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Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?

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The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 02:04PM
While I staying at the High Sierra Camps two weeks ago, I heard some rumors that the future of the High Sierra Camps may be in jeopardy. The various statements I heard from other hikers were:

1. The NPS thinks that the mule trains necessary to supply them tear up the trails too much.

2. Environmental groups don't like them because they impact the wilderness environment and are used primarily by those who are well enough off to pay the $150 per day charges. So they are (gasp) 'elitist'. The counter to that might be that the High Sierra Camps enable older people who would otherwise not be able to see these parts of Yosemite to enjoy them in their golden years without having to carry 50 pounds of equipment.

3. There were questions as to whether DNC was making any profit on the camps, particularly in years like this one, when the dates were so limited by the snow.

After finally being able to see the backcountry of Yosemite, I would really hate to see the High Sierra Camps closed for good.

Any truth behind these rumors?
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 02:21PM
This probably means there are no plans to close them: http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?3,45592
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 02:24PM
I certainly hope they close them down.
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 03:07PM
Quote
oakroscoe
I certainly hope they close them down.

hear hear...love huffin fresh capuccy while I'lm troopin my pack....notvomit
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 03:56PM
Never used them, and probably never will be able to afford to, but if I could afford it, I just might try them out.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 04:02PM
You may want to try to get ahold of some on the forum that have said they work at HSCs.

The rangers are really not suppose to bad mouth the HSCs due to the large amount of
money they receive from DNC for trail upkeep. It's a pretty penny... the number I was told.
It becomes blatantly obvious how much damage the mules do to the trails once you hike
on a number of other trails. Up Rafferty is a good example... right near the pass ... that area
has been almost paved now due to the damage.

Anyway, I doubt the HSCs will be gone anytime soon.

What environmental group has come out against the HSCs?



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 04:32PM
Interesting you say that they get a lot of money for trail upkeep, as the condition of the trails are at times are terrible on the HSC loop. I hardly ever see trail crew working on those sections of trail. Not implying that you are misstating the facts, just wondering where the money is going.

Also, a not well known fact is that the NPS is responsible for all the water and sewage at the camps. This amounts to a major subsidy of the camps from the NPS. Not sure if it would 'cancel' out the trail money they get, but there would be some savings. Should there even be running water, showers and flush toilets at the camps? Backpackers do fine without those comforts.

I think the reason the rangers can't/don't/won't bad mouth the HSC are because they can't really bad mouth the concessionaire in general. Money probably has something to do with it, but it makes sense not to allow rangers to bad mouth other park operations.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 04:50PM
Quote
buster
Interesting you say that they get a lot of money for trail upkeep, as the condition of the trails are at times are terrible on the HSC loop. I hardly ever see trail crew working on those sections of trail. Not implying that you are misstating the facts, just wondering where the money is going.

I'm pretty sure the money for trail maintenance is used for trails in general and not just the ones torn up by the pack trains.



Old Dude



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/30/2011 04:50PM by mrcondron.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 04:56PM
I was told that by a ranger that I'd seen on the trail many times after the conversation
moved to how much I loved the HSCs and wished that they would get rid of the darn things.

And two weekends ago when I got my permit the ranger and I were talking the same subject
along with horses in general... and she stated matter of factly that she is not suppose to
bad mouth the camps.

I'm a backpacker... I only need a flat-ish spot that is about 3x6 ft. wide with a view... and I'm golden.

Have a nice day



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 30, 2011 06:54PM
Quote
buster
Also, a not well known fact is that the NPS is responsible for all the water and sewage at the camps. This amounts to a major subsidy of the camps from the NPS. Not sure if it would 'cancel' out the trail money they get, but there would be some savings.


Doesn't necessarily mean that they don't charge DNC for those services.
(PG&E and SCE are "responsible" for the electrical services in the park. I doubt that one would believe that the NPS, DNC, etc. are not charged for the power used by each.)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/30/2011 07:02PM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 31, 2011 01:23PM
I have mixed feelings about the HSC's and admit last year I took advantage of the "meals only" plan at Merced Lake to lighten my pack and still get two terrific meals on the trail.

