Following many years of work, the final MRP – Merced River Plan is out. The official name is:
Merced Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
Impact on Half Dome is minimal, if at all. The EIS is lofty at 3,000 pages. This document will set the stage for some major changes to the way the park evolves in future decades. This was an outgrowth of lawsuits filed after the Great flood of 1997. Over 60 public meetings were held and over 30,000 comments received on preliminary documents. This final document satisfies the legal ruling. Funding and implementation for the program will take years – don’t expect changes soon.
Emphasis were changes to operations that impact the Merced River as it traverses the park – primarily the Valley. Many changes prompted by public comments were incorporated into the selected Alternative 5.
A few of the salient points include:
* Peak Valley visitation of 21,100 visitors per day
* 189 riparian acres restored
* Camping will be increased by 37%
* Historic Bridges will remain
* Ice skating rink in Curry Village will be moved
* Bicycle and raft rentals will remain
* Changes to traffic circulation
* Village Sports Shop, Lodge Nature Shop, and Yosemite Lodge post office removed
* 8% increase in day use parking
* A new 300-car parking lot to located in El Portal (w/ shuttle bus)
Read the whole Final MRP.
A public meeting will be held March 6, 1-3pm at the Yosemite Valley Auditorium. The public meeting will also be available via webinar. Details forthcoming.
Kudos to the Park Planners and support groups. This was an effort to make the park better for all of us.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.’ – Henry David Thoreau
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com