Yosemite Valley; ice rink, horses, bikes and swimming pools?

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Messages 21 - 40 of total 54 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Mar 22, 2013 - 02:08pm PT
It was not mentioned in this article but we must not forget that they also want to eliminate "social trails" and as climbers we all use the social trails.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
It saddens me to see so many responses on this thread in the form of: "I don't care about , but I want ."

I see rather little consideration of what might actually be fair to the American people, for whom this park was set aside and to whom, in theory, it belongs. I see an undercurrent of hostility toward those same ordinary people we disdain as "tourists." While I've learned to expect nothing better, I still get saddened when I read it.

John
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 22, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
There is no more using vanilla flavor in the NRPS. National Recreational Park Service should be the new appropriate designation for these BEAROCRATS.

"It impedes the flow"...as if the Merced gives a dam.

"It should incorporate a more NATURAL LOOK."
photo not found
Missing photo ID#286711

"You can ice-skate in lots of places. You don't have to do it in Yosemite Valley." It's true. But the experience is unique. It is obvious to my casual observation that just because an non-enthusiast is included in a commission, the others don't have to listen to garbage. I don't know what the rink looks like, as I don't skate that way. But the old rink was pretty green-sounding and low-impact, relative to much else that goes on. Take a bunch of logs, make a rectangle and pump water into it and watch it freeze. When the air warms, it's time to stack the logs for next season. Maybe they could just go back to this way of doing things. Why BAN something if you don't need to?

Millis is rolling around laughing about the bike rentals. YOU NEED BIKE RENTALS, DAMMIT!

eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Mar 22, 2013 - 02:33pm PT
No. . . social trails are all those trails that criss cross the meadows. . . which might very well mean they're thinking of fencing off those meadows and making raised boardwalks and viewing platforms, or roped off, designated trails.

I only know this because I spoke, at length, with the head of Resources about it. She contended, in 1990, that there were 27 social trails in El Cap Meadow, alone. She lead me to believe that there would be changes made, SOON. . . that was 23 years ago.

?
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Mar 22, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
It is shortsighted for NPS to claim that removing the pools will help protect the river. Quite the opposite. Letting all those people concentrate in one spot and in one pool keeps them from wandering along the banks of the river looking for places to swim. Plus, all that suntan lotion and human waste stays in the pool, which is emptied into the sewer system for treatment.

I suppose they could just ban swimming altogether. Like ice skating, horseback riding and biking, one can do that anywhere. Plus, with all the social trails closed, walking along the banks of the river will be off limits. Under the proposed plan, I envision the future Yosemite Valley visitor relegated to boardwalks, paved interpretive trails, cars (windows must be kept rolled up if smoking), and lots of new videos in the visitor center. Laughing, singing or yelling, whistling or playing musical instruments, and trailside daytime napping or laying down will be illegal, as well as any behavior not directly related to the park environment.
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Mar 22, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
Best swimming hole in the Valley : The pool on top of Lower Yosemite Falls

FACT !

...if not, which is better? Anybody been to hidden falls out past Mirror?
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Mar 22, 2013 - 03:02pm PT

@ TMJesse:

It's just about there already !
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Mar 22, 2013 - 03:05pm PT
WHOA. . . this thread is bringing back some really valuable memories. . . like walking out of K Dorm, into that grassy area between the OZONE and the river and sleeping under that one HUGE Yellow pine out there. . . deep in the grasses. . . YAWN.

Never took the chop for it, either.

HohMahn!

. . . but. . . that was a long time ago. . .
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Mar 22, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
that one HUGE Yellow pine out there

I always thought that's the one John Muir climbed in the windstorm.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2013 - 03:11pm PT
This topic is interesting to me from a broader perspective of the relationship to man with nature. Let me ask some questions:

Yosemite Valley has been occupied for hundreds perhaps thousands of years by man, we all know some of its history. At what point does the evidence of such occupation become worth saving? Is it simply a time issue, a native American vs. non-native distinction or are there recent human "improvements" that merit recognition and should be preserved and maybe even restored?

Should the stone bridge remain standing and allow what ever happens to the River in terms of erosion take place? The Ahwahnee Hotel is a good example of a cherished improvement (by most) that will most certainly be restored many times into the forseeable future.

