Yosemite’s lottery for Half Dome hiking permits opens March 13

Yosemite’s lottery for permits to hike Half Dome was supposed to take place on March 1 but has been postponed until March 13. That means it isn’t too late to enter your name for a chance to hike Half Dome this year.

Hikers come from all over the world to haul themselves up Half Dome, one of Yosemite’s most iconic hikes. Each year, over 25,000 people apply for a permit to climb the granite rock formation.

Competition for a permit is so intense that the success rate of obtaining one is only about 19%. Some weekend dates see a success rate of just 2%. Permits are issued between the end of May and early October, when cables are in place to help hikers climb the last 400 feet of the 8,800-foot summit. The hike is 14-to-16 miles round-trip and is not for beginners.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park asks volunteers to ‘Adopt-a-Plot’

Park Rangers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are recruiting volunteers to adopt a monitoring plot in areas throughout the park.

Volunteers will be responsible for tracking important seasonal biological data such as plant flowering dates and the presence of migratory birds. Volunteers do not need previous experience but must attend a three-hour workshop that will teach topics such as tree identification, stages of tree changes throughout the year, fruit and flower identification, and phenology data collection protocols.

Volunteers will monitor their plot at least two times per month from the first leaf bud in spring to the final falling leaf in the fall. Those interested in volunteering can contact Paul Super at paul_super@nps.gov or 828-497-1945.