RAW: Tenaya Lake to get summer makeover

Yosemite’s Tenaya Lake, once called “Lake of the Shining Rocks,” will
sparkle even more brightly following major restoration efforts this summer
to its east beach and surrounding wetlands and trails with funding provided
by Yosemite Conservancy.

“Tenaya Lake has a captivating natural beauty that charms park visitors
young and old alike. Those coming to the east beach area will have an even
better high country lake experience as a result of the restoration efforts
made possible by our donors,” said Mike Tollefson, president, Yosemite

The visitor experience will be enhanced thanks to extensive habitat
restoration plans for the east beach area. The trail from the parking lot
to the beach will be relocated so it no longer crosses a fragile wetland,
and native willows and other wetland plants will be re-introduced for
better soil protection. The new trail, which will be wheelchair-accessible,
will include educational signage highlighting Tenaya Lake’s sensitive
ecology, recreational history and trail systems. Picnic areas are being
thoughtfully restored, and will include the addition of a long communal
table perfect for larger family gatherings.

“The new trailhead will be clearly marked to keep hikers on track and out
of sensitive environments,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don
Neubacher. “There will be a sense of arrival at the lakefront where
visitors will have special places to relax and share the experience with
family and friends.”

Over 2011-2012 Yosemite Conservancy is providing $1,715,000 to fund the
work, made possible by Conservancy supporters such as Southern California
residents Jennifer and Greg Johnson, who call Tenaya Lake “Yosemite’s
favorite beach.” Jennifer noted, “People who may not be able to hike to a
backcountry lake can still take a short walk to experience the beauty and
spirituality of the high country or spend a fun day at this wonderful beach
with family, surrounded by spectacular scenery. It is our hope that places
like Tenaya Lake will be there for future generations and this restoration
work will accomplish that.”

Initial improvements to the east beach area began last year. Located at an
elevation of 8,150 feet, Tenaya Lake is just off Tioga Road, which provides
easy access for summer visitors of all ages and abilities. It is also a
popular launch point for backpackers, who can set out on a number of trails
that crisscross the high country.

The lake’s popularity resulted in the challenges of crowded parking areas,
unsafe traffic conditions, and unintended harm to fragile ecosystems,
shoreline erosion and unwanted run-off.

“The restoration work will address the effects of overuse while preserving
the lake’s natural integrity and beauty,” said Neubacher. “At the same
time, it will improve accessibility and will make the overall visitor
experience even better for an incredibly diverse group of users. Yosemite
Conservancy donors make projects like this possible.”