It's all an interesting discussion for us caught in this space of time, afterall everything is ephemeral even El Cap. I'd appreciate your thoughts, thanks.

Charlie D.

JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 04:13pm PT
You raise an excellent point, Charlie. As I understand it, the NPS instructions are to let changes occur in a manner that, as nearly as possible, duplicates what would happen without human influence. I personally find that paradigm useless, because it does not address the equally important instruction to allow the public to view and experience the area set aside.

We don't need guidance when human activity leaves "natural," non-human changes alone. We need guidance only where human activity alters those changes, and the paradigm "as nearly as possible" gives no such guidance. It's always possible (though not politically or economically feasible) to simply make the whole area (and anything affecting the area) off-limits to humans. That would violate the public enjoyment imperative.

Unfortunately, Congress never told the NPS or any other governmental agency how to resolve that contradiction. Consequently, we end up with policy made by litigation, which has one particular disadvantage compared to policy made by either of the other two branches of government: it excludes many interested parties.

I live within easy day-tripping distance to the Valley. Who represents me in the Merced River litigation when the outcome of that litigation affects the feasibility and enjoyment of day trips to the Valley? At least I have the experience and expertise to intervene in that litigation, but even without having to pay counsel, the price in time and court costs is prohibitive, and federal questions of standing can prevent participation in any case. The litigation affects the rights of every potential user of the Park, yet is being decided without their participation. At least if the public gets really mad about a policy made by any other branch of government, it can deal with it in the next election.

Of course, the unborn have no participation in current policy made by any branch of government, but at least the ideal of preservation mandates consideration of the future state of things.

My personal belief is that any plan that fails to recognize the distinctive aspects of Yosemite fails its essential purpose. Yosemite has a unique place in rock climbing history and current practice. It also has a fascinating human history and pre-history.

With that in mind, the explanation that "you can do [fill in the blank with your disfavored activity] elsewhere" fails. As just one example, if I say "You can climb elsewhere" a logical response would be "Yes, but you can't climb El Cap elsewhere." True enough, but couldn't an advocate of the ice rink say "You can't ice skate in the view of Half Dome and the Arches elsewhere" just the same?

An anti-skater could reply "True, but the ice rink alters the environment," to which a defender could say "Ascending El Cap does, too, both because of the damage to the lichen, and because of the need to place bolts." To which the anti-skater could reply "but the amount of rock removed by every bolt hole on El Cap would be, at most, a few cubic feet. The ice rink is a major change in the landscape."

As soon as the anti-skater makes that argument, the issue becomes a matter of degree, not a matter of absolutes. We all know that all of this stuff really is a question of degree, but we argue, and the NPS puts forth plans (and the courts purport to decide) on the basis of absolutes.

I realize I've rambled far from your question, but the whole issue of the planning process and the suit pending here before Judge Ishii determining the future of the Valley has a tendency to set me off, because the exclusionary sentiments for the Valley repulse me.

John
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Mar 22, 2013 - 04:19pm PT
From the 9th Circuit Opinion that led to all this:

Footnote 5:

To illustrate the level of degradation already experienced in the Merced and maintained under the regime of interim limits proposed by NPS, we need look no further than the dozens of facilities and services operating within the river corridor, including but not limited to, the many swimming pools, tennis courts, mountain sports shops, restaurants, cafeterias, bars, snack stands and other food and beverage services, gift shops, general merchandise stores, an ice-skating rink, an amphitheater, a specialty gift shop, a camp store, an art activity center, rental facilities for bicycles and rafts, skis and other equipment, a golf course and a dining hall accommodating 70 people.

Footnote 6:

Our decision in High Sierra Hikers Assín v. Blackwell, 390 F.3d 630 (9th Cir. 2004), highlighted some of the problems with simply maintaining use at current levels. In examining compliance with the Wilderness Act, we stated that ď[a]t best, when the Forest Service simply continued preexisting permit levels, it failed to balance the impact that that level of commercial activity was having on the wilderness character of the land. At worst, the Forest Service elevated recreational activity over the long-term preservation of the wilderness character of the land.Ē

A lot of this opinion is about the total amount of visitor use, which the old plan didn't address well enough:

For the reasons stated, we conclude that the 2005 Revised Plan does not describe an actual level of visitor use that will not adversely impact the Mercedís ORVs as required by Yosemite I and the WSRA.