While I've never seen trail crews near the HSC's we did see them extensively last week along the Pacific Crest Trail. We played leapfrog with them for two days on the way to Smedburg Lake. I have a feeling the HSC loop received early trail maintenance due to their proximity and popularity. Now, these crews are working deeper in the backcountry where there is still a lot of treefall to be cleared.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 31, 2011 02:14PM
There are a couple of trail crews. One just saws logs. The other rebuilds trails.
At least in a general sense that is how it works.
They continually work on the trails in Yosemite and all over the Sierra.
They set up a spike camp way out usually and work their butts off doing a lot of work,
building steps, making washouts, etc. Seen them all over...
Thompson Canyon, Pleasant Valley, Cathedral Fork, Triple Peak Fork, Ottoway,.. etc.



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 31, 2011 03:34PM
Quote
tomdisco

I have mixed feelings about the HSC's and admit last year I took advantage of the "meals only" plan at Merced Lake to lighten my pack and still get two terrific meals on the trail.


I really don't have a problem with the HSCs in Yosemite how they are currently set up.

I've never taken advantage of them (neither staying overnight nor taking advantage of the meals), but I think they serve a useful purpose. I think we all need to remember that our National Parks are meant to be enjoyed by everyone, including people with a lot more limited backpacking and backcountry skills than many of us that participate on this forum have. The HSCs let people who otherwise might not be able to experience and enjoy the Yosemite backcountry to do so. For me, that's a good thing in the long haul. There's still vast amounts of the Yosemite wilderness far far away from any HSC or any other signs of civilization for those of us who wish to experience the more rugged side of Yosemite.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 31, 2011 03:50PM
I have mixed feelings about them as well. I have two disabled people in my immediate family and it saddens me that they will never be able to experience the Sierra the way I love to - just setting one foot in front of another and heading off somewhere. I wish I could share 'my mountains' with them because I love them and pictures and words only can give them a small hint as to how important it really is to me. The closest they could get would be to ride a horse into a HSC. But getting reservations/the cost/etc makes it nearly impossible. Maybe you should need a disabled placard to be able to use them (I'm only half kidding).
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 31, 2011 04:02PM
Yes, it would be nice of the HSCs were more affordable so more people could partake of that option if they wanted to.

And while I think DNC overcharges a great deal for some of their lodgings inside of the park (Curry Village, Housekeeping, and the Yosemite Lodge), it probably costs DNC a pretty penny to keep the HSCs operational, especially with them only open during a short summer season (unlike their Yosemite Valley accommodations).
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
August 31, 2011 04:03PM
Some more opinions and the usual crazy whatnut here:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,10475

Included in there is this nice account of a trek by some neighbors of Bob Weaver:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,10475,10616#msg-10616

(I'll say it again... their writeup is really good... worth reading...)
I'll put it here for fun too:
http://travelswithbillandnancy.com/high_sierra.htm



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 01, 2011 09:05AM
An option for people generally unable for whatever reason to enjoy the backcountry via backpacking would be a stock supported trip. The stock carry all the food and supplies and even the rider. The guides can setup the camp and cook as well. The only differences I see from the HSC's would be the lack of toilets/showers but otherwise mostly the same comforts. I see an added benefit that they would be able to go to many different locations instead of the 5 predetermined ones. Not sure how the cost differences would work out but I would guess it would be a little cheaper.

I think this is a fair alternative to the HSC's and the permanent infrastructure there. People unwilling or unable to backpack would still be able to enjoy the backcountry while also spreading out stock use to a more sustainable level on trails.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 01, 2011 09:28AM
Quote
buster

An option for people generally unable for whatever reason to enjoy the backcountry via backpacking would be a stock supported trip. The stock carry all the food and supplies and even the rider. The guides can setup the camp and cook as well. The only differences I see from the HSC's would be the lack of toilets/showers but otherwise mostly the same comforts. I see an added benefit that they would be able to go to many different locations instead of the 5 predetermined ones. Not sure how the cost differences would work out but I would guess it would be a little cheaper.

I think this is a fair alternative to the HSC's and the permanent infrastructure there. People unwilling or unable to backpack would still be able to enjoy the backcountry while also spreading out stock use to a more sustainable level on trails.

