With People Gone, Yosemite's Wildlife Is Taking Back the Park

A clip from the National Park Service shows coyotes ambling down park roads and herds of deer grazing in meadows.

Yosemite Valley is the most popular area in one of America’s most popular national parks. During a normal season, it’s almost impossible to escape signs of people, from road noise to the chatter of campers. But this isn’t a normal season, and it’s starting to show.

Yosemite was one of the first parks to close in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Since March 20, the only human residents of the park have been a handful of essential staff members. With the crowds gone, the park’s animal denizens have begun to fill in the void: A video released by the park last week shows coyotes strolling down sidewalks, bobcats slinking through the underbrush, and herds of deer grazing along roadways that would normally be choked by cars. It’s a temporary, still moment in a busy place, and one that most of us will only ever see on a screen.