In the High Sierra, there is discussion back and forth about horses and horseback riding, and how they add to pollution, cause degradation of delicate meadow habitats etc. Personally, I don't think we need horseback riding in the Valley. Is this addressed? I am not against using pack animals for some supply needs, but if you see a big train of horses raising a huge dust cloud, can't everyone live without that?
My values are like yours, aspendougy, but horses have been used historically in the Sierra for more than a century, and I'm not sure that the pollution they generate is as long-lasting as, say, the worn-away lichen that we generate on popular climbs. It doesn't take a particularly sharp eye to spot the whiter lines of Bishop's Terrace, Serenity Crack, Nutcracker or Chingando, to name just a few. Frankly, I find many climbs have much more noticeable lichen scars than even the Firefall.
We need to be careful advocating restrictions on other activities, because sooner or later, someone who doesn't care for climbing will use that logic on us.
This one has more impact than the last on me personally so i wrote my own letter.
Sometimes it is worth the cost of having small areas in a non-natural yet still beautiful condition. Please let us travel freely and enjoy el-cap meadow the way we have for the last many decades. I am not convinced that future generations will be negatively impacted by the current level of activity and trails in the meadow. Infact I would suspect that much more enjoyment will be preserved for all generations by keeping it open.
Decades of climbers and other visitors have spent countless hours gazing up and dreaming from the various vantage points afforded here. For me it is one of the key components to any trip to the Valley. The idea of sitting in the meadow checking out el-cap after another great day of climbing is often a more anticipated moment than the climbing itself. It is in a way the heart of every trip to the valley.
I am quite sure that laying down on a boardwalk where everyone is forced to walk by me will not be the same experience. The value dozens everyday get from settling in a spot away from others or just with friends will disappear. There has not been any other meadow so commonly utilized in this manner by visitors. Not just climbers but families and just about everyone who stops there.
edit found this
El Capitan Meadow (RES-2-009) – Reroute climber use trails on north side of road from meadow
habitat to an appropriate upland route (a few meters to the east). Remove informal trails through
meadow and oak woodland. Protect re-vegetated areas with fencing or other natural barriers and sign
the area to reduce trampling of sensitive meadow vegetation. As opportunities arise through
maintenance or restoration projects, improve hydrologic flow and meadow connectivity by extending
the permeable road base across the entire segment of Northside Drive through El Capitan Meadow
and add additional box culverts with bottom elevations equal to the meadow surface elevation.
Remove encroaching conifer saplings (< 10 inches diameter at breast height) using loppers, handsaws,
or mowers. Heavy equipment including excavator, skid steer, loader, and dump truck would be used
to remove ditches and recontour natural topography. Work would take place in late summer or fall for
10 weeks.Other restoration treatments at El Capitan Meadow vary depending on alternative.