Combing the meadows

Yosemite National Park stretches across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, spanning nearly 1,200 square miles. Our nation’s third national park, Yosemite is widely known for its magnificent rock formations, grassy meadows, crystal-clear streams, majestic waterfalls, rushing rivers, ancient giant sequoia trees, and abundant wildlife.

Over 90% of the park is designated as wilderness, providing a phenomenal variety of growing conditions and habitat for more than 1,450 native plant species.

Our ninth year service project will take place June 5-11, 2016 in the beautiful Hetch Hetchy section of the park. Carved by glaciers and drained by the Tuolumne river, the Hetch Hetchy Valley lies in the northwestern part of Yosemite National Park and contains some of the tallest waterfalls in North America: Wapama Falls, at 1,700 ft (520 m), and Tueeulala Falls, at 840 ft (260 m).

Western Salsify

Our continuing project in Yosemite is removal of several species of invasive weeds such as wooly mullein, bull thistle and western salsify. These invasive plants have the potential to rapidly displace native plants, alter fire regimes, and/or significantly alter ecosystem structure or function.

Common mullein

Because of the complex ecological relationships among native organisms, impacts to native plant communities can negatively affect associated wildlife throughout Yosemite. Invasive plants are prioritized for control based upon the threat they pose and the park’s capabilities for successful control. Find out more about non-native species in Yosemite and what you can do to help here.

Project participants will hike in approximately 6.5 miles around the northern shore of the Hetch Hetchy reservoir to Rancheria Falls and set up a basecamp. The hike in is a scenic treat with a modest elevation gain that includes hiking over a dam, through a short tunnel, across a few foot bridges, under some spectacular waterfalls, and maybe even a mist rainbow or two.

Hiking along the reservoir

Wapama Falls
A refreshing mist rainbow
A visitor in camp

From our basecamp we will hike approximately 3 miles to and from grassy meadows in the area each day to work. We’ll also likely conduct a day of campsite restoration in the backpackers camp ground at Rancheria Falls. The Park Service will provide pack support to carry the tools, food and commissary gear to camp.

Weed warriors!

Come spend a week in beautiful Yosemite National Park and give something back to our nation’s wild lands with Wilderness Volunteers! You can get more information and register for our Yosemite project here. For information about our other 2016 projects visit our website. See more great photos from previous WV Yosemite service projects over at the WV Photo Gallery.

Hiking to work