NORTH FORK – There a lot happening this summer along the beautiful Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. The vistas are breathtaking, and there’s a lot less traffic than you’ll find in Yosemite.
If you haven’t driven the Scenic Byway, make it a point to experience the beauty in your own back yard this summer. Here is some of the news, plus upcoming events you’ll want to pencil in on your calendar.
Highway 41: New Byway Billboard Sign
The Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway Association’s directional billboard sign – just about 1 mile south of Road 200 as you travel north on Route 41 – has recently received a new face lift!
The fading, but impressive sign had been a known landmark for years, guiding visitors and locals to make the next turn toward the towns of O’Neals and North Fork, then on to the magnificent vistas of the Scenic Byway.
For the past few months the all-volunteer Byway Association, in conjunction with the North Fork Chamber of Commerce, has been working non-stop to upgrade the sign and improve the adjacent vegetation and landscaping. Local mountain area businesses were hired to accomplish the design, production and installation of the new billboard sign.
Installation was completed at the end of March, several days ahead of the April 1st scheduled deadline. Yay, Team! Billboard sign photo provided by photographer Roger Robinette. Used here with permission.
Summer 2015 Sierra Vista Scenic Byway tours
Saturday, June 20th ~ Byway Geology with Tom Burdette
This tour will highlight interesting geological features along the Byway which traverses very diverse areas. More tour details will be posted on the Byway website as they become available.
Saturday, July 11th ~ Wildflowers of Mountain Meadows, with Joanna Clines, Forest Botanist
From 9 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. ~ A driving tour along the Scenic Byway with a bit of walking to and within meadows between 6,000 and 7,000′ elevation, no strenuous hiking. Visiting a few places within the French Fire to discuss fire ecology and see some post-fire flowers. Lunching at Graveyard Meadow, in view of common native wildflowers of Sierra meadows. Travel to McCreary Meadow to see more and different flowers.
Bring your lunch, snacks, drinking water, sunscreen, sturdy shoes or boots you don’t mind getting wet/dirty. Optional: camera, binoculars, notebook, wildflower books/apps. More tour details will be posted on the Byway website.
Grizzly Century Bike Ride
Saturday, Oct. 3, is the day for the 22nd annual Grizzly Century bike ride along the Byway which brings hundreds of riders to the area.
Three routes are planned: 25 miles around Bass Lake, 60 and 100 miles deep into the Sierra National Forest along the Byway. Cyclists experience the Byway first hand and at a slower pace than motorists.
The bicycle ride is a major fundraiser for the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway enabling improvement projects along the Byway to enhance Byway traveler experiences.
Check the Grizzly website for more information: www.grizzlycentury.org
Nelder Grove News
Nelder Grove consists of 1,540 acres in the Sierra National Forest, with about 1,000 mature sequoias mixed in a forest of pine, fir and cedar. It can be found just off the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway and only about 10 miles north of Oakhurst. An area signage improvement project is planned for later this year. Visit their website at www.neldergrove.org for more information.
BywayTee-Shirts & Audio Tour
Sierra Vista Scenic Byway Tee Shirt – Classic short sleeve tee in comfortable cotton fabric. (Heather Grey shirt is 99% cotton/1% poly blend). Front left chest has SVSBA logo. Back of shirt shows a view of Mile High Vista along the Byway. Choose from 3 adult sizes and 4 new colors! Shirts are $15 each.
Byway Audio Tour CD
The tour CD includes 15 audio tracks from several local Byway experts to guide you on a tour of the Byway as you travel from one point of interest to the next. The CD includes music interwoven with the talks to enhance your Byway experience. A small map of the Byway is also included in the CD case. Tour CDs are $12 each.
The tee shirts and tour CD are available for purchase locally at Jennie’s Garden in downtown North Fork and online at the Byway website. The tour CD is also for sale at the North Fork Visitors Center.
Fire on the Byway
The French Fire of August 2014 affected portions of the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway as far as 13 miles inside the fire perimeter. Some areas were untouched or lightly burned and some were more severely burned. The Byway through the fire area was temporarily closed for public safety. The Forest Service took precautions during the fire, and immediately afterwards, to mitigate hazards along the Byway by felling hazardous trees, cleaning culverts and posting warning signs.
The Mile High Road Hazard Tree timber sale was put in place to remove dead trees that posed a public health and safety hazard along roads in the fire area. The sale will be completed by July 31st.
Ross Cabin, Fish Creek and Rock Creek campgrounds were spared during the fire and are available to the visiting public. Views at Mile High overlook are enhanced with additional scenic views of Eagle Beaks and the high sierra.
The burned area in the foreground and across Mammoth Pool add a change in the scenery – welcome or not. For more on this subject, see the full article on the Byway website. www.sierravistascenicbyway.org
Join the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway Association
The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway Association is a non-profit corporation with the charter to promote and improve the recreational facilities on the Byway. Volunteers handle administration of the Association, conduct Byway tours and coordinate with the Forest Service to maintain and improve the Byway.
The Byway Association Board of Directors meets on the Second Monday of each month at the Forest Service facility in North Fork at 5:30 p.m. All Byway Association members are welcome (and encouraged) to attend the monthly Board meetings. Be sure to visit our website to join as a Byway member or renew your annual membership and to keep up on Byway events: www.sierravistascenicbyway.org
The Sierra Vista Scenic Byway Association is a 501c(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.
Sierra Vista Scenic Byway Association – PO Box 764 – North Fork, CA 93643 (559) 877-7779.
The preceding was republished with permission from the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway Association Newsletter.