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Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans

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avatar Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 20, 2013 01:22PM
A congressman from California is furious over Yosemite National Park's proposed Merced River Plan, saying it calls for changes that would "limit public access and enjoyment of Yosemite."

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/04/congressman-upset-yosemite-national-parks-merced-river-plans23105
avatar Yosemite plan would take away the fun
April 20, 2013 01:25PM
The brilliance of our national park system lies in its dual mission to preserve public lands and allow recreation in ways that leave those lands "unimpaired," as Congress declared in 1916. Yet, that language also raises a dilemma: how to balance two opposing goals. A new proposal to chart Yosemite National Park's future is generally good, but it takes away a few too many opportunities to have fun. The park service should tweak the plan. If it doesn't, Congress should get involved.

http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_22901433/yosemite-plan-would-take-away-fun
avatar Re: Yosemite plan would take away the fun
April 20, 2013 03:17PM
We're loving it to death . . .

Can we all get along?


You get 10 people in a room do discuss Yosemite Planning and you'll get 10 versions of "what's obviously best for Yosemite"
Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 20, 2013 08:29PM
Don't take Tom McClintock too seriously. His claim to fame is to say no to everything and he sees our government land and parks as something that needs to be exploited for profit. If it were up to him Disneyland would probably be the new concessionaire and you would be able to take a gondola ride to the top of half dome. He does not represent California's political views. He's a career politician that moved from LA after being termed out to his new home in the very conservative Northern California foothills.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 20, 2013 09:01PM
Is he still living with his mom in a different district (as he was in the CA legislature), or is he now at least pretending to have some connection to his district?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/20/2013 09:02PM by ttilley.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 20, 2013 11:10PM
Quote
ttilley
Is he still living

Assumes fact not in evidence.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 21, 2013 11:18AM
How about if we dispense with the ad hominem attacks? McClintok is my representative and I've heard him talk over some years. By and large I don't find him to be unreasonable if you listen to what he says and not dismiss him out of hand because you don't like his political affiliations.

Quoting from one of the articles:

"In crafting the plan, the park staff decided the ice-skating rink in Curry Village should go, as well as the horseback riding concession in the valley, and that bike rentals would no longer be allowed, nor rentals of tubes for floating on the Merced."

Do you guys actually agree with this? Isn't biking better than driving? How are tube rentals impacting the river?

In regards to the "loving it to death" comment, I've been hearing that since the 70's and people are still enjoying the park which is largely unchanged.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 21, 2013 03:20PM
Here's his actual comment.

I actually haven't decided yet what I think about the ice rink removal, private rafting only requirement, etc. - I tend to oppose it. But McClintock's framing of his opposition to the entire DEIS is ridiculous. To start, he frames the NPS management requirements in terms of the 1864 Yosemite Land Grant to California, completely ignoring the preservation requirement in the NPS organic act:

Quote
Tom McClintock
The 1864 Act authorizing the original Yosemite land grant to the State of California stated that the “premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation” and “shall be inalienable for all time.” The draft plan in question directly contravenes the authorization, and I am firmly against NPS taking any action that would limit public access and enjoyment of Yosemite.

He then characterizes the Wild and Scenic River Act only in terms of "protecting free-flowing condition", ignoring the mandate to protect the environment around the river, which specifically includes 1/4 mile on each side of the river.

Having done that, his opposition to removing the Sugar Pine Bridge does not address the DEIS rationale that the current bridge is impeding the free flow of the river.

In short, who cares about preservation, ignore the environment around the river and only consider free-flowing condition, and then ignore free-flowing condition.

There's also this little bit: "The Merced River’s designation was based upon the River’s value as a popular recreation resource in a highly-visited National Park...". The portion of the river in the Valley is evaluated in the DEIS as 'recreational', but in fact most of the designated portion of the river is wilderness.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 22, 2013 08:45AM
Thanks for the link to his comments. After reading his comments I don't see how you conclude he has come out completely against the entire DEIS. What I see is him addressing a few specific points. Again, I interpret his concerns as reasonable when you realize that his point of view is always to protect individual right and freedoms. Closing of a number of facilities in the park is an example of chipping away at your rights. But some people seem to have no problem with this as long as it's done in the name of protecting the environment somehow. These plans often seem to be about restrictions and seldom about expansion of facilities or improved access and anyone who doesn't agree with the proposed restrictions getting labeled "anti-environment" and the like. That's what I find ridiculous.

