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Re: Merced River Plan

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Merced River Plan
December 05, 2011 12:31PM
The end of the comment period is rapidly approaching and I have been struggling to absorb all of the issues in time to comment. I did participate in a webinar on the Merced River plan and saw that there were variations in what people thought were important.

I was wondering what issues the posters here feel are important and how they would respond to them.
Re: Merced River Plan
December 09, 2011 09:08PM
what exactly are they trying to do? eliminate rafting and river access all together?
Re: Merced River Plan
December 09, 2011 09:19PM
It is more than rafting and river access issues. It includes carrying capacity, parking and transportation, redesigning of the Yosemite Lodge area, the Wawona area, Camp 6 area, campgrounds, etc. They want input on what the public's vision of how they want the park to be in the future. Too many things to list here. You need to go read what they have on the website.
avatar Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 04:40PM
Quote
ryanmj

what exactly are they trying to do? eliminate rafting and river access all together?

One the most fundamental problems with the current Merced River Plan is that it the section of the Merced River that runs through Yosemite Valley incorrectly classified as a wild and scenic river. Which is fundamentally wrong.

While it's indeed scenic, it's a not a wild river through Yosemite Valley. Its course has been dictated by manmade levies and other artificial barriers. The correct classification of this section of the Merced River ought to be as a "recreational river". Many environmental safeguards would still apply to the recreational river portion of the Merced, but without the absurd notion that it's some sort of "wild" river like how the upper Merced or the Tuolumne River (above Hetch Hetchy Reservoir).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/11/2011 06:46PM by plawrence.
Re: Merced River Plan
December 09, 2011 10:31PM
It looks like the public inputs period is essentially over. http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload/Merced-River-Planning-Roadmap-V4_1wbk.pdf

It is worth a look at the materials they have developed to communicate the environmental issues http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp.htm

I have heard of plans in the past to reduce/eliminate auto access to the park and bus visitors in from surrounding towns. Is that part of the agenda here?
Re: Merced River Plan
December 10, 2011 08:16AM
Quote
RobE
It looks like the public inputs period is essentially over. http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload/Merced-River-Planning-Roadmap-V4_1wbk.pdf

It is worth a look at the materials they have developed to communicate the environmental issues http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp.htm

I have heard of plans in the past to reduce/eliminate auto access to the park and bus visitors in from surrounding towns. Is that part of the agenda here?

The comment period is to end on Dec 14th. Reduction/ elimination of auto access and busing visitors from surrounding towns or a satellite area inside of the park is being considered again.
Re: Merced River Plan
December 10, 2011 03:36PM
I understand that the auto thing will be reconsidered again and again. But to impose auto quotas under the guise of a river plan is just a scheme to do so while flying under the political radar. Why pollute a proper river plan with a very controversial side issue?

Why not come right out and make it a separate auto plan? Then wait for the public's reaction....
Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 08:38AM
Quote
wherever
I understand that the auto thing will be reconsidered again and again. But to impose auto quotas under the guise of a river plan is just a scheme to do so while flying under the political radar. Why pollute a proper river plan with a very controversial side issue?

Why not come right out and make it a separate auto plan? Then wait for the public's reaction....

The settlement for the lawsuit filed by some groups against the last Merced River Plan requires that the park has to come up with a carrying capacity as a part of the new plan. Part of being able to have a carrying capacity would mean having to reduce the amount of vehicles/visitors.

What makes commenting on this plan difficult is that there are so many things that have to be considered and some are intertwined with each other. I have been commenting on plans for some time now and found this one to be the most difficult to do. Not only because of the complexity of it but the importance.
avatar Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 10:58AM
Quote
parklover

Part of being able to have a carrying capacity would mean having to reduce the amount of vehicles/visitors.

Baloney – or at least, not necessarily for the entire park.

But it is clear that on some days (and in the summer, some entire weeks), visitation DOES exceed the carrying capacity of Yosemite Valley itself, at least when it comes to automobiles and buses.

But no overly drastic measures are needed to combat that.

What's needed is some just common sense and a bit of planning ahead. Simply put, mandatory overflow parking lots for cars AND busses. If on any given day, Yosemite Valley reaches its capacity in regards to the number of vehicles, then the additional vehicles trying to enter the valley need to park elsewhere (private passenger vehicles), or in the case of charter buse, temporarily park elsewhere until another charter bus leaves the valley.

The overflow parking lots could be built just outside of Yosemite National Park, though they could also build some probably around Wawona, Crane Frat, or use the Badger Pass parking lot as an auxiliary lot in the summer too.



avatar Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 04:51PM
Quote
parklover
The comment period is to end on Dec 14th. Reduction/ elimination of auto access and busing visitors from surrounding towns or a satellite area inside of the park is being considered again.
It is actually under serious consideration or is that being mentioned as one of a number of options that could be discussed?
Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 02:28PM
I don't think that they mean the entire park and it would probably be only during the busy season. I feel that some of the increase in traffic in the valley is not due to just increased visitation but also it has been added to by the removal of parking spots in the valley. They have decreased parking along the roads in the valley and there are plans to do the same along Tioga Rd. Right now there is no infrastructure in place to do a "park and take a shuttle" that would be needed to have a system like they do in Zion or the Grand Canyon. Of course there is the added issues of the distance from some of the entrances to the valley and along with that there are numerous entrances into the park and some people go in one and go out another. It would take careful planning to avoid a logistical nightmare.

