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Yosemite National Park: Roads partly reopen; lodgings expected to open Friday

March 24, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • Workers were helicoptered in to fix a transmission line in the El Portal/Yosemite area that would restore power to the national park. The power has been out since a winter storm over the weekend.
Workers were helicoptered in to fix a transmission line in the El Portal/Yosemite… (Neil Stockton / PG&E. )

Yosemite National Park partly reopened Thursday to daytime visitors after a severe winter storm knocked out power throughout the California park over the weekend. But Yosemite continued to limp along without electrical power, and some of its most popular spring venues, such as campgrounds and the Badger Pass Ski Area,  remained shut.

The park reopened California Highways 120, 140 and 41 on its south and west entrances to visitors between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, though a storm warning remains in effect until Friday morning, according to a news release. Chains were required for all vehicles. Restaurants and other services were limited although room reservations would be honored, the statement says.

The park hopes to reopen more fully Friday and throughout the weekend, depending on weather conditions. More snow is forecast in the area through Saturday. Yosemite Valley lodgings, including heated tent cabins at Curry Village, are expected to be open to visitors starting Friday, with generators providing the juice for heat and lights. Campgrounds are expected to reopen Monday.

Roads into the park had been shut since a storm Saturday dumped three feet of snow in the area. The storm also downed key transmission lines in an area along Highway 140 on the Merced River known as the Ferguson Slide. The lines were the key to providing electricity to El Portal and the entire park.

"Mother Nature has flexed her strength with this series of storms," said Nicole Liebelt, a spokeswoman for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. Crew members had to be brought in by helicopter to the remote area to work on the problem, she added. Company officials said they hope to have power restored by late Friday.

Yosemite typically greets about 145,275 visitors in March.

For updated weather and access information, check "Current conditions in Yosemite National Park."

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