Ansel Adams Wilderness

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Ansel Adams Wilderness
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Location Madera / Fresno / Mono counties, California, United States
Nearest city Fresno, CA
Coordinates 37°41′N119°11′W / 37.683°N 119.183°W / 37.683; -119.183 Coordinates: 37°41′N119°11′W / 37.683°N 119.183°W / 37.683; -119.183
Area231,533 acres (936.98 km2)
Created1964
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The Ansel Adams Wilderness is a wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada of California, United States. The wilderness spans 231,533 acres (93,698 ha); 33.9% of the territory lies in the Inyo National Forest, 65.8% is in the Sierra National Forest, and the remaining 0.3% covers nearly all of Devils Postpile National Monument. [1] Yosemite National Park lies to the north and northwest, while the John Muir Wilderness lies to the south.

Contents

History

The wilderness was established as part of the original Wilderness Act in 1964 as the Minarets Wilderness. The 109,500-acre (44,300 ha) Minarets Wilderness was created by enlarging and renaming the Mount Dana-Minarets Primitive Area. [2]

In 1984, after his death, the area was expanded and renamed in memory of Ansel Adams, well-known environmentalist and nature photographer who is famous for his black-and-white landscape photographs of the Sierra Nevada.

Geography and Geology

The Ansel Adams wilderness spans in elevation from 3,500 to 13,157 feet (1,067 to 4,010 m), forming the northern end of the High Sierra. [3]

The centerpiece of the Ansel Adams wilderness is the Ritter Range, which includes dark metavolcanic glaciated mountains such as Mount Ritter, Banner Peak, and The Minarets.

Immediately to the east of the Ritter Range is the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, [3] which contains Devils Postpile, a series of basaltic columns that were revealed and smoothed by glacier action. The Middle Fork originates from Thousand Island Lake, at the foot of Banner Peak, one of the largest backcountry lakes in the Sierra. [3]

To the east of the Middle Fork canyon is the true Sierra Crest, which, at roughly 10,000 feet (3,000 m) of elevation is lower than the Ritter Range. [3] This relatively low region of the Crest allows winter storms through and cause large amounts of snowfall on Mammoth Mountain, which sits in the gap. The gap also allows migration of plants and animals across the Sierra Crest. [3]

To the west of the Ritter Range lies the canyon of the North Fork of the San Joaquin, a relatively remote and unvisited high-country area. The southern part of the wilderness contains the 3,000 feet (900 m) deep canyon of the main San Joaquin River, which flows out of the Sierra Nevada to California's Central Valley. [3]

Ansel Adams Wilderness Panoramaanseladams.jpg
Ansel Adams Wilderness

Ecology

The Ansel Adams wilderness contains substantial area above treeline, at approximately 9,600 to 10,400 feet (2,900 to 3,200 m). The area above treeline contains alpine meadows and fellfields, with a large number of glacial lakes. Below treeline, the wilderness is dominated by lodgepole pine, red fir, and Jeffrey pine, depending on elevation. [4]

Alger Lakes and Mount San Joaquin in the northern end of the wilderness. Alger Lakes Ansel Adams Wilderness.jpg
Alger Lakes and Mount San Joaquin in the northern end of the wilderness.

Recreation

The wilderness contains 349 miles (562 km) of hiking trails, including portions of the John Muir and Pacific Crest Trails. [3] The Sierra High Route, an off-trail route described by Steve Roper, runs along the base of the Ritter Range, through the wilderness. [5]

The Middle Fork of the San Joaquin receives the most visitors: a mandatory bus is required for visitors to reach Devils Postpile from the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area during the summer.

The Minarets are a well-known area for technical rock climbing. [3]

Winter brings various cross-country ski possibilities, accessible from both Mammoth Mountain and the June Mountain ski area.

See also

Minaret Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness area. MinaretLake.jpg
Minaret Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness area.

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Devils Postpile National Monument National monument in California, United States

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Sierra National Forest

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Mount Ritter Mountain in California, United States

Mount Ritter is the highest mountain in Madera County, California, in the Western United States, at an elevation of 13,149 feet (4,008 m). It is also the highest and most prominent peak of its namesake, the Ritter Range, a subrange of the Sierra Nevada in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of the Inyo and Sierra National Forests. Mount Ritter is the 15th highest mountain peak in California with at least 500 meters of topographic prominence.

