YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — While most of Yosemite will reopen to visitors on Monday, the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias will remain closed as clean up continues from a damaging wind event that toppled at least 15 mature giant sequoias, according to the National Park Service.
On Jan. 19, a significant Mono wind event occurred in the Sierra Nevada and damaged facilities throughout Yosemite, but especially in the southern area of the park.
Based on size and conditions, officials estimated the trees that fell, including at least one monarch, were likely 1,000 to 2,000 years old.
Despite the losses, none of Mariposa Grove’s 15 named sequoias fell, the park service said. Falling trees caused significant damage to the grove’s restroom and boardwalk.
While the finding was heartbreaking for officials, they said it was a reminder of the dramatic lives these quiet giants can live.
Some sequoias can stand for 3,000 years or more due to a variety of pest-resistant adaptations and resistance to fire. A mature sequoia almost always dies from toppling and the rot-resistant wood may lie quietly with us for centuries more.
The fallen sequoias will remain where they fell, unless they blocked a trail, officials said. But a trail could be rerouted around the tree in some instances.
The park service reported there is no timeline for when the Mariposa Grove will reopen to visitors.