Yosemite West Property &
|Items In the News|
| Labor day 2017 barbeque and members' annual meeting |
Held at noon on the pre-holiday Sunday 9/3/2017. Agenda includes updates regarding county Utility (Water, Sewer, Roads) Rate proposal, voting on proposed By-Laws amendment to clarify definition of "YWPHI Member", and election of 4 members to YWPHI's Board-of-Directors. The meeting is open to members and non-members. The barbeque&meeting will be beside 7595 Azalea Lane (off Henness Circle). As always, please bring your own chair and a side-dish to share.
|2017-2018 annual membership dues|
Dues paid before 8/31/2017 are $35 per year, and dues paid after 9/1/2017 are $50 per year. Either payment is valid for 1 year. See Membership dues form for address for mailed payments or PayPal.
|2016 and 2017 CAL FIRE Fuel Reduction Grants|
Thanks again to the great work of John Mock and Kimberley O'Neil, Yosemite West was rewarded grants for nearly $300,000 for 2016+2017. Over 1200 dead trees have been felled in 2017 to reduce fire danger. Read more on the grants page.
| Memorial day 2017 barbeque |
Held at noon on the pre-holiday Sunday 5/28/2017.
Guest speaker: Larry Harris from Mariposa County Public Works.
Topic: "Process for Utility (Water, Sewer, Roads) Rates adjustment in compliance with California Proposition 218 law"
|California Tree-Mortality Task force|
Mariposa County's Board of Supervisors is working under the Governor’s Tree Mortality Task Force to address affordability of Fire Insurance. Data to educate Fire Insurance policy makers is being collected via a non-profit organization data-gathering survey. Please help us ensure that Yosemite West's insurance issues are included in the results by adding your anonymous response to California Home Insurance Survey Spring 2017
|Fire grant for 2017 awarded. Sign up by 5/1/2017|
A 2017 fire grant was awarded on 12/2/2016. Final signoffs were received 12/20/2016. The next step is for property owners to sign up by submitting a Letter of Commitment. Thanks to Kim O'Neil for the great work in securing this additional grant for Yosemite West fire safety.
In November 2016, the new YWPHI president (Ted Williams) sent a paper mail Welcome Letter to >50 new property owners in the Yosemite West community, inviting them to join YWPHI. We have received about a dozen new members so far. Current members are encouraged to invite their neighbors to join YWPHI to stay informed and to have a forum to address community concerns.
|Mariposa County Public Works Rate-Study|
On 7/16/2015, the Public Works department commissioned a Rate-Study for Mariposa County special districts including the water, sewer, and roads within the Yosemite West Maintenance District (YWMD). The Rate-Study will make recommendations to adjust utility rates to be consistent with a 5-year outlook of the service and maintenance costs needed by the YWMD. Any coming proposed rate changes will need to go through a Prop 218 approval ballot process by laws applicable to the YWMD special district. The county stated at the YWMD advisory committee meeting on 6/8/2017 that the proposals are still being iterated to be more reasonable before being ready to present publicly. When information and a proposal are available, YWPHI will facilitate communication to all community owners.
|Potential development of 44 acres near YW mailboxes|
Owner “Yosemite West Associates, Inc.” (related descendant entity to "Yosemite Highlands" that filed for the original Yosemite West subdivision in 1967) is now taking steps for sale or further development of Parcel A (15 acres north of YW mailboxes), Parcel B (7 acres south of mailboxes and east of Henness), and Parcel C (32 acres west of mailboxes). See map. An initial action is listed in the minutes of the Mariposa Planning Commission meeting on 12/2/2016, along with the Mariposa Planning Staff response to public comments. All 3 Parcels are currently each zoned for single-family residential use, but the Parcels do not participate in the water and sewer facilities of the Yosemite West Maintenance District.
|Yosemite West Legal Committee (YWLC) successful completion and return of remaining retainer|
During 2015-2016, Mariposa County completed the actions recommended by a detailed Financial Analysis to unravel and correct the County accounting of the 2004 assessments on properties within YWMD. A Letter has been posted, thanking the YWLC donors and listing the recoveries to YWMD. The remaining retainer funds are being proportionately returned by Cota-Cole to individual donors who gave $300 or more, and the $3000 advanced from YWPHI in 2013 will be returned and segregated on YWPHI books, dedicated for future legal needs of benefit to the Yosemite West Community.
|Local Snow Plow driver recruitment|
Because full-time county employees must drive from Mariposa when snow plowing is required, the Public Works department has now authorized hiring local resident drivers for intermittent hourly plowing in YW to provide initial response to conditions until full-time county staff arrives with larger equipment. Potential applicants are encouraged to serve the community by responding to the job posting.
|Fire grant for 2016 can begin tree work|
The 2016 fire grant was awarded back in 3/2016, and all lot owners’ participation approved, but was stalled waiting for Cal-Fire approval of CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) exemption until its final signoff on 12/20/2016. Funds from this $98,842 grant can now be spent for felling trees once weather allows. The grant will also pay for chipping, with a future decision as to whether to chip existing piles or make a new announcement targeting 5/30/2017.
|Garbage Letter to Community|
Proper handling of Garbage continues to be a problem. Please read 2016 notice Garbage letter to community
All rental owners need to ensure that guests are informed how to dispose of garbage legally. Any garbage left outside of dumpsters will attract animal nuisance and risk requiring killing of bears that become habituated.
|YWPHI dues will be $50 per year starting 9/1/2017|
Annual dues for YWPHI were raised to $50 by vote of the full membership on 9/4/2016.
|Yosemite West Legal Committee (YWLC) status report |
A posted 10/15/2015 report summarized the purpose and status of the YWLC formed in 2013 to ensure Mariposa County follows proper legal process under Prop 218 law for proposed rate changes affecting utility rates for Yosemite West Maintenance District properties. Notices of Violation for the YW sewer have been corrected. Until the Waste Water Treatment Facility's effluent systems are confirmed sufficient for 60000 gallons per day, the county will not allow building permits greater than 1 EDU (Equivalent Dwelling Unit) plumbing per house.
|Public Works Update on Yosemite West water & sewer issues|
On February 6, 2014, Mariposa County Public Works Director Peter Rei sent an update on the status of our water and sewer systems. Public Works is required to prepare quarterly reports by the State Water Board. Read the report here.
|County Supervisors discuss external audit of Yosemite West sewer finances|
On January 7, 2014, the Board of Supervisors discussed hiring an outside independent auditor to conduct an analysis of the finances of our 2004 Assessment and repairs to our Wastewater Treatment Facility. Read extracts from the Board Minutes here.
|County Supervisors discuss Yosemite West water & sewer issues|
On December 10 and December 17, 2013, Mariposa County Board of Supervisors held substantial discussion and public comment on YW water and sewer issues. Read extracts from the Board Minutes here and here.
|Memorial Day and Labor Day events|
YWPHI's Memorial Day Picnic will be Sunday May 25, 2014 at noon, and the Labor Day Potluck Brunch & Annual Meeting is planned for Sunday, August 31, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.
|Labor Day Potluck Brunch & Annual Meeting|
YWPHI's annual Labor Day Potluck Brunch & Annual Meeting will be Sunday, September 1, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. It will be at the Stepien's home, 7595 Azalea Lane (off Henness Circle). As always, please bring your own chair and a dish to share (and maybe some ice as well). See the newsletter for more details.
We just published a new issue of In the West, our community newsletter. You should receive a copy by email or you can read it online here.
|2013 Grand Jury Final Report|
The 2012-2013 Mariposa County Grand Jury issue its finaly report, which is available on the county website. It includes their recommendation to carry over the Yosemite West Wastewater Treatment Plant investigation to the next grand jury and a separate report by the YW Maintenance Advisory Committee's Ad Hoc Committee. We've also cached a copy of the report here.
|YWPHI sponsors free chipping for the community|
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve space in our free community chipping program. The crew will be chipping on Monday, June 17th, 2013, but you need to reserve space early and have your piles flagged ahead of time. They'll be chipping branches that are bigger than kindling but not bigger than than 8 inches in diameter. Do your part to stay fire safe!
|Fire Season Begins|
Yosemite National Park has announced that the 2013 season officially begins on Monday, May 20, 2013. This is the earliest opening in the last five years, and it's a very dry year. Review our resident's guide for a refresher on steps you can take to protect your property and the community.
|Maintenance Governance Updates|
The Board of Supervisors is expected to approve an ad-hoc committee today that will meet more frequently to review our infrastructure issues and report back to the Board with recommendations for resolving the issues. We have an excerpt of the agenda.
Also, the full minutes for the February 5, 2013 study session has been published. This includes many important documents and reports, summaries of what public speakers said, and written statements from YWPHI and local residents. If you're curious was was said or submitted, see the full minutes.
|YWMDAC Special Meeting|
Peter Rei announced a Special Meeting of the Yosemite West Maintenance District Advisory Committee will be held Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 2pm in the Wawona Library. An agenda has been public and is available for download. The meeting is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.
|Emergency Preparedness Plan Meeting|
Don Florence, Mariposa County's Emergency Planner along with YNP Fire Chief Kellie Martin, Mariposa County Fire Chief Jim Wilson, and YNP District Rangers and others, will be presenting an information roll out for the Emergency Preparedness Plan for Yosemite West on Saturday, February 16th at 1pm at 7304 Buck Brush Lane. Please come ready to partake in this information roll out. Refreshments will be provided, but you might want to bring a chair!
|Interim Grand Jury report on WWTF|
The Mariposa County Grand Jury has released an interim report on the Yosemite West Waste Water Treatment Facility. It is available for download
|Boil Notice Rescinded Jan 28, 2013|
The boil notice from Jan 19, 2013 has been recinded. It is no longer necessary to boil your drinking water. The full notice is available for download.
|Boil Notice Jan 19, 2013|
You likely received a CodeRED call or posted written notice that a boil notice is in effect until further notice effective January 19, 2013. The public works notice has an anticipated resolution date of January 25, 2013. Unofficially, we've heard that the computer controlling the water storage pump(s) failed and the water storage tanks ran dry. Regulations apparently require a boil notice after this occurrs.
|Attend a Mariposa County Meeting Feb 5, 2013|
The Mariposa County Board of Supervisors (who are also the Yosemite West Special District Board of Directors) will hold a Study Session to discuss current issues affecting Yosemite West Maintenance District on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. in the Board Chambers of the Mariposa County Administration Building on Bullion Street in Mariposa. There are many critical issues affecting Yosemite West with varying opinions about appropriate long-term solutions. Read the notice from the county here.
