Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Life at the park has been, shall we say, “challenging” for Administrators. When the park lost hundreds of facilities during the 1997 flood, they wanted to rebuild. 2 environmental groups sued the NPS and that led to an injunction on any rebuilding. The park lost the case and then lost 2 appeals. The last being the 9th District Court of Appeals in March 2008. The main issue revolved around what the plaintiffs felt was best for the Merced River – a Wild and Scenic River. There are now about 800 such designated rivers. As such, use within ¼ mile is highly controlled. To minimize impact, they wanted a fixed number of humans that would be allowed in and then the gates close. To read more background, go to my NEWS page on the website. OK, so last week both parties agreed to settle and dismiss the case. There is a lot involved, but here’s the Cliff Notes version. 1.The NPS gets to pay the $1M legal fees incurred by the Friends of Yosemite Valley and Mariposans for the Environment and Responsible Government. 2. All would participate in developing a new Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan. It’s due by December 2012. 3. A finite user capacity for the Yosemite Valley will be determined. 4. The degradation already experienced in the Merced corridor will be studied and considered. Like what? Like swimming pools, tennis courts, shops, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, snack stands, gift shops, ice-skating rink, amphitheater etc.. 5. Current plans for the Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Lodge, Curry Village and the Valley Campgrounds are rescinded. The NPS has named Mark Butler, Chief of the Project Management Division, as the main contact for the effort. Good luck, Mark! The full 22 page Settlement Agreement can be read at: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/litigation.htm.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Why can’t we be friends? Why can’t we be friends?” – War
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com