Merced River Plan

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Snowmassguy

Trad climber
Calirado
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 21, 2013 - 11:48am PT
http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22833996/yosemite-national-park-may-ban-horse-bike-and


So what is everyones take on the outcome of this issue? Personally could care less about the pools but the bridge removal would be a bummer.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 21, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
I have been involved in the Yosemite Master Planning process as a member of the public since the 1970's. My personal observation is that every version of a Plan I've seen would make such draconian changes to the way the general public uses the Valley that we end up breathing a sigh of relief that the current, awful, system isn't dismantled even further.

I still await restoration of the campsites stolen from us in the name of prudent flood control in the aftermath of the 1996 Flood. The only changes I've seen since 1976 have generally been to make the Valley and Park increasingly inaccessible to working taxpayers, so that the leisure classes can "enjoy" the park free of working stiffs and their annoying, touron ways.

John
looks easy from here

climber
Ben Lomond, CA
Mar 21, 2013 - 05:05pm PT
I couldn't care less about the pools. I'd be bummed if I miss ever ice skating there (tried to make it this year, but the stars didn't align). But dropping bike and horse rentals is simply idiotic. People come to Yosemite from all over, and most don't have the convenience of bringing their own bikes. So they'll be expected to walk or, more likely, DRIVE everywhere under this plan? It's appalling.
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Mar 21, 2013 - 05:15pm PT
I can see the points of some, but why no bikes? With the amount of traffic in the valley during the busy season, why aren't bikes promoted?
Snowmassguy

Trad climber
Calirado
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2013 - 07:24am PT
Yeah I do not get the focus on bikes. Why would they want to promote the use of cars. Build one big parking lot and everyone needs to walk or bike around the valley. That would be awesome ( minus the big parking lot lol)
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 22, 2013 - 07:38am PT
The bike removal should be viewed as a 'poison pill' designed to help protect those other activities.

"The bikes??? That's OUTRAGEOUS!!!!"

Nawmean?

That bridge could kill the whole restoration plan too. Those insisting on its removal are being stupidly shortsighted. Or perhaps NO ONE likes the plan anymore and almost everyone wants to see aspects of it fail.

DMT
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Mar 22, 2013 - 08:26am PT
Any plan needs to find ways to get more people through the valley with less impact.

Finding ways to keep people out is bad because they will refuse to support the park.

It is an engineering problem.



Some of my own ideas:

--Turn the old toll roads into Mtn Bike trails.

--Put the giant parking lot at Foresta and run a super quiet elevated tram through the Valley. An express route for people who just want to see the valley real quick and a local for you and I.

--The Foresta mega city would include luxury hotels, staff housing, excellent food and shopping experience. Eliminate all staff housing in the Valley.

--There would still be some food facilities and bars and stuff in the Valley. (At least two more bars)

--The hotels are good as they are, but Curry Village is in a major drop zone and needs to be scaled back a little.

--People would only be allowed to have campfires in the Valley if they had completed my personal instructions on how to have a smokeless campfire.

--Add special historical trails that follow the travels of Galen Clark, Joseph LeConte, Clarence King & John Muir

--Permit rafting from Happy Isles Bridge all the way to El Cap Meadow Bridge
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 22, 2013 - 09:04am PT
My plan would be:

Phase 1:

 hanta virus red alert, mandatory blood testing of all park visitors.

 all visitors must sign dangerous rockfall waivers.

 horse riders must pack out their horse waste.

 Park rangers on furloughs

 climbers and base jumpers regulate their own sports.

Phase 2:

 all parking somewhere outside the valley itself, entry by bus, bike or on foot only.

 minimize LEO presence and associated park entrance fees. (SAR not included)

 prohibit any for-profit businesses in the valley, including hotels and concessions.

 cut off electricity supply to valley.

 gradually remove all traces of buildings, etc.
WBraun

climber
Mar 22, 2013 - 09:13am PT
Spider -- "Permit rafting from Happy Isles Bridge ...."

You don't want to that!

It's suicidal.

You have no clue how stupid these people are and how many times YOSAR had to respond in the area from the Happy Isle Bridge down stream past the lower Pines campground area for calls.

They just plain can't navigate that area with the rafts and skills they have.

There some serious objective dangers in that area beyond the skill of 99% these idiots ......

Chaz

Trad climber
greater Boss Angeles area
Mar 22, 2013 - 09:38am PT
As long as they have a "permit", everything should be OK.
Snowmassguy

Trad climber
Calirado
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2013 - 10:17am PT
The E ticket ride will be the new " RAPPEL" amusement attraction. If you survive the rafting ride, you can try your hand a a rap down the El Cap. This will attract more of the folks the the Park service wants in our parks!
Credit: Snowmassguy
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 10:50am PT
The rationale for eliminating bicycle rentals is that it is a commercial activity, and National Parks should minimize commercial activities. When I went to my first "Planning Meeting" for the Yosemite Master Plan in the 1970's, I thought I was in a group playing "Animal Farm," except that the mantra was "No commercial development," rather than "Four legs good; Two legs bad."

