New York Times Brings Attention to Yosemite’s Merced River Plan

In an interesting article today, writer Norimitsu Onishi, summarized the latest activity surrounding the Merced River Plan. I have commented ‘til I’m blue in the face on this. Hit the category “Park Planning” on this blog to get tied in.  The essence is that after the Park’s 1997 100-year flood, many sites were destroyed. Something like 400 campsites and others lost. The park was in the process of getting ready to rebuild when a lawsuit stopped any new construction. The park lost and appealed twice – and lost.

Since then, only critical road and sewer work was permitting during the 3-year time frame they were given to come up with  a new plan. That’s the quick history.  Last week, the NPS went to congress where they were beaten up pretty bad. Congressional representative of the greater Yosemite area, Rep. Tom McClintock, said at the hearing: “.. removing commercial facilities was meant to satisfy “the most radical and nihilistic fringe of the environmental left.”  Really, Tom?

In the story, you can read the position of the Friends of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposans for the Environment and Responsible Government (they were the plaintiffs). Wendy Brown, a leader of Yosemite for Everyone, made a rather off the wall comment: “We need to undesignate it [as a Wild and Scenic River] and leave that section of the river alone. That would solve a lot of problems.” Yikes, when will the damming begin south of El Portal?? Let’s remove Half Dome from the Wilderness first.

Yosemite got an extension to review the 30,000 comments submitted. It will be a long Christmas for those planners. Opine here with your thoughts…or not.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: None of Nature’s landscapes are ugly so long as they are wild.” – John Muir

 MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch –

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 New York Times Brings Attention to Yosemite’s Merced River Plan

  1. David says:

    It’s too bad so many lawsuits are slowing progress at this great park! Before you know it, Tioga road will be closed because construction causes damage. And then the bike trails will never be repaved because that would cause damage, and then when they become dirt after the pavement gives way, it will be considered bikes destroying nature.

    I’ll take the gov’t and the environmental groups seriously when Hetch Hetchy is at least opened up for recreation or until the dam is removed.

    How much of the park is “open” and how much is used? Maybe we should focus on the bigger % of the park.

    • Maureen L says:

      The people of San Francisco won’t want anyone canoeing or kayaking or sailing or wind or kite surfing on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, or swimming in it, due to the great quality of the drinking water they get from Hetch Hetchy. (Let alone motor boats or houseboats or waterskiing, which I hope you weren’t suggesting.)

      (Those of us who hike there may feel the same. I know I enjoy hiking in Hetch Hetchy for the isolation.)

      SF drinking water is treated, but not filtered. There’s no infrastructure to filter it! It is treated with chloramine to kill microscopic nasties, but not filtered.

      All of the park is open, but using all of it requires lots of hiking and backpacking, a lot off trail, or using stock; good navigation skills; technical climbing; using ice axes and crampons. Not many swim Muir Gorge, that’s for sure.

      • David says:

        So the land grab should continue so SF can have great quality drinking water, the rest of the bay area does not use this source, why should SF?

        SF’s choice treated but not filtered, is an issue they can resolve on their own without continuing with their damn land grab.

        So there are options on the table of no ice rink, boat rentals etc… but yet the damn stays.

    • Yosemite is 1200 sq miles. 95% of visitors go to the Valley.

  2. Maureen L says:

    hi, Rick,

    thanks for the link on this.

    I agree with taking out “floating” on the Merced in the Park. (By the time the water is warm enough and the flow is slow enough for the park to open the rental season, it’s not really rafting.) Amateurs are high risk for damage to river banks. And for creating noise pollution.

    However, I do think the bike rental meets the criteria for an activity suitable to a National Park. It’s self-propelled, it gets people out of their cars. On the wide, paved trails in the Valley, with little elevation changes, it’s an activity all can do. I’m not sure bikes should be on the Valley Floor loop roads, but for a good chunk of the eastern portion of the Valley, there are separate paved trails.

    Not so sure about swimming pools, though it may work off energy for the kids whose attention spans for more traditional park stuff is short. And it can be really hot in the summer in the Valley. The swimming pools at the Lodge at the Falls and Curry Village don’t have any negative impact on park experience of those who choose not to use them.

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