Merced River Plan Feedback Requested

Merced River reflecting Half Dome

Merced River reflecting Half Dome

Change is in the air, and you can help shape the future of Yosemite. With the Merced River Plan the National Park Service is drafting the blueprint for decisions that will dictate the way the park within the river corridor, including most of the floor of Yosemite Valley will be managed in the upcoming decades. Would you like to see more camping or less? What do you think of the transportation and parking options in the park? More? Less? Are there too many people, or should it be easier to get in? If you have ever said to yourself, “I wish they would do X…” about the park, now is the time to make your voice heard. As they say, speak now…

The name for the recently released document is quite a mouthful, “Alternative Concepts Workbook for the Comprehensive Management Plan for the Merced Wild and Scenic River Plan” (MRP), but more simply, it is the first chance for all of us to see what the park has come up with after the initial round of looking at scientific findings and public comments.

As the NPS says in their official press release, “The MRP will guide future decisions about transportation, camping, parking, lodging, employee housing and other administrative uses, restoration, and set user capacity – most notably within Yosemite Valley – and will establish the management strategy and actions for the next 20 years by modifying the General Management Plan.” The planning team has come up with five different concepts ranging from those that emphasize a self-reliant experience, to those that aim to provide more services and experiences for people visiting the park. For example, the number of campsites are increased in 3 of the 5 concepts, while the number of lodging is decreased in all but one. Which alternatives do you prefer? Do you see any problems with any of the alternatives? Have they overlooked something? They are looking for your feedback.

Once we’ve had a chance to look at this draft, the park service will further refine these ideas into the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, which will also be open to public comment. To find out more about what is happening with the MRP, you can download the workbooks, read more on the NPS planning page, or attend a workshop, site visit, or webinar.

The Workshop schedule is:
• Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Yosemite Valley Auditorium
• Wednesday, April 4, 2012, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Golden Gate Room, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
• Thursday, April 12, 2012, 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., El Portal Community Hall
• Friday, April 13, 2012, 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wawona Community Hall

Site Visits will provide an opportunity to discuss proposed actions “on-the-ground” at the locations where they may be implemented. They will be conducted in conjunction with the Workshops outlined above. Visitors are asked to wear comfortable walking shoes.

The Site Visit schedule is:
• Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., meet at the Yosemite Valley Auditorium
• Thursday, April 12, 2012, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., meet at the El Portal Community Hall
• Friday, April 13, 2012, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., meet at the Wawona Community Hall

There will also be two webinars conducted that will review the draft alternatives. These will be held on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., and on Wednesday, April 11, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. People can participate in the webinars by logging into yose.webex.com.

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9 comments on “Merced River Plan Feedback Requested

  1. I want Yosemite to be how it was 50 years ago. Get the Sierra Club, Globalists and “naturalists the heck out of there!!!!

    I hate what Yosemite has become. It’s no fun anymore!!!!!

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    • Diana – make sure you respond directly to NPS via the official channels so they are sure to read your response. Out of curiosity though – what do you feel has made the park less fun?

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    • Yes, what does that mean anyway? If it weren’t for the Sierra Club, “Globalists and naturalists”, Yosemite would probably be MUCH more crowded and trashed. They help keep the commercialization in check. I do feel that there should be a limit to how many people they let in the park. I still think busing in people to the Valley is not a bad idea, but that is kind of a cumbersome prospect. My favorite time of year to go is in March/April….less people, usually plenty of water running and nice and cool!

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    • Thanks for the input Kathi! Two of the five alternatives suggest adding campsites in the Upper and Lower River Campground areas, and one actually calls for the removal of North Pines and a reduction at Upper Pines. Make sure NPS gets your comments by April 20 by submitting them through their channels!

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  2. My understanding is that if the plan is approved, the High Sierra Camps will be removed and the Pack stations also. The long established camps provide a way for older folks to explore and learn about the park. I have stayed at all except the Merced Lake High Sierra Camp over the years. Please revisit the Philosophy of both John Muir and Theodore Solomons who believed that being in the wilderness was good for people. The current thinking is that people in the wilderness is bad for the wilderness. I personally believe that the Sierra Club founded by John Muir would not allow the construction of the John Muir Trail if it were proposed today.

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    • Thanks for the comment, Dale. The Draft EIS isn’t out yet, so we aren’t sure what the different alternatives will be. The option you mentioned was part of the Preliminary Alternative Concepts. The National Park Service takes public comments very seriously, so make sure that your opinions are heard by signing up for the Park’s electronic newsletter. You can also find information on how to pre-order the Draft EIS when it comes out later this fall.

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    • Please don’t close the High Sierra Camps and stables for the mules to transport all supplies to them. I just spent a glorious week hiking and mule riding the north and it was a special experience that should be preserved for all generations to come. In stead of closing the camps the visitors could be limited as well as the number of pack animals. Yosemite needs the High Sierra Camps!!!

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