Please seriously consider attending and voicing your concerns and opinions. The resulting decisions will have long-lasting effects on the community, the infrastructure, and local taxes and fees.
Please remember to be diligent with trash and remind your guests to do so as well. There have been multiple recent issues with people dumping trash on the ground around shared private dumpsters. This has included large household items (e.g., sofa bed, mattress, table), and also large piles of household waste. Total Waste will not pick up these items from outside the dumpster, so this makes the community look bad, attracts wildlife, and forces other residents to volunteer time to clean up the mess and transport it away (or pay someone to do so). In other, possibly related news, coyotes are active once again in the neighborhood. In better news, there's some possibility of a summer recycling program; if this interests you, please contact Rea Jackman for more information on how you can help make this a reality.
|Water Shutoff Thursday, November 15, 2012|
The county plans to have the water off on Thursday from 9am to 5pm. Henness Ridge Rd and Henness Circle are not expected to be affected. Remember to flush your water line afterwards to avoid debris in your water heater and don't be surprised if there's extra chlorine in the water to disinfect any contaminants for a few days.
|YWPHI Archives Finding Aid|
John Mock did a great service working with the National Park Service to archive the historical records of YWPHI. They've produced a "Finding Aid" that you can download. It lists and describes the documents. Get it here.
|Water Shutoff Monday October 29, 2012|
The county has notified us that the water system needs to be shut off on Monday to replace one final pressure reducing valve. Full details in the letter from the county
|Highlands Timber Harvest Starting|
The Highlands timber harvest is expected to begin October 29, 2012. Expect empty logging trucks down Yosemite Park Way and full trucks leaving on Henness Ridge Rd
|Fire Season Over|
The recent rains (and dusting of snow!) have brought the 2012 fire season to a close. Now is the perfect time to resume burning of pine needles that you may not have completed in the spring (especially given the lack of a community burn pile). It's also a good time to review the info on our fire safety information page and Cal Fire's safety flyer.
|Impromptu "community information/discussion meeting" 9/19/2012
In lieu of the scheduled YWMDAC meeting, Lee Stetson and Peter Rei are hosting a community meeting at the Maintenance Yard at 1:00 pm on 9/19/12. There are several interesting new documents you may want to review ahead of time in the YWMDAC update.
Also, there's an update from Peter Rei on the burn pile and a general maintenance update from Peter Rei.
|Maintenance Update: Peter Rei sent us a maintenance update, which we'll discuss at the annual meeting.|
|The community burn pile located at the bottom of Yosemite Park Way is no longer available to anyone for any purpose. Yes, it's true - no more burn pile. Read more.|
|Habituated coyotes continue to pose danger in Yosemite West; read an overview of the situation and a Coyote Q&A (read the Spanish version)
Feeding coyotes is illegal; if you see anyone feeding wildlife, please call the California Department of Fish and Game at the CAL-TIP line, 888-334-2258.
The Mariposa County Sheriff asks all homeowners to update their contact information on the CodeRED Community Notification Enrollment page, which will enable you to be notified in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts.
Update: The boil notice has been rescinded according to Peter Rei, Directory of Public Works:
Yosemite West Update,
The critical 5 Pressure Reducing valves have been repaired the other 5 will need to be scheduled for a later date some time after Labor Day. We ran in to some problems that will require shutting down streets during these repairs and additional parts needed to be ordered. The system pressure is now between 70psi and 95psi.
The Boil Water notice has now been rescinded and residents are no longer required to boil the water prior to drinking.
Yosemite West is suffering from ongoing water system issues that are, as yet, unresolved by the county. This likely leaves fire suppression impaired due to limited hydrant pressure, and a boil notice remains in effect. We've heard that the earliest the boil notice would be lifted is August 13, 2012.
Public works posted a letter explaining the issues at the mail shed as well as a boil notice.
The latest we've heard (as of 2012-08-06) is that public works was only able to work on Monday of last week (2012-07-30) and plan to continue replacing the pressure reducer valves this week, expecting to finish on Tuesday, 2012-08-07. The replacement valves were apparently not yet physically present in Yosemite West, so this schedule may slip even further. Once the system is fixed, it must be fully pressurized. Only then can a water quality test be performed. It takes several days to get the results of the test, which must be clear before the boil notice is lifted.
In a letter to Peter Rei, Mariposa County Director of Public Works, Yosemite West Associates proposed establishing a burn pile at the wastewater treatment facility. We've heard that Public Works has rejected this potential location due to accessibility concerns and further researching the historical site.
Yosemite fire managers have announced the 2012 Fire Season began Monday, May 21st. Fire season officially begins when seasonal firefighting equipment and personnel are in place, prepared and ready to respond. Additionally, grasses and other vegetation at the lower elevations have begun to dry out. This year, vegetation is drying out faster than average due to the low snowpack the park received over the winter.
Firefighters will spend the week conducting their annual readiness reviews that demonstrate skills and proficiency for fighting fire. In addition, daily weather patterns, temperatures, and moisture levels are closely monitored, which aids in determining if vegetation is within prescription for burning.
In preparation for the fire season, the park has begun defensible space inspections throughout Yosemite’s communities, including Aspen Valley, Hodgdon Meadows, Foresta, El Portal, Yosemite Valley, and Wawona. Residents and homeowners are urged to clear a defensible space around homes and other structures in an effort to reduce the risk of fire hazards.
Yosemite National Park officials are committed to ensuring sufficient fire crews will be onsite during all prescribed burn activity throughout the fire season. These resources will monitor fire behavior and weather, as well as support burnout and holding operations to ensure firefighter safety, public safety, and to prevent prescribed fire escape. With the official declaration of fire season, pile burning will be discontinued until further notice.
Learn more about fire in Yosemite National Park.
The community burn pile located at the bottom of the subdivision off Yosemite Park Way is no longer available to anyone for any purpose. Yes, it's true - no more burn pile.
The Yosemite West Maintenance District Advisory Committee met March 2, 2012 with members of the public and representatives from Mariposa County's Public Works Department present. The Public Works Director, Peter Rei (email@example.com), explained that Yosemite West Associates (aka "the doctors"), who are the original developers of Yosemite West and the owners of the land where the Yosemite West community burn pile is located, expressed liability concerns in a September 7, 2011 letter (see letter below) about the existence of the burn pile.
Two community meetings were held to discuss this issue on November 14 and 30, 2011 and were attended by Public Works staff, the County Fire Marshall and residents. Community members commented that the burn pile has been in the same location for at least thirty years, that it has always been managed by Public Works, and that the original 1967 subdivision agreement between Mariposa County and the developers calls for a dedicated dump site below the subdivision, a condition that has not been fulfilled. However, at the March 2, 2012 meeting Peter Rei said that the burn pile can no longer be used.
Public Works prepared and mailed a letter of explanation dated March 27, 2012 to property owners (see letter below).
The majority of property owners in Yosemite West opt to haul their pine needles and limbs to the burn pile rather than burning debris on their own property. We understand this news will likely come as a shock and concern to many property owners, and that the timing of the closure is regrettable due to the potential fire danger we all face after this abnormally dry winter.
If you have any questions, please contact the Mariposa County Public Works Department (209-966-5356) and/or the land owners, Yosemite West Associates, P.O. Box 6232, San Jose, CA 95150-6232..
Read the County's letter to Yosemite West Associates dated April 6, 2012 below.
The decision has been made to postpone the Bishop Creek prescribed fire and all broadcast burning for the season. I want to thank all of you for your continued support for without it, projects like this are not possible. The reasons to postpone include the fact that we never fully recovered from the most recent storm event; terminations of the helicopter and temporary employees; the short burn window in front of this Thursday's storm; and the need to maintain a scientifically, environmentally and fiscally responsible program to achieve objectives.
Notable fires/projects this year include the Hodgdon prescribed fire. Wawona Northwest and Bishop Creek rx prep, the Motor, Tamarack, Avalanche, Smith, Hoffman and other wildfires. Traffic was safely managed concurrently along the Tioga and Wawona Roads during the Tamarack wildfire and Bishop Creek ramp up and the Motor wildfire was excluded from Yosemite.
Other successes include both spring and ongoing fall park wide pile burning in the communities of Wawona, El Portal, Foresta, Yosemite Valley, Aspen Valley, Chinquapin, South Entrance and the Merced and Mariposa groves. Some of these piles have been backlogged over 10 years and others resulted from recent severe winter storms. Significant thinning and piling is happening in Foresta and slated for Old El Portal beginning this week. Thanks again and please contact me with any questions or concerns.Bishop Creek Prescribed Burn Postponed Monday, October 24, 2011 (Posted 10/24/2011)
On Thursday, August 25th, a motor home caught fire along Highway 140 east of the confluence of the South Fork Merced River and the main Merced River. The fire quickly spread to both sides of the Merced Canyon.
Mariposa County Sheriff's office initiated a CodeRED alert on Thursday, August 25th giving Yosemite West a pre-evacuation status, advising that evacuation could become necessary and that residents should prepare for evacuation. If you did not receive this notice, you can sign up for the CodeRED system, or add your additional numbers (including cell phones) to the system online. Direct any questions about the CodeRED alert to the Sheriff's office, 209-966-3615, 800-774-8314. You must opt-in to be notified via the CodeRED system.
The firefighting effort is being led by the Stanislaus National Forest (SNF).
For information about the Motor Fire contact:
Although YWPHI is not involved with fire information or firefighting efforts in any way (read the Mission of the YWPHI Fire Safety Committee), we want members and neighbors to be aware of how they can be better informed about this wildland fire. Please visit Inciweb for detailed information, and call the fire information center with any questions not answered on the Inciweb pages. Also, for your own safety, please opt in to the county's CodeRED system and include all your contact numbers on it.
Please direct any questions about the fire to Gary Wuchner, NPS Fire Education and Information Manager, telephone 209-372-0480, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit NPS's Current Fire Activity page.
DISCONNECTED 9/8/2011: NPS's Resource Management and Science Division installed Air Quality Monitoring Equipment in Yosemite West. View the real time air quality and other data. Click on monitor number NPSYOS1002Ebam.
The Avalanche Fire is slowing moving to the south (13+ acres this morning). A more formal update will go out Monday [August 8th]; meanwhile visit NPS's Current Fire Activity page.
Read an interesting article concerning the Wallow Fire in Arizona and the success of fuel breaks containing the fire around communities. This may be useful to your community [Yosemite West].
Use Google Earth to turn this map on its side for a different perspective. The map coordinates are on the map toward the bottom.
