Outdoors

Trail Mix for the week of Feb. 29: Half Dome permits lottery opens Tuesday

A group of hikers use the cables to acsend the final 400 feet to the top of Half Dome. Below people pick from a pile of gloves left by other hikers to aid in climbing steel cables that heat up in the sun.
A group of hikers use the cables to acsend the final 400 feet to the top of Half Dome. Below people pick from a pile of gloves left by other hikers to aid in climbing steel cables that heat up in the sun. Merced Sun-Star file

Grab your calendars and start planning as Half Dome’s preseason lottery for recreation permits opens at midnight Tuesday. The lottery closes at 9 p.m. March 31.

The cables to climb Half Dome are planned to be in place May 27 through Oct. 11, though those dates are subject to change. In the lottery, 225 permits are made available per day for the 16-mile round-trip hike. During the season, about 50 permits will be available per day through a daily lottery system.

People can apply for up to six permits (six people) and seven dates. Applications will be granted if the number of permits requested is available on one of the requested dates. If there are openings on more than one of the desired days, applications will be awarded to the date of highest priority.

To apply for a permit, visit www.recreation.gov. Applicants will be notified by or before April 12 and will have until April 27 to purchase their reservations, according to the website.

Permits are required to hike Half Dome. A maximum of 300 are allowed per day (about 225 day hikers and 75 backpackers) on the trail beyond the base of the subdome during hiking season.

Bass Lake Triathlon – The annual event at Bass Lake is scheduled for June 4 and bears a new name: The Bass Lake Classic Triathlon.

The swim-bike-run event was voted Cycle California! Magazine’s Best Olympic Distance Triathlon for 2015 and has a long history at Bass Lake, hosting the 1983 and 1984 U.S. Triathlon Series and the Tri-Fed National Championships, according to the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau.

The triathlon returned to Bass Lake in 2011 and drew nearly 500 athletes last year. A registration cap of 750 athletes has been placed for this year’s race.

Registration costs $110 for the sprint triathlon and $130 for the Olympic triathlon. The sprint course features a 500-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike ride and 5K run. The Olympic course has a 1,500-meter swim, 40K bike ride and 5K run. USA Triathlon memberships are required for participants.

Also offered is a 5K Poker and Go Fish Fun run for kids and adults. The proceeds from the 5K race benefit the Yosemite High School Scholarship Fund, athletic programs and other local youth charities. Registration for the 5K is $25 per adult and $15 per child.

For information or to register, visit www.BassLakeTri.com.

Sequoia NF open house – The Sequoia National Forest is hosting an open house Wednesday at its Dunlap office to discuss upcoming projects in the Hume Lake Ranger District, including a proposed camping fee at Big Meadows.

Most proposed projects are a result of the Rough Fire and the recovery efforts, according to the Sequoia National Forest.

“In order to sustain the resources in this highly used area, we have to implement a fee which will be used for site maintenance and improvement,” district ranger Teresa Benson says in a news release.

According to the release, the district will work with concessionaire California Land Management to start collecting overnight camping fees at the Big Meadows Campground this summer.

The public can share ideas at the open house from 3 to 7 p.m. at 35860 East Kings Canyon Road (Highway 180), about 40 minutes east of Fresno. There will be no formal format; instead, visitors will have the opportunity to ask land managers questions and share ideas on potential projects.

For information, contact Marianne Emmendorfer at the Hume Lake Ranger District, 559-338-2251 or mmemmendorfer@fs.fed.us.

Land donated – The giant sequoia grove at Case Mountain will be much easier to reach after the Feb. 17 announcement that the San Francisco-based Save the Redwoods League and Sequoia Riverlands Trust donated the 66-acre Craig Ranch to the Bureau of Land Management.

The property near Three Rivers will improve access to Case Mountain for hikers, hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts who frequent the adjacent Kaweah Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The donation will be added to the Case Mountain Extensive Recreation Management Area and provide better parking and a trailhead.

The ranch was previously owned by the Ollie Craig Trust.

For information, contact Jennifer Benito-Kowalski of the Save the Redwoods League at 415-820-5814 or jbenito@SaveTheRedwoods.org, or Aaron Collins of Sequoia Riverlands Trust at 559-738-0211 or aaron@sequoiariverlands.org.

Angel Moreno: 559-441-6401, @anhelllll

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