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‘Tioga Pass watch’ Category

Tioga Pass “lower gate” will open on Monday, June 19 at 2:00pm

Saturday, June 17th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Caltrans will open the “lower gate” on Highway 120 west, Tioga Pass, on Monday, June 19 at 2:00pm.

This gate will be opened on Monday, June 19, 2017 at 2:00pm. Photo by Elin Ljung.

The lower gate is located 3.5 miles west of Highway 395, and when it is open visitors and locals can access the high country near the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park. The park gate will remain closed; access to Tuolumne Meadows and beyond is still not possible by car.

The area of Tioga Pass around the park gate is still mostly snow-covered, lakes are covered in old unstable ice, and creeks and rivers are running very fast and cold, so be prepared for those conditions if you plan to recreate there once the lower gate is open.

Sonora Pass (Highway 108) opening tomorrow at noon

Thursday, June 8th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Update at 11:24am on Friday: Sonora Pass will not be opening today. Crews will reevaluate tomorrow.

The latest news from Caltrans is that Sonora Pass (Highway 108) is scheduled to open tomorrow, Friday, June 9, at noon. Opening the road is subject to current weather conditions.

The Tioga Pass road at the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park, just before crews plowing from east and west met and punched through. Photo courtesy of Yosemite National Park.

According to the Caltrans email, there is no estimated date for opening Tioga Pass (Highway 120) yet. Caltrans crews plowing from the east have met up with Yosemite National Park crews plowing from the west, and work will now continue to remove snow from the shoulders, remove rocks from the road, and repair any damaged sections of road. In particular, extensive damage occurred to guardrails from the unusually heavy snowpack, so those are being repaired and/or replaced before the road can be opened.

Summer 2017 Mono Lake Newsletter now online

Thursday, June 1st, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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The benchmarks in this issue of the Mono Lake Newsletter show the smallest change in lake level that I think we’ve ever published (see page 13).

Out on the landbridge where we installed the temporary fence to keep the nesting gulls safe, wildlife cameras capture the lake’s rise on some of the very flattest exposed lakebed, so even small changes in lake level are clearly visible. The 2.3-inch-rise shown in the photos is only the beginning this year.

After five years of streams slowing to a trickle and Mono Lake dropping, this is a year of renewal and revival for the Mono Basin’s resilient natural systems. Streams are overflowing their banks, meadows are flooded, and thirsty cottonwoods are plunging their roots into the saturated soil. Mono Lake is rising fast—water is lapping higher on the tufa towers and salt-tolerant plants along the shore now have wet feet.

It’s a year of benchmarks for human-engineered systems too. Grant Lake Reservoir will flow over the spillway, too full to contain the immense volumes of snowmelt from the upper Rush Creek watershed. Mono Lake will sequentially flood the posts of the temporary fence, shortening the length needed to protect the gulls. Salty lake water will change the paths at South Tufa, forcing visitors to walk higher above the new shore.

This is a year not to be missed. It has already joined the ranks of other big years: 1969, 1983, 1995 … 2017.

So come to Mono Lake, find a spot on the shore, and take note. The water’s edge wasn’t there yesterday, and it won’t be there tomorrow—Mono Lake is refilling before our eyes. At the end of your stay in the Mono Basin, return to your benchmark spot and see how the shoreline has changed. You’ll be able to say that you were here during the amazing summer of 2017 and saw it happening.

Tioga Pass: Memorial Day weekend update

Thursday, May 25th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Tioga Pass will not be open for this holiday weekend, and there is still no estimated opening date. But plowing crews have rounded the corner near Ellery Lake, making good progress toward the Yosemite National Park entrance gate.

A photo from Sunday, May 21, 2017 taken at Ellery Lake looking back east at Ellery Bowl with bikers for scale. Photo courtesy of Nathan Taylor.

Warm weather is aiding the crews as they work, but avalanches remain a hazard. As work progresses, pedestrians, bicyclists, skiers, etc. are advised to stay out of these areas (the photos in this post were taken on a Sunday, when crews do not work). (more…)

Tioga Pass from the air

Monday, May 8th, 2017 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Caltrans just sent out a video of a flyover of Tioga Pass, filmed last Monday, May 1. The video shows the road from low in Lee Vining Canyon to the eastern gate to Yosemite National Park; there is no sound in the video.

