Winter storm displaces more than 150 workers at Yosemite, traps many

A winter storm at Yosemite brought down 18-24 inches of snow, along with several trees and power lines that trapped more than 150 people. And now, even more snow is on the way.

A winter storm at Yosemite brought down 18-24 inches of snow, along with several trees and power lines that trapped more than 150 people. And now, even more snow is on the way.

Some people can’t get to their houses at all, so they don’t have their wallets. They’ve been sitting in the same soaking wet clothing for days. There are some major hygiene issues. The list of problems is endless.

Thankfully, a group went to Yosemite Saturday to deliver supplies to those people.

The first storm came in Monday, and it came in strong.

“All of the sudden I hear this crazy crack and it shakes the whole residence for where I’m sitting and standing. I was so nervous to go outside, but finally got the courage to go out and peak, and there was this huge, massive oak tree, like fourteen times the size of the house we were in, that fell right over, no more than ten feet from where I was sitting down,” said Ashley Winbush, who was still stuck at Yosemite Saturday.

Winbush used to work at Yosemite, and came back to visit friends. Now she’s trapped there.

“We keep hearing trees fall for several hours. It’s not stopping. The snow is plummeting down. There are these massive snow avalanches that are coming down out of branches that keep hitting people with immense force,” said Winbush.

Yosemite Gateway Partners sent a press release Saturday evening saying about 150 employees are displaced. They also said 50 guest cabins at half dome village and 50-70 concessioner housing units were damaged or destroyed.

“My car is completely covered in snow, and it’s blocked off by where the tree removal service is. And if I were to enter into that, I could get a ticket, because it’s not safe. Which I understand,” said Winbush.

Many people haven’t been able to get to their houses at all to get their belongings.

“People need access to their clothing. They need access to money. They need access to clean underwear, clean socks. Some women are hitting their cycles and need to use sanitary objects, which they’re not going to be able to receive,” said Winbush.

To try to help, the Mountain to Mountain Support Crew, led by Teena Hagerman, made the trek to deliver some supplies.

“They don’t have kitchens, so we did a lot of canned foods and soups. Hygiene products, girl things. Somebody bought them a case of beer, which I thought was super cute,” said Hagerman.

Hagerman just heard about this issue Friday, and by Saturday morning, Mountain to Mountain was on the move.

“Anytime someone is in trouble, it’s tough, but this one is in our back yard,” said Hagerman. “Just to know that people are going to have stuff and not be financially stressed out, I think that makes us feel good.”

“Great work to our community for that. Everyone’s so grateful. It’s been really inspiring to watch everyone come together,” Winbush said about the Mountain to Mountain Support Crew.

The damage that trapped those workers was caused by one storm, but now another storm has hit the area and will keep pounding down for a few days.

Aramark is estimating the employees won’t be able to get back into their homes for four to six weeks, but that could be even longer with the damage from the second storm.

Yosemite National Park said on its Facebook page that the Ski and Snowboard area will be back open Sunday. It’s been closed since February 2nd.

The park as a whole is still open – though the National Park Service says you have to use tire chains.

Click here to help the displaced workers at Yosemite.

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