Thunderstorms descended on Yosemite midday Sunday, July 31, 2011. Shortly after noon a lightning strike ignited a wildland fire along the Glacier Point Road near Avalanche Creek (see map below). The fire is visible from Yosemite West. The National Park Service is calling this the Avalanche Fire and has a crew stationed at the fire to manage it. NPS Fire has posted signs at the Yosemite Park Way and Henness Ridge Road intersection indicating the managed fire status with no need to report the fire.
Lightning-caused wildland fire is common along Henness Ridge and is part of the local fire ecology. Such fires have historically been small, with low intensity, and help maintain a healthy forest. In areas where wildland fire is supressed, such as Yosemite West, fuel reduction work decreases the risk of severe fire that could threaten life and property. Our grant-funded fire safety projects help keep our wildland community safe from naturally occuring wildland fire. Do you have defensible space?
Photos below taken 8-2-2011 10:30 a.m.
NPS installed Air Quality Monitoring Equipment in Yosemite West on August 2, 2011. The equipment will remain in place throughout the duration of the wildland fire.
The Pacific Forest Trust has proposed a Boundary Line Adjustment for the western part of Yosemite National Park.
"Since 2004, PFT has been working with willing sellers to purchase and conserve nearly 2,000 acres of forests, meadows, rocky ridges, and streams on Yosemite National Park’s western boundary. These three parcels of lands were part of the original design of the national treasure envisioned by John Muir in 1906, but were excluded from the Park’s boundaries due to political pressure at the time. In 2012 Congress can remedy this exclusion with a slight adjustment of the Park’s boundary lines. A Boundary Line Adjustment (BLA) will enable the Park Service to add these key tracts of land, decreasing the development threat along the western border, enhancing wildlife habitat, scenic vistas and recreational opportunities, and completing the original vision of John Muir."
Read related documents issued by the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors:
Read more and learn how you can comment.
Yosemite National Park has declared fire season as it begins fire season staffing of all stations for fire suppression and wilderness fires. Fire season officially begins when seasonal firefighting personnel and equipment are in place, prepared and ready to respond. This year’s fire season has been delayed due to late snow pack runoff, however, the grasses and other vegetation in the park’s lower elevations has begun to dry out. Resources will be available seven days a week for suppression of fires within the park. The resources include: four Wildland engines, one medium size helicopter, one hand crew, one Wildland fire module, in addition to fire management overhead. The prevention staff has begun fire prevention inspections within all park communities. Homeowners living in the Wildland Urban Interface are reminded to complete their defensible space clearing efforts. All pile burning is discontinued until further notice. With the potential for a hot and dry summer ahead, Yosemite fire officials urge the public and homeowners to "Please be Fire Safe," when visiting the park and all public lands. Communities need to be prepared and be Fire Wise.
For additional Information: Please contact Gary Wuchner Yosemite’s Fire and Education Manager(email@example.com)
Yosemite Fire Information and Education Office: 209-375-9574 or 209-372-0480
Yosemite Webpage: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/current_fire.htm.
Yosemite National Park announces the end of the fire season, today, October 16th, 2009. The Park experienced measurable precipitation earlier this week. The rainfall totals from park weather stations, varied from 9 of rain in the Mariposa Grove, approximately 8 inches in Wawona, and 5.5 inches in Yosemite Valley. Measurable snow has fallen at higher elevations. The fire areas of the Grouse and Big Meadow also relieved measurable rain, but had few run-off issues of mud or other debris to roads or to the community of Foresta.
Closure of fire season occurs when there is a season ending precipitation event totaling 2 inches or more. Historically, there is a 90% chance that Yosemite will have a season ending weather event by October 31. Helicopter 551, contracted for the fire season, and has now left the park. Additionally, seasonal fire personnel are completing their assignments and will soon also be leaving the park.
The Fire Management Team wants thank everyone for their assistance and fire prevention diligence throughout our fire season. Yosemite National Park had numerous fire events, and with everyone's cooperation and assistance, we were able to safely manage these fire incidents with little property damage and no serious injuries. "The National Park Service manages wildland fire to protect the public, communities and infrastructure, conserve natural and cultural resources and restore and maintain ecological health."
Visit the Environmental Education Campus page of the national park's website for periodic updates.
The Yosemite Institute Environmental Education Campus Draft Environmental Impact Statement May 2009 (11MB, 500 pages) is available to download; click on the skip to project documents link or scroll down.
Read the National Park Service's written reply to questions about the proposed environmental education campus raised by Yosemite West residents at YWPHI's annual meeting on August 31, 2008.
The National Fire Prevention Association sponsors an annual Fire Prevention Week. This year's theme is Prevent Home Fires.
The National Park Service is conducting a prescribed burn in the Mariposa Grove starting on September 30, 2008. Read the prescribed fire announcement and view a map of the proposed burns area by acres. Read the October 2, 2008 update.
Download the press release.
Read the background on the Yosemite West fire safety grants that funded the CWPP.
At their June 17, 2008 meeting, the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) for Yosemite West. Yosemite West is the first Mariposa County community to complete a CWPP, which will become part of the overall Mariposa County CWPP that is being prepared by the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council.
The Board of Supervisors' approval was the final step in a process that included approval by Mariposa County Fire Department's Chief Jim Wilson, Cal Fire's Chief Mikel Martin, and Yosemite National Park's Fire Use Manager Michael Beasley.
The non-profit Yosemite West Property & Homeowners, Inc. (YWPHI) was awarded a grant in 2006 from the National Park Service administered by the California Fire Safe Council to complete its CWPP. YWPHI used this federal funding, and matching funds from the Mariposa County Fire Department and Yosemite West property owners, along with support from its fiscal sponsor, the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council, to complete the vital project.
A CWPP is a planning tool for at-risk communities in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), areas where homes meet with undeveloped wildlands, to identify and reduce the risk of wildfire across the landscape and jurisdictional boundaries. It is developed through a collaborative process that identifies and prioritizes potential solutions, so that when funding is sought to address wildfire issues, there is a comprehensive overall plan from which to start. A CWPP neither guarantees funding nor regulates actions, but communities with completed plans have a competitive edge for grants for hazard fuel reduction projects.
Wildfires in California have destroyed homes and entire neighborhoods, garnered national media attention, and created momentum for the passage of federal and state legislation addressing wildfire risk. A CWPP is a crucial step in communities working to protect themselves.
Another fire was found yesterday afternoon, which brings the total to six fires found since Tuesday's storm.
This is an unusual and early fire year. Due to the amount of fires burning throughout the state of California, diminished air quality in the region and sparse firefighting resources, park fire managers have made the decision to suppress; to put these fires out.
The Yosemite fire crews are being augmented by fire line qualified Park protection rangers, a medium helicopter, and hand crew from the Sierra National Forest, and engine crew from the Stanislaus National Forest.
The weather predictions indicate continued high temperatures and potential afternoon thunderstorms throughout the weekend. It is possible that more lightning caused fires could occur throughout the region. The smoke haze visible within the Park today is a regional issue associated with all the fires burning throughout the State. The air quality in Yosemite Valley is in the un-healthy range (orange), for at risk groups.
On July 8th, 2008, Yosemite National Park experienced an afternoon thunderstorm, a common occurrence for the Sierra Nevada Range. That storm resulted in five known lightning caused fires in remote areas of the Park.
Fire is a natural ecological process in Yosemite and each year lightning strikes result in wildland fires that help shape Yosemite's wilderness. The current wilderness fires are smoldering and burning in a designated zone for Fire Use for Resource Benefit. Naturally occurring fires in these areas are normally managed to allow the fire to clean and shape the forest and its natural landscape. Dead and down trees and other forest litter are burned, opening forest canopy's which allows sunlight through. This allows for sprouting and regrowth of plants, shrubs and trees. Fire allows for the recycling of nutrients into the soil. This naturally thinning process also helps prevents large stand (tree) replacement crown fires.
However, this is an unusual and early fire year. Due to the amount of fires burning throughout the state of California, diminished air quality in the region and sparse firefighting resources, park fire managers have made the decision to suppress; to put these fires out.
All of these fires are burning in previous Fire Use areas (see Fire Use map). The fire mosaics, irregular burn patterns from the previous fires, have slowed the spread and progress of these fires. This is a desired effect and another reason for managed natural fires.
The Yosemite fire crews are being augmented on the various fires by fire line qualified, Park protection rangers.
The weather predictions indicate continued high temperatures and potential afternoon thunderstorms throughout the weekend. It is possible that more lightning caused fires could occur throughout the region.
Additional Information: The park website has information about fire activity and smoke effects in Yosemite. The fire information and education office phone number is tel 209-372-0489.
Read the 6/25/08 9:38 a.m. update on the Silver Complex Fire.
Read the 6/24/08 10:29 a.m. update on the Oliver Complex Fire.
The weekend's lightning brought about 600 new fire starts in California and several new starts in the Yosemite area. However, only one hit was reported in the park. This fire, near White Wolf on the Old Tioga Road, was suppressed on Saturday due to it's proximity to the Tioga Road.
The smoke and ash seen in Wawona and the smoke columns visible from Highway 41 are primarily from the Wesfall Fire, located near Westfall Station, west of Highway 41, and the Oliver Fire, located in Ponderosa Basin. The Silver Knob Fire and the Cedar Brook Fire are also south of the park in the Westfall area. All fires are at zero containment. No evacuations have been ordered, but these fires are going to be very visible to visitors and residents in Yosemite West and near the south end of the park.
There are additional fires in the Mariposa area in Cal Fire jurisdiction. Sierra National Forest has set up a Fire Information phone line. The number is tel 559-877-2218.
Another lightning-caused fire is burning on North Mountain, and is currently approximately 300 acres. It is close to the park's northern boundary in Tuolumne County. It is currently burning outside the park on the Stanislaus National Forest, close to the park boundary.
We are currently experiencing high fire danger. Visitors and residents are advised to take extra precautions. For fire information inside the park, please call tel 209-372-0480 or check the YNP website under Mangement/ Fire Management for ongoing updates.Adrienne Freeman, Fire Information and Education Specialist, Yosemite National Park
Report by Gary Wuchner, Fire Education and Information, National Park Service
The coming fire season predictions are not favorable conditions with predicted warmer than normal summer and dryness. The opening of fire season requires residents to use diligence in prepping their property of all ground litter within their property boundaries to be fire wise and safe. This includes trimming of limbs that encroach against structures, removal of all vegetative material from roofs and rain gutters or any other accumulation of dead and down material. The opening of fire season curtails any further burning of any vegetation piles by property owners.