Actually, that's one reason as a backpacker I prefer the existence of HSCs in Yosemite. It tends to limit the amount of stock use (and stock damage) to just certain trails that are used by mule trains that restock the HSCs. The alternative would be more stock use on more trails and therefore more stock caused damage on more trails. Thanks, but no thanks.

Also some packers simply aren't as contentious as DNC in keeping things neat and tidy along the trails. The existence of HSCs in Yosemite helps limit the use of stock animals in the backcountry of Yosemite, and for me that's a very good thing.
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 01, 2011 10:22AM
No, I would not want to take a pack trip. One of the pleasures of hiking to the HSCamps is the peace and tranquilty of the hike either alone or in small groups. Stopping where and when you want and not having everything so predetermined. I loved my HSC trip and I plan to do a similar trip next year.
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 09:28AM
Quote
Mom
No, I would not want to take a pack trip. One of the pleasures of hiking to the HSCamps is the peace and tranquilty of the hike either alone or in small groups. Stopping where and when you want and not having everything so predetermined. I loved my HSC trip and I plan to do a similar trip next year.

How do you think your food & supplies gets to the HSC's now? On stock. Being on a pack trip does not preclude one from hiking as you suggest. The stock can walk ahead and have camp ready when you get there. I only suggested it as an option for people unwilling or unable to hike. It is also currently an option for the HSC's as well.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 10:09AM
Packing ain't cheap:


2011 Prices
Party of 2 -- Riders: $440/person/day, Hikers: $385/person/day
Party of 3 or 4 -- Riders: $370/person/day, Hikers: $315/person/day
Party of 5 or more -- Riders: $340/person/day, Hikers: $285/person/day

Gulp, but this includes everything. Pikers should stick to staying at the Ahwahnee.



Old Dude
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 10:53AM
I don't know how anyone who loves backpacking would love to see more packers on more backcountry trails in Yosemite, which would certainly occur if the Park Service ever decided to shutdown the HSCs. While I have never used or taken advantage of the HSCs and the services they provide, I do think they're a good and sensible solution that meets the needs of a good number of the the park's visitors. I think it is quite self-centered and selfish to lambast them and wish that they were closed since they are only located on a VERY SMALL portion of Yosemite's vast backcountry.

Sure, the mule trains that supply the camps eat up the trails they use. So what? There's literally hundreds of miles of others trails in the Yosemite backcountry that us backpackers can take to enjoy the Yosemite Wilderness in solitude. I think those that want the HSC closed are being greedy. They want ALL of the Yosemite's backcountry left open just to their ilk. (And I'm sure many of those who would like the HSCs closed would also like to put a lot more restrictions on the Packers too.)

As I see it, the Yosemite backcountry is large enough to accomodate different types of visitors with varying degrees of outdoor wilderness skills. We should all be willing to share this great place with others and not be resented that some park visitors don't want to (or can't physically) go through all the rigors that backpacking entails, nor can afford the far higher cost of hiring packers and guides on their own.

