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Thread: yosemite update

  1. #1
    Drew Wiley
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    yosemite update

    Latest announcement : Yosemite open for day use only the next three weeks. No facilities open; no shuttle bus. Sounds like a good thing to me; but I probably won't be able to get there anytime soon.

  2. #2
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: yosemite update

    Curious. What are all the government workers doing when these places are shut down? Vacation?

  3. #3
    Foamer
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    Re: yosemite update

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Latest announcement : Yosemite open for day use only the next three weeks. No facilities open; no shuttle bus. Sounds like a good thing to me; but I probably won't be able to get there anytime soon.


    Why would they care if small groups were out backpacking?


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: yosemite update

    Depends on what's defined as a group. But where would one backpack this time of year? Any sudden change in weather and it becomes a backcountry ski or snowshoe trip with serious avalanche risk. The groomed cross-country ski area is closed. When my nephew lived with me and was contemplating a climbing career, which in fact transpired for about a decade, we bumped into a friend of mine who was then one of the superstars of extreme Himalayan climbing, who had recently returned from K2, and my nephew asked him if he liked to train doing winter backcountry travel in the Sierra - "No, no, no, no.... too dangerous!", he replied in his thick Basque accent.

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: yosemite update

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Why would they care if small groups were out backpacking? Kent in SD
    Probably the #1 reason: To avoid search and rescue situations in times of a pandemic.
    Curious. What are all the government workers doing when these places are shut down? Vacation?
    Work does not disappear just because visitors are not around. Maintenance and improvement projects continue. The roads need to be cleared. Planning, training, payroll and all that continues. Right now, much of the seasonal workforce is gone...trail workers are not needed in the winter, for example.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: yosemite update

    Alan - Nearly all of our mountain National Parks and Wilderness Areas are almost completely shut down every year by sheer force of nature. Most of the range is inaccessible due to deep snow. Even at the moment with a drought, roads are difficult to keep open, and any inevitable deep winter snowfall after a freezing rain brings severe avalanche hazard. Ordinarily, only the two interstate highways 50 and 80 are kept open over the top of the range, and even they close at times; and other roads are open only as far as the ski resorts.
    People who do backcountry ski trips generally do so in Spring when the snow is more consolidated, but the risk varies year to year. Once the melt begins, trying to cross runoff is an even greater hazard. Due to these variables, certain staff are reassigned to others duties off-season, while Wilderness Rangers are mostly only seasonal, and might have different jobs like school teaching the rest of the year. The virus situation further complicates this.
    Yosemite Valley itself is somewhat unique in being relatively low elevation and facing west; for this reason, it has been inhabited for millennia. But everything around it except to the west is much higher and covered with snow much longer. I should be able to see snow on the mountains today from our local ridges, from 150 miles away.

  7. #7

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    Re: yosemite update

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    Curious. What are all the government workers doing when these places are shut down? Vacation?
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    ...Work does not disappear just because visitors are not around. Maintenance and improvement projects continue. The roads need to be cleared. Planning, training, payroll and all that continues. Right now, much of the seasonal workforce is gone...trail workers are not needed in the winter, for example.
    Enforcing shutdown rules also belongs on the list of work that still needs to be done.

  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: yosemite update

    Sal, even in the Summer it was a hopeless task due to Park understaffing. They had people who got sick and had to isolate too, as well as staff shortages due to office distancing mandates. Jerks took advantage of that to get around routine backcountry rules long in place to protect abused sensitive areas, and piled in, right at the worst possible time when large fires were breaking out and terribly overloading backcountry search and rescue operations. I went through a lot of trouble myself just trying to track down a couple of friends back there somewhere off trail and potentially in real trouble. They got separated and had a close call, but both eventually made it out mere hours before a shift in winds would have brought really serious smoke inhalation issues.

  9. #9

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    Re: yosemite update

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Sal, even in the Summer it was a hopeless task due to Park understaffing...
    Understood, but my post responded to Alan's question that I inferred was intended to convey "wasteful" overstaffing during the shutdown.

  10. #10
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: yosemite update

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    Understood, but my post responded to Alan's question that I inferred was intended to convey "wasteful" overstaffing during the shutdown.
    You're correct. I was thinking of all those people in private industry who were laid off because there was nothing or less to do because of shutdowns. So I'm wondering what happens with all the government workers who were sent home because of shutdowns. Many I'm sure, stayed home doing nothing with full pay. Nice work if you can get it.

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