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Plan Your Trip Sustainable Travel

Sustainable Travel in Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

With the threat of wildfire, drought, and an ever-changing climate, sustainable travel is more important than ever in our national parks, and public and private lands. Find helpful information on how to travel to and enjoy these places while minimizing your impact on the environment.

We'll also share tips on how to get involved in sustainability and accessibility efforts in the parks, so you can help protect and contribute to these special places for future generations.

Recreate Responsibly

Here are tips and programs to help our National Parks and surrounding communities preserve and protect the lands we love.

Yosemite National Park Zero Landfill Initiative - Yosemite is trying to send less trash to the local county landfill, which is filling up quickly.  You can help!  Fun Fact:  Visitors to Yosemite leave behind 2,200 tons of garbage per year.  That is equal to 3,919 dumpsters full of trash. Stack those dumpsters one on top of another, and you get a mountain 16,735.5 feet tall.  That is taller than any peak in Yosemite and, in fact, higher than any mountain in the lower 48 states.

#RecreateResponsibly - is to care for one another and the places we play! We all have a role to play. Time in nature and outdoor recreation has proven to be essential for all. All of us, from seasoned outdoor enthusiasts to families heading out to a local park for the first time, can turn to the community and simple reminders about how to safely and responsibly recreate outdoors while caring for one another.  Helpful information on water, wildfire, seasonal information, and more.

The Responsible Travel Code from Visit California is a set of seven principles that encourage visitors to travel in a safe, respectful, and sustainable way. The code asks visitors to roam responsibly, educate themselves, preserve California, embrace community, celebrate culture, teach others, and put safety first.

A Clean Bass Lake Begins With Me

Accessibility Information

Yosemite National Park - This guide outlines accessible services, facilities, and activities. It describes ways people with sight, hearing, and mobility impairments can enjoy Yosemite. Download the guide today: Yosemite National Park Accessibility Guide

Give-Back and Get Involved on your Vacation

Sometimes, you want to join in and give back to a location you love to visit. We’ve put together a few ways you can do just that while traveling in Madera County and Yosemite National Park.  An added benefit: you’ll work beside locals who know all the secret places to visit!

Yosemite Annual Facelift - Yosemite Valley’s largest volunteer clean-up event happens each September. In 2023, the 20th anniversary event will be in Yosemite on Sept. 20-24. Pre-registration is encouraged. However, an in-person registration booth will open at 8:00 a.m. each day in front of the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. Click the link for important information on how you can get involved.

Yosemite Conservancy - a nonprofit dedicated to preserving Yosemite’s resources and providing enriching visitor experiences in the park. Our philanthropic partnership with Yosemite goes back more than 95 years. Learn about volunteer opportunities here.  

Kern Family Farms - Experience a profound eco-adventure as you contribute to the growth of an organic, community-focused farm. Through an enriching WWOOF volunteer experience spanning over two months, travelers can immerse themselves in sustainable practices, nurturing the land while savoring the unparalleled beauty of nearby Yosemite National Park and the Sierra National Forest. Discover a gratifying way to explore these natural wonders.

The Nature of Wildworks Coarsegold, CA - Volunteer to spend a little time helping animals...The Nature of Wildworks is dedicated to the lifetime quality care of non-releasable wild animals. The wildlife care center houses such diverse species as mountain lions, bobcats, gray foxes, barn owls, and many other birds and mammals, most of which are native to the California environment. Our mission is to provide wildlife educational programs and publications teaching people to coexist safely and humanely with wildlife. 

Eastern Madera Recreation and Parks (EMRAP) - This organization is involved with many nonprofits around the southern gateway to Yosemite.  From local parks to the many trails around the area, they are involved by holding fundraising events like Movies or Concerts in the Park to trail clean-up days.  Check out their website for more information on how you can be involved or what fantastic event they are holding that you can enjoy while giving back.

