2012-04-05 / Front Page

Yosemite sees Easter and spring break visitor boost


Visitors to Yosemite National Park experienced some of the first waits of the season at entrance stations over the Easter holiday weekend.

So far this year, Park visitation is up close to 20 percent over this time back in 2011. While most visitors make their way to the Park in motor vehicles, the high price of gas may make Yosemite's proximity to the state's population centers an attraction to many vacationers.

Warm temperatures over the Easter weekend pumped up the volume of Yosemite Valley's waterfalls. With this year's total precipitation hovering near 50 percent of normal, Park waterfalls are nowhere near record levels, however.

One estimate has Yosemite waterfalls peaking around the third week of May. Park waterfalls will likely maintain good flow through June, but are unlikely to persist into September as they did last year.

The accompanying video shows Bridalveil Fall on Saturday, April 7.

Merced River commercial rafting operations opened for business last weekend. According to the Merced-River.com Web site, flows this past weekend near Briceburg were under 1,000 cubic feet per second. Flow rates above 4,000 feet per second are reached during maximum snowmelt in big precipitation years.

--Erik Skindrud/GAZETTE REPORTER 

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