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Re: Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon

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avatar Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon
February 12, 2008 03:38PM
Nothing to disagree with here:
http://www.modbee.com/opinion/community/story/208902.html

p.s. I will be staying in Mariposa this weekend just because.
Re: Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon
February 12, 2008 04:39PM
Vince, thanks for the article. By definition, I believe that all of us who cherish our visits to Yosemite and other National Parks, are the ultimate "conservationists." I want my children and grandchildren to see it as Nature has created it to the fullest extent possible.

My fear is that the Robert Redfords and the extreme members of the Sierra Club want the parks all to themselves leaving the great un-washed masses on the outside looking in.

I can envision a day, if the Sierra Club gets all they want, that the average person will only see Yosemite on DVDs purchased from Sundance Films. While the Sierra Club and other environmental groups do good things, I fear their elitism could one day keep me out of the places I want to see.

No doubt, there would be a McDonald's at the bottom of Lower Yosemite Falls and a car dealership at the base of Half Dome if there were not groups fighting to conserve our national parks. I appreciate the fact that we don't have those things. But I truly believe if the Sierra Club fully had their way, most of us would never get to see Yosemite except in pictures.

Thanks.





Bill
Re: Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon
February 12, 2008 04:45PM
By the way, I'm not trying to offend any Sierra Club members. I'm sure many that visit this site are members.

Just one man's opinion who has nightmares thinking that someday I'll have to enter my name into a drawing for the 100 available Yosemite passes for the year!





Bill
avatar Re: Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon
February 12, 2008 07:49PM
While I certainly feel for the local businesses, it's not as if bus traffic to Yosemite has been choked off or that there aren't viable alternatives to the Arch Rock entrance. This is Congressman Radanovic's district, and of course he wants to see tourism dollars coming in. However - buses are still coming in via the Big Oak Flat and South entrances with no problems, so I don't see this as any denial of visitor entry. Oakhurst is still in his district, although I suppose the majority of buses from the Bay Area and Central Valley will come via the Big Oak Flat entrance, which doesn't have the same level of businesses as Mariposa.

Visitation numbers in 2007 were higher than 2005, so I don't buy the argument that people are being denied the chance to visit Yosemite. They're just bypassing the businesses in his district.

http://www2.nature.nps.gov/NPstats/select_report.cfm?by=year



Post Edited (02-12-08 22:33)
Re: Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon
February 13, 2008 01:57PM
Searching the web I wasn't able to find out anything about why the Sierra Club might be opposing bridges. Without knowing anything more, if it is just for apparently minor aesthetic reasons, such would be inconsiderate towards the mountain people whose livelihoods are being hurt by the situation. The whole canyon along the river lost its naturalness a century ago. So at best we have a beautiful highway mountain corrider along a major Sierra river. However to make a big deal about river aesthetics is manipulatively misplaced.

Last year someone did explain to me the three initial Caltrans proposals, one of which I was quite against. The shed proposal promoted by the Sierra Club, strikes me as expensive. Especially if it would need to be engineered to withstand further earth movements. The simple bridge solution that doesn't require much bulldozing on the north side of the river would be the least expensive, easiest to engineer, and quickest to implement. The temporary bridges would simply be replaced with re-oriented standard highway bridges. The solution I was at odds with would attempt to maintain a high speed highway corrider through that area by realigining the current temporary bridges including tunneling through the steep hillside on the north side of the canyon to do so. The upstream bridge would be somewhat further upstream than the current temporary bridge.

The reason I abhor that idea is it just happens to be that the section of north canyon wall directly above the area where the realigned bridge might be sited each spring has the most impressive expanse of annual poppies blooming. In fact I don't know another place in the whole central Sierra that comes close including down in foothill areas. As a long time landscape photographer, I have been aware of that slope for decades. And in fact many tourists often stop and take pictures. Within the whole Merced Canyon, the greatest density of annual poppies tends to be from about a mile upstream of the South Fork of the Merced confluence along the Hite Cove Trail, downstream to where this south facing slope exists. Further downstream there are no other slopes anywhere as dense with this species. The following is an image with blooming redbud I captured last year with my view camera:

http://www.davidsenesac.com/Mariposa_3-07/07-I4-1w.jpg

More about that general area is included within this trip story:
http://www.davidsenesac.com/Mariposa_3-07/mariposa_3-07.html

So Caltrans, please go forward with the simple plan of building two re-oriented highway bridges where the current temporary bridges lay. ...David



Post Edited (02-13-08 14:04)



http://www.davidsenesac.com
avatar Re: Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon
February 14, 2008 09:38AM
Interesting article. He said, and I quote, "Yosemite needs a way to increase the number of visitors to the park and easy access for their large maintenance vehicles." But, I think he meant “tour buses”, not “maintenance vehicles”. After all, Radanovich is from Mariposa and those people are his constituents, and he did seem to lament the fact that they are only getting a small share of the tour bus business these days in the article.

