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Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake

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Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 14, 2011 07:57PM
Yosemite's Tenaya Lake restoration coming up
Peter Fimrite, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tenaya Lake, known to many as the jewel of the Yosemite high country, will be getting some new polish this summer once the snow melts and the roads open.

The deep blue lake that American Indians once called "Lake of the Shining Rocks" because of the spectacular granite domes that surround it has suffered under the footprints of the hundreds of thousands of people who visit its shores every summer.

A new trail will be built and wetlands improvements will be made at the lake's East Beach this summer - once the giant drifts of snow still blocking much of Tioga Pass are eventually removed and the wilderness area is opened to traffic.

It is the first phase of a plan to improve access, enhance the natural environment and minimize the impact of humans, said Mike Tollefson, president of the Yosemite Conservancy, which is putting up $850,000 to get the project started.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/14/BAMA1JSIDQ.DTL
avatar Yosemite’s Tenaya Lake Area to Get Major Makeover
June 14, 2011 08:25PM
Yosemite’s Tenaya Lake Area to Get Major Makeover
Date: June 14, 2011

Yosemite Conservancy to Fund Wetlands Restoration and Improved Visitor Access at Spectacular High Country Lake

The first phase of a major makeover at Tenaya Lake, one of Yosemite National Park’s most popular summer destinations, will restore wetlands and improve beach access with funding by Yosemite Conservancy.

“Tenaya Lake is a jewel of the park’s high country,” said Mike Tollefson, president, Yosemite Conservancy. “We’re focused on restoring and protecting it so that the visitor experience is as exceptional as its location.”

Picnickers, hikers and rock climbers are drawn to the lake’s picture perfect beaches, deep blue water, surrounding granite domes, and lodge pole pine forests. Its eye-catching scenery is visible from Tioga Road, which provides easy access to the lake for park visitors of all ages and abilities. However, its popularity has resulted in challenges of crowded parking areas, unsafe traffic conditions, unintended harm to fragile ecosystems, shoreline erosion and unwanted run-off.

“This initial phase restores and protects habitat and improves accessibility for all visitors to this magnificent location,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher.

Yosemite Conservancy will provide $850,000 for initial improvements at the lake’s East Beach area. Work begins this summer on a new ecologically friendly trail that will provide easy access for all from the parking lot to the shore and minimize future impacts to wetlands. The beach area will be enhanced for family use and picnicking with installation of new tables including a common “long table” that will accommodate family gatherings. Wetlands and riparian areas also will be restored to natural conditions with re-establishment of native willows.

Neubacher said future enhancements at Tenaya Lake would address ecological restoration of roadside parking areas, additional habitat protection, and redesign of the parking lot at the East Beach to accommodate tour buses that now park on the road and replace parking spaces removed from the roadside. “Initial restoration efforts will improve habitat surrounding the lake and protect it better for the future, while providing a better experience for park visitors. Both the park and its visitors benefit from this Conservancy-funded project,” said Neubacher. Tenaya Lake sits at 8,150 feet, 31 miles east of Highway 120 and nine miles west of Tuolumne Meadows along Tioga Road.
avatar Re: Yosemite’s Tenaya Lake Area to Get Major Makeover
June 15, 2011 11:59AM
I'm curious exactly what "improve habitat" means in this particular case. They are using the right words but what does it mean? From what I have read so far, it seems more like an effort to "increase" human access. I'm not trying to be snarky,---just curious.
avatar Re: Yosemite’s Tenaya Lake Area to Get Major Makeover
June 16, 2011 07:08PM
Quote

Work begins this summer on a new ecologically friendly trail that will provide easy access for all from the parking lot to the shore and minimize future impacts to wetlands.

I think "ecologically friendly trail" means: boardwalk trail made with of those recycled plastic resin material they use for the boardwalk "trails" in Yosemite Valley.

And I hope the phrase "additional habitat protection" isn't a code phrase for installation of additional fences. Nothing would mar the beauty of the lake quite like building a fence around parts of it.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 17, 2011 09:29PM
It really is a beautiful area. I will always remember the first time I drove up to and past the lake; It will always remain a wonderful experience for me. Is there any tent camping close by the lake?
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 17, 2011 09:42PM
Quote
Paris92
Is there any tent camping close by the lake?

