By George Warren


YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (CBS13) – Hundreds of families who’d planned early spring camping trips in Yosemite have been forced to make other arrangements.

Park service crews are still repairing the damage from the most destructive winter season in recent memory. And it could be weeks before Half Dome Village is fully reopened.

Two weeks into spring and the winter cleanup continues in several Yosemite Valley campgrounds. Heavy snow toppled trees; busted bear boxes; shattered picnic tables and yanked campfire rings with concrete footings clean out of the ground.

The weather did not set any seasonal records, but even people who’ve been here for decades say they can’t remember a winter so destructive.

“Right now, you’re seeing a lot of the aftermath,” said park ranger Jamie Richards. She says it looked like a tsunami hit the Pines Campgrounds. “We really couldn’t see the damage that was left over because of all the snow. We had to wait for about three to four feet of snow to melt,” she added.

The park service reluctantly canceled hundreds of campground reservations; Half Dome Village — still known by many as Curry Village — will only gradually reopen.

Some visitors actually found beauty in nature’s power

“We love it, we love it. It’s very beautiful here and even though you have some damages here, for us it’s super impressive,” said Nicolas Butterwegge, a German visitor.

“That’s just the way it is. And I think that’s the more beautiful thing,” said Julian Weyschaupt, a German visitor.

Of course, the winter storms also brought good things to Yosemite. Cross-country ski trails in the high country will remain open a couple weeks later than usual. Yosemite’s famous waterfalls will soon become even more spectacular.

A couple of food concessions are set to open this weekend in Half Dome Village but don’t expect the entire village to be open until late spring because of the extensive damage.

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