May 4-10, 2008 is Wildfire Awareness Week whose themes this year build upon Defensible Space is Your Responsibility and Wildfires...Will Your Home Survive?. Homeowners need to play an active role in helping themselves and neighbors, and everyone's property survive a wildfire. Participate in community fire safety activities this spring. Read the Governor's proclamation.
Reports by: Gary Wuchner, Fire Education and Information
Yosemite National Park, PO Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389
(209) 742-8990 (cell)
Fire activity slowed Saturday on several fires in Yosemite National Park as the temperature decreased and humidity increased. Fire managers are adapting to changing conditions and prepared to respond to the ebbs and flows in fire activity as needed. A moist storm is expected to bring rain to the fire area today. Fourteen fires were started by lightning October 29, 2007; ten were quickly contained and controlled. Three fires (Devil, Cotton and Johnson) located in the wilderness are being managed under a wildland fire use management response, while aggressive actions are being implemented on the Jack Fire north of Wawona.
Fires require diverse management actions depending on many factors such as their location, time of year, values at risk and growth potential. The Jack Fire originally began in the wilderness as a wildland fire use event until it spread outside the fire use management zone on Nov. 8. At that time, fire managers took actions on the southern half of the fire to inhibit its growth toward the community of Wawona.
Fire activity moderated today when predicted cool, moist, cloudy conditions occurred in Yosemite National Park. The Jack Fire north of Wawona is 326 acres and the Devil Wildland Fire Use Fire east of Tamarack Flat Campground is 160 acres. With reduced fire behavior and spread, personnel on the ground were able to accurately map the perimeter of the fires.
Fourteen fires were started by lightning October 29, 2007; ten were quickly contained and controlled. Three fires (Devil, Cotton and Johnson) located in the wilderness are being managed under a wildland fire use management response, while aggressive actions are being taken on the Jack Fire which spread into the Park's suppression zone on Thursday.
Partly sunny skies are predicted for Saturday. A chance of precipitation returns by Saturday night through Sunday. The outlook is calling for warmer, drier conditions early next week.
Fire activity increased today on the Jack Fire north of Wawona in Yosemite National Park while the Devil Fire east of Tamarack Flat Campground continued to spread west and northwest near Cascade Creek. The 80 acre Jack Fire is located on Turner Ridge and has spread outside the fire use management boundary causing a change in strategy. Thursday, actions were taken to restrict the fire's spread on the south side; two helicopters dropped buckets of water while air tankers dropped retardant on hot spots with the most potential to spread.
A public meeting was held in Wawona Thursday afternoon to update community members on the fire situation. Managers were on hand to answer questions and discuss concerns from the community.
Fourteen fires were started by lightning October 29, 2007 and most of them were contained and controlled. Three of these fires are currently being managed for natural resource benefits under the Wildland Fire Use management strategy. These naturally-ignited wildland fires will be carefully managed until significant rainfall or snow extinguishes them.
The Wildland Fire Use fires are:
Visitors and community members may see smoke from these fires at many locations throughout the Park and in surrounding communities for the next few weeks. Smoke is carefully monitored and actions are taken if air quality impacts visitors and nearby communities.
Two trails have been closed for public safety. On the Jack Fire, the trail from the Wawona Ranger Office to the junction with the Alder Creek Trail is closed. On the Devil Fire, the trail between Tamarack Flat Campground and the top of El Capitan on the Valley Rim Trail is closed. Additional trail closures may be considered. Hikers are advised to call for current information and refer to posted updates for potentially changing conditions. Cooler temperatures and a chance of precipitation are predicted for Friday and Saturday. These conditions will help slow fire spread.
Read the October Lightning Complex - Update #4 November 4, 2007
View a color-coded topographic map of the park and surrounding areas that depicts suppression areas vs. fire use areas.
The thunderstorms of October 29, resulted in 12 lightning-caused fires within Yosemite National Park. Two fires are being managed as Fire Use incidents. The Johnson Fire is in Madera Co and the others are located in Mariposa Co. The potential exists to continue to find "sleeper" fires due to drying and warmer weather conditions. All fires determined out will be periodically patrolled until measurable precipitation occurs.(*) Indicates the date the fire was detected.
The Fire Use (FU) incidents will be described in more complete details in the next update. The "Jack" (FU) fire has moderate to high potential for growth. The Johnson (FU) Fire is at higher elevations and in snow has low potential for growth. If any questions arise concerning the FU incidents, please contact Taro Pusina, the Fire Use Manager for the Jack and Johnson fires. His numbers: (209) 375-9576; and email, Taro_Pusina@nps.gov.
The suppression fires all look good for operational completion over the weekend. Park Resources are beginning to return back from southern California, although there are Red Flag warning potentials for the southern part of the State.
The park website additional has information about fire activity and smoke effects in Yosemite.
Really great progress was made on some difficult fires today. The difficulty was in access to these fires. It is possible additional fires will be located tomorrow [Wednesday]. I did not mention fires in adjacent areas to the Park. The Sierra National Forest was busy throughout the entire forest. They have three active fires in the South Fork of the Merced River. One of those was the Henness Ridge fire, detected yesterday near the community of Yosemite West. Aggressive action was taken throughout the night and the threat was alleviated.
The Stanislaus National Forest had 11 reported fires they are working on - one of which is the Moss Fire, adjacent to the Park boundary near the Merced Grove. That is in a patrol status. More information will be avaiable tomorrow.
Read the list of active fires in the park due to yesterday's lightning strikes.
The Henness Ridge fire near Yosemite West is all but out - still some smoldering, but crews were on it most of the night. Yosemite National Park has eight current fires (not large and with wet conditions) and more smokes are being detected. None are a threat to Yosemite West. The Sierra National Forest is working two addtional fires in the South Fork of the Merced River basin - the Devil Gultch and Peach. A new fire is two miles south of Badger Pass - just in.
This is an informal fire notice, but needed, to let all know of the extreme weather events experienced within and adjacent to Yosemite National Park this afternoon and evening [Monday, October 29th].
A firece thunderstorm began at approximately 2:45 p.m. and resulted in seven confirmed fires. The locations included one in the Foresta area (contained); two in the Wawona area (near Wawona Dome and Point); one in the area of Alder Creek (east side of the Wawona Road); one in the old (1990) Steamboat fire area; and, one in the Taft Point area along Glacier Point Road.
Three additional known fires are near the Yosemite boundary or visible from the Park and include Moss Creek (northwest of Crane Flat in the Stanislaus National Forest); the "Slope" fire (well within the Sierra National Forest and in the South Fork of the Merced River; and the Henness Ridge fire southwest of Yosemite West.
A more extreme thunderstorm came through the Park beginning around 6:30 p.m. with heavy rain, large diameter hail and wind. The National Weather Service advised the Park of this storm and many resources were pulled out of the more remote fires because of safety concerns of firefighters from lightning strikes, tree falls and heavy rain. Measurable hail and fog accompanied this storm making driving treacherous. Due to darkness, it is unkown if the Park experienced any other fires.
Additional fire starts are predicted to be found tomorrow and in the next few days. A formal fire notice and with more complete data, including GPS coordinates, will be posted tomorrow. Although many of the Park's fire resources are still committed to Southern California, adequate fire staffing was available and will continue with the assistance of "Red Carded" fire line qualified Park Rangers tomorrow.
A note of thanks is given to Signal Peak Lookout for assitance in spotting many of the fires throughout the Yosemite area today.
YWPHI is proud to announce the long-awaited start of work for a shaded fuel break on the boundary of Yosemite West.
Creating a shaded fuel break reduces overall fuel in the forest by removing ladder fuels and thinning the forest. This fire safety project will benefit all of Yosemite West by reducing the risk from a wildland fire originating northwest of the community.
The project will cover approximately 25 acres on privately owned land adjacent to Yosemite West. It will treat up to a 300-foot-wide strip along the community's western perimeter. Crews will be working on this project for the next few weeks.
The project is undertaken with full inter-agency cooperation through a grant awarded to YWPHI by the California Fire Safe Council with funds provided by the National Park Service.
Read periodic project updates.
Yosemite National Park is conducting a prescribed burn adjacent to Yosemite West starting October 3, 2007 and lasting for several days. Read the Yosemite West Prescribed Burn - PW17 notice and view a map of prescribed burn area.(Postponed until following week; Yosemite National Park Fire and Information Officer will go door-to-door in Yosemite West with notices for residents)
Read the NPS update on the progress of the prescribed burn as of October 10, 2007.
Read the NPS update on the progress of the prescribed burn as of October 12, 2007. View images of the available fuels before the prescribed burn, the appearance after the prescribed burn, the prescribed burn in progress as the burn started and as it progressed.
Chuck Sikora, the Yosemite West Fire Safety Project Manager, will speak about the progress made to date on the Yosemite West fire safety grants. Chuck is particularly knowledgeable and will help you understand the best ways to protect your property and the community.
District 1 Supervisor Brad Aborn will attend and speak to some issues facing our community: problems caused by new construction; repayments to Mariposa County for the Yosemite West Wastewater Treatment Facility; hazard insurance for homeowners; county hook-up fees; export of water; and more.
Don’t miss this important meeting and your chance to express your concerns. (You’ll also get a chance to meet with your neighbors and have a really nice time!)
Today is Tuesday, June 26, 2007. I am sitting at my desk and thinking about the fire burning right now in South Lake Tahoe and Meyers. Below are the statistics as of 6:30 this morning.
This kind of fire can occur in Yosemite West unless you take action. In the near future I will be sending information on making your property fire safe. In the meantime you can get started by removing dead wood from your property. Then remove most brush and small trees (less than 6 inches in diameter). Then prune all dead limbs and those live limbs within 10 feet of your house. Be sure to remove pine needles and other leaves from within 30 feet of your house.
I will be available soon to give on-the-ground consultation regarding fuels reduction.
I have attached the following for your information: Keep in mind that most of this damage was done in a manner of a few hours.Angora Fire Incident Information: Last Updated: June 26, 2007 6:30 am
Charles Sikora, ACF
Registered Professional Forester #141
Yosemite West Fire Safe Project Manager
The California Fire Safe Council reports:
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (formerly CDF, recently renamed CAL Fires) is re-mapping fire hazard severity zones for lands that the State of California has fiscal responsibility for wildland fire protection (State Responsibility Area) and is preparing Very High Fire Hazard Severity recommendations for local responsibility areas. This mapping is being done under authorities defined in Public Resource Code (PRC) 4201 and GC 51175. This effort incorporates improved wildland fire behavior science, data sets, and understanding of structure ignition mechanisms during conflagrations.