There used to be a walk-in campground. But that's long gone now.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 20, 2011 08:22AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Paris92
Is there any tent camping close by the lake?

There used to be a walk-in campground. But that's long gone now.


Closed at the end of the season in 1990.
(It was located E of the Sunrise Lakes trail before one got to the outlet crossing.)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/20/2011 08:24AM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 20, 2011 09:57AM
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
eeek
Quote
Paris92
Is there any tent camping close by the lake?

There used to be a walk-in campground. But that's long gone now.


Closed at the end of the season in 1990.
(It was located E of the Sunrise Lakes trail before one got to the outlet crossing.)


Do you remember the reason, justification, for closing that campground. I remember it too. It's not like Yosemite has a surplus of campgrounds.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 20, 2011 11:49AM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
eeek
Quote
Paris92
Is there any tent camping close by the lake?

There used to be a walk-in campground. But that's long gone now.


Closed at the end of the season in 1990.
(It was located E of the Sunrise Lakes trail before one got to the outlet crossing.)


Do you remember the reason, justification, for closing that campground. I remember it too. It's not like Yosemite has a surplus of campgrounds.


If memory serves correctly, the stated reason was that the sewage system needed to be refurbished and they did not have the funding.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 20, 2011 12:57PM
It appears now, though, that they do have the funding, courtesy of the Yosemite Conservancy. It would be nice if they could restore that walk-in campground with a brand new sewage system that the Park Service didn't have funds to install back in 1990.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 22, 2011 07:31PM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
eeek
Quote
Paris92
Is there any tent camping close by the lake?

There used to be a walk-in campground. But that's long gone now.


Closed at the end of the season in 1990.
(It was located E of the Sunrise Lakes trail before one got to the outlet crossing.)


Do you remember the reason, justification, for closing that campground. I remember it too. It's not like Yosemite has a surplus of campgrounds.

The public reason or the real reason?
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 23, 2011 12:49AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
plawrence
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
eeek
Quote
Paris92
Is there any tent camping close by the lake?

There used to be a walk-in campground. But that's long gone now.


Closed at the end of the season in 1990.
(It was located E of the Sunrise Lakes trail before one got to the outlet crossing.)


Do you remember the reason, justification, for closing that campground. I remember it too. It's not like Yosemite has a surplus of campgrounds.

The public reason or the real reason?


Both, if you still remember.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 23, 2011 10:00AM
Quote
plawrence
Quote
eeek
Quote
plawrence
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
eeek
Quote
Paris92
Is there any tent camping close by the lake?

There used to be a walk-in campground. But that's long gone now.


Closed at the end of the season in 1990.
(It was located E of the Sunrise Lakes trail before one got to the outlet crossing.)


Do you remember the reason, justification, for closing that campground. I remember it too. It's not like Yosemite has a surplus of campgrounds.

The public reason or the real reason?


Both, if you still remember.

At the time they said it was to restore the riparian environment but the real reason was the sewer.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 23, 2011 10:19AM
If you look at the Tenaya Lake plans they are making, which addresses their traffic control issues, a problem they don't want to deal with in any way other than "accommodating all who want to come", campers are on the back burner. With the bus parking improvements and larger restroom facilities geared towards enabling Tenaya Lake to be a destination for buses, so as to manage the traffic flow from the Valley, all paved sections of Tioga Pass will be viewed as Front Country designation, with the intent to accommodate people and buses. They pretend to listen to you when you talk about campsites, but this is not ever going to happen at Tenaya Lake. Crowding is no longer a weekend problem. It's also mid week. Yosemite's visitation numbers will probably peak again this year, my assessment, as we sat in grid lock in Yosemite Valley this last weekend, trapped for over two hours between Swinging Bridge and Stoneman Meadow area, where a traffic control person directed traffic that was at a stand still.

