Old Priest Grade will be closed from 9 – 4 Friday, so you’ll need to use the “NEW” Priest Grade (Hwy 120) wast of Big Oak Flat. When they say new, they mean it was built in 1915. Also, snow is coming back Fri-Sat to the Sierra. Light snow accumulations are expected around 4000 feet. Five inches to two feet of snow could fall above 5000 feet. And I’m driving up to the Spring Forum on the All-year Highway – 140. Crikey!
Park facilities opening Friday, March 30: Lower Pines Campground, Wawona Hotel, Yosemite Mountaineering School and the Bike Stand at Yosemite Lodge. So most things are cranking and cashiers ringing.
And now Alternative 4
This alternative would see a total of 201 acres restored to natural conditions. To promote free-flowing conditions, Sugar Pine and Ahwahnee Bridges would be removed. Lodging numbers would be slightly lower than today with minor reductions at Curry Village and Housekeeping Camp. Camping opportunities in Yosemite Valley increase with the addition of roughly 100 sites at Upper Pines Campground and 30 walk-in sites at the former Upper River Campground. The former Lower River Campground would be converted to a day use and picnicking area. The Camp 6 parking lot would be moved north, protecting wetlands and reducing parking within 150 feet of the river. In the High Sierra, the Merced Lake Backpackers’ Camp would be retained. In terms of recreation, limited private paddling would be allowed by permit on river stretches within all segments. No commercial paddling would be allowed. This alternative would manage peak daily visitation within Yosemite Valley at approximately the same level as peak visitation at present (~20,500), with additional parking lots located in West Yosemite Valley and Abbieville to alleviate traffic congestion. The NPS shuttle system would expand as well to serve these new locations.
This alternative would restore a total of 168 acres of impacted meadows and riparian area to natural conditions and remove more than a mile of rip-rap. Facilities and services would accommodate increases in public-use levels. Total lodging availability would increase, most noticeably through a redesigned Yosemite Lodge that would add approximately 200 units. Camping opportunities would be the most offered under any alternative, with ~190 new sites at the former Upper and Lower River Campgrounds, ~100 sites at Upper Pines, and ~40 sites east of Yosemite Lodge. In the High Sierra, the Merced Lake Backpackers’ Camp would be retained. As part of the park’s recreation opportunities, private paddling would be allowed on stretches of the river in all river segments. Commercial paddling would be allowed in the Valley segment only on an extended stretch of the river. Parking in West Yosemite Valley and El Portal would be greatly expanded, and the shuttle system would expand to serve these new locations. This alternative would manage peak daily visitation within Yosemite Valley at ~24,000 people, a 17% increase over current peak season visitation.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Not blind opposition to progress, but opposition to blind progress.” – John Muir
*MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com