Let's keep Yosemite (including Yosemite's backcountry) accessible to as many people as it's environmentally prudent to do so.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 01, 2011 09:56PM
Many, many people enjoy the HSCs and would not see the High Country any other way. I like the camps, and I like backpacking in tents also. I am not sure why anyone would think these camps have to "go away." That is a really terrible thought, in my opinion. Yes they are expensive, but that is not a reason to wish that they be closed. I have met some amazing people, enjoyed stimulating conversations, learned a lot about all kinds of subjects, had some great books recommended... all from just sitting around the same campfire, at the family-style dinner tables, on day hikes, and in and around the HSC camps. These great people have also included backpackers on the camp meal plans. Please do not knock the idea and existence of these places if you have not tried them yourselves. They certainly may not be your cup of tea, but then again they might surprise you. I think these camps should now be considered historical sites and be protected. Remember, Yosemite is not a "one size fits all", and these camps are certainly a part of the vast and varied fabric that makes Yosemite the wonderful park that it is, and that we all love. The National Parks are great equalizers also. Some things may be expensive, yes, but I have enjoyed meeting rescue workers, carpenters, CEOs, engineers, rangers, cooks, and countless energetic retired folks, all at the same table, around that campfire, etc...Since my return from hiking a few weeks ago I have been watching the National Parks documentary again. All the National Parks have always had the paradox of trying to retain the beauty, but letting the people (all people) see and enjoy that beauty (which does cause a certain amount of damage and degrading.) The HSCs let a few hundred or a thousand more people see the High Country each year. Anyone dismissing these camps should watch that program again (or for the first time.) It may just change your perspective on this subject.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 08:20AM
Quote
Paris92
Many, many people enjoy the HSCs and would not see the High Country any other way. I like the camps, and I like backpacking in tents also. I am not sure why anyone would think these camps have to "go away." That is a really terrible thought, in my opinion. Yes they are expensive, but that is not a reason to wish that they be closed. I have met some amazing people, enjoyed stimulating conversations, learned a lot about all kinds of subjects, had some great books recommended... all from just sitting around the same campfire, at the family-style dinner tables, on day hikes, and in and around the HSC camps. These great people have also included backpackers on the camp meal plans. Please do not knock the idea and existence of these places if you have not tried them yourselves. They certainly may not be your cup of tea, but then again they might surprise you. I think these camps should now be considered historical sites and be protected. Remember, Yosemite is not a "one size fits all", and these camps are certainly a part of the vast and varied fabric that makes Yosemite the wonderful park that it is, and that we all love. The National Parks are great equalizers also. Some things may be expensive, yes, but I have enjoyed meeting rescue workers, carpenters, CEOs, engineers, rangers, cooks, and countless energetic retired folks, all at the same table, around that campfire, etc...Since my return from hiking a few weeks ago I have been watching the National Parks documentary again. All the National Parks have always had the paradox of trying to retain the beauty, but letting the people (all people) see and enjoy that beauty (which does cause a certain amount of damage and degrading.) The HSCs let a few hundred or a thousand more people see the High Country each year. Anyone dismissing these camps should watch that program again (or for the first time.) It may just change your perspective on this subject.

Well said.smiling smiley
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 08:22AM
Well said, Paris.

I love the family style dining and the socializing with fellow hikers after a day on the trail also. And yes, the National Parks need to serve all sorts of people. Without the High Sierra Camps, the backcountry would be primarily for people in their 20s or early 30s. The High Sierra Camps crowd were older people who still enjoyed the outdoors but didn't want to be burdened by all the backpacking equipment
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 12:40PM
Hardly true. There are a lot of very fit people in their 60's and 70's doing all sorts of things in the backcountry. On our trip over Red Peak last week, we met at least 3 different groups where the average age was at least 60. We met one couple in their 70s who was doing part of the HSR. As we stood along the trail, just past the Merced Lake HSC, talking about various topics, we were passed by numerous people from the HSC. Most were dramatically out of shape and overweight (some well beyond the functional obesity of your typical American). The woman from Australia categorized them as an "infestation."




Quote
Mom
Well said, Paris.

I love the family style dining and the socializing with fellow hikers after a day on the trail also. And yes, the National Parks need to serve all sorts of people. Without the High Sierra Camps, the backcountry would be primarily for people in their 20s or early 30s. The High Sierra Camps crowd were older people who still enjoyed the outdoors but didn't want to be burdened by all the backpacking equipment
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 12, 2011 04:39PM
Quote
Mom
Without the High Sierra Camps, the backcountry would be primarily for people in their 20s or early 30s.

Rolling on floor laugh

I am routinely outhiked by retired people who backpack.

Your funny assumption makes me smile. I see MORE seasoned people in the backcountry than kids in their 20s. Some of them are still very active on Search and Rescue - one of them very persistently and patiently works with me on my knot tying skills when we are waiting for deployment.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 12, 2011 05:12PM
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
Mom
Without the High Sierra Camps, the backcountry would be primarily for people in their 20s or early 30s.

Rolling on floor laugh

I am routinely outhiked by retired people who backpack.

Your funny assumption makes me smile. I see MORE seasoned people in the backcountry than kids in their 20s. Some of them are still very active on Search and Rescue - one of them very persistently and patiently works with me on my knot tying skills when we are waiting for deployment.


