Boulders cleared from El Portal Road in Yosemite

By Guy McCarthy, The Union Democrat, @GuyMcCarthy

Car-size boulders unleashed Monday by the weekend’s stormy weather have been cleared from El Portal Road in Yosemite National Park, where park staff intended to reopen the popular access route at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Yosemite is geologically active and boulders tumble from time to time from granite cliffs that wall the Merced River. The vehicle-size rocks that came down Monday were described by park staff as “large” and some of them landed on the road. No injuries were reported.

A park geologist was at the scene Monday afternoon, accessing the release point where the boulders tumbled from and checking slope stability above the rockfall.

A closure of El Portal Road was put in place from the El Portal park boundary to Cascades Picnic Area. According to park public relations staff, road crews worked Tuesday to blast the fallen rocks, clear debris and ensure visitor safety.

Park staff urge visitors to be cautious when driving through the rockfall area.

The closure on Highway 140 eliminated one of three available entry-exit routes into the glacier-carved, globally renowned attraction. Visitors, workers and residents who normally rely on the popular El Portal route were forced to use either Highway 41 through Wawona or Highway 120 through Groveland. Highway 120, known as Tioga Road inside the park, was already closed east of Crane Flat due to recent storms.

Call (209) 372-0200 for road and weather conditions in Yosemite National Park.

The Union Democrat
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