Picture what they did at Olmsted Point to also occur at the east end of Tenaya, and then again at Lembert Dome, among other places. The Yosemite Conservancy, and it's leader, former Park Superintendent Mike Tollefson, a big proponent of the now rescinded Yosemite Valley Plan, will see that the money is there for any such construction, for the reasons mentioned here.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 23, 2011 10:26AM
They must find a limit to visitation on days they know will be overcrowded, such as all weekends in summer. They need to turn people away. They need to find a way to deal with it so that people can call or sign up online in order to "take a number". Continued weekend gridlock without addressing it is unacceptable. People waiting at bus stops only to have buses pass them because they have no more capacity, is not the vision people have of Yosemite. If it were, they would have opted not to come. If someone could go online and see a webcam of traffic at places like Sentinel Bridge intersection, to determine they even want to drive into the Valley after seeing the lines of cars could be the beginnings of a solution.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 23, 2011 11:17AM
There's no reason to turn people away from the entire park though. Yosemite (as a whole) is more than large enough to accomodate more visitors that it gets now.

The problem is that everything in centered around Yosemite Valley. And Yosemite Valley, itself, needs to have some type of vehicle capacity control, especially the eastside of Yosemite Valley. What they can do now when Yosemite Valley becomes over-congested would be to close Southside Drive at the El Capitan Crossover. Make Crossover Drive one-way northbound and have the excess cars exited out of the valley through Northside Drive.

The longterm solution is to build some non-paved gravel or graded dirt summer-season only seasonal parking lots outside of the park around Fish Camp, El Portal, Midpines, and on Hwy 120 between Evergreen Rd and Buck Meadows, and near Tioga Pass Resort in the east. And have shuttle buses transport people from these outlying lots into the park and Yosemite Valley when enough vehicles have already entered the park. These parking shouldn't be paved since they'll only be needed in the late spring and summer, and possibly only during the late spring and summer weekends.

The problems isn't that they're too many people visiting Yosemite Valley (let alone Yosemite Park as a whole) but that often times there are too many vehicles inside the Valley itself. The Park Service needs to enforce a capacity limit in regards to the number of vehicles permitted inside the Valley to prevent the gridlock that's now occurring. It's not rocket science. The Park Service also needs to come up with a capacity limit on the number of people that the valley facilities, and the valley eco-system can support too. But with a little bit of intelligent planning (possibly an oxymoron in regards to the planning process at Yosemite) the people capacity inside Yosemite Valley can be a lot greater than it is now.
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 17, 2011 10:14PM
What would Tenaya Lake be without the Yosemite Conservancy's $850,000 donation, of course, for what they are calling some "initial improvements at the lake's East Beach area"? Which, we know will be a plastic boardwalk to make it look like a trail extension of a condominium community. They're calling it an "ecologically friendly trail".

As the only participant representing the public that showed up a couple of years ago for a pre-planning, onsite walk and talk on the subject of Tenaya Lake, I have a little information on that topic. I agree with you that there is little real interest from the public these days. Yosemite National Park has so alienated the public at this point that we the public (I can't speak for all the public, but some perhaps) have little to no energy to write any more letters.

We've written so many letters, and they always say they want more letters. They've wrung us dry with their requests for more comments, and then they do what they want to do in the end, regardless of the input. If they don't hear what they want to hear, it doesn't matter at all.

On the walk and talk that day I mentioned to them that a boardwalk made of Trex will be a unforgivable blight on the scenery, and would be the most unnatural thing imaginable at that location. I couldn't believe my ears.

They said there was all kinds of erosion and it would keep people elevated above it all, etc. We agreed that the little erosion that they were talking about was a localized natural granite gravel that had migrated from the walking path to the shore of the lake from the trail, not more than a hundred feet away over time, and that if moved back it would continue to do so, requiring that they keep moving it now and then. It was no big deal. It simply needed to be moved back to where it came from, taking it in wheelbarrows from the beach, back to that trail. I said I could do it over a long weekend myself.

They said that there's just no way that would work. I looked around and pointed out that there was a pile of that gravel that had already been used for that purpose in the past, the exact same gravel that was found on the beach, and it was piled there for that exact purpose; a small pile of less than two feet high and eight feet in diameter along the side of the trail in a spot. They were amazed to find the pile and agreed that it had been done before, much to their astonishment. But, they said that they couldn't do it any longer, because if they continued to move the small amount of gravel as mentioned above it would mean they would be "quarrying for building material inside the park", which was a big no-no. I couldn't believe my ears, and told them so - of course.