This is the highest court that's ever likely to consider this issue. Their conclusion was: there's too much bullshit in Yosemite Valley.
Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Mar 22, 2013 - 05:26pm PT
eKat, You may be right about the definition of social trails.
My interest in the definition started a few weeks ago when I recieved a letter from Yosemtie Conservation (or something like that). They wanted money to improve the park. Some of their improvments include removing social trails. I was confused by the meaning of "social trails", so I asked the ranger at the entrance station for clarity and his definition seemed to include climbers trails. As it is I focused in on that and have been running with it ever since (just a few weeks).

I just went to the valley last weekend and a non-climbing friend joined us. He went with the intention of renting a bike, but to his misfortune the rentals we closed for the season. Instead he sat at the Ahwahnee and watched us climb Serenity and Sons; not his idea of fun!
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Mar 22, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
I always thought that's the one John Muir climbed in the windstorm.

Interesting. . . I've always pictured that being up near the Tuolumne Grove. . . guess I figured something that off the wall couldn't have actually happened somewhere as pedestrian as the grassy knoll between the OZONE and the river!

:-)
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Mar 22, 2013 - 06:17pm PT

eKat, You may be right about the definition of social trails.

Hmmmmmmm. . . I guess I've never been compelled to pull a GOOG (rhymes with spooge) on "social trails", before:

A desire path (also known as a desire line, social trail, goat track or bootleg trail) can be a path created as a consequence of foot or bicycle traffic. The path usually represents the shortest or most easily navigated route between an origin and destination. The width of the path and its erosion are indicators of the amount of use the path receives. Desire paths emerge as shortcuts where constructed ways take a circuitous route, or have gaps, or are lacking entirely.

And. . . my mind is blown that a fee collector, at an entrance station, would even attempt to define it. . . wow.
Big Daddy

climber
mammoth
Mar 22, 2013 - 06:37pm PT
So you can flood Hetch Hetchy but an ice rink is just too much?
10b4me

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Mar 22, 2013 - 06:39pm PT
There have been a number of threads on Supertopo throughout the years lamenting the development of the Valley, and consequently the boom in the touron population. I am against any further development, but realize the Valley will never return to it's natural state.
Love 'em or hate 'em, tourons are the bread and butter for the Park service.
Yosemite will never be just a climbers' playground.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 22, 2013 - 06:47pm PT
I realize I've rambled far from your question, but the whole issue of the planning process and the suit pending here before Judge Ishii determining the future of the Valley has a tendency to set me off, because the exclusionary sentiments for the Valley repulse me.

Its a tempest in a teapot, actually. Its certainly not the end of the world, as we know it or otherwise. It may determine a vector of the future, sure, but such gestures are fleeting it seems. Even tearing out the bridge is a symbolic gesture that will be quickly forgotten in time.

Yosemite's been fought over from day one. The Americans stole it from the Indians and murdered some of them in the process. Hutchings tried to steal it from the Americans. It took the frickin Army to stop the poaching and illegal grazing of sheep. No one gave a sh#t about Yosemite National Park till a concerted effort in the 30s began to awake the Great Generation as to the crown jewels they simply HAD to visit.

The hotels and pools and ponies and pastries stemmed directly from their desires. The parks we know today were shaped by that generation of campers and tourists.

The boomers are the enviro-generation, a pack of rebels blah blah blah (ima boomer, k?). Opposite generations being what they are, boomers rejected the values of their parents, or pretended to.

The Merced River Plan is a generational battle.... and the protagonists are either dead or merely dying :-)

The doings of Yosemite are left largely to them that are DOING. If legions of campers show up, the park will adapt. If they want groceries and restaurants and ice rinks and such? Parks gonna react (and did). If they want pristine everything, no human made nothing? They'll have it.

But only with a struggle and a fight, thus it has always been.

In Yosemite? Might makes right.

DMT
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Mar 22, 2013 - 06:49pm PT
Aren't climbers are "tourons" too?
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Mar 22, 2013 - 06:51pm PT
I miss that salad bar. And hear here, to two more bars in the Valley too!

DMT

ps. Make one of the an after-hours jazz and blues / piano bar, k?
Messages 21 - 40 of total 54 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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