Actually, it seems more an apologetic arguement for not carrying a pack rather than an assumption.
(Analytically Yours)
The Marmots
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 12, 2011 07:08PM
Quote
szalkowski
Quote
AlmostThere
Quote
Mom
Without the High Sierra Camps, the backcountry would be primarily for people in their 20s or early 30s.

Rolling on floor laugh

I am routinely outhiked by retired people who backpack.

Your funny assumption makes me smile. I see MORE seasoned people in the backcountry than kids in their 20s. Some of them are still very active on Search and Rescue - one of them very persistently and patiently works with me on my knot tying skills when we are waiting for deployment.


Actually, it seems more an apologetic arguement for not carrying a pack rather than an assumption.
(Analytically Yours)
The Marmots

The 20 and 30somethings don't like carrying a pack any more than anyone else who isn't a backpacker.
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 12:53PM
wow. To characterize the people from the High Sierra Camps as an infestation. Just wow.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 01:06PM
Wow 2. I have been to all of the camps many times and have never seen anyone that has hiked in that I would consider "out of shape." And even if that were true, what matter is it or concern of anyone else? Now, for some of the folks I see sitting on the mules with roll-aboard luggage... no comment winking smiley The important thing is that they are OUT THERE taking in all the beauty, and not sitting home on the couch. Sorry if having people at the camps intrude on what others feel should be their own private and uncrowded wilderness. It is there for all to enjoy. Things are popular for a reason.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 01:48PM
It really perplexes me and saddens me that some fellow backpackers seem to hold so much animosity against people who stay at the HSCs. I just don't get it. If some backpackers are so troubled by the sight of overweight people day-hiking from a nearby HSC, the solution is pretty simple – avoid those trails while the HSCs are open.

It's not like the HSCs are open year-around. They are only open for a relatively few weeks out of a 52-week year, and they are all concentrated in a just a relatively small portion of the Yosemite backcountry. It is so easy to avoid these HSC day-hikers if the sight of them troubles someone so much.

Like to visit Merced Lake with no HSC guests in sight? Just backpack there in May or October. The weather is still usually beautiful in October with the benefit of a lot less (if any) mosquitos and other people (including backpackers).
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 02:16PM
To be honest, we were not sure if she was referring to the camps, the people, or both. We didn't ask. But that did lead to a very interesting conversation on how poorly done the HScs are from an aesthetic view point. And on that point they are correct. If you backpack in Europe or South America and see how they handle similar places, they are, for the most part, very well done. The HSCs are outdated dinosaurs by comparison. They are visual blights on their surroundings in need of some environmentally sound design modernization.

Most people in those camps are out of shape. But than again, so are most Americans. And that is just an unfortunate fact.

Personally, we have mixed feeling on them. While we generally try to stay as far away from them as possible, my wife feels they do serve a useful purpose in that they allow those that would otherwise be physically unable to do so to see the backcounty. This allows the Parks and wilderness areas in general, to have a louder range of support - both economically & politically. While I agree this may be true, I'm not sure their negative impacts are overcome by this potential positive. I just know they are a man-made stain loaded with people - exactly what I do not want to see when I go into a "wilderness" area. But I know they are not going to go away, so I just avoid them the best I can.

But remember, we are talking about so called "wilderness". Not the Valley. It may be there for all to enjoy, but that dosen't mean it has to have easy access. I don't expect someone to build an elevator to the top of Everest just because I lack the skill/balls to go climb it.

And just because something is popular, does not make it good, right, better or anything else other than popular.




Quote
Paris92
Wow 2. I have been to all of the camps many times and have never seen anyone that has hiked in that I would consider "out of shape." And even if that were true, what matter is it or concern of anyone else? Now, for some of the folks I see sitting on the mules with roll-aboard luggage... no comment winking smiley The important thing is that they are OUT THERE taking in all the beauty, and not sitting home on the couch. Sorry if having people at the camps intrude on what others feel should be their own private and uncrowded wilderness. It is there for all to enjoy. Things are popular for a reason.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2011 02:17PM by LVRAY.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 02:33PM
"Most people in those camps are out of shape. But than again, so are most Americans. And that is just an unfortunate fact. Personally, we have mixed feeling on them. While we generally try to stay as far away from them as possible..."

