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Bishop Visitor's Center

The National Park Service is 100 years old this year. President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill 100 years ago directing the Department of the Interior “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” And so the National Park Service (NPS) was born.

To celebrate its 100th birthday the NPS waived entrance fees for 16 days in 2016. The final two of these days are still to come – Saturday, September 24 and Friday, November 11 (Veterans Day).

Death Valley National Park and Yosemite National Park, each uniquely distinctive and seemingly worlds apart in geography, ecology and climate, are only about 300 miles of driving distance apart. Situated almost midway along a spectacular stretch of highway connecting these two well-known and beautiful parks is Bishop, California.

In fact the drive from boundary to boundary between the parks is only 170 miles, but beyond each boundary is a world of discovery and adventure.

A little less than 140 miles northwest of Bishop is Yosemite Valley where, in one of our nation’s oldest parks, the immense granite walls and giant sequoias rise to meet the heavens. Furnace Creek, just a little over 160 miles southeast of Bishop, sits at 198 feet below sea level in Death Valley National Park and has the distinction of being the hottest recorded place on earth.

Visiting both these parks in one day would be a bit beyond the realm of earthly possibility. However, the timing of these 100th birthday celebration ‘free entry’ days is practically perfect.

Typically the best times to visit these parks are:

Yosemite NP = late spring, summer, and early fall. September 24th in Yosemite Valley should be heavenly.

Death Valley NP = late fall, winter, early spring. November 11th at Furnace Creek will feel much more like heaven than well … Hades.

Yosemite National Park

On June 30, 1864 President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill granting Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias to the State of California. The bill stated, “for public use, resort and recreation,” and the two tracts “shall be inalienable for all time”. The federal government had, for the first time in history, set scenic lands aside purely as a means to protect them and allow for their enjoyment by all.

Twenty-six years later, on October 1, 1890, an Act of Congress designated Yosemite National Park as the third national park in the United States, after Yellowstone (1872) and Sequoia (1890).

Yosemite is best known for the towering granite cliffs, tall waterfalls, clear streams, giant trees and abundant fauna and flora. Most visitors spend their time within the seven square miles of the awe-inspiring Yosemite Valley, but the park covers almost 1,200 square miles.

Ranging in elevation from 2,127 to 13,114 feet above sea level (ASL) the park contains five major vegetation zones: chaparral/oak woodland, lower montane forest, upper montane forest, subalpine zone, and alpine. Of the 7,000 native plant species in California, more than 20% are found in the park. It is considered one the largest and least fragmented habitat blocks in the Sierra Nevada.

Death Valley National Park

Badwater Basin, Death ValleyThis is the hottest, driest and lowest National Park in the country. Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level is the lowest point in the contiguous US. As startling as this is, being almost 200 miles as the crow flies from the nearest coast, the fact that the highest point in the contiguous US, Mt. Whitney (at14,505′ ASL), is only 85 miles away makes this the greatest elevation gradient in the contiguous US as well.

Established as a National Monument in 1933, Death Valley was designated as a National Park in 1994 following major expansion and now covers an area of over 5,200 square miles. It is the largest National Park on the continental US.

Its rather gruesome name belies the fact that it sustains a great diversity of life. While many of these life forms are small and rare, all are hardy and exist in specific regions of the park where habitat is suitable. Within the various vegetation zones larger animals such as coyotes, bobcats, kit foxes, cougars, mule deer and bighorn sheep are not quite as numerous as the smaller species. Where water is available, vegetation is usually in abundance and the park sustains 51 species of native mammals, 307 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians and 2 species of native fish.

In 2013, the International Dark-Sky Association designated Death Valley National Park as a ‘dark sky park’. It is here that the heavens are a truly spectacular nighttime feature.

America’s National Parks

There are more than 400 parks on the roster of the National Park Service and only 124 normally charge an entrance fee. The fee-free days at these parks provide a wonderful opportunity for visitors to come see a new place or visit an old favorite.

US-NationalParkService-ShadedLogoAccording to the NPS the fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and fees collected by third parties are not included unless stated otherwise.

Fee-free days make parks accessible to more people. However, national parks are always economical, with entrance fees that range from $3 to $30. In addition, any fourth grade student can get a free annual pass through the Every Kid in a Park program, and active duty military and citizens with a permanent disability can also get free passes. For more information about the variety of discounted passes available, visit the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass page.

Bishop

Situated in the Owens Valley on scenic US Highway 395, Bishop is more than just a pit stop on the Eastside. Our big backyard has an abundance of exciting adventures just waiting to be experienced. There’s something to do here year-round, with easy access to so much of our nation’s cultural and natural heritage.

