A Vegan Service Project in Spectacular Yosemite Valley, California
- Enjoy the trip-tested vegan meals
- Help care for one of our most treasured national parks
- Explore the wonders Yosemite has to offer
- All vegan meals and snacks
- Instruction on the importance of habitat restoration
- Group campsite fees
|Dates||Jul 6–13, 2014|
This trip has already run. Here are a few others you may enjoy:
- Spring Service in Arches National Park, Utah (May 3–9, 2015)
- City in a Garden: Spring Service in Chicago, Illinois (May 3–9, 2015)
- Farm Service on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts (May 10–16, 2015)
To search our full lineup by destination, date, activity, or price, please visit our Advanced Search page. Or give us a call at 415-977-5522 to find the trip that's right for you.
Yosemite has long been hailed as the flagship of our national park system. Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees received federal protection in 1864 when Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, considered the foundation upon which national and state parks were later established. Sierra Club founder John Muir helped lead the drive for a much larger Yosemite National Park, which was established by Congress on October 1, 1890.
Yosemite's unique beauty continues to enchant visitors from around the world. More than 3 million people a year come to experience its vertical granite walls, cascading waterfalls, Sequoia groves, and microclimates that range from 4,000 to more than 10,000 feet in elevation. The contrast from a flat, lushly green valley floor to treeless granite peaks has been the subject for authors and artists for decades.
We will have the opportunity to learn more about this park's natural and cultural history and to create our own personal experiences. Bring your curiosity and hiking boots, and explore Yosemite while we work and play.
Our primary transportation choices during the week will be walking or driving with our private automobiles.
We will work with the park's Vegetation and Ecological Restoration Program on projects that are of the greatest importance to the National Park Service. Flexibility is the key here as we will be involved in a variety of projects. Work may include: the removal of invasive plant species, planting of native species, trail cleanup, eradication of unauthorized "social" trails, and campground refurbishment. The National Park Service will provide all tools and instruction.
We will assemble by 2 p.m. on day one, Sunday, July 6. After introductions and orientation, we'll set up our base camp for the week. We will likely work four days in all, taking one day off midweek to explore or relax. Our last full day of work will be on Friday, July 11, and Saturday will be open so you can explore the park. The trip will conclude at midmorning on Sunday, July 13.
Flexibility is always important -- for instance, a late snowpack may change the work project or our base camp location. We'll adjust to whatever surprises come our way!
If you fly to Fresno or Merced airports, you will need to drive about two hours to reach the park. Flying to San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland airports requires about a four-hour drive (but it will likely be a less expensive flight).
Please note: If you plan to arrive at Reno Airport you will need to go over Tioga Pass Road (State Hwy 120), which may or may not be open by this time in the season. The route from Reno would likely take four to five hours.
State Highways 120, 41, and 140 provide park access. Please make sure the route you plan to use is open. Amtrak services Yosemite via Merced, where you change to YARTS bus transport to the valley. YARTS runs five buses from the Merced Amtrak and four buses from the Merced airport to Yosemite. Please check with YARTS if you intend to use this option.
Carpooling is strongly recommended.
Accommodations and Food
We are to be camping in a semi-developed group campground designated for our group's use. The exact location has not yet been determined. We may be in Yosemite Valley or we may be located in the Wawona area. You will need to bring a weather-tested tent, a three-season sleeping bag and pad, and personal camp gear for your comfort. A recommended equipment list will be sent to each participant.
There is no specific shower facility at the campground at Wawona, but you may bring your sun shower. If we are in Yosemite Valley you may use a shower facility at Curry Village or Housekeeping. Participants will be updated when our exact location has been determined.
We will be in the mountains at about 4,000 feet of elevation, so plan accordingly. Bring raingear and be prepared for any type of weather. The days can be quite warm, but temperatures drop once the sun falls behind the valley's rim.
Our first meal will be dinner on Sunday, July 6, and the last will be breakfast on Sunday, July 13. The food on this trip will be part of this wonderful adventure. We will be providing healthy, nutritious, vegan food experiences. You will be able to enjoy many of our trip-tested vegan dishes that have plenty of flavors, tastes and protein. The meals will be satisfying while not including meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, or honey. Trip menu planning considers that there is no refrigeration and food must be protected from animals. Everyone takes turn pitching in with food preparation (sous chef opportunities) and kitchen cleanup. People with food allergies and/or strong food preferences should note this on their participant approval form.
Black bears are ever present in Yosemite, seeking easy calories. All food and anything with a scent will be kept in steel bear boxes at all times. Even with these precautions we should not be surprised if curious bears or other wildlife wander through our campground.
This trip should not be too strenuous. You may find you are a bit short of breath due to the elevation, but you should adjust in a few days. The trails are almost all well developed, with reasonably good footing. You will need boots while we are working on the project, and they are recommended if you intend to do more strenuous hiking.
Safety is a priority and you are the best judge of your abilities. We work at our own pace. At the end of each day, we will be free to hike, tour the immediate areas, or just rest our tired muscles.
We suggest a good conditioning program prior to the trip so that you can do a full day's work. The trip staff welcomes beginners and experienced hikers alike.
Equipment and Clothing
In addition to your regular camping gear, you must bring two pairs of sturdy work gloves, a good pair of over-the-ankle hiking boots, a pair of long pants, and a long-sleeved work shirt to wear while working. You will need to supply your own tent and all of your own camping gear. The park will furnish our work tools and Sierra Club will provide our cooking equipment. You will need a day pack to carry all you will need for the hike to the work site. You should also bring a bowl, cup, and eating utensils, as well as a leak-proof plastic food container for packing your lunch each day. While we will provide a first-aid kit for emergencies, you should bring your own personal kit and any personal medications you require. A detailed equipment list will be provided by the leader after registration is complete.
Typical summer temperatures will be around the 80s while we work during the day, and cool off to around the 40s at night. July is typically dry, but be prepared to hike, work, play, and sleep in any kind of weather; afternoon showers are possible. Snow may remain in isolated areas of the park.
- Muir, John, The Yosemite.
- Giacomazzi, Sharon, Trails and Tales of Yosemite and the Central Sierra.
- Schaffer, Jeffrey, Yosemite National Park - A Complete Hiker's Guide.
- Wolff, Kurt; Amy Marr; David Lukas; and Cheryl Koehler, Lonely Planet Yosemite National Park.
- Yosemite National Park: www.nps.gov/yose
We will learn about the toll large human impact has on this park's front-country and backcountry access, traffic, flora, and fauna. We will also discuss how park policies deal with this issue and what the future may hold.
The Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. We are concerned about conservation and sustainability of resources, both locally and globally. Our work is accomplished by volunteers and aided by a salaried staff, and encourages grassroots involvement. Our outings seek to empower participants toward greater understanding, advocacy and participation in the goals of the Club.
By having this trip a vegan trip, we are reducing our impact. We will discuss how the vegan diet reduces our impact on the planet.In 2014 America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Sierra Club, various other organizations with a wilderness focus, and the four federal wilderness management agencies are vigorously planning this celebration. The goal of the effort is to assure that a broader public knows about the concept and benefits of wilderness. Sierra Club Outings is a vital part of the celebrations for wilderness.