Really? And you know this how? From staying as far away from the camps as possible? I completely agree with your statement regarding Americans in general, but your comment about the shape of people at the camps is so far from reality for anyone who has actually stayed at the camps it is laughable. Some people (who come on the mule trains, possibly yes), but they are not in any way the majority of folks staying at the camps. Again, if you have not experienced the HSCs firsthand, but have stayed "as far away from them as possible", please hold your judgement. These camps have people that truly love that experience, and appreciate the dedicated and wonderful staff that runs them each summer. If you are not interested in that type of experience, so be it.
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 03:13PM
I have been hiking in Yosemite for over 25 years and have passed by the HSCs numerous times. I also worked as a backcountry ranger back in the mid 80's. I have seen plenty of the HSCs.

We obviously have differing opinions on what it means to be in shape means. We even consider ourselves to be out of shape, even though we exercise and hike regularly. The problem is, as Americans, we have lost view of what it mean to be physically fit. Our standard has been pushed absurdly low similar to our standards on education.

But all that is irrelevant to the question of whether the HSCs belong in "wilderness" areas or whether their negatives out weight their positives. But even that conversation is pointless as they are not going away.

And I have no doubt the people who go to them love the experience.


Quote
Paris92
"Most people in those camps are out of shape. But than again, so are most Americans. And that is just an unfortunate fact. Personally, we have mixed feeling on them. While we generally try to stay as far away from them as possible..."

Really? And you know this how? From staying as far away from the camps as possible? I completely agree with your statement regarding Americans in general, but your comment about the shape of people at the camps is so far from reality for anyone who has actually stayed at the camps it is laughable. Some people (who come on the mule trains, possibly yes), but they are not in any way the majority of folks staying at the camps. Again, if you have not experienced the HSCs firsthand, but have stayed "as far away from them as possible", please hold your judgement. These camps have people that truly love that experience, and appreciate the dedicated and wonderful staff that runs them each summer. If you are not interested in that type of experience, so be it.
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 02, 2011 01:52PM
What if the Americans along the trail considered foreign visitors like that Australian as an 'infestation'? The gall. She is welcome to get on Qantas and go home anytime. I've never experienced any attitudes like that of the previous poster or the Australian 'guest' on the trail. Most people are in such a good mood from being in such a beautiful place that attitudes like that are fortunately rare.
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 10, 2011 09:50AM
The HSC's don't bother me too much, but there are real questions about what should and shouldn't be allowed in designated wilderness. I think one of the problems is of course, human waste and water quality. Vogelsang and Glen Aulin have some real issues since they are so close to streams. When I camp, I'm required (and choose) to camp 100 feet from water. The Dining Room at Vogelsang is about 10ft away, the kitchen another 20 and the bathrooms and showers are all within 100ft. Glen Aulin has had issues for years with it's human waste, and even though today there is a leach field there, apparently signs of pollution still show up in the Tuolumne River.

It's interesting that so many people assign motives of greed and selfishness to those who may be opposed to the HSC's. Many people are just as focused on protecting Yosemite's Wilderness and it's watersheds.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 10, 2011 10:29AM
Quote
YosemiteSteve
The HSC's don't bother me too much, but there are real questions about what should and shouldn't be allowed in designated wilderness.

The camps are exempt as the sites and some area around them were excluded from the wilderness designation when the Act went into effect.



Old Dude



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/10/2011 10:32AM by mrcondron.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 10, 2011 10:54AM
Quote
mrcondron
Quote
YosemiteSteve
The HSC's don't bother me too much, but there are real questions about what should and shouldn't be allowed in designated wilderness.

The camps are exempt as the sites and some area around them were excluded from the wilderness designation when the Act went into effect.

I'm not sure exactly how that went down.

There are a lot of designated wilderness areas where areas/roads/plots were carved out as not being part of the designated wilderness. Then Congress made up the term "potential wilderness" sometime in the 70s, which refers to areas with "nonconforming uses" that can be converted to full wilderness designation (and without additional Congressional action) once those uses cease. On the other hand, a good many full wilderness areas still have buildings, fire lookouts, etc which were allowed to remain on the principle that they were existing uses that were compatible. The Half Dome cables would be an example.

