Every year, thousands of hikers, horses and mules tread the nine-mile stretch of the John Muir Trail (JMT) that passes through Yosemite’s Lyell Canyon. As those people and animals step off the trail to avoid mud and water, they inadvertently create ruts in the surrounding meadow, fragmenting the wetland ecosystem that provides critical habitat for diverse plants and animals, including rare Yosemite toads and Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs.

In 2017, building on previous successful restoration work along the JMT in Lyell Canyon, crews rerouted more than 1,300 feet of trail out of wet areas, and restored more than 84,100 square feet of meadow habitat by removing ruts, loosening soil and planting new vegetation, leading to reduced erosion and improved drought resistance.

Your support helped fund continued efforts to enhance visitor access to a stunning wilderness area while preserving an important subalpine meadow habitat.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park and Student Conservation Association.

Victoria Hartman

Wilderness Restoration Coordinator

Project Notes

Rerouting the trail out of wet meadows into better drained upland areas results in a more sustainable trail and requires less maintenance. Well-drained trails prevent further resource damage, enhance wilderness character, protect the wild and scenic river corridor, and improve visitor experience.