Inyo National Forest

Inyo National Forest is a United States National Forest covering parts of the eastern Sierra Nevada of California and the White Mountains of California and Nevada. The forest hosts several superlatives, including Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States; Boundary Peak, highest point in Nevada; and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest that protects the oldest trees in the world. The forest, encompassing much of Owens Valley, was established by Theodore Roosevelt as a way of sectioning off land to accommodate the Los Angeles Aqueduct project in 1907, making the Inyo National Forest one of the least wooded forests in the United States' system.

Thousand Island Lake

Thousand Island Lake is a large alpine lake in the Sierra Nevada, within the Ansel Adams Wilderness in eastern Madera County, California.

Ritter Range

The Ritter Range is a small mountain range within California's Sierra Nevada. Most of the mountain range lies within the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

Sierra High Route Off-trail route in Californias High Sierra

The Sierra High Route is a cross-country hiking route, 195 miles (314 km) long, through the Sierra Nevada. It was scouted by Steve Roper and described by him in his book Sierra High Route: Traversing Timberline Country.

Minaret Summit

Minaret Summit is a mountain pass on Highway 203 in the central Sierra Nevada. The pass, lying on the Madera-Mono County border, is within the Mammoth Ranger District of the Inyo National Forest and located near Devils Postpile National Monument, Mammoth Lakes, and Mammoth Mountain. The elevation of the pass is about 9,265 ft (2,824 m). Highway 203 ends at Minaret Summit. The road continues, now called Reds Meadow Road, until its dead end at the Reds Meadow Pack Station near the Rainbow Falls trailhead.

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Golden Trout Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Golden Trout Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada, in Tulare County and Inyo County, California. It is located 40 miles (64 km) east of Porterville, California within Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Forest.

Kaiser Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Kaiser Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness protected area located 70 miles (110 km) northeast of Fresno in the state of California, USA. It was added to the National Wilderness Preservation System by the United States Congress on October 19, 1976. The wilderness is 22,700 acres (92 km2) in size, is one of five wilderness areas within the Sierra National Forest and is managed by the US Forest Service.

Minaret Lake

Minaret Lake is a lake in the Ritter Range, a subrange of the Sierra Nevada, in California. It is located in extreme northeastern Madera County, within the Ansel Adams Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest.

Lions Fire

The Lions Fire was a wildfire in the Ansel Adams Wilderness in Inyo National Forest and the Sierra National Forest in California in the United States. The fire was started by a lightning strike and first reported on June 11, 2018. The fire impacted recreational activities in both national forests, as well as access to Devils Postpile National Monument. The Lions Fire burned a total of 13,347 acres (54 km2), before burning out on October 1.

The protected areas of the Sierra Nevada, a major mountain range located in the U.S. states of California and Nevada, are numerous and highly diverse. Like the mountain range itself, these areas span hundreds of miles along the length of the range, and over 14,000 feet of elevation from the lowest foothills to the summit of Mount Whitney.

Carson Peak

Carson Peak is a 10,908-foot-elevation mountain summit located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, in Mono County of northern California, United States. It is situated in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, on land managed by Inyo National Forest. It is approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) southwest of the community of June Lake, 2.0 miles (3.2 km) south of Silver Lake, and 2.25 miles (3.62 km) northwest of San Joaquin Mountain, the nearest higher neighbor. The mountain is visible from various locations along the June Lake Loop, and from the nearby June Mountain ski area. The summit offers impressive views of Mount Ritter and Banner Peak. Topographic relief is significant as it rises 3,700 feet (1,130 meters) above the valley in 1.2 mile. The mountain consists of granite of Lee Vining Canyon. Carson Peak is considered an eastern Sierra classic by backcountry skiers drawn to routes called the "Devils Slide" and "Petes Dream".

References

  1. "Ansel Adams Wilderness acreage breakdown". Wilderness.net. Archived from the original on 2012-07-01.
  2. Godfrey, Anthony (2005). The Ever-Changing View-A History of the National Forests in California. USDA Forest Service Publishers. p. 411. ISBN   1-59351-428-X.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Adkinson, Ron (2001). Wild Northern California . The Globe Pequot Press. pp.  86–93. ISBN   1-56044-781-8.
  4. Schoenherr, Allan A. (1992). A Natural History of California . University of California Press. ISBN   0-520-06922-6.
  5. Roper, Steve (1997). Sierra High Route: Traversing Timberline Country. ISBN   0-89886-506-9.