Posted on April 7, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Reintroduction part of overall bighorn sheep recovery effort
Bighorn sheep are released into Yosemite National Park and the Cathedral Range in late March, 2015. Photo courtesy Yosemite Conservancy/Steve Bumgardner.
FRISCO — It took 100 years, but bighorn sheep have returned to high country of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, as federal and state biologists last month transplanted small herds of the mammals to their new homes.
Between March 26 and March 29, 2015, nine ewes and three rams were moved from the Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Park to the Cathedral Range in Yosemite National Park. In addition, seven ewes were moved to the Laurel Creek area of Sequoia National Park, with plans to relocated three rams to that area.
The Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep is the only federally endangered mammal in Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon. The species was listed in 2000 after the population plunged to just 100 individuals. Since then, the population has since increased to more than 600. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, public lands, Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, wildlife, Yosemite National Park | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 28, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Just 50 Sierra Nevada red foxes remain in the wild
A Sierra Nevada red fox. Photo courtesy USFWS.
FRISCO — One of the rarest mammals in the American West may be making a comeback in the Sierra Nevada. Yosemite National Park biologists this week confirmed a sighting of a Sierra Nevada red fox in the northern reaches of the park — the first the speices has been seen in Yosemite for nearly 100 years.
“We are thrilled to hear about the sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox, one of the most rare and elusive animals in the Sierra Nevada,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher. “National parks like Yosemite provide habitat for all wildlife and it is encouraging to see that the red fox was sighted in the park.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been considering endangered species protection for the species since late 2011. There are only two known populations, one near Mt. Lassen and the other near Sonora Pass, just north of Yosemite, with a total population estimated at about 50 individuals. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, endangered species, public lands, Sierra Nevada red fox, Yosemite National Park | 1 Comment »
Posted on May 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Badlands National Park — not a place for drones.
Yosemite, Zion national parks issue reminders on aircraft regulations
FRISCO — Citing impacts to wildlife and other concerns, the National Park Service has cracked down on the use drones in Yosemite and Zion national parks under existing rules that regulate aircraft in the parks.
According to a press release from Yosemite National Park, drone use has skyrocketed the past few years, as visitors use them to film rock climbers and to get other aerial footage. Along with concerns about impacts to nesting raptors, park service officials said drones can impact the natural soundscape, which the agency is required to protect. Continue reading
Filed under: national parks, public lands | Tagged: drones, national parks, Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 29, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Your lands: 84 million acres, 17,000 miles of trails
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — This year, you’ll have nine chances for a fee-free visit to one of America’s 401 national parks, starting as soon as Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20, 2014). The park service recently announced the 2014 schedule of free days, offering the fee-free visits as a way to encourage visitation.
The 2014 entrance fee-free days are:
Filed under: national parks, Travel | Tagged: Crater Lake National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, national parks, public lands, Travel, Yosemite National Park | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Fire and water crucial to big-tree ecosystem
Giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park.
FRISCO — With an eye toward an uncertain climate future, national park resource managers are finalizing a restoration plan for the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park.
The stand of about 500 trees was included in the Yosemite Grant that was signed into law on June 30, 1864. This marked the first time the federal government set aside land for protection and is considered to be the genesis of the national park idea. The Mariposa Grove are among the oldest, rarest, and largest living organisms in the world. The trees can live longer than 3,000 years.
About a third of the sequoias in California were cut between the the 1860s and 1950s. Studies suggest that the distribution of the trees is driven by climate, constrained by cold temperatures at upper elevations and limited by the availability of water at low elevations.
In the restoration plan, scientists say restoring natural hydrological and fire cycles is the key to success, since sequoia germination, establishment and persistence are largely driven by fire and hydrology. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Forest health, forests, national parks, public lands | Tagged: Mariposa Grove, sequoia restoration, Sequoiadendron giganteum, Yosemite National Park | Leave a comment »
Posted on July 16, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Between 80 and 90 percent of dead fishers in study area found with traces of rodenticides
Marijuana growing on national forest land near Winter Park Ski Area.
A rare fisher. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —While comic book characters like the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers may live up to the stereotype of Earth-loving hippies, the reality of pot-growing on public lands is far uglier.
In a new study, UC Davis researchers found that rat poison deployed by illegal marijuana growers is killing rare forest mammals like the fisher, which makes its home in some of California’s most remote backcountry terrain.
Fishers in California, Oregon and Washington have been declared a candidate species for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act.
“I am really shocked by the number of fishers that have been exposed to significant levels of multiple second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides,” said pathologist Leslie Woods of the UC Davis California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, which conducted the necropsies. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: California, endangered species, Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, fisher, Humboldt County, illegal marijuana farming, Rodenticide, Sierra Nevada, wildlife, Yosemite National Park | 2 Comments »
Posted on September 6, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
The General Sherman giant sequoia, considered to be the world's largest living entity.
National Park Service eyes improved hydrology and better visitor access in plan for Mariposa Grove
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A grove of giant sequoias that’s been growing for 3,000 years in Yosemite National Park may soon be even more peaceful. The National Park Service wants to restore natural streams in the area, remove man-made structures, relocate parking and roads and preserve the soil and vegetation around the ancient giants by re-routing trails in the Mariposa Grove.
For starters, the agency has launched a public scoping period on the plan, which is designed to try and identify broad-brush issues. The scoping started Aug. 31 and runs through Oct. 15. Get all the details on the project on this Yosemite National Park website.
The Mariposa Grove is the largest of the three giant sequoia groves in Yosemite National Park and was part of the original Yosemite Grant signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 (the rest of the grant included Yosemite Valley). It was the first time in the country’s history that a natural area was set aside for the benefit of future generations.
The giant sequoias are considered to be the largest living thing on the planet. Some are up to 35 feet in diameter and up to 300 feet in height. There are approximately 500 mature sequoia trees in the grove. They are found only on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada in California, growing in a belt only about 15 miles mid and 260 miles long. In all, the groves cover about 35,000 acres. A fact sheet on the Mariposa Grove is online here. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, national parks, public lands, Summit County news | Tagged: biodiversity, Environment, giant sequoias, Mariposa grove restoration, National Park Service, Travel and Tourism, United States, Yosemite National Park | Leave a comment »