It's similar to the rationale that changed the number of gas stations in the Valley from three to zero. Whatever else that change may have done, it certainly did not conserve fuel, but that wasn't the issue. Private automobiles were on the "bad" list, so anything that makes them more inconvenient must be "good."

In fairness, the NPS has incompatible instructions: preserve the resource but accommodate the people's recreation. My main objection to the current planning process is that it is upside-down. The Merced River determines the plan, rather than Yosemite Valley. To me, the Merced is not a particularly unique western river, except that it happens to run through the most beautiful valley in the United States. Yosemite Valley, on the other hand, is unique and vitally important in many recreational activities, not just climbing.

It particularly saddens me when I see climbers advocate exclusion of other uses. Sooner or later, other users will turn on us. Already, I can pick out lichen scarring from popular climbing routes much more easily than I can now recognize the scar from the Firefall. How much longer before some group more "wildernessly pious" starts to try to exclude us? We already face the issue with permanent anchors in wilderness areas.

Unless the National Parks remain a refuge for ordinary working people, sooner or later those same people will get tired of supporting them.

John
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Mar 22, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
One big reason why I don't like the plan. Once all that other stuff is gone, they are going to look at us and

1. Ban all bolts, pull exiting ones.

2. Ban all tat.

3. Ban all chalk

4. No overnight on walls

5. Carry out everything even urine

6. No bouldering or climbing on any lichen covered surfaces.




If you want solitude there are thousands of valleys in the Sierra just as nice where no one ever goes. Let me know if you have any trouble finding one.

The big valley is for everyone and everyone needs to be there as much as possible. (with astonishingly little impact)
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Mar 22, 2013 - 02:49pm PT
Whatever else that change may have done, it certainly did not conserve fuel, but that wasn't the issue. Private automobiles were on the "bad" list, so anything that makes them more inconvenient must be "good."

The point was that the USTs (underground storage tanks) were leaking...which is very common on older USTs.

The groundwater contamination plumes were threatening to infiltrate the river itself. There was (still is?) a groundwater pump-n-treat VOC stripper sitting there in the old C4 gas station area for years?

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 03:12pm PT
The relocation of the gas stations out of the Valley was independent of the potential pollution issue -- unless you assume that all underground tanks will leak, in which case I'd like to know why there's gas available at Wawona. The elimination of gas stations in the Valley was part of the "wilderness advocates'" agenda at the very first meeting I attended.

No kidding.

John
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 22, 2013 - 03:19pm PT
unless you assume that all underground tanks will leak,

A valid assumption, 100% correct.

Time is the main variable.

DMT
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 22, 2013 - 03:19pm PT
John....i simply have to dispute your comment about the Valley being made more amenable to the "leisure class" by eliminating facilities for the "great unwashed."
Why, middle class folks can book a room in the Awahnee where rooms START at a mere $476 per night. For the truly indigent tent cabins are available in Curry Village for a starting price of only $128 per night.
With values like those, rolling around in a dusty campsite makes no sense at all.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 05:11pm PT
Jim, that's my point. When my family used to camp in the Valley for a couple of weeks each year (because it was the only sort of vacation we could afford), there were well over a thousand sites. After they reduced them in th elate 1960's, there were enough crowding issues than overnight fees were easy to collect during the summer months. Now with the River Campgrounds (or as I like to think of them, Camps 7 and 15) gone since the 1996 Flood, I'm supposed to feel good about this plan because it gives half of those campsites back?

There's no reduction in Ahwahnee romms, Lodge accommodations, or anything else. Just campsites. The liesure class at the upper end of the social spectrum still has all of its facilities. That at the lowest end can still deal with the sorts of hassels whose time precludes participation by those of us who still have full-time jobs with limited vacation.

There was an article in the Fresno Bee a couple of years ago in which the NPS cited reduced camper-nights as evidence that camping demand has declined in the Park. I couldn't believe that anyone would make that argument with a straight face.

In addition to the eliminated Valley sites, the Tenaya Lake walk-in campground, the Glacier Point, Smokey Jack, Tamarack Creek, Harden Lake and probably other car campgrounds that I've forgotten about are all eliminated. Of course the number of camper-nights is lower. There aren't as many campsites! It's those campsites that working stiffs can still afford. It's too bad we need to win a lattery to get one.

John
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
Break up the Park Service. They've lost touch with reality.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Mar 22, 2013 - 05:23pm PT
Having walked through the campsites recently, I have no intention of ever staying there. Not what I call camping. From the giant Greyhound bus sized motor homes to all manner of contraptions, it just doesn't seem like the type of experience I'm used to. Maybe if I tried it.

Also, there are the many folks who have no clue about how to have a clean campfire and smoke up the whole east end of the valley trying to burn some green wood or something. I hope to make a booklet some day that they could pass out for free to help reduce that problem.

The idea of more car camp sites does not excite me.

I have been enjoying walking through the forest where the old camps were eliminated though. Very nice. Usually I'm the only one there and get great solitude, even when it's busy.

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