After nearly a month of closure, Yosemite National Park’s famed Mariposa Grove giant sequoia reopened to the public this week, attracting hundreds of people to celebrate the giant trees’ existence after being threatened by wildfires. came together for
Yosemite Park Ranger Scott Gediman said the 4,886-acre Washburn fire, which threatened the grove’s 500 mature sequoias, was 100% contained, although some firefighters are working mop-ups and removing hot spots. are extinguishing. Gediman said the crew would probably stay in the area for a week or two.
Only a few trails remain closed in the grove, including the Washburn Trail, the western side of the Perimeter Trail and the route from Mariposa Grove to Wawona, but the most popular trails open on Wednesday, Gediman said.
“There is certainly evidence that there was a fire. If you’re a visitor and you drive, you’re going to see the burned area between the depot and the grove, but once you get to the grove and go up, everything is great,” Gediman said.
The Washburn fire ignited along a forest trail in Yosemite National Park on July 7 and initially sparked fears of an environmental catastrophe, Threat to the ancient trees of the grove, However, firefighters were able to strike the fire quickly, with no damage to structures or injuries, and major damage to the grove averted.
“I have gone through dozens of fires in my career and it was just phenomenal. I have never seen this kind of support and care among visitors and firefighters,” Gediman said. “The whole area to save Mariposa Grove is truly came together.”
Gediman said some trees had fire marks, but none of the sequoias died. He also noted that because some of these trees are 2,000 to 3,000 years old and have seen a lot of fires, it is difficult to determine which fire caused this mark.
Gediman went to Mariposa Grove to celebrate the reopening early Wednesday and said he experienced “one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.” He met a family from Utah who made a special visit to Mariposa Grove on his final day in Yosemite, and families from around the world, including France, Israel, and England.
“It was just a real sense of relief, excitement and a sense of celebration,” Gediman said. “People were thrilled to see the Mariposa grove and were a little relieved because they were worried about the trees.”
While he was walking the Grizzly Giant Loop—one of the most popular trails in Mariposa Grove—with visitors, Gediman experienced what he called “the perfect alignment of everything.”
The group was enthralled as they came upon a bear with jet-black fur, who walked right next to and around the mark of the fire for a few minutes before leaving.
“It was an incredible and magical moment. I just thought to myself, ‘Oh, my God, the [visitors] Opening days on Grizzly Giant are here, and you’ve got a beautiful bear,'” Gediman said. “For me, that was perfect.”