The Merced River Plan Removes Raft Rentals in Preferred Alternative 5

Rafting the Merced River

Rafting the Merced River

Have you ever taken a leisurely float down the Merced River in Yosemite Valley? As you may have heard, the park is currently working on a plan for the Merced River that calls for a change in the way visitors use the river in Yosemite.

River rafting is a popular way to cool down on a summer afternoon while enjoying some of the iconic sights from a unique perspective. How many people can enjoy the river at once without over-crowding it and harming the ecosystem?

In the draft version of the Merced River Plan, the preferred alternative calls for the removal of raft rentals, and proposes a permit process for private rafts and flotation devices.

Because different sections of the river have different designations, the number of permits would vary depending on which section of the river you’d like to be on. In Segment 2, the section that includes Yosemite Valley, the plan calls for restricting boating to 100 people per day using private vessels only on specific stretches of the river.

You can review rafting details for the Yosemite Valley segment in the draft plan (pdf) on p. 8-250, and justifications for some of the proposed changes are in a table on page 8-260.
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.


15 comments on “The Merced River Plan Removes Raft Rentals in Preferred Alternative 5

  1. I’m not opposed to how many rental rafts can go on the river, but it wouldn’t be taken away completely…I loved going on the river!


  2. I had the chance last year to go rafting on the Merced river it was one of the best experiences I had on my two years that I’ve been there in a row. We are going back this may . Making it our third year in a row.. I hope it will still be around and enjoy it once again.


    • No decision will be made on the MRP before your visit in May, so rafting should still be available. Just keep your fingers crossed for good river conditions. Hope you have a great visit!


  3. Usually I am the first to say error on the side of protecting the environment however on this one I am not feeling that i have seen crowding that makes a significant impact. I would rather see people enjoying the river for recreation as opposed to damaging the environment for other causes. Yosemite and it’s river are for all of us to enjoy, and i think we risk restricting too much, so not in support of limits or permits in this case.


  4. I am not in support of the limits! Are we going to be able to swim in it or are you taking that away as well. Spending the day by the river is one way to enjoy Yosemite’s beauty, Please do not take that away from us.


    • The MRP proposes directing people to sandy beaches – the areas most able to accommodate heavy visitor use without degrading the river banks, however, there will still be opportunities to enjoy a day by the river.


  5. What a shame! They are limiting and/or taking away most of the things that draws families to Yosemite….I am a lifelong yosemite visitor…have visited every year of my 42yr life. This plan was heartbreaking as so many proposals to limit..close…or regulate so many areas that are what draws people to the park….They might as well CLOSE UP YOSEMITE ALL TOGETHER.. Everyone that i have discussed the proposals with, vehemently OPPOSE them and will not support such REGULATED proposals..Rafting and camping along the river are the best things in Yosemite!

    Please listen to the people and make NO CHANGES!


  6. Every year when we come for our family camping trip to Yosemite – we stay at least 3 days so we can enjoy the park 3 ways: on foot (hiking), bicycling through the park and riverrafting. Even on when the river was low, it is a great time and you capture some great photos from the Merced River perspective. Please don’t take this option away!!!


  7. Not in favor. I have taken my daughter to Yosemite the past three summers and we have always rafted the river with friends, it’s a great way to see the sights at your own pace and we always take food and beverages to eat on the sandy banks. The rental rafts are very affordable and very convenient as I live in the upper Mojave desert and drive 4 hours to visit with our friends and go to Yosemite each summer. Don’t take the rental rafts a way, they are a great attraction and a great way to see the park!!!!


  8. rafting the river is the least important change that should be made. it is one of the most enjoyable activities open to all, including handicapped ,young children & the senior citizens. Keep the river open.


  9. Next they’ll want a permit to swim, wade or soak your feet in the Merced. How bout a permit to cross any river at any time? There is a point where hysteria seems to overwhelm those who feel they need to become the policeman over people enjoying nature. Wasn’t it John Muir who said, “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” They go too far.


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