January 7, 2013
Half Dome

Yosemite's Half Dome     Photo: Randy Robertson/Flickr

NPS Permanently Caps Half Dome Hikers

Extends 2010 plan

The National Park Service officials on Friday approved a new plan to permanently limit the number of hikers that can climb the popular cables route up Yosemite's Half Dome, extending an interim program that has been in place since 2010. The policy will allow roughly 300 people a day up the formation, with permits awarded by lottery in March. Park officials will have some leeway to adjust the final numbers as needed. Despite the wishes of environmentalists, the NPS said that the braided steel cables that have assisted visitors up the final 400 feet since 1919 will remain in place. "With a place like Yosemite that is so dear and important to millions of people, everyone has ideas about what wilderness protection is," said spokesperson Kari Cobb. "We tried to find a balance that allows people to still experience Yosemite while protecting Yosemite." Five people have died in accidents on the cables route since 2006.

Via USA Today


    Photo: Goodmami/Flickr

Colorado Skiers Killed in Parking Lot Accident

Struck by an errant SUV

Two skiers were killed on Saturday in the parking lot of a popular Colorado ski and snowshoe trail by an errant SUV. According to State Patrol, the SUV was traveling along Highway 65 when it swerved to avoid another vehicle making a turn. The SUV lost control and veered into the parking area of County Line Winter Trailhead near Grand Mesa and struck an elderly couple in their seventies. Both victims died at the scene. A local resident, Jim Forbes, said a number of bystanders attempted to resuscitate the victims. “There was a guy there who said he was a doctor, and another who was some kind of medical staffer,” he told reporters. “By that point, they had kind of taken a back seat because they knew we were working on dead people.” There were no other injuries.

Via The Daily Sentinel


    Photo: Caninest/Flickr

Russian State Declares 'Battle' Against Wolves

Awards for the most wolf pelts

Come down from the mountains, eat our animals, and you best be ready for a battle, wolves. At least, that’s the mindset of officials in Russia’s enormous but remote Sakha Republic, who have declared a state of emergency. Experts quoted in Russian media believe a shortage of rabbits in the nearby mountains has led hungry wolves to prey on Sakha’s reindeer pastures. Reports say that a total of 16,111 reindeer were killed by wolves last year, amounting to $5 million in losses for herders. In response, local officials have extended wolf-hunting season to a full year and, beginning on January 15, groups of hunters will pursue the wolves for what is being called a three-month “battle.” For the hunters who collect the most wolf pelts, there will be multi-thousand-dollar rewards. The goal is to reduce the wolf population, currently numbering 3,500, to just 500.



San Francisco, California.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Oil Tanker Strikes Bay Bridge

No report of a leak

An oil tanker struck San Francisco's Bay Bridge Monday morning, but authorities say it is not leaking oil into the water. A fireboat has been dispatched to the bridge's westernmost tower, where the 75-foot ship hit on its starboard side. While there is confirmed damage to both the tanker and the tower, Coast Guard investigators were unable to provide further details.

Via San Francisco Chronicle