California’s relentless winter storms made countless headlines this past season, including a temporary closure of Yosemite National Park that extended through the final week of February and into March. At one point the area saw a record-setting 40 inches of snow fall in a single day, forcing an extension of the park’s then-indefinite closure. Once crews managed debris flows and cleared almost two-dozen rock slides along park roads, the park was reopened to the public with “limited services.”
Almost two months later and well past winter, officials announced more closures at Yosemite stemming from the same series of storms in February and March. All that snow is melting and now the concern is managing floods in certain areas, specifically east of El Capitan crossover.
“Reservations for lodging and campgrounds in eastern Yosemite Valley will automatically be canceled and refunded. Wilderness permits can be rescheduled to alternate trailheads as space allows,” park officials wrote in a closure notice.
The closure is set to start April 28 at 10 p.m. due to the forecast of flooding, a standing rule in Yosemite Valley anytime the Merced River at Pohono Bridge is expected to exceed 10 feet. At that point roads and other critical infrastructure begin flooding, making it unsafe for park visitors in the area. According to the same closure notice, officials expect the Merced River to reach this flood stage off and on through early July, meaning more closures could become a frequent thing well into the summer. This time around the expectation is to keep the closure in place until May 3 but NPS was clear that it could last longer.