BEAUTIFUL BEHEMOTHS: Few people are cavalier about the forests and canyons and rivers of California -- we all try to stay aware about the issues that impact our home planet and our rather glorious Golden State surroundings -- but we can grow a little complacent about being able to access our neighboring natural wonders. Surely Pinnacles National Park and Mount Shasta and the redwoods up around Klamath are just there, always open, any time we need to have some communing with nature, right? Well, yes, mostly, but, on occasion, a well-known nature spot shutters for various important reasons.
Mariposa Grove of Yosemite National Park will do just that, tentatively around July 6, when a 24-month restoration project begins. If you're recalling that recent changes have already arrived at the grove of giant sequoias that sits within the national park's boundaries, your memory is solid: The Big Tree Tram Tour ceased operation, forever, in autumn of 2014. Sequoia super-fans -- and surely that's all of us, right? -- weren't out of luck as far as making for Mariposa Grove, however; the area was set to stay open for some time following the tour's closure, as plans were made for its back-to-nature restoration.
THAT RESTORATION... is now upon us, as of early July, so visitors have late into June, and the Fourth of July weekend, to eye the grouping, which "contains about 500 mature giant sequoias." If the restoration proceeds as planned, you can visit again starting in a couple of years, but with an updated landscape to enjoy. Or, if you prefer to think of it in a different light, a "backdated" landscape, since the restoration seeks to return the grove to more of its natural, untouched state by stripping away some of the humanmade creations (hence the ending of the tram tour). It's a trend in many a natural area, and one that promises a positive impact on the natural processes of the plants and animals that call a much-visited wonder home. For more on the Mariposa Grove restoration, and to find your big-tree experience, venture this way, explorers.
photo: Yosemite National Park