Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Well it’s not the Rolling Stones or even Pink Floyd. It’s the United States National Park Service!!! What??? The scoping session for the new improved Half Dome Stewardship Planning. My contact, Mark Marschall is the Project Manager for the new Half Dome plan. He tells me that the attendance at the Valley and Fresno pubic sessions were abysmal. And only 18 comments have been received. Folks, you have to get involved. We have over 350 daily readers of this blog and we MUST show up in force and make our opinions known. Else, someone will decide what is done with the cables. You want them torn down? Fine – voice it. You want 3 more sets installed? Fine – Voice it. You want my profile carved into the side of Half Dome? Voice it. But show up in Berkeley, CA at the REI and be heard. They will have park staff on hand and will give two presentations – one at 4:30 and another at 6:00. I plan to be at both. Leave work early if you have to. What else is more important? Here is a portion of the NPS CALL TO ACTION:
“We are kicking off an environmental assessment effort to plan for the long-term stewardship of the Half Dome Trail. The purpose of this plan is to provide stewardship of wilderness character and also improve visitor safety. Your experience, knowledge, and diverse perspectives are essential to our success.
Information and updates on this project can be found on our park website: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/hdp.htm. On this page you will also find the link to the site where you can submit your electronic comments. Written comments can be mailed to: Superintendent Attn: Half Dome Stewardship Plan, PO Box 700, Yosemite, CA 95389. Faxes will also be accepted at: 209-379-1094.
Public meeting: June 16, 2010 4-8 pm, Berkeley REI, 1338 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA
The plan is needed because of concerns that the current conditions on Half Dome are out of compliance with the Wilderness Act, National Park Service Management Policies, the Yosemite General Management Plan, and the Yosemite Wilderness Management Plan. Impacts that have been noted include:
1. Vegetation damage and soil loss on and near the trail corridor, including many sections that are very wide and deeply eroded.
2. Habituation of wildlife along the trail corridor, and particularly at the summit and subdome, from improper food storage and feeding.
3. Threats to a population of the Mt. Lyell Salamander, a California Specie of Special Concern.
4. Severe crowding on the sub dome, summit and cables, including long lines to use the cables.
5. Very high encounter rates on the entire trail.
Additionally, high levels of crowding on the Half Dome cables can increase exit time from the summit thereby increasing visitors’ exposure to hazardous conditions such as slippery wet rock, extreme temperatures, and lightning.”
Related thought worth quoting: “Don’t mess with Bill. Don’t mess with Bill. Say it one more time! Don’t mess with Bill.” – The Marvelettes
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com