Earth Day in Yosemite National Park

Earth Day YosemiteEach spring on Earth Day, DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite partners with Yosemite National Park to celebrate our commitment to the environment by sponsoring an event located at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center. The Earth Day Mall Celebration takes place on Earth Day April 22, 2014 and features food, fun and scheduled activities for all ages available from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Park visitors are invited to have lunch at the sustainable ingredient salad bar, participate in a ranger walk or talk, finish spring cleaning by recycling electronics at the Yosemite Village Recycling Center, take a photography walk with the Ansel Adams Gallery, and introduce children to yoga with a family-friendly session.

In addition to the mall celebration, the Earth Day Bike Ride in Yosemite Valley occurs the weekend prior to Earth Day on Saturday April 19, 2014. On the Earth Day Bike Ride, explore Yosemite Valley with Yosemite National Park and park partner staff for a fun and educational guided bike tour. Park partners include the Yosemite Conservancy, NatureBridge and Balanced Rock Yoga. This guided tour of Yosemite Valley bike paths features stops at information stations that provide the latest news about Yosemite’s environmental efforts. Subjects include preservation of endangered wildlife such as the Pacific Fisher, restoration of Yosemite’s trails and native habitats, identification of lichen and moss and techniques for conifer tree removal to maintain the health of Yosemite’s trees. Earth Day Bike Ride participants meet at 2:00 pm at the Curry Village Bike Stand. Each ride tours Yosemite Valley on designated bike paths with scheduled stops at information stations directed by a volunteer tour leader. The bike tour is appropriate for all experienced riders and lasts approximately three hours.

Park visitors are welcome to bring their own bikes to participate in Earth Day Bike Ride and bike rentals are available for experienced riders at the Curry Village Bike Stand. The cost of Earth Day Bike Ride is $5.00 per person. This fee includes bike rental for the tour. Space is limited and advanced sign up is required. Information and tickets are available at any Tour & Activity Desk in Yosemite Valley and by calling Yosemite Activities Reservations at 209-372-4386.
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Merced River Plan – Camping and Lodging

Where do you prefer to stay when you visit Yosemite? The Merced River Plan that is underway in Yosemite calls for some changes in the lodging and camping options.

Housekeeping Camp

Housekeeping Camp

In Alternative 5, the Park Service’s preferred alternative, proposes the following changes:

  • Increase the number of campsites by 28% across all river segments and 37% in the Valley. That means an additional 160 campsites.
  • Merced Lake High Sierra Camp decreases from 22 units (60 beds) to 11 units (42 beds).
  • Remove 34 units from Housekeeping Camp that are in the ordinary high-water mark.
  • Some tent cabins in Curry Village would be replaced with hard-sided cabins and the total number of overnight units will be reduced by 50 at Curry Village. There are 400 units at Curry Village mentioned in the Merced River Plan, but this does not account for the 103 units that were approved exclusively for NatureBridge and subsequently made available for public use.

The Ahwahnee, Yosemite Lodge at the Falls and Wawona Hotel would remain the same under the preferred alternative, although some of the other alternatives propose changes at Yosemite Lodge ranging from increasing units there to eliminating them entirely.

You can see the breakdown of which campsites and properties would be affected at: http://www.yosemitepark.com/mrpoverview.aspx

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.

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.

What’s Happening at Glen Aulin – Tuolumne River Plan

White Cascade near Glen Aulin

White Cascade near Glen Aulin

The Preferred Alternative of the Tuolumne River Plan calls for removal of about 38% of the popular lodging at Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, from 32 beds down to 20 beds. The reduction is an attempt to bring the camp into better alignment with the septic system capacity.

Yosemite’s High Sierra Camps (HSC) give people an opportunity to enjoy the backcountry without having to carry a large pack. The Glen Aulin HSC is located along the Tuolumne River, and is situated next to the pool below 80 foot high White Fall, and visitors enjoy watching the sun set from a nearby promontory with a view of Mt. Conness. A popular day trip continues from Glen Aulin down the Tuolumne River to see Waterwheel Falls.

All of the proposed alternatives address the issue of wastewater disposal, and replacing the composting toilet at the backpacker campground near Glen Aulin. Other alternatives propose changes ranging from closing Glen Aulin HSC completely (Alternative 1), to converting the HSC to a seasonal outfitter camp with no permanent structures except for a composting toilet (Alternative 2). Alternative 3 would continue to restrict water usage to 600 gals/day, while the preferred alternative reduces the allowable usage to 500 gallons.

Other changes to the High Sierra Camps, such as the Merced Lake HSC, can be found in the Draft Merced River Plan.

There are also numerous other changes being proposed in the TRP, including changes to parking, location of the visitor’s center, and day-trip mule and horseback rides. What do you like and dislike about these proposed plans? For more information visit the NPS website, and be sure to comment. We’d love to hear them here, but to be part of the official process, submit your comments via one of the following channels.

Email:

yose_planning@nps.gov

Phone:

209-379-1110

U.S. mail:

Superintendent,
Yosemite National Park,
Attn: Tuolumne River Plan,
P.O. Box 577,
Yosemite, CA 95389

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.