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Open for Discussion: Public Comment Period Begins on Proposed Changes for Yosemite

Want to express an opinion about the recently released management plan for the Merced River and Yosemite National Park? Today is your first chance to do so.

This is Day 1 of a 90-day public comment period (Jan. 18-April 18, 2013) on a complex plan for a beautiful park. Here is some background:

The plan: Its title is Merced Wild and Scenic River Draft Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statementa long name for a huge document. It runs more than 2,500 pages, with 13 chapters and 15 appendices. It has been condensed into a 20-page summary guide.

yosemite-sentinel-dome-webcam-view-dec-24-12

NPS/Yosemite Conservancy webcam view from Sentinel Point on Dec. 24, 2012.

Among the possible outcomes, as noted in reports by the Los Angeles Times and National Parks Traveler:

  • Restore 200+ acres along the Merced River within the park to a natural state.

  • Remove 34 campsites in 3 campgrounds considered too close to the river. For example, 15 riverfront sites in the Backpackers Camp would go, replaced by 16 new sites west of the Camp.

  • Eliminate the Curry Village ice skating rink.

  • Close hotel swimming pools.

  • Halt bicycle rentals and commercial horseback riding.

  • Boost parking capacity by 5%.

  • Cap Yosemite Valley daily visitation at 19,990, basically the number of visitors estimated that already fill the valley on the park’s busiest days.

This map (PDF) offers a look at the park’s service preferred outcome for Yosemite Valley. Hover your cursor over the bottom-center of the PDF to cause a sizing tool to appear, permitting you to enlarge the view.

To comment: The park service directs persons interested in presenting a comment to use the forms offered on this webpage. Last day to comment: April 18, 2013.

liberty-cap-afternoon-horz

Yosemite's Liberty Cap and Nevada Fall from John Muir Trail. (Photo: T.D. Wood)

Posted on at 10:00 AM

Tagged: Merced River, Yosemite National Park, management plan, national parks and public comment

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Ethos Adventures

Thanks for sharing the release of this critically important document. The management of our waterways, for ecosystems as well as recreation, impacts all of us. Of the six alternatives considered, the preferred alternative certainly strikes a balance between tourism and environmental conservation. Is this the right balance though? We hope Yosemite lovers, environmental scientists, and surrounding communities find the time to weigh in on this lengthy and significant document.

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