Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan now official

This NPS Press Release was just issued. I have not read the documents. A skim shows that they will allow 300 people daily up the cables, with permits via lottery in March.


Yosemite National Park announces the signing of the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). This document records the decision of Yosemite National Park to adopt a new day-use permit program for the Half Dome Trail which includes continued use of the Half Dome cables.  Hiking to the top of Half Dome is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite National Park.  The iconic granite monolith, at 8,842feet above sea level, attracts people from all over the world who attempt to climb to the summit.  Most visitors ascend Half Dome via the cables, which are typically in place from mid-May through mid-October.

In 1964, Congress passed the Wilderness Act, creating the National Wilderness Preservation System.  In 1984, approximately 95% of Yosemite National Park, including Half Dome and the Half Dome Trail, was designated as Wilderness through the California Wilderness Act of 1984.  The Selected Action reduces congestion and improves conditions for public safety, while providing a range of wilderness experiences. Under the Selected Action, Yosemite National Park will retain the cable system and implement day-use limits through a permit system, managing for a target of 300 people on the Half Dome Trail per day.

The Selected Action is generally the same as the Preferred Alternative in the Environmental Assessment (EA) that was released for public review in January 2012.  The park received a total of 1,649 comment letters during the 52-day public comment period.  A wide range of comments were received: some urging the park to reconsider installing a third cable, some supporting the Preferred Alternative, and others supporting the removal of the cables altogether. Commenters sought clarification on visitor use studies, safety measures, commercial use, wilderness character, and permit allocation. There are some clarifications and corrections to the EA based on public comment, mainly in the area of commercial use. These corrections are included in an Errata to the EA.

Applications for permits to hike the trail are available from March 1 through March 31, 2013.   The park will allocate permits through a preseason lottery, a two-day in advance lottery, and as part of the Wilderness Permit process.  Details regarding the lotteries and the wilderness process can be found at the park’s website atwww.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm.  The lottery will be conducted throughwww.recreation.gov.

The FONSI and errata sheets completing the decision-making process are available online at:www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/hdp_information.htm.Requests for hardcopies or CD-ROMs of the FONSI, available on a limited basis, can be submitted to: Superintendent, Yosemite National Park, and Attn: Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389.


MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome


About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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5 Responses to Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan now official

  1. Dean says:

    Ironic that just as access to Half Dome is restricted further, new TV ads here in UK, advertising California as holiday destination, now using images of Half Dome and Yosemite for first time.

    • Sönke says:

      Well, the TV ad features Kim Kuntrashian too. So don’t take it too seriously. 🙂

      I don’t feel access is restricted further. It was the right thing to do. And as frustrating as lotteries can be (I’m “hunting” my next CBN permit for almost 2 years now) ultimately it’s the better experience.

      • Dean says:

        I agree the experience is better but I think a higher number of permits Mon-Thurs would have been a better option.

        I think they’ve cut Kim from this latest ad…no sign of Lance Armstrong either ;o)

  2. Maureen L says:

    Wow, Rick, thanks for the speedy post and the links!

    Looks to me like it’s 300 day hikers and 100 backpackers who get HD as part of a wilderness permit, same as last year. Park says total of 400 per day.

    Those who want to backpack to Little Yosemite Valley or camp off trail on route to HD should check out the wilderness permits section on the park website, as advance applications for wilderness permits are already underway. (They go day by day; you fax the form in the night before the lottery you want.)

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