Thursday, October 7, 2021

Ferguson Slide

The endangered Limestone Salmander. 

I posted pictures of the Ferguson rock slide located in the Merced River Valley and near our last campground at El Portal.  We had to detour around that again this morning as we left the Yosemite area.

Pat researched the story on the slide so I thought I would share the interesting history of the slide along with some old and new pictures.

I assumed the rock slide was somewhat recent.  The slide, however, occurred  on  "April 29, 2006," permanently closing the primary access road to Yosemite National Park from the town of Mariposa by the end of May of that year.  It affected revenue to the area and caused some employees to have to make  a 2-hour one way drive.

In August of 2006 two temporary bridges were erected sending one way traffic across the river onto a temporary road built on an old railway.  It did, and still does, utilize stop lights to send vehicles through the one-way route.  Those bridges could only handle 28' vehicles.  Our RV is 35' not counting our toad.  By June of 2008, 2 new bridges were constructed to handle longer vehicles.  The bridges are quite narrow.  So glad Pat drives the RV.  I would imagine during peak times the wait could be quite long too.

OK, so let's see, 2008 fast forward to 2021.  What, it looks the same?  Does it really take that long to clear rocks?  They didn't even start clearing the rocks until the spring of 2021!  And why? The project was put on hold because of the encroachment of the endangered Limestone Salamander native to the Merced River Valley.  I kid you not!  It was not until 2012 that they solved this problem by moving the Salamanders to an ecological reserve. 

By 2014 they decided to pass on a Tunnel and go with a rock shed design.  7 years later and the work is just beginning???

After I posted Pat walking through the Dead Giant Tunnel Tree in the Tuolumne Grove of Sequoias in Yosemite... brother Mark sent me a picture of my sister-in-law Mary and our nephew Michael at the same spot earlier in the summer.

Where are the Piepers now?  Greenfield, CA

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