There is no estimated opening date for Tioga Pass, and this video helps to show why. We knew there was a lot of snow up there—it’s exciting to see just how much!

Current conditions in the Inyo National Forest for fishing season opener

Thursday, April 27th, 2017 by Gabrielle, Project Specialist
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Spring has arrived in the Mono Basin, but at the higher elevations roads and lakes are still covered in snow and ice. We know it can be frustrating trying to figure out what is open and what is not at this time of year, so here is a list of current conditions throughout the Inyo National Forest:

Opening day for the fishing season in Mono and Inyo counties is this Saturday, April 29, 2017.

● All lakes below 7,500 feet in elevation and free of ice will be open.
● Lundy Lake is extremely low and there will be no access for boat launching.
● All anglers 16 years or older must have a 2017 California Fishing License which may be purchased online, by clicking here, or by visiting most local tackle shops.

A member of the the Caltrans District 9 Team stands in front of a massive snowbank on Tioga Pass. Photo courtesy of Caltrans District 9.

Visitor centers, roads, and campgrounds: (more…)

Removing snow and rumors along the Tioga Pass Road

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017 by Bartshé, Education Director
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Tioga Pass Road at 8,000' on April 4, 2017.

Snow is minimal below 8,000 feet on the east side of  Highway 120, but snow depth increases exponentially above 8,500 feet. Photo by Bartshé Miller.

As everyone in California knows, it’s been a remarkable year for precipitation. At the highest elevations above Mono Lake in the vicinity of Tioga Pass, we may be facing a snowpack over 200% of average. April 1 snow surveys revealed nearby sites at all-time record snow depth and water content, while other sites, including Tioga Pass itself, fell just short of past record levels. Snow depth in the region likely moved upward with recent April storms, cold temperatures, and generally unsettled spring weather. (more…)

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season: It’s closed again

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 by Elin, Communications Coordinator
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Tioga Pass (Highway 120) has closed for a second time this fall due to inclement weather. There is currently no estimated opening date.

The Tioga Pass road (Highway 120 east) on November 16, 2016. Photo courtesy of @lookatthatwesty on Instagram.

The Tioga Pass road (Highway 120 east) on November 16, 2016. Photo courtesy of @lookatthatwesty on Instagram.

Always check current road conditions and weather before making a trip to the Eastern Sierra, and give us a call for the most current Tioga Pass information: (760) 647-6595.

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … it’s open again

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Highway 120, Tioga Pass, is the only road that enters Yosemite National Park from the east. It closes each winter due to snow. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Highway 120, Tioga Pass, is the only road that enters Yosemite National Park from the east. It closes each winter due to snow. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

Tioga Pass (Highway 120) has reopened after it was closed last week due to snow and ice. Use caution and be sure to check current road conditions and weather before your trip. Overnight parking is currently not permitted anywhere between Tioga Pass and Crane Flat in Yosemite. Last year, Tioga Pass closed for the season on November 1 and the road can close at any time. A reminder that all campgrounds along the Tioga Road are currently closed as are all commercial and visitor services in Tuolumne Meadows.

If you’re coming over Tioga Pass, be sure to stop by the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining to say hello and learn more about what’s happening at Mono Lake and start your holiday shopping—we have a great selection of gifts for everyone on your list. We hope to see you soon!

It’s Tioga Pass flip-flop season … now it’s closed

Saturday, October 29th, 2016 by Andrew, Project Specialist
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Tioga Pass (Highway 120) has closed due to inclement weather. There is currently no estimated opening date.

Another storm is also moving through the area on Sunday and a winter weather advisory has been issued for Mono County from 11am to 11pm Sunday. Light rain and snow are expected Sunday morning, followed by more intense rain and snow in the afternoon and evening. Chain controls are possible above 7,000 feet in the Eastern Sierra, including on Highway 395 and SR 203 (in Mammoth Lakes).  Use caution when driving and be sure to allow for plenty of extra time and check current road conditions and weather before your trip.

In this photo from May 2016, it’s easy to see why the Tioga Road closes each winter. In 2015, Tioga Road closed on November 1. Photo by Andrew Youssef.

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