I was asked why I didn't like the boardwalk concept. I asked them to envision a photographer hoping to frame a photo of Tenaya Lake and the area east of the lake where the trail was, or a painter hoping to illustrate an image of this natural setting. I suggested that the view would be completely compromised by the presence of a man-made boardwalk. They said they understood my view and it was one they could relate to, but there was no turning around, and that they were committed to making ecological improvements at Tenaya in a variety of ways, and this was one that was listed as needed attention. There were many other things we discussed, too much to go into here, but this was one of the areas that they would need to address no matter what, and whatever they did in the past would not work in the future. They said that they couldn't just keep going back and moving gravel around every time it would erode.

The fact was, and I talked about it, that they knew all along that they would be receiving tons of money from the then Yosemite Fund, now the Yosemite Conservancy, and they were counting the money before it even got into their hands.

They call this an "initial improvement", leaving the door wide open for more such "investments" by the dreaded Yosemite Conservatory in the future, because THAT's what they DO. Their own internal website has offered prizes to Park employees in the past for whoever could come up with the best ideas as to how to spend the Yosemite Fund's money. It sickens me to bring it up again.

The Yosemite Conservancy solicits money without a cause, and then only later looks for ways to spend it. The fact that Tenaya Lake will look like a city park landscape after they do that crappy boardwalk made of plastic, means nothing to the the Conservancy, or Park Management.

The YNPS feels that they can't say "no" to free money. We saw it at the Lower Falls project and we see it here. They feel they HAVE to take the money.

If they didn't, what would become of the Yosemite Conservancy?

My suggestion on that question has not been yet solicited from me, but when it is, I'm ready for it.

Had ADA accessibility been discussed as a reason for the plastic boardwalk, I wouldn't have been able to argue against it.

One thing they really had a problem with was the fact that the buses that pulled in while we were talking didn't have enough restrooms to service them. People unloaded, waited in line to go to the restroom, and then went right back into the bus, preferring to view Yosemite through windows.

...."Neubacher said future enhancements at Tenaya Lake would address ecological restoration of roadside parking areas, additional habitat protection, and redesign of the parking lot at the East Beach to accommodate tour buses that now park on the road and replace parking spaces removed from the roadside. "....

Source: http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/1311221/Yosemites-Tenaya-Lake-Getting-Major-Makeover.html

As to Tenaya Lake, there are obvious parking spaces along the side of the road which have always served well those who want to stop, take a photo, walk around, and leave. The Park will eliminate these parking spaces. They then will "redesign" the parking lot to accommodate the ever increasing volume of tourists arriving in buses and rental cars every day, mainly from San Francisco. Because they have no real goal or intention to stem the daily tide of tourists flowing into the park, as they were the defendants in that litigation who didn't want to limit visitation in Yosemite National Park, even though they lost it doesn't mean they won't eventually win. The Yosemite National Service will simply build more restrooms just like those we see at Lower Falls, which are of the extremely large variety, where they will then potentially accommodate thousands of people an hour. And yes, as they say, they will make more trails as they say, which is most likely to encircle the lake with a bike path. I walked around the lake with some of those planners and I could see their wheels turning. They will make the east end of the lake into a huge day use picnic area, the size of which will be hard to imagine. It’s always been a day-use area, but it will soon be much larger that you can possibly comprehend. Mark my words. While I walked with them we talked about campsite potential in a small way, to offer families who must camp with their cars a semblance of a back country feeling, but there’s no way they would consider campsites anywhere up there. It's their goal and plan that more people can be served by larger parking lots, being that they’re trying to create amenities for the ever increasing flow of day trippers arriving on weekends, a forward looking hope on their part that they'll be able to cash in on the ever expanding roll that tourist facilities seem to play these days. Yosemite is something of an extension of Disneyland for some, and we all know it. The Park will build the ever larger and fast conveyor belt from the San Francisco Hotel to the middle of every mountain meadow or lofty peak, using ADA compliance to conceal their motives.

The NPS will build a plastic raised planked boardwalk that will forever define Tenaya Lake as more "Front Country". The court told them to establish a "carrying capacity" limit, for the maximum number of tourists that Yosemite can handle at any one time. But, the NPS are not so easily defeated. While Park Planners pretend to be researching this, they buy time so that they can hurry up and make fundamental infrastructure changes so that every corner of the park within close proximity to pavement gets more pavement, so that wherever there is a trail, they pave it and make more trails, and wherever they have a vault toilet, it gets replaced with larger facilities to accommodate tour buses. In the future the Park will them be prepared to accommodate almost any volume of people imaginable. To quote Dave Mihalic, a former Park Superintendent, "We want to accommodate all who want to come". He was replaced by Mike Tollefson as Park Superintendent, who said "We don't want to turn anyone away". Mike is now Director of the Yosemite Conservancy.

