Facelift 2009 Results

I would like to thank everybody that participated at the 6th annual Yosemite Facelift in 2009. Your support helped to once again make the Facelift the best volunteer event in Yosemite National Park. This year we tried some new things to take the event in a greener direction.

We gave away 1,000 stainless steel Klean Kanteen bottles to the volunteers with the hopes of reducing the use of bottled water. REI donated money to purchase bicycles and trailers which were extremely useful for early morning setup, afternoon breakdown, running errands, recruiting volunteers, and supplying volunteers in the field. We also had signature event glasses for the refreshments during the evening programs. These glasses cut down the use of plastic cups to practically none. There was plenty of free coffee in the mornings and for the evening programs donated by Peets. New Belgian Brewing Company provided beer and Redwood Creek Winery provided wine for the six evening programs. ClifBar gave away thousands of bars and helped cover the cost of the outdoor music program on Saturday night in front of the VisitorCenter. More than 50 sponsors donated raffle prizes for the event.

There were 1,207 individual volunteers that contributed 2,061 work days during the five day event for a total of 16,488 hours. This was very encouraging as the fire closed Tamarack Campground which was to provide half of the free camping available. Two local schools, the Yosemite Institute and two Scout Troops helped out this year. One third of the individual volunteers were children. The kids especially enjoy the Facelift which is very encouraging as they are our future land stewards.

More than 120 miles of roadway were cleaned as well as over 180 miles of trails. Twenty plus miles of river corridor, parking areas, lodging areas, residential areas and campgrounds were cleaned from Tuolumne Meadows to Wawona.  Facelift volunteers and NPS Rangers worked together on 7 different "Special Projects" that required technical and coordinated efforts. These included 600 meters of cable from the pristine and hard to reach Leconte Gully, 200 pounds of steel piping from the top of Illouette Canyon, 400 pounds of piping from the Merced River below Vernal Falls, 500 pounds of garbage dropped below the shoulder of Half Dome, two old toilets and 100 pounds of associated garbage from an old bathroom at Union Point. Other tasks included removal of old asphalt and non-native plants. These projects are a great way for rangers and the volunteers to work cooperatively, improving relationships between climbers, Park visitors and the National Park Service.

 60,437 pounds of trash was removed this year and about 80 percent of it was recycled. On a positive note, areas that had been cleaned in previous Facelifts had substantially less garbage and it appears that a difference is being made.

The evening programs were very good this year and they were packed every evening. On Tuesday we showed the Yosemite Reel of the Ken Burns National Park series “Americas Greatest Idea”. Following the 50 minute film, Dean Potter did a presentation. On Wednesday the Peter Croft did a presentation with Timmy O’Neill acting as emcee. We showed the Reel Rock Film Tour on Thursday. Friday started off with Timmy O,Neill interviewing special guest paraplegic Mark Wellman about his historic El Capitan climb twenty years previously. John Long and Dean Fidelman did a presentation about the Stonemasters and signed copies of their new book. On Saturday National Public Lands Day, various speakers acknowledged volunteers for all of their work in Yosemite National Park. Immediately following the acknowledgements, Jonathan McEuen Band played live music opening for the Mother Hips. Both bands played on a stage with a view of the setting sun on Half Dome and participants dancing to their music. On Sunday, 400 of us ate dinner catered DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite and had a giant raffle after Acting Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga spoke. Participants spent the rest of the night dancing to the Jonathan McEuen Band.

Two of my personal highlights were: Receiving a text message from a soldier in Afghanistan saying he was missing the Facelift this year but was picking trash up where his troop was staying in honor of the Facelift. The other was receiving the Yosemite Volunteer of the year award from the National Park Service.

I hope to see you at the next Facelift September 22nd - 26th, 2010.

 

Thank you,

 

Ken Yager