San Francisco Chronicle
Yosemite allowing visitors again to Mariposa Grove’s redwoods
Mariposa Grove, the famous collection of giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park, reopened to visitors Wednesday morning. It had been closed since being ravaged by 100 mph winds in January.
Fierce windstorms at the start of the year that toppled 15 trees and damaged facilities across the park forced Yosemite to shut down for nearly two weeks. Mariposa, a popular tourist destination located just inside the park’s south entrance at Wawona, took the brunt of it.
Fifteen of the grove’s approximately 500 giant sequoias were blown down along with sugar pines and white firs. Trees fell across the grove’s boardwalks, destroyed restrooms and blocked trails. Repairs were initially estimated to cost $200 million.
On Wednesday, the National Park Service announced that the grove is once again open, but with limited services.
Shuttle buses that run from a parking lot to the grove will be out of operation for the season, meaning tree lovers will have to hike 4 miles round trip to get to the sequoias.
“With the restrooms in the grove destroyed, operating the shuttle would bring in more people than we could accommodate with portable toilets,” Yosemite National Park’s
Twitter feed announced.
There are restrooms and drinking water at the welcome area near the south entrance but the grove’s arrival area will have only portable toilets and no drinking water available. The park service recommends people pack water for the hike. Or, they can ride bikes along the 2mile paved road to the arrival area, but not on trails in the grove.
Once in the grove, the main, milelong trail to Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree remains closed due to storm damage; hikers can access them via a service road. All other trails are open but not all the downed trees have been cleared.