I certainly don't have an answer to what they should do.
avatar Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 04:15PM
Quote
parklover
I certainly don't have an answer to what they should do.
This debate has been going on for thirty years that I know of and no workable plan has surfaced yet.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 04:28PM
There are workable plans, there just haven't been any plans that have been politically agreeable to all the interested parties involved.

And there has been some even simple solutions (like installing a temporary (summer only) traffic signal at Yosemite Lodge/Lower Yosemite Fall trail pedestrian crossing) that have been shot down for the flimsiest of reasons.


avatar Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 04:23PM
There's a lot of things they could do but won't because it'll hurt DNC and the charter bus companies financially, and heaven forbid for that to ever come to pass.

But I think what I proposed above is straightforward and workable.

Also, the Park Service needs to also encourage more overnight stays and less day use visitation to relieve congestion. The most economical way to do this would be to reopen (at least to a partial extent) the closed campgrounds (Lower and Upper River). The Park Service should also extended FREE shuttle service from Yosemite Valley to Tunnel View, Glacier Point and Tuolumne Meadows. This would greatly ease traffic congestion too. But that costs money, though with a $20 entrance ("demonstration" ) fee, that should help cover the cost of an expanded free shuttle system.

Yosemite Valley isn't like Zion National Park where a shuttle only (no private vehicles) system is needed. But the Park Service needs to set limits on the amount of cars and buses than can be inside Yosemite Valley at any given point of time. There is a finite capacity for vehicles inside Yosemite Valley that often times has been exceeded, especially last summer, that causes massive traffic congestion and at times gridlock. But that can be manage in a straightforward manner with some foresight and planning and the mandatory use of auxiliary parking lots located outside of Yosemite Valley, when the valley's vehicle capacity has been reached.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/11/2011 06:51PM by plawrence.
Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 05:27PM
Quote
plawrence
There's a lot of things they could do but won't because it'll hurt DNC and the charter bus companies financially, and heaven forbid for that to ever come to pass.

But I think what I proposed above is straightforward and workable.

Also, the Park Service needs to also encourage more overnight stays and less day use visitation to relieve congestion. The most economical way to do this would be to reopen (at least to a partial extent) the closed campgrounds (Lower and Upper River). The Park Service should also extended FREE shuttle service from Yosemite Valley to Tunnel View, Glacier Point and Tuolumne Meadows. This would greatly ease traffic congestion too. But that costs money, though with a $20 entrance ("demonstration" ) fee, that should help cover the cost of an expanded free shuttle system.

Yosemite Valley isn't like Zion National Park where a shuttle only (no private vehicles) system is needed. But the Park Service needs to set limits on the amount of cars and buses than can be inside Yosemite Valley at any given point of time. There is a finite capacity for vehicles inside Yosemite Valley that often times has been exceeded, especially last summer, that causes massive traffic congestion and at times gridlock. But that can be manage in a straightforward manner with some foresight and planning and the mandatory use of auxiliary parking lots located outside of Yosemite Valley.





You have some very good points. Zion works for many reasons and one of which is that the town of Springdale, where the majority of visitors stay, goes right next to the west entrance. There are shuttle stops all through town going to Zion Canyon. With the exception of lodging in El Portal, the other entrances near Yosemite with lodging are not as close to the valley so more of a visitor's time would be spent in traveling to and from the valley. Just think if you forgot something at a satellite parking area in Fish Camp and how long it would take to go back and get it. Of course, they had previously proposed a shuttle staging area near the base of Taft Point. Of course this would mean the shuttle system would have to be expanded.

I also feel that if there were more places for people to stay in the valley then that would cut down traffic. Unfortunately, until a new plan is put in place, the settlement will not allow any campgrounds to reopen.
avatar Re: Merced River Plan
December 11, 2011 07:04PM
Quote
parklover

Of course, they had previously proposed a shuttle staging area near the base of Taft Point. Of course this would mean the shuttle system would have to be expanded.

That was one of the most idiotic and illogical proposals of the 1990's Yosemite Valley Plan: to build a brand new parking lot in what is mostly an undeveloped part of Yosemite Valley near Taft Point. Whoever came up with that proposal should be dismissed as a National Park Service planner.

There's more than enough manmade development on the east end of Yosemite Valley, the westend of Yosemite Valley should remain minimally developed.

Any auxiliary parking lots, if constructed, should be no closer to Yosemite Valley than Crane Flat, Foresta, El Portal, or the Yosemite West/Chinquapin, if not completely outside of the park.


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