I'm not getting dragged into a long discussion about the larger issue as this really isn't the place for political discussions.
Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 21, 2013 03:21PM
Some of the decisions that the park is having to make is because of the lawsuit and those people want services removed. This was brought out in the webinars and meetings. If one has been keeping up with the webinars and the meetings, one can see that there has been the effort to put the bike rentals and ice rink back because that is what people want. In the last two public meetings, slides were added that were not in previous discussions, showing concepts for bike rentals and the possibility of a portable ice rink.

IMO removing bike rentals is not a good idea since it is a good way to get around the park and people on bikes are not in their cars driving around or trying to get on overcrowded shuttles. If you rented a raft, a shuttle would come and get you and the raft and other people that rented rafts. If there is private rafting only, then someone is going to have to drive back and get the people and their rafts, which means more vehicles going to get them and hence more traffic.

However, if one is thinking of ecological impact and, not just removal of services because services need to be removed, then just removing rentals of rafts and horse back rides does not make sense because private use will still cause an impact.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/21/2013 03:25PM by parklover.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 22, 2013 10:07AM
I agree on the bicycles, getting people out of cars and onto bicycles seems like a no-brainier to me?

There are components of the plan that baffle me. I understand the desire to remove what they deem
to be unnecessary infrastructure, but on removing the Housekeeping Camp store, it's a very small building,
and there still will be the registration building next to it, plus hundreds of concrete tent cabin units.

Without that small store there to walk to and buy food and firewood, hoards of those campers are going to
get into their cars and trucks, and drive to Curry or the Village Store to buy their supplies. They're not going
to take a shuttle bus to buy a bundle of firewood!

What about the pollution all of these vehicles will be spewing out all year long as they travel to and fro, it seems
to me environmentally wiser to just leave the store there! It's not like that one little building removed will
significantly alter the environmental footprint of Housekeeping Camp?
Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 22, 2013 09:46PM
Anyone been to Zion? During peak times everyone takes a shuttle and the majority of services are outside the park. I love it. It works great and you don't have to deal with smog and traffic jams. You can't rent rafts or bikes or ice skate . You can hike and swim anywhere you want. Seems to still be a popular place.

Could you imagine people demanding they build an ice rink there or open up a river rafting concessionaire on the Virgin River? Just because that stuff already exists in Yosemite Valley doesn't make it right. Now the bridge removal seems silly to me and we do need to use some common sense. If you think Yosemite Valley on a summer weekend in any way represents what a National Park should look like and is not broken then I have to respectfully disagree.
Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 23, 2013 10:18AM
We started going to Zion in 1989 ( and lost count of how many times we have been there) so I have experienced Zion before the shuttle system and after the shuttle system went in effect. I agree that the shuttle has improved visiting Zion in the summer. However, Zion's shuttle system works well because the majority of people enter and exit the park by the south entrance in Springdale and the distance to the popular canyon area from Springdale is only a few miles and it does not take much time to get to the canyon. Most out of the park lodging is located in Springdale and the shuttle has multiple stops in town.

I am not against trying to find other options of getting to Yosemite valley, however, a shuttle system like Zion's in Yosemite would be more problematic since there are multiple entrances, people do not always exit the park the same way they came in, the park is large and the distance from some of the entrances are hours away from the Valley. Taking the shuttle from the planned parking in El Portal is somewhat similar to taking the Zion shuttle from Springdale, and while it is a longer distance to the valley, this would work. However the cost and logistics of a Zion like shuttle system from other entrances/towns is one reason that option has never been developed.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 23, 2013 01:27PM
Park and take a shuttle plans have been discussed for decades and they always die because there is no place to park all those cars that is close enough to the Valley to practical.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 23, 2013 01:40PM
Yup.