Stop by the Bishop Visitor Center at 690 N Main St and find out more about the National Parks and other great places to visit in and around Bishop. Whether you roam nearby or range far afield a little slice of heaven is closer than you think.

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22 hours ago

What's your favorite season in the Eastern Sierra?

Beautiful photo by @robert_lachman from October 12, 2019
#keepbishopsafe
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Whats your favorite season in the Eastern Sierra? 

Beautiful photo by @robert_lachman from October 12, 2019
#keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

I go every year! 2nd or 3rd week of October! Beautiful scenery and weather!

Fall

I was raised on the Eastern side of the Sierras. When I was young it was Summers. When I got a little older it was Spring for the opening of trout season. Now at 73 it's Fall...😊

Nice One!

Fall when leaves change and late summer when tubing in cut off’s by day with jeans and flannel by the fire at night

I have to say mid to late fall. Although mid spring is awesome as well. ✌️

Fall

Beautiful picture

Fall is the best...but the other 3 run a close 2nd!

Yes! 😅😁

We from Bishop

Fall🍁🍂🎃

Gorgeous

FALL...used to go up from L.A. EVERY OCT.

Autumn and Winter

Spring

Anything but fire season 😭

Love the fall leave. We try to go every year in October

Fall by far! I love the colors. We try to go every year in October for my husband's birthday.

In Bishop all of them. Bishop picture love this site 🙂🙂❤❤

So pretty

Beautiful

Fall

Fall for sure. Before the snow shuts the roads. And early summer. When it is just a little cooler. 🐈😷

Beautiful!

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3 days ago

With fires, poor air quality and COVID-19 all currently going on, who needs a little something to look forward to??
How about Wynonna for Labor Day Weekend of 2021!!
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With fires, poor air quality and COVID-19 all currently going on, who needs a little something to look forward to?? 
How about Wynonna for Labor Day Weekend of 2021!!

Comment on Facebook

Lol whatever floats your boat Bishop. With way things are we might be in a middle of some other bs that will shut it down. I’m done hoping and waiting for “better” times to come.

its sept 21??!!

Can’t wait!!

oh next yr ugh

Looks like she needs an enema !

Mary Allegra Nicol

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6 days ago

Wishing all of the firefighters and emergency support teams a safe weekend. Thank you for all that you are doing!!!

Sending love from Bishop to all who are being affected by the fires. ❤️

This photo by Instagram user @sammyzz17 and is from February of 2018 when we had the Pleasant Valley Reservior Fire. Hoping that he and his crew are safe!
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Wishing all of the firefighters and emergency support teams a safe weekend. Thank you for all that you are doing!!! 

Sending love from Bishop to all who are being affected by the fires. ❤️

This photo by Instagram user @sammyzz17 and is from February of 2018 when we had the Pleasant Valley Reservior Fire. Hoping that he and his crew are safe!

Comment on Facebook

🙏God Bless you all. I have been praying for rain to help put all the fires out and is in the forecast for some areas yeh!

God Bless all of you amazing men and women fighting these horrible fires. Stay safe!🙏❤️👩‍🚒👩‍🚒👍

Thanks guys!! Hope you all stay safe and return home to your families soon!!! Bless you all❤️

Wonderful pic.of these brave Firefighters! Prayers for their safety! 🙏🏻💕🙏🏻

Thank you to ALL FF's and Incident Command crews, Strike Teams busting butt out there. Love & prayers for All Your Safety from Santa Rosa 💜😷🐈

🙏 to all the first responders and thank you for your hard work.

Thank you Bishop firefighters for all of your extremely hard work!

A big Thank You To All Our Firefighters God Bless You And Your Families Stay Safe

Sending love and prayers from the Florida Panhandle. Be Safe! God Bless you and yours!

Thank you for your service. and God Bless You All .

God be with you all. Thank fort doing what you do

What a commitment! Thank you! Your work can never be repaid!!!

God bless you boys! Please stay safe!

Thank you God bless and stay safe

God Bless you all🙏☮️

Thank you all for what you do for us everyday 💗

Stay safe 🚒😊👍🏼

Amen

Ty

👊👍🤙😎🙏

Thanks to all the firefighters out in California, Oregon & Washington who work tirelessly everyday ❗️❗️. You are true heroes❗️

This is a spectacular photo, a real prizewinner! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks never were more than a few brave people

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7 days ago

To any of our Inyo County residents....Please take a minute, if you haven’t yet, to sign up for the Inyo County emergency alerting system, CodeRED. This will ensure that if there is a local emergency such as an evacuation notice or missing child report that you will be notified. Stay safe and stay informed!
Click on this link to sign up:
public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/DAD807D480BF

📷 by John Paul DeRousseau
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To any of our Inyo County residents....

Comment on Facebook

Jack Lila McKinney just making sure your signed up ❤️

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