The California Building Commission adopted the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) codes in late 2005 with an effective date of January 2008. These new codes include provisions for ignition resistant construction standards in the WUI. The updated fire hazard severity zones will be used by building officials to determine appropriate construction materials for new buildings in the WUI. The updated zones will also be used by property owners to comply with natural hazards disclosure requirements at time of sale of property. It is likely that the fire hazard severity zones will be used by local government as they update the safety element of general plans.
The map adoption process will include public hearings in 56 of the 58 counties. These hearings should be completed by fall and the maps are scheduled for adoption under CCR Title 14 regulation by December 31, 2007, in time for the January 2008 building codes. You can view and download these maps by county.
Public hearings to discuss the new Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone maps will be held starting June 2007. To find out the location and date in any county.
Yosemite West is in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. You can check the zone for any address.
Read more information about the Wildland-Urban Interface Building Codes, including detailed information on ignition resistant standards and enforcement.
Yosemite National Park declares the beginning of fire season for the park on Monday, May 21st. As of May 21st, Yosemite Fire Management will have four Type III Engines staffed seven days a week and the helicopter staffed seven days a week.
Yosemite National Park is anticipating a potentially long and severe fire season. Fire season and burning restrictions are being announced approximately a month early. This is due to an unusually dry and warm winter and spring. Snowpack from the May 1st snow survey was 29% of normal for the Tuolumne River drainage and 28% of normal for the Merced River drainage.
Residents can take steps to prepare for this fire season. Residents should complete defensible space around their homes. This helps protect homes from fire and creates a safer environment for firefighters. Defensible space should be completed by June 10th.
Visitors can help prevent unwanted fire. Campfires are not permitted anywhere in Yosemite West. Cigarettes and human carelessness can cause unwanted fires.
Yosemite Fire staff is working to help make Yosemite a safe place to live, visit, and work during what may be a difficult fire season. Residents and visitors can also take steps to protect the park, their homes, and have an enjoyable visit to the park.
YWPHI is pleased to announce that Charles Sikora, founder of Sikora Forest Consulting, is the manager of our two federally funded grant projects. Charles is a Registered Professional Forester, licensed Professional Land Surveyor and Real Estate Broker, and member of the Association of Consulting Foresters of America, Inc. with a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Management. His more than forty years of forestry experience and diverse skills will ensure the successful completion of the projects.
Visit Yosemite West Fire Safety Grants for periodic updates on the progress of the fire safety projects.
On Sunday, April 22, 2007, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the YWPHI Reception Welcoming District 1 Supervisor Brad Aborn, was held at Kay and Don Pitts' house. Eighteen residents and Supervisor Aborn came out on a snowy spring day to meet one another and engage in a question and answer session.
The February 13th structural fire that completely burned the Camin’s log cabin on Henness Circle should serve as an immediate incentive to make our community as Fire Safe as possible. Kay and Don Pitts would like to personally invite everyone to their house, 7509 Henness Circle on Sunday, March 18th at 1:00 p.m., for a private community meeting to talk about everyone’s concerns and to discuss what we as a community can do to protect our property from fire. We hope all property owners will come as it is essential that we make a concerted and unified effort.
YWPHI President Grace Bartel resigned from the YWPHI Board of Directors in November 2006. Grace and Earl sold their Yosemite West home after 35 years and moved near Portland, Oregon. We thank Grace for her service to the board and community, and we will miss having both her and Earl as neighbors. Former YWPHI Vice President Kay Pitts has assumed the role of YWPHI President until the end of the current membership year (September 2007).
There is now one vacancy on the YWPHI Board of Directors. Anyone interested in serving on the board can email the Nominating Committee.
A September 29, 2006 article in the Mariposa Gazette announced that " … the Yosemite West Waste Water Treatment Plant paid the County back $300,000 on their loan … " This was the first Yosemite West residents and members of the YWMDAC had heard of this. At the October 27, 2006 YWMDAC meeting, Mariposa County Public Works Director Dana Hertfelder discussed the $300,000 transfer. Here is a summary drawn from the ensuing discussion.
Mariposa County announced it is transferring $300,000 out of the Yosemite West's sewer repair fund into the county's general fund, which means we no longer have access to these funds.
The $300,000 represents a portion of the contingency fund set aside in the bond assessment to repair the Yosemite West Wastewater Treatment Facility that Yosemite West residents voted on and passed in 2004.
When the sewer system first failed, Mariposa County advanced $1.08 million, an amount fixed at an April 23, 2002 Mariposa County Board of Supervisors' meeting, to the Yosemite West Maintenance District for immediate repairs. The community understood that a resolution passed at the same Mariposa County Board of Supervisors' meeting as an inducement to vote yes and pass the bond assessment, meant the county would make a "contribution" to or forgive the Yosemite West Maintenance District the $1.08 million if the sewer bond passed. Now two years after the bond assessment vote passed, the county has apparently reneged on its promise to Yosemite West, and now wants the money back. The county is saying that the $1.08 million is a loan that they want repaid. They are transferring $300,000 because that amount was on hand as cash.
The $300,000 transfer raises questions about the appropriateness of the transfer, and the legal authority for it. The resolution which enabled the bond assessment vote states that the county cannot take funds out of the bond assessment to repay the county. At an April 2004 Mariposa County Board of Supervisors' meeting, county supervisors identified three options for handling any excess funds from the bond assessment: (a) repay the county the lesser of 5% of the project or $1000; (b) return the funds to the property owners who were assessed; or (c) spend the funds for other maintenance and operations in the Yosemite West Maintenance District.
County Counsel has taken the position that the emergency advances to the Yosemite West Maintenance District were deliberately not included in the bond assessment. However, to him it does not follow that the advances were grants. He considers the advances to have been loans that must be paid back. He claims that there is no paperwork to the contrary. County Counsel also contends that nothing that was said orally to the community is binding. But even if the advance of funds was a grant (and he believes it was not), such a grant would not have been legal.
Basically, the county just took approximately $1000 from every property owner of record ($300,000 divided by approximately 300 lots), and they may want more. It is not clear how or if the county might expect to recover the remaining $780,000 ($1.08 million minus $300,000). And, it is not clear what will happen next. We will endeavor to keep the community updated as news develops.
Please direct any questions to the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors, District 1 Supervisor Lee Stetson (tel 800-736-1252, 209-966-3222, firstname.lastname@example.org); and Dana Hertfelder, Director of Mariposa County Public Works Department (tel 209-966-5356; email@example.com).
Read about the proposed Environmental Education Campus:
Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) started logging the 727-acre parcel, also known as the Ransome Ranch, in October 2006. Some residents may have seen quite large logs on trucks exiting the property. The loggers may haul logs out along Henness Ridge Road through Yosemite West. If this should occur, signs will be placed on the road to warn of logging truck activity. The PFT forester recently walked along Henness Ridge Road thoroughly documenting the pre-logging condition of the road. PFT has processed a $30,000 performance bond (as per Mariposa County requirements) to ensure that funds are available to repair any damages to the road that may result by the use of logging trucks. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jonathan Remucal (tel 415-561-0700, firstname.lastname@example.org).
A map shows the area being logged this fall, which is at the top of Henness Ridge, just west and south of the fire lookout tower on national park service land. The PFT forester marked all areas that are being logged so the logger knows which trees he is (and more importantly is not) to cut down.
"It is now officially the Ferguson Rock Slide.
The following is an update from Susan Craine of the Mariposa County Visitors Bureau. She attended this morning's meeting led by the new Incident Command Team, led by the forest service. Among other things, she is helping coordinate communication via a website, managed by the forest service, and updated daily in the early afternoon. There are pictures on the site now, but little else at the moment - check it out tomorrow p.m. Each agency is directing all requests for official information to this site and/or Debbie Santiago PIO for the forest service – phone number on site. Arrangements are being made to include a live feed cam onto the site.
There are obviously many pieces to the puzzle, and not all matters have been fully addressed today, but be assured that the concerns and suggestions forwarded to me are being delivered. Items like transportation and housing solutions for canyon and park employees are large and complex issues that will take some time to resolve.
The following is mostly Susan Crain's notes from the 6/6/06 meeting, edited just a bit by me with newer info as I have it. Below this is an 8 p.m. or so email from PG&E re their attempt to reconnect power to many of you.
CalTrans is conducting a 3-day study sequence of the slide movement. They will assess every three days. The Corps of Engineers is studying the hydrology related to the slide using a model to display effects of a total slide into the river, what happens when it is removed and variations of the above.
Most agencies are observing from Ferguson Ridge, above the slide. There is a possibility that there will be a site for public viewing. It seems this will be a very difficult thing to accomplish but they are working on it.
The forest service has revised their order to include a further restriction of access to the river that includes not only the slide site but also a quarter of a mile on either side of the river for the entire length of the site restriction.
Due to the lack of communication when in the canyon, there will be a communication device, C3 repeater, installed at the top of the slide with a direct site line to Mt. Bullion that will provide the ability to communicate from the canyon. Radios will be available through forest service for those who go into the canyon. They anticipate that at least part of the process to be completed 6/6/06, perhaps all.
The issue of a bridge was brought up but it seems too premature to discuss it as more than an idea.
The total power switch was scheduled to take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday 6/6/06 – it is 6:20 p.m. now; we're still hopeful it'll be resolved sometime tonight, though except for generators, there is no power at the moment in the canyon.
CHP offered their air ops for fly-overs, etc. to participating agencies. NPS discussed issues of the forest service waiving fees for campsites for 400+ employees – was OK’ed by Dave Martin.
MID – Lake McClure – they will continue to release water from the dam – the lake will be able to accommodate additional water.
I will receive copies of various reports electronically and will pass them on to you. Please let me know who else you would like to be included in the distribution list. Most of the information will be procedural.
If we are able to get the live feed, I will work towards putting it into the hotels and the visitors center. Do you think it would be valuable at the governement center? This is just in the planning stages; I will let you know when it happens.
There will be a daily task meeting of the Incident Command Team at 10:00a at the old Yosemite Bank processing center; in addition, the PIO’s will meet at 11:00 a.m. in the office next to the visitors center.
I will attend both meetings unless I cannot avoid my absence.
An evacuation press release will be developed by the end of this week from the Sheriff's department to use if necessary.
We have a CD of the slide taken by NPS on May 31 in the [Mariposa County] Visitors Bureau.
