The multi-volume page draft Merced River Plan was released by the Park today. It is a massive read. With appendices and attachments it runs over 2,000 pages. It will take some time to go through it and absorb the impacts and benefits. If you’ve been involved, Alternative 5 was selected as the preferred alternative. Typically, the preference makes it all the way to the final document, due to be implemented this summer.
There will be public outreach meetings to voice your concerns and comments will be solicited. Some highlights are that the campgrounds will radically change in the Pines, Backpacker and Housekeeping sites. The ice rink and bike rental will go away as will raft rentals. Visitors will still be able to use their own rafts. New parking lots will be built and historic flood planes will be addressed. Total visitation numbers will essentially be the same as today with car-visits also about the same.
Surprisingly, the park has taken pains to allow levels of visitation comparable to the present while at the same time mitigating river impact. Net campsites in the valley will increase, as will day-use parking, and a there will be a small increase in valley lodging.
To read the plan (set aside a lot of time), see the park’s website.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Give me golf clubs, fresh air and a beautiful partner, and you can keep the clubs and the fresh air.” – Jack Benny
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com