From what I understand, the High Sierra Camps are actually in designated wilderness but were somehow exempted. I could be wrong. They could also be "potential wilderness", but that would require a wilderness plan map. The term is in the California Wilderness Act of 1984 that established the wilderness area in Yosemite and SEKI.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload/California%20wilderness%20act%20of%201984.pdf
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 10, 2011 11:12AM
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y_p_w
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mrcondron
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YosemiteSteve
The HSC's don't bother me too much, but there are real questions about what should and shouldn't be allowed in designated wilderness.

The camps are exempt as the sites and some area around them were excluded from the wilderness designation when the Act went into effect.

I'm not sure exactly how that went down.

There are a lot of designated wilderness areas where areas/roads/plots were carved out as not being part of the designated wilderness. Then Congress made up the term "potential wilderness" sometime in the 70s, which refers to areas with "nonconforming uses" that can be converted to full wilderness designation (and without additional Congressional action) once those uses cease. On the other hand, a good many full wilderness areas still have buildings, fire lookouts, etc which were allowed to remain on the principle that they were existing uses that were compatible. The Half Dome cables would be an example.

From what I understand, the High Sierra Camps are actually in designated wilderness but were somehow exempted. I could be wrong. They could also be "potential wilderness", but that would require a wilderness plan map. The term is in the California Wilderness Act of 1984 that established the wilderness area in Yosemite and SEKI.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload/California%20wilderness%20act%20of%201984.pdf

Here is an old thread that goes into the wilderness boundaries a bit:
http://yosemitenews.info/forum/read.php?1,8817,8964#msg-8964



Old Dude
Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 10, 2011 11:23AM
True, the HSC's are 'Potential Wilderness' as defined by the California Wilderness Act of 1984. The actual wilderness act of 1964, which the Cal Wild Act is based upon, doesn't mention potential wilderness at all so the camps are in a bit of a gray area. Potential wilderness isn't really defined in the California Wilderness Act either, though they are supposed to be managed as wilderness 'as practicable'. So they are supposed to be, but there is no mandate to treat them as such. The wilderness boundary around each HSC is defined as 100 ft from any structure, development or utility infrastructure at the time of designation in 1984.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 10, 2011 11:04AM
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YosemiteSteve

It's interesting that so many people assign motives of greed and selfishness to those who may be opposed to the HSC's.

That's because of the comments from some of those who do oppose them. You're one of the few here to state possible ecological reasons why at least some of them (Glen Aulin and Vogelsang) should be eliminated (or at least relocated). Many other comments from those opposed to these camps focused just on the individuals who used them and how they made the trails and the areas surrounding the camps more crowded than they would otherwise be.

And in regards to man-made structures in designated wilderness areas, the beauty of far more wilderness land could be enhanced by the removal of all fire rings within the designated wilderness zones. Those permanent fire rings littered throughout Yosemite's wilderness pockmarks far more area of the Yosemite wilderness than the five High Sierra Camps.

But I do agree with your concern that if there's ecological damage being done by some of the HSCs, the Park Service and the DNC need to rectify that.
avatar Re: The Future of the High Sierra Camps?
September 11, 2011 04:56PM
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YosemiteSteve
The HSC's don't bother me too much, but there are real questions about what should and shouldn't be allowed in designated wilderness. I think one of the problems is of course, human waste and water quality. Vogelsang and Glen Aulin have some real issues since they are so close to streams. When I camp, I'm required (and choose) to camp 100 feet from water. The Dining Room at Vogelsang is about 10ft away, the kitchen another 20 and the bathrooms and showers are all within 100ft. Glen Aulin has had issues for years with it's human waste, and even though today there is a leach field there, apparently signs of pollution still show up in the Tuolumne River.

It's interesting that so many people assign motives of greed and selfishness to those who may be opposed to the HSC's. Many people are just as focused on protecting Yosemite's Wilderness and it's watersheds.

Steve, I hear what you are saying but in regard to Glen Aulin HSC you really need to find a new tape measure. Yours does not work.eye rolling smiley
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