Information will be posted daily at the community center in El Portal, at Foresta, [on the] Daily Report, Visitors Center Mariposa, Midpines Post Office, – are there more locations you would like it posted?
It seems to be the popular position that the river upstream will not be opened as an expansion to the existing rafting area.
There will be community outreach in the communities. They want to have a presence in the community. Since they have geologist in the area, I suggested they give a presentation in the schools.
At this time, most of these items are still in the planning stage. However, I am impressed by what they have accomplished since 2 p.m. yesterday. I will keep you informed each day."Thank you,
Below is an update from PG&E re the day’s difficulties. I for one applaud their continuous and vigorous effort to get in front of the potential problem.
Here is a quick update for you --
Today [Tuesday, June 6, 2006] has been a rather challenging day for us as our work has taken longer than expected due to a number of unforeseen events and safety concerns at the site.
We are working -- as I type -- to restore power to those customers who remain out -- we aim to do this tonight. At this point, there are approximately 318 customers out of power in the Foresta and Yosemite West areas.
We're confident that we can complete this project tomorrow late morning to early afternoon.
We have coordinated continuously throughout the day with the National Park and all appropriate agencies. We brought in additional generators to support the two polling locations and understand that there were no associated problems. Our customers are being communicated with tonight as to recent developments and going forward expectations. Again, today's work has proven to be quite intense and thank you in advance for your patience as we complete this work. Rest assured knowing that we are working very hard to take this one issue off your plate.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call me.Best regards,
"At a meeting this morning the many agencies involved in the rockslide issue met, led by the U.S. Forest Service, who now heads up the Incident Command Team. This will accelerate information gathering, decision making, task assignments, and will greatly facilitate communication. I may send another email or two while the communication team gets in place, and will always be glad to get back to you if you have questions you think I might have an answer to. But unless I hear otherwise from you, (and some folks will prefer not to be on yet another list) I’ll pass your email address on to the Forest Service, and they will be giving daily updates.
At the moment, the slide is being monitored by your County Fire Dept., though that job will be taken over by the Forest Service this evening.
Basically, the geo-tech folk studying the slide over the weekend are saying that continuous movement of the mountain suggests it would be fool-hardy to rush any sort of traffic in the Canyon moving past the slide, and ‘solutions’ like footbridges and shuttles, tunnels, rocksheds, explosives, hydraulic cannons, alternate roadways, bridges etc, needs to await the mountain’s decision to come down or to stabilize. The worst case scenario, 3 million cubic yards of rock moving suddenly into and damning the river, is not thought to be able to generate waves big or strong enough to threaten nearby homes, businesses, the water treatment plant, or El Portal. It would be prudent not to be standing anywhere near it, of course. And there is thought to be time enough, and certainly the Sheriff has plan and personnel in place, for evacuation of folks above and below the river in that event.
Governor Schwarzenegger today – only an hour or so ago - signed a Proclamation of Emergency for Mariposa County. This is a very important step in the process of acquiring Federal assistance. Our thanks to the Governor, and especial thanks to Senators Boxer and Feinstein, Rep. Randanovich, Assemblyman Cogdill, and State Senator Poochigian. Their voices added a considerable amount of urgency to our request. A copy of that declaration is at the end of this email.
Also, PG&E sent the following just a few minutes ago.
Here is a quick update for your review -
Today, as you may know, PG&E has been working to finalize the relocation of the transmission line impacted by the rockslide to ensure safety and service reliability in the area. As we switched from the transmission line to the generators today, customers experienced an outage of about 15 minutes or less. The work has progressed extremely well but due to safety considerations, PG&E will continue to utilize the generators throughout the remainder of this evening and into tomorrow. Customers should not experience an outage this evening as the generators are working efficiently. At approximately noon tomorrow, PG&E will complete its work and will transition from the generators back to the transmission line. As this takes place, customers may experience an outage up to one hour to account for the switching. Please rest assured that PG&E will do its very best to minimize the outage duration. Customers will be notified of tomorrow's outage this evening.
Local election officials have been communicated with and we are prepared to prevent outages at the two polling locations. PG&E had a crew member taken to the hospital and was treated for heat exhaustion.
If you have any questions, please let me know.
Again, PG&E has been responding as well or better than anyone could honestly expect, and they have just about taken off our places a very serious potential problem. They’ve generously helped, generally and personally, relieve the anxieties of many, and have been attentive to the concerns of our elections people in El Portal and the Park. So do them a favor and vote tomorrow, and write them thanks on your next utility bill.
I am planning to be in the park and/or El Portal every Friday, all day, from now until at least October. Any one there, or in Foresta or Yosemite West can set up an appointment by email, or call me at work, (209) 966 3222 or at home (209) 742-7838."
"A couple of things. Word received only moments ago updates PG&E's plans. Folks in the Canyon, the Valley, Foresta and Yosemite West can expect a 20 minute power outage at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, Monday [June 5th], at which time PG &E will hook up the generators while moving the lines across the river. You can expect a second 20 minute outage at about 5:00 p.m. on Monday when they transfer power to the new lines. This is a most remarkable and most welcomed response to one of our major concerns, and PG&E is to be highly commended for their concern and their speedy work.
The rockslide site is now officially off limits. Please, do NOT attempt to approach the site on either side of Hwy. 140 and do NOT attempt approach the site from Incline Road. Expert opinion is now emphasizing that this is a very dangerous area. Our Sheriff will have by now cleared the area.
The Mariposa [County] website has some stunning photos of the [rock] slide taken by the Sheriff's Dept.
Tomorrow, I'll be attending meetings that have two essential objectives - to get the Governor to sign the County's Emergency Declaration and move it on to President Bush, and to initiate the Forest Service assumption of Incident Command. Both will help bring the highest levels of response to help us deal with the rockslide and it's effects.
It's easy to assume that we're being well taken care of by all of the agencies involved, but if you have any inkling that we're missing something, let me know, and I'll pass it on."
"This is an attempt to keep you in the loop on the rockslide. I trust you understand that the situation is fluid, and this information and frankly, my current understanding, may be outdated by the time you read it. Please pass it on, with that proviso. The info I sent to the El Portal community yesterday follows this email; I’m attempting to add as many folk in Midpines, Yosemite West and Foresta and the Park as possible.
"Our immediate public health and safety issues have and is being addressed County Sheriff Jim Allen, Fire Chief Shultz and our health officer, Dr. Mosher. Every attempt is being made to assure the best and most immediate response in the case of a multitude of scenarios. The two most compelling issues revolve around the possible loss of the transmission towers and a possible sudden collapse of the slide and a damming of a portion – or all – of the river. On the TOWERS, PG&E is being very aggressive. They are in the process of relocating the two towers book-ending the slide area across the river and keeping power available to the Canyon, to the Park, Foresta and Yosemite West. Helicopters are flying in, holes being dug for the new towers, as I’m writing this. I’ll have further info this evening, but it seems that they can get this done within a day or two. They are also putting in place today two large generators at Indian Flat to handle any sudden emergency that might occur before the relocation takes place. Those generators will also minimize the outage that will occur when they move the power to the new lines. The potential damning of the river is more difficult to assess, given the unpredictable nature of the slide, and while our County Fire Chief has extrapolated some data re height of a dam and river flow, he acknowledges that the County lacks the full expertise and resources to be certain of conclusions.
"CalTrans flew in from Canada yesterday the world’s expert on these slides, and they are vigorously applying themselves to a better understanding of the possibilities. They are also strategizing on immediate procedures in case of any dam event – ie; to release impounded water, create a spillway, etc. Our Fire Chief has undertaken the task of having his folk physically monitor the rockslide day and night, to provide as much warning as possible to upstream and downstream folk. a A number of suggestions dealing with the slide and opening the road in short and long term scenarios, for employees and residents only, or for visitors as well, are being entertained, (and all are welcomed) but are probably all contingent on the slide coming down fully, or on it’s becoming stable. Measuring that stability is not easy, either, of course.
"I met with Yarts, the Via folk, the Park Service, DNC and the School District, at 9 a.m. Friday morning re transportation from Mariposa (Midpines) to El Portal. We are very aware of employee and the school kids concerns - the exhausting 5 or 6 round trip, the cost for all, but especially for low wage earners in the Park and in the Canyon in particular. Some employees have quit their jobs; many have family, pets, and animals, and cannot afford the time and cost involved in getting to and doing their jobs. Until the road is functioning again, we will be losing more of our workers. We are identifying the numbers of users, the schedules most needed, the locations necessary for stops, and funding sources, and will meet again early next week. The County Supervisors then met at the County Government Center at 10 a.m. to reinforce the Emergency Declaration which outlines the harm the County is suffering. We initiated this declaration the previous week, and will continue to do so every week we are in session until the Governor signs it and, passes it on to the White House. As the harm becomes more burdensome, we will add those particulars to the Declaration. We answered as best we know, jointly with CalTrans and PG&E, all questions and concerns. The chambers were absolutely jam-packed with citizens and press, - the largest attendance in those chambers in my memory. We also had in attendance representatives from Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer, Assemblyman Cogdill, and State Senator Poochigian. Representative George Randanovich was there in person. All of these representatives are actively on the phone with Sacramento and Washington on our behalf. I then hosted a meeting yesterday afternoon at the Center with CalTrans, PG&E, the Forest Service, NPS, Dept. of Water Resources, the Army Corp of Engineers, CHP, State OES and County Sheriff, Fire Chief and Health Officer, our CAO and County Counsel. This was to discuss roles and responsibilities. All the above and much more was discussed, but the chief conclusion was the Forest Service ( who owns the rock ) should take the lead role and initiate an Incident Command process to bring all the personnel and expertise necessary to resolve the problems posed by this rockslide. That may be in place as early as Monday. There is, on the part of all present, a genuine sense of urgency and priority – and they gained a clear understanding that we made very clear – namely that Mariposa County is poorly resourced to undertake the measures necessary to take care of this state highway surrounded by federal lands. The economy of our county is and will be taking a hit as long as the road remains closed and folks chose alternate routes to the Park. Our Visitors Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, your Supervisors and our business folk in general are spreading the word re the pleasures of visiting Mariposa and detouring to the valley via Hwy. 49 north or south. Spread the word.
"Please call me at the office (209) 966-3222 or at home (209) 742-7838 anytime if you have questions, concerns, - or solutions. Those new on this list might read my previous update, following."
