Trail Mix 8/29: Wildfires impact big holiday weekend

The Fresno BeeAugust 28, 2013 

Have campground reservations in Tuolumne Meadows for the holiday weekend?

Sorry, but it's going to be a long drive.

The partial closure of Tioga Road (12 miles from Crane Flat to White Wolf) in Yosemite National Park is the largest recreational impact of the Rim fire that has charred nearly 200,000 acres. The closure is anticipated to last at least through Labor Day.

To reach Tuolumne Meadows and other spots in the Yosemite high country, the only option is traveling from the park's east entrance at Tioga Pass. From Fresno, that's a six-hour drive via Highway 178 through Lake Isabella.

Other park attractions remain open and accessible, including Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove. Park entrances at Highway 41 and Highway 140 are open.

While the Rim fire receives most of the attention, portions of the Sequoia National Forest and Golden Trout Wilderness are closed due to the 2,000-acre Fish fire burning east of Springville.

Several small fires are burning in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. Most are located in wilderness areas. One that wasn't, the Hotel Creek fire, was contained to 30 acres. The High Sierra and Hotel Creek trails have reopened.

Looking for smoke-free camping? There are no guarantees, but skies were completely blue last weekend at Huntington Lake and along Kaiser Pass Road, which is ironic considering these areas were impacted just a few weeks ago by the now-contained Aspen fire.

No matter where you go, stringent campfire regulations are in effect. Fires are allowed only at designated campgrounds.

News & notes

-- Four Los Angeles-area men will perform 30 days' hard labor as part of their sentences after each pleaded guilty last week on poaching charges in Riverside Superior Court. Acting on a tip that the men were using gill nets to take fish from a remote area of Canyon Lake, California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers made contact as they were leaving the water and discovered 238 dead fish.

-- Waterfowl hunting season will run from Oct. 19 until Jan. 26 throughout the central San Joaquin Valley according to regulations adopted this month by the California Fish and Game Commission. The bag limit is seven birds per day, with no more than two mallard hens, two pintail, two canvasback, two redheads or three scaup allowed.

-- Huntington Lake, currently at 99% capacity, will be at less than 35% by the end of September as Southern California Edison draws down the popular reservoir at a faster rate than usual. Shaver Lake is expected to remain at or near 62% through year's end.

-- September is a great cycling month. Learn how to keep your bike rolling during a free maintenance seminar Sept. 8 at REI from 3-4:30 p.m. Register at www.rei.com/fresno

Note to readers: An earlier version incorrectly listed the starting date for waterfowl hunting season.

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