On June 26 of last year, 30 filmmakers descended on Yosemite National Park to take part in a very interesting project. They spread out across the park’s 761,000 acres in an effort to capture the essence of a single day in that iconic place. They shot footage of the landscapes, wildlife, visitors and staff. They managed to record images from that day that were both sprawling in scope as well as intimate and personal. And at the end of the day, everything they captured on film was turned over to Steven Bumgardner, the park’s official videographer, who compiled everything into the stunning short film that you’ll find below.
Yosemite’s Half Dome is one of the most popular and iconic sites in the entire U.S. National Park system. It is so popular in fact that in 2010 the Park Service was forced to institute a provisional set of guidelines that required hikers to have a permit before attempting to make the long trek to the top. Last week the NPS announced that the temporary system would now become permanent, limiting the number of hikers to just 300 per day.
Prior to the permit system being instituted in 2010, the number of hikers on the Half Dome trail were often excessive. During the peak season the 14-mile route would often average more than 400 hikers on weekdays and as many as 1200 on holidays and weekends. This caused overcrowding, particularly on the 400-foot ascent to the summit, which employs a series of cables to help hikers safely climb to the top. Traffic jams were not uncommon on that stretch of the hike due to the steep and physically demanding nature of the trail. Those delays could often prove dangerous as long lines of people waited for hours for their chance to climb the granite dome.
In an effort to improve safety on the trail and preserve the natural environment around Half Dome, the NPS decided that a permit system would be a wise choice. When they launched the system nearly three years ago the daily limit was set to 450 hikers, but in their announcement last week, the Park Service has reduced that number to 300. About 225 of those would be day hikers while the remaining 75 would be allotted to backpackers.In addition to limiting the number of daily hikers, the Park Service is also using a lottery system to award most of the permits. The preseason application for the permits will open March 1 and run through March 31 and will be available at Recreation.gov. The winners of those permits will be alerted by email on April 15, so if you’re planning on hiking Half Dome this year, it may be wise to select your dates ahead of time and apply for your permits early. The cost of the permit is $4.50 for the application and an additional $8 per person if the permit is actually awarded. An additional 50 permits will be available in a daily lottery up to two days ahead of time throughout the rest of the year.
While this permanent permit system puts serious limitations on the number of people who get to enjoy Half Dome on any given day, I think it’s safe to say those limitations are for the best. Not only do they make the trail safer, they also provide a lot more solitude for those who get to walk it. That makes for a better experience in Yosemite, which is something I think we can all appreciate.
[Photo Credit: Av9 via WikiMedia]
It continues to be bad news for the National Park Service as it struggles to deal with an outbreak of the hantavirus that was traced back to Yosemite National Park. The number of visitors who may have been exposed to the potentially deadly virus continues to rise dramatically and the NPS now says that it has alerted more than 230,000 people to the threat. That is significantly more than was originally suspected when this story first broke in late August.
When news of the outbreak was first revealed there were four confirmed cases that resulted in two fatalities. After an initial investigation, it was discovered that each of those patients had one thing in common: they had all spent time in the “signature” tent cabins at Yosemite’s Curry Village. Since that initial outbreak, the number of confirmed cases has doubled to eight with the virus claiming a third life as well.
Last week the Park Service announced that was expanding its warning message to more than 10,000 visitors from as many as 39 countries. Those travelers who were potentially exposed were sent letters and emails urging them to seek immediate medical assistance if they started to experience flu-like symptoms. It can take anywhere from one to six weeks for the virus to show those early warning signs and if caught early the victim can usually be saved.
In addition to the visitors who may have stayed at Curry Village, the Park Service is now sending additional warnings to others who may have spent the night at the High Sierra Loop campsite as well. The warnings extend to anyone who may have visited either location between June 10 and August 24 of this year.
The hantavirus is carried by rodents such as squirrels and mice. It spreads to humans when we breathe in contaminated dust particles left behind by the animals’ saliva, urine or fecal matter. It is believed that mice had crawled inside the walls of the tents in the Yosemite campsites and left such waste behind. When travelers stayed in those tents they were inadvertently exposed to the disease.
The National Park Service continues to maintain a help line for anyone who has concerns regarding the Hantavirus. They can be reached at 209-372-0822 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. You can also find out more information on the Hantavirus in Yosemite webpage and in the Hantavirus FAQ.
[Photo Credit: Ben Margot/Associated Press]
Last week we told you about an outbreak of the Hantavirus in Yosemite National Park that resulted in the deaths of two people with a possible exposure to hundreds more. Now the true scope of that exposure is becoming more clear as the National Park Service has warned that as many as ten thousand people may be at risk. Worse yet, the NPS says that 2500 of those could be from up to 39 different countries around the globe.
The first cases of the virus, which is carried by mice, squirrels and other rodents, were traced back to Yosemite’s Curry Village, a camp ground of sorts that featured a number of tent cabins. The initial health warning for the disease went out to 3100 people who stayed in those tents between June 10 and August 24 of this year. The letter urged anyone who felt ill with flu-like symptoms to seek immediate medical attention. So far there have been six confirmed cases including the two fatalities.
Park officials are now blaming the exposure to the virus on a design flaw in the tent cabins they use at Curry Village. That flaw allowed mice to get inside the walls of shelters where they would leave droppings and other waste. The disease spreads through exposure to those droppings, as well as saliva and urine from the infected rodent, and can take anywhere from one to six weeks for the first symptoms to manifest. There is no cure for the Hantavirus, although early detection greatly increases the chance of survival.
The National Park Service continues to maintain a help line for anyone who has concerns regarding the Hantavirus. They can be reached at 209-372-0822 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.
The National Park Service is scrambling to deal with an outbreak of the deadly hantavirus in Yosemite National Park after two people who recently visited the region contracted the disease and died. So far there have been three confirmed cases of the virus and a fourth suspected case. Park officials fear that potentially hundreds of visitors may have been exposed, however, prompting them to release a statement on NPS.gov earlier this week.
That statement warned visitors who may have stayed in Yosemite’s Curry Village campsite to take extra caution in dealing with the symptoms, which can be easily mistaken for the flu. Early warning signs include a fever and muscle aches throughout the body, but the Park Service memo says that those symptoms can quickly escalate into a more life-threatening illness. Anyone who has visited Curry Village between mid-June and the end of August is advised to seek immediate medial assistance if they exhibit any of the symptoms.
The hantavirus is typically carried by rodents, such as mice, rats or squirrels who initially contract the disease from fleas. It can be passed on to humans through bites, although it more commonly spreads when people are exposed to locations in which the rodents have left urine and droppings. Particles of those waste products can sometimes be breathed in, resulting in possible exposure. The virus can appear anywhere from one to six weeks later.
In response to this outbreak, park officials have implemented rolling closures of the cabins at Curry Village so that they could each be given a thorough cleaning. They’ve also started trapping more deer mice, a common rodent in the area, to check for elevated levels of the hantavirus in the species.
Anyone who has questions or concerns over the virus are encouraged to call 209-372-0822 for more information. The number is staffed 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.
[Photo Credit: Ben Margot/Associated Press]