Outdoor briefs, June 17

Yosemite’s haven for giant sequoias ready for visitors

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Yosemite National Park’s largest sequoia grove is ready to open to the public after crews completed a restoration project to protect the nearly 500 ancient trees, officials said Thursday.

Mariposa Grove, a 4-acre habitat of the towering reddish-brown trees, opened Friday after being closed for three years, said Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman.

Crews removed asphalt to protect roots and help water better flow to the ancient sequoias, built 4 miles of trails, and added bridges and boardwalks over sensitive areas. A tram that featured chugging diesel trucks pulling wagons full of tourists within a few feet of the trees was taken out, the Mercury News in San Jose, California, reported.

Visitors will park in a new 300-vehicle parking area at the park’s south entrance and ride a free shuttle that runs every 10 minutes. It will be the first shuttle-only access in Yosemite. With 1 million visitors a year to Mariposa’s giant sequoia grove, buses were the best option to remove the cars from around the trees, park officials said.

Gypsy moth treatments to begin Wednesday

REYNOLDSBURG — The Ohio Department of Agriculture is to begin aerial treatments designed to disrupt gypsy moth mating on 32,526 acres in 15 counties, including Seneca County.

To help protect Ohio’s diverse habitat, ODA operates multiple programs aimed at managing the gypsy moth in Ohio. One such program, the Slow-the-Spread program, focuses on monitoring, detecting and reducing isolated populations to slow the gypsy moth’s movement across the state through treatments.

Airplanes are to fly 100-200 feet above the tree tops and buildings to apply the treatment throughout the day. Weather permitting, treatments are to begin in central and southern Ohio Wednesday with subsequent treatments Thursday.

The department will use a single application of the product SPLAT GM-O. This product does not kill the moth, but it disrupts the mating process by confusing the male as it searches for a female mate. SPLAT GM-O is an organic product and is not harmful to birds, plants, pets or humans.

Pre-recorded daily updates about planned treatment blocks are available by calling (614) 387-0907 or (800) 282-1955 ext.37, after 5 p.m.

The gypsy moth is a non-native, invasive species that feeds on the leaves of more than 300 species of trees and shrubs and is especially fond of oak. A healthy tree usually can withstand only two years of defoliation before it is permanently damaged or dies. To date, 51 of Ohio’s 88 counties have established gypsy moth populations.