One thing the Park Service could do to help allieve congestion on the Yosemite Valley roads is to expand the free bus shuttle service to Bridalveil Fall and Tunnel View. By so doing so, day visitors to Yosemite Valley could see all the major sights of Yosemite Valley with only to find parking once and taking the free shuttle bus around the complete valley. That would definitely help reduce the congestion on the valley's roads during spring and summer.
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avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 23, 2013 01:41PM
Quote
plawrence
One thing the Park Service could do to help allieve congestion on the Yosemite Valley roads is to expand the free bus shuttle service to Bridalveil Fall and Tunnel View

No, there isn't enough parking left for that.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 23, 2013 02:17PM
What do you mean by that?

I'm not saying that the busing should be made mandatory and that people must park and then take the shuttle, but if the Park Service increased the scope of the free VOLUNTARY shuttle bus service then that would help reduce the congestion on the valley's roads.
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avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 23, 2013 03:34PM
Quote
plawrence
if the Park Service increased the scope of the free VOLUNTARY shuttle bus service then that would help reduce the congestion on the valley's roads.

Really? What makes you think it would actually help?
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 24, 2013 12:21AM
Because it would help reduce the amount of vehicle trips on the valley's roads. Right now visitors can take the free shuttle to most of the major sights and points of interest of the east valley (and even to El Cap Meadow during late spring and summer) by hopping aboard a free Yosemite shuttle bus. But if they want to visit Bridalveil Fall or Tunnel View they'll most likely decide to get there by car (since there's no free bus service to those sights and I doubt that 99% of the tourist would hike or bike to Bridalveil Fall (let alone Tunnel View).

I think it's pretty obvious how it could help reduce congestion, especially in the west valley. Don't know why you're being so about it.

.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2013 03:30AM by mrcondron.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 24, 2013 07:51PM
Quote
plawrence
Because it would help reduce the amount of vehicle trips on the valley's roads.

You keep making that claim. But I've never seen it backed up with actual data.
Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 23, 2013 02:08PM
Quote
eeek
Park and take a shuttle plans have been discussed for decades and they always die because there is no place to park all those cars that is close enough to the Valley to practical.


I disagree. There is room in El Portal and (i kinda hate to say it) Foresta for parking and shuttle services into the Valley.

Edit: The reason these talks die is huge opposition from the public and concessionaires. People want less cars in the Valley but they want to drive their own cars.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/23/2013 02:10PM by dbagnall.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 23, 2013 02:20PM
Quote
dbagnall
There is room in El Portal and (i kinda hate to say it) Foresta for parking and shuttle services into the Valley.

Neither of which are close enough to be of use (and Foresta should not now or ever be used for a parking lot!).
Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 23, 2013 03:07PM
There is not enough room in El Portal for a huge parking lot. Remember that the WSRA also is in affect along the Merced in El Portal so areas for development is limited. I agree with eeek, there is no way that I would want a parking lot in Foresta. What a blight on the view.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 24, 2013 06:40PM
I think that having bikes available to those who are unable to bring their own is a necessity in the park. It is the best way to get around (except for foot travel of course). If they take that away, traffic will increase dramatically. Maybe they ought to adopt the community bike system like many European cities and have a fleet of bikes anyone can use. I know our litigious society may be a roadblock to that idea given possible liability issues, but less bikes = more cars. As for commercial rafting, I'm on the fence. We did it once when I was little and it was great. Now we bring our own rafts. There are days that you could raft hop across the river and not get wet. Same goes for the mules. Did the ride to top of Nevada Falls as a kid and loved it. But hiking on shared trails and dodging crap and flies is not the best expeirence. Just my .02.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 25, 2013 12:20PM
When we first went to the valley with the kids we took the shuttle everywhere (except Bridalveil Falls, stopped there on the way in). I remember thinking that if it covered a larger area and was easier to use it would have been perfect. I would MUCH rather take a shuttle like that than constantly try to find parking.
avatar Re: Congressman Upset With Yosemite National Park's Merced River Plans
April 25, 2013 02:54PM
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