Does Ice Skating Belong in Yosemite?

Enjoying the Curry Village Ice Rink

Enjoying the Curry Village Ice Rink

Ice skating in Yosemite has been around since the 1920s, and was even part of an unsuccessful bid to host the 1932 Olympics. Thousands of people enjoy circling the ice in the winter with views of Glacier Point and Half Dome. Journalists have listed it as one of the world’s best ice rinks.

As part of the Merced River Planning process, the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals directed the National Park Service to consider all commercial services within Yosemite Valley and eliminate services that are not essential to the Yosemite experience. In all but the No Action alternative (Alternatives 2 – 6), the ice rink is earmarked for removal.

What do you think?

Submit a comment to the National Park Service. The comment period is open until April 18, 2013. Your comments matter. Public input has strongly helped to shape the draft plan, and it’s important for everyone to continue to provide feedback for the next phase as planners develop a final plan. Learn more about the Merced River Plan.

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25 comments on “Does Ice Skating Belong in Yosemite?

  1. Absoutely not. Do not remove the ice rink. It will be a sad day in Yosemite if this ice rink is removed. There needs to be more reasons to go to Yosemite, not less.

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  2. Do not take down the rink. It is my girls favorite winter activity at Yosemite. Why not stop all the new development at Yosemite Cillage.

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  3. No leave the ice skating in Yosemite. My family loves it and looks forward to it every year. Where in this world can you ice skate in all of Gods glory! Leave it in Yosemite please!

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  4. Why do I want to keep the Ice Rink? A. It is listed as one of the world’s best ice rinks. B. It is part of the winter Yosemite experience. C. It’s a beautiful way to educate my grand children about the famous features of the valley. D. It is as synonymous with Yosemite as Camp Curry is.

    We ride bicycles in the summer, hike in the summer, snowshoe and xcountry ski in the winter and skate the rink in winter. I grew up in Camp 14 during the summers of the 60’s. My honeymoon was at Camp Curry and my daughter was conceived there.

    I believe in the restoration of the valley and personally would like to see all auto’s banned but please leave the ice rink.

    A quiet mono rail running from all points west and east to the valley and a quiet mono rail within the valley for easy, relaxing access to the most beautiful valley in the world.

    Rebuild The Sierra Railroad that ran along the Merced near Hwy 140 and connect it to mono rails.

    In the valley bicycling, horse and foot travel only. And the mono rail. Think of all the conveyances that can used on the mono rail. In the summer open and closed roofed passenger cars, for example.

    Keep the Awahnee Hotel and build more like it. We can create lodging there (on a reservation basis) that keeps in harmony with the beauty of the valley.

    People that love to visit for a day just to skate the rink can arrive by monorail.

    During the summer, many people drive to the valley just for a day are clogging up the roads. Nothing is so distracting (or smelly) than to sit by the Merced hearing the incessant sound of autos and busses and huge RV’s. Summer time grid lock in the most beautiful valley in the world should be a thing of the past.

    Yes, I have digressed and strayed from the Ice Rink topic but thought I would add some other thoughts as well while I have the opportunity. I love Yosemite so much I moved within 10 miles of the park 26 years ago.

    Please keep the Ice Rink. Thank you.

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  5. Please keep the ice rink. It’s the best part of the winter experience in Yosemite, and visitors come from all over to enjoy skating on an outdoor rink. I’ve made many trips to Yosemite just to skate. Please don’t do away with it.

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    • Thanks for your comments, Peggy. If you haven’t already, will you please take a few minutes to share even exactly those comments with the National Park Service now while they are looking for feedback on the Merced River Plan documents? You can leave your comments at on their online comment form.

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  6. Some of my fondest memories at Yosemite were made on this ice skating rink. You haven’t experienced ice skating at it’s finest until skating among the monoliths Half Dome and El Captain. It would be a shame if future generations weren’t allowed this amazing experience.

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  7. Oh yes it’s one of the best things to do! Especially if you have young ones! It makes such a wonderful trip. Took my daughter now I’m ready to bring the grandchildren!!

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  8. I hope the ice rink stays. How wonderful it is for children and adults to skate in the most beautiful setting. I don’t see how the ice rink brings harm to Yosemite.

    Horses are another story. They tear up the trails and make a mess. I would just assume see them go.

    Parking/cars/traffic; Limit vehicles to those camping in the valley. Develop parking lots outside the park and run shuttles. This is what they do in Zion National Park and it works well.

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  9. Most definitely the ice rink should stay! It is part of the Yosemite experience. PLEASE do not allow this wonderful aspect of the park to be removed.

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  10. Ice skating in Yosemite is an established institution which allows visitors to enjoy the splendor of Winter outdoors in Yosemite when they might elsewhere nevermind Yosemite, especially in it’s Winter finery.

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  11. I Think they should get rid of the tour buses. The ice rink is a tradition that should be there for generations to come. It would be heartbreaking to see it leave. My grandchildren have just gotten old enough to appreciate the experience of skating there.

