along Cemetery Road at County Park. Photo by Erv Nichols.

Fire restrictions to take effect July 2 on BLM land

Sunday, July 1st, 2018 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Beginning Monday, July 2, the Bureau of Land Management will implement fire restrictions throughout Mono and Inyo counties. These restrictions are put in place each year to protect local communities and our public lands from wildfire.

In 2016 the Marina Fire burned just north of Lee Vining. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

Restrictions include: (more…)

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