The breathtaking sights in and around the Sierra Nevada deserve a spotlight. I’ve been exploring the landscape with my housemates–interns with the National Park Service and Forest Service–on my days off. Here are some snapshots of the beauty we’ve encountered so far:
Even while recreating, I can’t help noticing the effects of climate change around me. One effect of climate change is more extremes–dry periods become drier and wet periods become wetter. As you can see from the photos below, winter hit hard this year in the Sierras. Trails greater than 9,500 feet above sea level are still covered in snow!
The face of these landscapes is shifting under climate change. The Mammoth Lakes area received 2 times the precipitation this winter than the historic average after experiencing a severe drought from 2012-2015, the driest period in California in at least 1200 years. Many trails and roads are still closed due to snow or flooding.
Due to the severe winter, Devils Postpile’s opening this year has been delayed. The snowy road from town to the monument was finally plowed a couple weeks ago, but the trails, signage, and facilities still need to be repaired before we open to the public.
What shifts are you noticing in your backyard or hometown that may be attributed to climate change?
Check back next week for the story of Devils Postpile and how it came to be.