South Gate Trail Cooperative - This amazing group goes on local mountain bike trails, cleans them, and makes trail repairs and improvements.  Note:  I’m sure this includes some epic trail rides, as this group knows how to work and play hard!

Stewards of the Sierra - This working group’s mission is to unite the many people who enjoy the diverse recreation activities available in the Sierra National Forest, promoting responsible recreation and use of forest resources through conservation and education and ensuring public access to the forest in the present and for future generations.  Join the cause to make a difference!

Other Helpful Sustainable Travel Tips

As we continue to build out our Sustainability Plan for Madera County and the southern Yosemite region, we will post information and helpful tips.

1. Oakhurst Park-n-Ride with EV Charging. A new Park-n-Ride area on Civic Circle Drive is next to the Oakhurst Library. This is a great area to park your car and hop on the summer Trolley around Oakhurst, meet up with your Yosemite tour, park and shop and dine around town, have a picnic at the local Oakhurst Community Park, or enjoy a stroll along the Oakhurst River Parkway Trail. Charging for the first four hours is FREE! Recharge while you dine, shop, and play in Oakhurst.

Electric vehicle charging station located in Oakhurst, California. Background of parking spaces, trees, and bright blue sky.

2. Bring your reusable shopping bags. California requires a $.10 fee (or higher) for shopping bags at grocery and other stores. So remember to bring your bag and save a few cents and the environment!

3. Pack it, don't stack it! Trash services are limited in many parts of the Sierra Nevada, so it is important to pack out everything you pack in. This includes food scraps, toilet paper, and even cigarette butts. When trash bins are full, please do not stack your trash on top of them. This can attract animals and create a public health hazard. Instead, take your trash with you and dispose of it properly later.

Here are some tips for packing out your trash:

  • Bring a sturdy bag or container to pack your trash in. (Ask about FREE trash bags available in our Visitor Center!)
  • Pack out all of your toilet paper, even if it is flushable.
  • Do not leave any garbage behind, even if it is biodegradable.

The phrase "Pack it, don't stack it" reminds us that we all have a responsibility to pack out our trash and keep our wilderness areas clean. When we stack our trash on top of full bins, we are not only creating a mess but also attracting animals and creating a public health hazard. By packing our trash, we can help protect the Sierra Nevada for everyone to enjoy.

4. Tread Lightly! is a non-profit organization that promotes the responsible use of motorized vehicles in outdoor recreation. They believe that everyone has the right to enjoy the outdoors and that protecting our natural resources is important. Their goal is to balance the needs of OHV users with the need to conserve the environment.

  • They offer a variety of programs and resources, including:
  • Educational materials on responsible OHV use
  • Training programs for OHV riders
  • Volunteer opportunities to help restore damaged areas
  • Advocacy for policies that protect OHV access

Everyone can play a role in protecting our natural resources. By following the TREAD Principles, you can help ensure everyone can enjoy the outdoors for generations.

All-terrain vehicle with snow tracks on snow-covered mountain road with mountains and trees in background.

Here are the TREAD Principles:

  • Travel responsibly: Stay on designated roads and trails.
  • Respect the rights of others: Be considerate of other people and wildlife.
  • Educate yourself: Learn about the area you are visiting and how to minimize your impact.
  • Avoid sensitive areas: These areas are particularly vulnerable to damage.
  • Do your part: Pack out what you pack in and leave no trace.

Thank you for helping to keep the Sierra Nevada clean and beautiful for future generations.


Our annual Visit Yosemite | Madera County Visitors Guide can answer all your questions about visiting California's Gateway to Yosemite. From the park itself to the museums, wineries, art galleries and more throughout Madera County, our guide can help you plan the perfect vacation. Please note that we mail to the USA only, but anyone can download the guide.
Visit Yosemite - Madera County
Oakhurst Visitor Center, 40343 Highway 41, Oakhurst, CA 93644
(559) 683-4636
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Summer Hours - 7 days a week: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Winter Hours - Monday thru Saturday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

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