"Mariposa County Public Works Director, Dana Hertfelder, is having our county crew begin grading on Foresta Road on Monday. This is our highest priority, and they'll keep at it till it's done. PG&E is taking aggressive actions to replace the towers in the slide area. Excepting some truly catastrophic wipeout, they expect to be able to restore power within a day or so if the towers went down. They are assembling information and materials NOW to address and preempt any problem, and the time frame of any down time will be shorten as they go, of course. They expect that power would not be available for perhaps 12 hours when they replace the line, but will consult with the Park and community re the best timing for an outage. There is a another emergency meeting of the Board of Supervisors tomorrow, Friday, at 10:00 a.m.. The intent of the meeting is to reiterate our Declaration of Emergency, urging our Governor to speed up the process of relief, and move the request up to the national level. PG&E, CalTrans, will be present, representatives from Senator Feinstein's office, from Senator Boxer's office and from Assemblyman Cogdill's office will be there, and Congressman Randanovich will be there in person. All have indicated strong support in helping the County and the agencies involved. I expect a large group of Mariposa town folk will be there, and all are welcome, on any and all issues. If you can't get there, but you have questions and concerns not yet addressed, I'd be glad to present them for you, and get back to you with any information available. Shoot me an email, email@example.com. The School Board met last night with parents and others to get themselves apprised of the slide situation, and to begin thinking on short and long-term strategies for busing. The general consensus was to muddle through the rest of the school year as they are, possibly with minor tinkering, and to gather info, already begun, on the needs and desires of parents for next year if the road remains closed. Transportation issues for employees and students, as well as temporary housing possibilities are on a fast track of information gathering and discussion between the County, the Park Service, the Concessionaire, the school District, Yarts, and all other interested parties. There is, as you know, a large number of Midpines/Mariposa folks with a daily need to get to the Valley or El Portal, and burn-out is already very evident. We'll meet tomorrow on that issue as well. The El Portal swimming pool work is moving along as rapidly as possible - but the contractor has encountered some unforeseen difficulties, and to do the job right, it may be a bit longer than expected before it's finished . We expect it back on line sometime between mid-June and the end of June. Parks and Rec and locals are working on staffing lifeguards there, and have some promising leads."
We are saddened to report that John Jonas Clark, a long-time resident of Yosemite West and YWPHI member, passed away on February 16, 2006, at the age of 85. Surrounded by his family and loving wife Betty, John succumbed to pervasive cancer. John was a wonderful, fascinating friend and neighbor who will be greatly missed by all of us.
John and Betty Clark were early condo residents prior to the building of their home on Henness Circle by neighbor Ken Wall from 1980-1982. At this time, there was no mail or telephone service in our community. John subscribed to a credo of preventive maintenance for their home, and frequently was seen working outside. A remarkably active individual throughout his life, John rose early in the morning to begin his tasks for the day. For many years, John and Betty Clark have graciously hosted the annual YWPHI Labor Day weekend pot luck and meeting. The park-like atmosphere of the Clarks' yard has been an ideal setting for our community meetings and we are grateful for their hospitality.
Many Yosemite West residents may recall seeing John riding his classy BMW motorcycle to work at the Wawona Living History Village in the summer. Who could forget the image of John on his motorcycle, dressed in an early twentieth century military uniform, with a World War II era helmet, sporting a long flowing white beard or dapper white mustache? Visitors to the History Village were enthusiastically greeted by John dressed as Cavalry Major Harry Copeland Benson, the acting Park Superintendent in 1905. For more than 20 years he brought to life the spirit of older times in Yosemite for many thousands of visitors. John's historical knowledge and his delight in story telling made him a popular attraction for tourists. John was fond of surprising German-speaking visitors by addressing them in their native tongue. He also learned a few words in many other languages in order to make foreign visitors feel welcome.
John Clark was a much decorated World War II veteran who served in the Army 184th Infantry California National Guard in the Pacific Campaign. He was wounded on the island of Leyte, for which he received a purple heart. Unusual for WWII veterans, John would willingly entertain friends and neighbors with incredibly detailed stories of his war experiences. He had a gift for bringing to life scenes of the Pacific islands, his comrades, commanding officers, and the hardships and misery of war.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Yolo Hospice, the Yosemite Fund, the Yosemite Association, or a charity of the donor's choice. A memorial service will be held at the Wawona Pioneer Center, Saturday, May 20th, at 10 a.m.
Supervisor Lee Stetson has been appointed as a representative to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy for four South Central Sierra counties: Mariposa, Tuolumne, Calaveras and Amador.
If you want high speed Internet service in Yosemite West, please read a notice from the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors and a related article in the Mariposa Gazette (1/25/06).
We need everyone to act by doing two things:
YWPHI response sent to Supervisor Lee Stetson and the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors:
"The Board of Directors of Yosemite West Property and Homeowners, Inc. met on Saturday, January 14, 2006 and was pleased that you are working on high speed Internet access for rural areas. While we will conduct a survey of property owners and hope we get a significant response, I can report on our quick Board of Directors' survey now. WE NEED HIGH SPEED INTERNET!!! Most, if not all, people who live here have home computers. Part-time residents want to bring their laptops when they come. More important for those of us in business is the need for guest access. When reserving, guests frequently ask if we have Internet access for their laptops and, on at least two occasions, we have lost bookings because of lack of service. (Personally, I wish they would leave their laptops at home and just enjoy the scenery but, that's another era.) We are considering installing a satellite despite its price and limitations but this is certainly not a good solution for most homeowners. Anything you can do to get affordable high speed service to Yosemite West will be greatly appreciated." (Kay Pitts, YWPHI Vice President)
Read more about Internet Connections in Yosemite West and pair-gain.
Download Yosemite National Park's announcement for the Yosemite West Prescribed Burn on Friday, September 30, 2005. NPS posted the announcement on the community bulletin board and distributed the announcement to every house on Thursday, September 29, 2005. Smoke monitoring equipment is set up on Buck Brush Lane to monitor air quality.
For further information call:
"Yosemite West (PW 17) Prescribed Burn Update: The planned 235-acre Yosemite West Prescribed Burn has been further delayed. It is now expected to begin on either Wednesday (9/28), or Thursday (9/29). This postponement is partially due to current wind and weather conditions, but is primarily suspended due to concerns with the county maintained water system. A new pump is required to meet safety standards regarding available water levels. This should be repaired by mid-week. Pile burning in the Yosemite West area and further south along the Wawona Road may continue if conditions are wet enough throughout the early part of this week."Marea Ortiz
"It looks like the prescribed fire scheduled for Yosemite West is going to happen on this Saturday [Oct 1st] and Sunday [Oct 2nd]. There may be rain with cloudiness for sure by Monday, so we are planning for that weekend time frame."Michael Beasley
View a chart showing the fine particulate matter in Yosemite West during the controlled burns from September 26, 2005 to October 3, 2005.
Download Yosemite National Park's announcement for the Yosemite West Prescribed Burn on Friday, October 7, 2005. NPS posted the announcement on the community bulletin board and distributed the announcement to every house on Friday, October 7, 2005.
"NPS has burned the critical PW-17 Units A & D. This burn was conducted immediately adjacent to expensive homes, and we are very pleased with the outcome of that project, with respect to the protection of Yosemite West homeowners from the risk of a future wildfire. Thanks for you patience and support in dealing with smoke issues. To my knowledge, the Yosemite Prescribed Fire program has not recieved a single smoke complaint this year. This work is vital and does protect homes, as well as forests."Michael Beasley
Yosemite National Park Superintedent Michael J. Tollefson invites the public to read "Mechanical Tree Removal in Yosemite National Park: An Overview (July 2005)" to better understand two NPS programs that deal with mechanical tree removal:
The recently completed project along Henness Ridge Road was part of the Tree Hazard Management Program, and was unrelated to fire protection.
The NPS Forestry Crew has a continuing hazard tree reduction project along Wawona Road between Chinquapin and the Yosemite Valley floor. The project identifies trees at risk for falling on roads during storms and other compromised trees, and cuts them down. The trees felled will be left on site for a contractor to remove this coming fall. On July 25, 2005, NPS completed roadside tree work along Henness Ridge Road between the Wawona Road and the park boundary near the mailboxes. Our thanks to Larry Castro and his crew for further reducing hazardous trees along the entrance road to Yosemite West.
On Saturday, July 2nd, volunteers in Yosemite West cleared obstructions from around all 24 fire hydrants in the community. We found that 25% of the hydrants were blocked by dirt and rock, and another 10% by snow stakes. This completes the community portion of the work to ensure accessibility to fire hydrants. The next step is to place uniform reflective markers at each hydrant, which Mariposa County Public Works Department has agreed to do. YWPHI inventoried the fire hydrants in fall 2004 and provided a detailed list to the county. We hope this work will be useful to Mariposa County Fire Department in preparing their community risk assessment, and to Yosemite National Park Fire Department in the event of an actual fire.
If you haven't seen a bear yet this spring in Yosemite West, the chances are you will soon. Several residents and guests have spotted bears cruising the neighborhood this week. Remember that during summer 2004 bears broke into several homes, and California Fish & Game Department had to destroy three bears. Read Living With Bears to learn what you can do right now to decrease the risk.
The Mariposa County Fire Safe Council, through a grant funding a county-wide chipping program, provided a crew and chipper free of cost to Yosemite West. The three-person crew, led by Brian Warren, worked in our community for three days - Monday, May 23rd to Wednesday, May 25th - and chipped more than 16 tons of brush, limbs and small trees. We appreciate the hard work of all community members who piled their yard debris at the curb, and of Brian, Tony and Eric, who ran the chipper on some very hot days.
The chipping program helped the community meeting its goals to reduce the amount of dead and downed wood on the ground, improve defensible space around structures, and to reduce the amount of yard debris in the community burn pile. Our thanks to Jan Hamilton, Chair, and Kimberly Bullock, Coordinator, of the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council for organizing this project and supporting hazard fuel reduction in Yosemite West.
By everyone's account, this year's Memorial Day Weekend Yard Clean-up was the biggest yet. A steady stream of pick-up trucks made their way down Yosemite Park Way to the community burn pile. Our successful chipping program helped ensure they carried mostly pine needles. Thanks to everyone who worked in their yards and helped their neighbors. Special thanks go to those who volunteered their trucks and their helpers: Brian Hagan, Harry Hagan, Malcolm Neal, John Mock, Ed Reed, Al Ruiz, Pete Ulyatt, Ken Wall, Steve Yates and Todd Yates.
By noon on Sunday, more than fifty people had made their way to the annual Memorial Day Weekend picnic held on Henness Circle. YWPHI's Hospitality Committee and board members - Carol Ruiz, Grace Bartel, Debby Hagan and Helen Yates - prepared a tasty picnic lunch that disappeared quickly.