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  12. Please, do not take away the ice rink, rafts, bikes, pools or any of the other proposed removals across all alternatives!!! Please, allow us to continue to camp in the Valley and do not take any more of our precious campsites away. They are a treasured piece of Yosemite’s history and an important part of what makes Yosemite so special to so many of us. One of the key components to the Merced River Plan is the protection of the Merced River which was protected as a “wild a scenic river”. One key component in the rivers classification to obtain this protection, as stated by the courts however, is the fact that it’s got a recreational component. That said, I’m curious as to why we are removing such a significant portion of all recreational activities on or near this river within the Valley. If it was meant to be enjoyed and experienced and holds such significant recreational value, which I agree it does, how can we take away the very things (rafting, bridges, biking, pools etc) that placed it in the category and helped classify it as such? Ironically, with the removal of the pools, as suggested in the MRP, did it ever dawn on anyone that those seeking comfort in the 3 hot summer months that apparently cause such significant imapct, will now head to the very river you are trying so hard to protect? The very definition of a national parks creation suggests that it be maintained for all to use and enjoy. These precious experience add so much to so many of us and touch the lives of future generations so significantly. Please let these recreational activities we all know and love remain, for they too are a treasure.

    Also, we recently came back for our winter trip to Yosemite and we were saddens to see that the MPR pamphlet handed out only after specific repetitive request did not contain any information with regard to proposed removals across all alternatives. (The PR department did a fantastic at burying this issue.) This is undeniable one of the biggest changes in park history and yet there is no information readily available or posted anywhere throughout the park. Only those who know have the privilege of involvement. This should be handed out upon arrival as are other informative paperwork guests receive upon entry. Great job on the Haunta Virus posters, pamphlets and information posted throughout the valley, now if you can only do the same with this. Staff at the Lodge had no idea about any of it not did anyone at the visitors center. It was only after pressing and my insistence did Emily, a park ranger finally offer me a pamphlet which as I previously mentioned, successfully buried many significant and pertinent issues. Additionally, it would have been nice to have had the open discussion period available to those it actually affects, those summer guest who will loose so much of what was once such a special part of their Yosemite experience.

    Please consider the impact this will have on future generations who will not have the experiences we all have known and love so much. This is a huge change, why do we have to take such an extreme stance and wipe out all activities all at once when all you really may need is a reduction in visitors in their own personal vehicles allowed into the park? Lets take small steeps to make sure we are moving in the right direction instead of giant leaps in directions that cause implications we can never correct.

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  13. The ice rink removal was not in any of the original documents so therefore could not be commented on so therefore how do they know that the public wants it removed. Perhaps this is illegal? Everyone got this workbook so they could make comments and there is no mention of ice rink removal:
    March 19, 2012 PDF 6 MB Preliminary Alternative Concepts Workbook
    http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload/YOSE_MRP_Workbook_Final3-19-12_WEB_READY.pdf

    It was added to this document on 4/2/12 after the comment period closed!
    http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload/MRP-2012-Workbook-Errata.pdf

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  14. This does not make any sense. Several of the changes on the chosen option make no sense at all. The one that bothers me the most is the fact that we have a fragile environment in the Yosemite Valley. We also have thousands of cars that go through there every summer. If we as a nation are trying to go green, and the park as a whole has spent millions of dollars on clean burning shuttle buses and other environmentally friendly improvements, why would they ever think about removing all the rental bicycles? I am in the Valley at least once a week and there is hundreds of those rental bikes being used all over the Valley instead of cars. The Valley is very level and user friendly for bicycles. The speed limit is very slow and most people are very cautious to watch out for them. If people want to use them and at the same time help the eco system of Yosemite Valley why would we eliminate them and force them into their cars or else at the worst make the visitors not be able to experience everything they can during their visit. This may be a concession but it is also a critical key to Yosemite’s future.’

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  15. Most definitely, ice skating belongs in Yosemite! Our family has made it a family tradition to visit Yosemite every winter to ice skate and appreciate the beauty which surrounds the rink. Half Dome in the distance makes our family photos more majestic and the opportunity to have this family centered activity, that the children look forward to as much as the parents, is one reason we visit Yosemite in the winter. It is a very unique feature that brings people to the park.

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  16. take it out! why do we need a commercial ice rink that is artificial in a beautiful national park? people can do better things with their time, and make the environment more natural!

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    • Why…. Because it is an essential part of our Yosemite Experience, it’s strongly rooted in the traditions of many families who visit, it’s a huge piece of Yosemite’s treasured history and it’s a key component of the recreational aspect so unique to Yosemite.

      A very small percentage of the national park is available for us to reach by car and has services for us to use and enjoy. The NP Service identifies it as just 5%. That means the remaining 95, yes 95% is protected wilderness. Remember a key complement in the design and make up of a national park is the fact that it is available for all to use and enjoy. Many people who are elderly, disabled or have medical conditions that prevent them from the use of the substantial portion unattainable to them only are able to use and enjoy the Valley. If you only enjoy the pristine untouched wilderness, that’s great. Have fun out there! Please understand though, many of us prefer to spend our time river rafting, biking, camping and doing other Valley related activities. It is and has proven for over 5 generations to be the best use of time we could have ever hopped for. It has contributed to family bonding experiences that will be a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy. Enjoy your 95% please let us have our 5!

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  17. Take it out. It’s as artificial as Firefall was.

    If it was a lake that freezes over, fine, but it’s an artificial lake.

    Feeding bears used to be a popular artificial activity too.

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