I think I hear a power brokering move to show he can side with whatever it takes to get vehicle traffic moving up the hill, for his constituents, while also an attempt to win favor from park managers who also "want to accommodate all who want to come".

In the end, once the new Merced River Plan is finished, because it will have happened years after the Yosemite Valley Plan’s record of decision, and there are new managers in the park now, a new Merced River Plan should in fact invalidate the old Yosemite Valley Plan in its tracks, because the latter was supposed to follow the completion of the Merced River Plan.

If that is true, I hope that Mr. Tollefson will be willing to put the flooded campgrounds back on the table for discussion if and when the revision of the Yosemite Valley Plan comes back up for discussion. After all, they were removed without any public input by former managers who have clearly demonstrated how good they were at messing things up.
avatar Re: Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon
February 14, 2008 11:24PM
mark2 wrote:

> Interesting article. He said, and I quote, "Yosemite needs a
> way to increase the number of visitors to the park and easy
> access for their large maintenance vehicles." But, I think he
> meant “tour buses”, not “maintenance vehicles”. After
> all, Radanovich is from Mariposa and those people are his
> constituents, and he did seem to lament the fact that they are
> only getting a small share of the tour bus business these days
> in the article.

Mariposa is a tiny fraction of his constituents, although I suppose it's special because that's where he's from. The population centers in his district are Turlock, Madera, and Chowchilla.

> I think I hear a power brokering move to show he can side with
> whatever it takes to get vehicle traffic moving up the hill,
> for his constituents, while also an attempt to win favor from
> park managers who also "want to accommodate all who want to
> come".

I don't buy his arguments save trying to save businesses in Mariposa, which I consider laudable. However - his voting record suggests that he would love to stick it to the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.

avatar Re: Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon
February 14, 2008 12:55PM
The road issues at Ferguson slide has actually improved my chances of going that way, as per my experience there this last weekend.

I was tied up waiting for the light to change, along with everyone else. Once the traffic in our direction started moving, I found that by pulling over after crossing the bridges, letting all the traffic pass, I was able to drive very slowly down the canyon, admiring the magnificent views with absolutely zero traffic. I enjoyed the most amazing sunsets all the way to Mariposa and beyond, actually, with all the traffic moving along far ahead and far behind me in clumps of bumper to bumper gridlock, I’m assuming.

I anticipate taking advantage of the problem as long as it exists. I recommend the sunset hours, leaving the park around 5:30pm to get the best colors.
avatar Re: Ferguson Slide/Modesto Bee opinon
February 15, 2008 09:29AM
Radanovich should learn that the enemy of his enemy may be his friend; though strange bedfellows, as he attempts to power broker his way through this political climate in Mariposa County.

He should know that some of the groups referred to as "other environmental groups", i.e. "Friends of Yosemite Valley" and "Mariposans for the Environment and Responsible Government" (MERG), a.k.a. “the litigants”, are in some cases (strange bedfellows) but friends of his enemy the local chapter of the Sierra Club in the litigation.

He minces his statements very carefully while trying hard to get on the good side of the park again, ground he lost a few years ago with the LeConte Memorial thing. By doing so, he doesn't seem to care that he alienates the very people who could help him.

Of course a lot depends upon the outcome of the litigation. Apparently he believes that the park may win the appeal. Personally, I doubt it. But, if the park’s appeal wins... “Katie bar the doors”, has been the term to describe what happens next when the park service moves forward with their construction plans, to "accommodate all who want to come". He will probably then get his two bridges as a token of the park's appreciation for this letter he wrote. Somehow it will happen, as government agencies seem to scratch each others back on local matters.

The Access Fund and the Alpine Club sided with the park service because of the promised Climbers Museum, and the Southern Sierra Miwok (SSM) side with them too for the park's promised "Yosemite Miwok Cultural Center" east of the Falls area, while their tribal chairman is a park service employee who knows which side of the bread his butter is on. And, Radanovich seems to be saying that he sides with commerce, and if commerce is a friend of the park, so be it, if it means more tour buses for Mariposa.

The park service power brokers for partners, while Radanovich distances himself from many of his own local constituents who are more environmental than he seems to understand. He probably believes that with or without the litigation, his interests and the park manager's seem to agree in their view that more people need to come to Yosemite.

The park service is not a friend of Radanovich's though, and never really has been. He should get that by now. His LeConte Memorial grenade negotiation fizzled of course, and left him on the outs with the park service.

Radanovich's power broker maneuvers change from year to year lately, as his priorities seem also to change with the wind; or, I should say the “rock fall”.

Get it together George. The park service is not your friend.



Post Edited (02-15-08 09:35)



mark2
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