The first phase of a major makeover at Tenaya Lake, one of Yosemite National Park’s most popular summer destinations, will restore wetlands and improve beach access with funding by Yosemite Conservancy.
“Tenaya Lake is a jewel of the park’s high country,” said Mike Tollefson, president, Yosemite Conservancy. “We’re focused on restoring and protecting it so that the visitor experience is as exceptional as its location.”
Picnickers, hikers and rock climbers are drawn to the lake’s picture perfect beaches, deep blue water, surrounding granite domes, and lodge pole pine forests. Its eye-catching scenery is visible from Tioga Road, which provides easy access to the lake for park visitors of all ages and abilities. However, its popularity has resulted in challenges of crowded parking areas, unsafe traffic conditions, unintended harm to fragile ecosystems, shoreline erosion and unwanted run-off.
“This initial phase restores and protects habitat and improves accessibility for all visitors to this magnificent location,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher.
Yosemite Conservancy will provide $850,000 for initial improvements at the lake’s East Beach area. Work begins this summer on a new ecologically friendly trail that will provide easy access for all from the parking lot to the shore and minimize future impacts to wetlands. The beach area will be enhanced for family use and picnicking with installation of new tables including a common “long table” that will accommodate family gatherings. Wetlands and riparian areas also will be restored to natural conditions with re-establishment of native willows.
Neubacher said future enhancements at Tenaya Lake would address ecological restoration of roadside parking areas, additional habitat protection, and redesign of the parking lot at the East Beach to accommodate tour buses that now park on the road and replace parking spaces removed from the roadside. “Initial restoration efforts will improve habitat surrounding the lake and protect it better for the future, while providing a better experience for park visitors. Both the park and its visitors benefit from this Conservancy-funded project,” said Neubacher. Tenaya Lake sits at 8,150 feet, 31 miles east of Highway 120 and nine miles west of Tuolumne Meadows along Tioga Road.