One reason is that the National Park Service accountants claim they have a $600,000 annual shortfall of funds nationwide within their park system, from what we hear. They've always pretended they're broke, which is nothing new. If they didn't, how and why would the Yosemite Conservancy have a reason to exist? The Yosemite Conservancy (“YC”) would not have a reason to "save Yosemite" from anything if the National Park Service was flush with cash. Claiming poverty enables the Park's mercenary friends at the YC to pan handle tourists right inside the park for donations, while also giving mega tax shelters to large corporations for (so called Green) donations.

In the end, the YC has many millions of dollars each year to donate to Yosemite National Park. This is how Big Business operates. This is actually the way Corporate America works. Campers, representing the blue collar America who often gets shuffled to the bottom of the deck in Corporate America, can not go down without a cry.

That, however is not how they want you to see it. Interestingly, almost all of the projects that Yosemite gets YC funding for seem to in some way facilitate some development that contributes to the growth of tourism. If they build it, people will come and use whatever it is that they build of course. If they were to build a commercial food facility there at Tenaya Lake the size of the Yosemite Lodge Food Court, I would venture to say that it would probably be used to capacity on weekends. "If they build it they will come", as they say.

That, however, is exactly contrary to what the court was mandating that Yosemite National Park establish a (carrying capacity) limit, not facilitate a larger potential for tourist expansion.

Whatever Yosemite is today, it won’t be in ten or twenty years. Because we can not now see what it is that they intend to build, I will do my best to attempt to paint a full color picture for you in your imagination, as they leak hints to the press and their planning documents.

Next, as we know, will come the upcoming Tuolumne Meadows planning effort, where I HOPE many see the “writing on the wall” and respond with great outcry before they get away with it. I hope the public can and will see the Yosemite Conservancy for what it really is.

Unless people speak out, the Park Service, with the YC's help, will build plastic planked board walks all over the place up there, expand parking “so that tour buses won’t have to park along side the road”, always they’re concern of course. They’ll build whatever it will take to get those tour buses up and out of Yosemite Valley for two or three hours a day, giving Yosemite National Park's traffic control experts the ability to regulate bus traffic all over the park. Each bus will be allowed at scheduled stops along the road, wherever they have been able to create larger bus parking lots and better restroom facilities, at the expense of car parking along side of the road and at the expense of campsites being repaired from flood damage in Yosemite Valley. They will direct bus traffic to Wawona Tunnel, Olmsted Point, Lower Falls, Sentinel Bridge, or Camp Curry, wherever they they can managed them, as this is what they want Yosemite to become. They’ll be managing the flow of tourists like the air control tower at JFK Airport. They have even said they will be able to manage day-use cars in that fashion.

From their view, there will always be room for more tour bus parking lots, at the expense of a back or front country experience for campers; all they need is more pavement.

Tuolumne Meadows will soon look exactly like Yosemite Valley's "front country", if Tenaya Lake's expansions can be used as a model.

If this makes you crazy, please write letters to the Park Planners that express your your anger. The Yosemite Conservancy and the Yosemite Park Planners are a Machine that needs to be regulated, if not stopped.

I’m not sure which, but one of these organizations, either the Yosemite National Park Service or the Yosemite Conservancy is there as the Mercenary for the other. The only question is, which is it?
avatar Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 17, 2011 10:15PM
Wait till they put Trex all over Tuolumne Meadows with enhanced parking for tour buses......
Re: Planned restoration around Tenaya Lake
June 18, 2011 10:24PM
As someone who reads every plan that comes out, I am starting to get sensory overload because there are so many coming out at almost the same time. I will have to reread the FONSI for the Tenaya Lake plan because I can't remember anything about a boardwalk. As for using Trex material for boardwalks, I have a friend that has a place in Yosemite West who spent 5 years trying to get the company to replace her Trex decking after it started to peel. I have noticed that the boardwalk the goes across Cook's Meadow is peeling the same way. I have also found the Trex boardwalks slippery when wet. I would prefer that they use something like decomposed granite for a path.
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