We were joined at the picnic by several guests - Carl Douhan, consultant from Wildland Fire Associates; Tom Nichols, YNP Fire Management Officer; Deb Schweizer, YNP Fire Information Specialist; Smiley Tierney, U.S. Forest Service Fire Prevention Officer; Jan Hamilton, Chair of the Mariposa County Fire Safe Council; and Jonathan Remucal, Stewardship Associate of The Pacific Forest Trust.
Carl Douhan presented the Draft Yosemite West Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). Smiley Tierney discussed the upcoming July CDF Property Insections and the implications of the new California law requiring clearance of 100 feet from your house to increase defensible space. We're grateful to each of them for their contributions and taking time out of their holiday weekend to support Yosemite West.
The YWPHI Fire Safety Committee distributed Fire Safety Education packets containing literature published by Firewise and Fire Safe to property owners. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you were unable to attend the presentation and would like to receive a packet.
"A significant step forward in collaborative and intergrated mountain range protection occurred in September 2004 when Governor Schwarzenegger announced the establishment of a new state agency within the Department of Resources. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is focused on preserving ecosystems and quality of lige in the 25 million acres of John Muir's beloved 'Range of Light.' Unlike other conservancies, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy will not directly acquire land, but will instead make grants available to communities, landowners' organization, and local conservation groups. They will then identify and obtain land they want to preserve, with the process driven from the local level. Funding the conservancy will come from an environmental bond measure that passed in California in 2002, and grants will support these major goals: 1) Protect and restore woodlands and riparian corridors; 2) Reduce wildfire risk; 3) Protect family farms; and 4) Promote sustainable economic activties such as recreation."
"The Sierra Nevada is the largest unbroken mountain range in the lower 48 U.S. states. It produces 65% of California's water supply and provides recreational opportunities for almost 50 million visitors annually. Yet it also faces growing ammenity migration pressures and environmental stress. Human population in the region is expected to triple between 1990 and 2040 (from 27 million to about 80 million), and all 24 of the Sierra's major watersheds have suffered reduced water quality from development, logging and other economic activities. Almost 20% of the Sierra's native vertebrate species are considered threatened; and most of the region's aquatic habitats are degraded. Californians hope that this new agency will provide mountain stakeholders with the incentives and funds needed to balance both protection and enjoyment of the Sierra Nevada more effectively." (Linda McMillian, Access and Conservation Commission, UIAA; No, 45, Mountain Protected Areas Update, March 2005)
View a map of the Land Included in the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
Update 2/15/05 - The topic has been continued to the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors' meeting, February 22, 2005.
Mariposa County Board of Supervisors has a Resolution Establishing an Amnesty Program for Yosemite West on its agenda. Download 10 pages of public documents (contained within one PDF file), first circulated on February 14, 2005, which include:
Please direct your comments and questions to Mariposa County officials.
Proposition 1A, which passed in the November 2004 general election, had an ultimate goal of guaranteeing the constitutional protection of local government funds. However, it was actually a compromise with the governor and the state legislature that allows the State of California to take money from special districts for two years in return for future protection of local revenue.
According to the California Special Districts Association, "the compromise provides all local governments significant future protection of local revenues from future raids by the state, and therefore protects the crucial public services our citizens depend upon."
Under Proposition 1A, all special districts, both independent and dependent, will contribute a total of $350 million from local property tax revenue to the state's general fund in each of the next two fiscal years, 2004-05 and 2005-06. After those two years, the state will no longer be permitted to take revenue from special districts. The state is not permitted to take more than 10% of the annual operating budget of any special district.
The state is taking $26,000 in revenue (just under 10%) from the Yosemite West Maintenance District during the current fiscal year (7/1/04-6/30/05). It is being taken in two lumps sums - $13,000 in January 2005, and another $13,000 in May 2005.
The sewer project in Yosemite West is basically shut down for the winter. Most of the physical construction is complete and the two current projects that remain (and hopefully could be done before spring) are the electrical work on the transformer pad and the telemetry systems that will control the water and sewer systems. The entire electrical system and the computer operating system to operate the sewer plant will be installed after the snow melts and the site is readily accessible.
Mariposa County has received numerous "stop notices" from various subcontractors citing non-payment of sums allegedly due them, raising concerns about possible financial difficulties of the general contractor, Mauldin-Dorfmeier Construction Inc.
Mariposa County had the job "bonded" both on a performance and a financial basis to ensure its completion. They have been in discussions with the surety company that bonded the project and that entity has indicated that they wish all future payments by Mariposa County to come to them rather than directly to the contractor. Dana Hertfelder, Director of Mariposa County Public Works Department said, "We currently hold $600,000 due the contractor and we have identified about $490,000 owed sub-contractors."
Although the situation is unfortunate, Mariposa County assures the residents the sewer will be built as planned. There may be a delay while it gets sorted out, but the delay should be minimal as it coincides the winter shut-down period. Hopefully the work will proceed on a timely basis when the snow melts in the spring.
In late January, Yosemite West experienced problems with its water system. Initially there was a leak in the piping in the mid-lift station that shorted out the computerized controls, which operate the two pump sites and maintain the water level in the water storage tanks at the top of the subdivision. Mariposa County operated the system on a manual basis until the contractor who maintains the computerized controls could come to Yosemite West.
Soon thereafter, the pump in the main well failed. This necessitated replacing that pump. Before that could be accomplished, the road to the sewer plant and then down to the lower well had to be plowed so a truck with a boom could lift out the failed pump and install a replacement. This was accomplished in late January/early February and water could again be pumped up the hill manually. During the first week of February, the computerized controls were repaired and are working normally. As of February 3rd, the tanks were refilled and the water system is operating normally.
During this period residents were notified via the YWP&HI telephone tree as to the problem and the need to conserve water. The water level in the tanks was perilously low. The low rental activity and the residents conservation averted a "run-out" situation.
Dick Huizenga, a former Yosemite West community and board member died Monday, December 13, 2004. His obituary was published in the Fresno Bee on 12/15/2004:
Edward "Dick" Huizenga was born in Monterey, on December 2, 1931, and passed away in Fresno on Monday, December 13, 2004, at the age of 73. He attended Monterey Union High School, Monterey Peninsula College and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, majoring in architecture. He was inducted into the U.S. Army, served in Korea, and was honorably discharged in 1954, at the rank of Sgt. 1st Class. In 1954, he married the love of his life, Ida Yeme. They recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. His lengthy career in the housing industry began in 1955, in the family's general contracting business. From 1961 through 1985, he was employed by FHA/HUD. Thereafter, he applied his expertise in the private industry, until 2004, when he retired. Dick was the recipient of numerous awards, includ- ing the Rodney Radom Award, and was inducted into the California Building industry Foundation Hall of Fame. Dick was an enthusiastic supporter of the housing industry and served on many committees. Dick never met a stranger, and if you were his friend, he loved you. Dick enjoyed playing golf, especially the Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments. He was an avid hunter, and enjoyed snow skiing and horseback riding. He is survived by Ida, his loving wife of 50 years; his daughter, Cindy Ambrosini and her husband Richard; his sister, Lucy McGuire, all of Fresno; and numerous nieces and nephews. Visitation will be held at Farewell Funeral Service on Thursday, December 16, 2004, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Private services will be held in Monterey. Remembrances may be made to California Building Industry Foundation, 1215 K St. #1201, Sacramento, CA 95814, or the Leukemia Society, 470 E. Herndon, Fresno, CA 93720. FAREWELL660 W. Locust (559)440-0484.
The Pacific Forest Trust, a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to preserving private forestlands, purchased the 730-acre Ransome tract adjacent to Yosemite West and Yosemite National Park in November 2004. This is the largest land conservation project adjacent to the park in decades. The property, which lies south and west of Yosemite West and adjoins the Sierra National Forest, was included in the original park boundaries proposed by John Muir.
"Protection of this land was one of our highest priorities," said Mike Tollefson, the park superintendent. "It benefits the Park by adding further protection to Yosemite's Boundary and increasing connections between protected lands, while decreasing demands on water supplies and sensitive park resources. We are very pleased to have a private partner take the initiative to conserve this critical property."
The Mariposa County Tax Collector mailed the 2004-2005 Property Tax Bills. The tax bills reflect the Special Assessment for the Yosemite West sewer bond, including the annual principal payments and administration fees. Some residents who opted to pay the lump sum have found they are wrongly being billed for the principal and administration. If you feel your property tax bill has an error, contact Keith Williams (Assistant Treasurer/Tax Collector, County Clerk) at the Mariposa County Tax Collector's office.
After careful planning for construction, the fire hose houses to store our emergency fire equipment have been built and painted, and Steve Yates graciously drove to Fresno to pick them up. We still need to determine where to install them in the community. Please look at the Yosemite West Fire Hydrant Map. The fire hose houses can be installed near a fire hydrant, but do not necessarily have to be adjacent to one. Send any comments and suggestions to email@example.com.
Read the minutes from the Yosemite West Maintenance District Advisory Committee meeting on October 22, 2004, including the most recent update on the sewer project.
Read the timetable for completion of the Yosemite West Wastewater Treatment Facility. Further information is available about the history of the sewer system in Yosemite West and the status of the sewer repair project.
Read an in-depth summary of the September 25, 2004 meeting. Download the Proposed Fuel Management Strategy component of the Community Fire Protection Plan for Yosemite West and download the accompanying map of the Project Area prepared by Wildland Fire Associates, the firm contracted by NPS. More information is available about the role of Wildland Fire Associates in fire safety. Visit the Fire Safety page for further information about fire safety activities.
The Yosemite West Special Plan draft is complete. Go to the YWPAC page for information on how to obtain a copy of the special plan and how to submit written comments on the special plan.
Go to the YWMDAC page for information on the sewer repair, which is underway, and other maintenance-related issues.
Bears are active in Yosemite West this fall and broke into several homes this summer. Moose Mutlow of the NPS Bear Council presented suggestions to the community at the YWPHI 2004 annual meeting. Read about what you can do right now to decrease your risk from Living With Bears.
Read the latest overview of issues relating to Internet Connections in Yosemite West by Tom Lambert.
Please email the webmaster with your comments and suggestions.
Copyright text © Yosemite West Property & Homeowners, Inc. 2003-2012, Copyright photographs © John Mock 2004-2012.
All rights reserved. Unauthorized redistribution of this document is prohibited. Updated June 7, 2012.