Camp 4 Expansion...input sought on Sept 28th in Camp 4

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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 6, 2017 - 10:38am PT
in all the planning as evidenced in the MRP documentation (though the MRP has not yet been legally challenged, I suspect it is only a matter of time) we find:

that 35 additional sites for the "walk in" campground

there are only 25 in this current expansion, we could ask why not 35 as stated in all the documentation

the intention seems to be to keep it a walk in, but there is a lot of chatter regarding reservations, we could ask where is this chatter coming from?



it has long been known that washing your hands is effective in preventing GI distress, especially prior to cooking. Much GI distress in camping situations attributed to other causes is actually just the result of "poopie hands."


AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Oct 6, 2017 - 10:55am PT
I am sure your current president has some good ideas.
Trump Tower Camp4
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 6, 2017 - 11:01am PT
prelude to the meeting...
Credit: Ed Hartouni
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 6, 2017 - 11:07am PT
there was a golf course at the Ahwahnee Hotel, removed in 1981... now that the hotel has been renamed perhaps they could try again... the POTUS likes his golf.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 6, 2017 - 11:21am PT
Roughing It, Book II.

Sample chapters:

Climbers eat most anything, just like coyotes.

Climbers are somewhat lax about personal hygiene.

The NPS is not your dad.





Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Oct 6, 2017 - 01:40pm PT
On a lighter note:

Sociology of Camp 4: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/269262/Agent-Idiosyncratic-Orangutan-Reports

Economics of Camp 4: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/265588/Economy-of-Camp-4

Neither is peer-reviewed, but surely both are in the running for an Ig Nobel prize.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 6, 2017 - 01:54pm PT
Anders, you're a heavyweight satirist, and you deserve kudos, if not prizes, for your prose.

Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
Oct 6, 2017 - 01:59pm PT
It is suspected that the giardia scare that boosted filter sales was actually poops hands
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Oct 6, 2017 - 04:12pm PT
The last thing you want in YOS is Trump. Too much of a negative energy force field. Might trigger more rock fall
gruzzy

Social climber
socal
Oct 7, 2017 - 10:40am PT
Showers are an impressive leap for the park Service. Stinky climbers standing in line are not good for business. Did the concession have a say in this?
Risk

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Oct 7, 2017 - 10:45am PT
Can someone mention if the expansion and new parking have been evaluated with a final NEPA decision document? On the prior page they tangle things up by saying "A tiered NEPA / NHPA compliance effort (EA/Section 106 Determination) will evaluate a range of alternatives. . . ."
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 7, 2017 - 11:07am PT
the NEPA, EIS, etc process seems a very tangled mess. I've found that YNP goes to great lengths to avoid these sorts of requirements because of the unwanted scrutiny and legal mischief they invite...

if you read carefully you see that the expansion is on top of an area where housing existed in the past, thus "already disturbed," and the explicit statements that that previous disturbance makes it unlikely that anything needs to be studied or protected.

I linked the "Appendices" to the MRP above, where these evaluations are made.

The bottom line of the evaluation: there is that nothing needs be done in terms of EIS, which I presume is a necessary finding in the NEPA process.
Risk

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Oct 7, 2017 - 11:41am PT
If they're working with interested publics, like us, then I don't really care if NEPA is done. (as long as the outcome of the project is good). But, if NPS is moving forward with a plan that is undesirable, that's another story. Sloppy.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 7, 2017 - 11:59am PT
the plan has been in the works for many years (look at the past budgets) with the presumed acceptance of the MRP and the choice of the "preferred plan."

That the climbing community had disconnected from the process isn't the fault of the NPS or YNP, but that climbers generally do not have an organized presence that persists through the entire planning process.

As with much of our society, climbers often respond to "crisis" situations rather than doing the work to stay in the loop and help the process along. Climber unawareness of YNP activities is not a surprise.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Oct 7, 2017 - 12:10pm PT
Little has been said of your continued interest/insights/research and I'd like to thank you on our communal behalf, Ed.
Risk

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
Oct 7, 2017 - 12:27pm PT
Credit: TMJesse

I kind of fell out of touch since they never seem to follow through with what they say they are going to do.

Second that. Ed, thanks for keeping up and speaking up.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Oct 7, 2017 - 12:29pm PT
At the meeting, the subject of charging stations (gadgets, vehicles...) was also raised. A change in climber behaviour - decades ago, climbers went to Yosemite to get away, now they need to be connected at all times. (Or at least their sponsors do...) Somehow I rather doubt that there'll be an outlet at each campsite. However, there was no talk of a cell tower on Columbia Boulder.

Also, nothing was mentioned as to whether the new sites will have fire pits.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 7, 2017 - 02:15pm PT
improved cell coverage is in the budget...

the "preferred option" in the latest MRP is one entitled "enhanced visitor experience..."

Talking with one of the lead rangers a couple of weeks ago, she was beside herself in describing a new "interpretive" display that was a "selfie stand" with a particularly nice background... she feels the NPS and YNP in particular has given up on any sort of educational presence, that the current visitors are uninterested in what YNP is all about, and that it isn't possible to change the idea that the park cater to the desires of the tourists.

Mighty Hiker

climber
Outside the Asylum
Oct 18, 2017 - 10:06pm PT
Today's press release from the NPS, on improvements to roads and campgrounds in Yosemite:

Improvements underway along Northside Drive and Camp 4 Campground

Yosemite National Park is working to implement several roadway and campground improvements within Yosemite Valley. Extensive work is being conducted on Northside Drive, the road leading from Yosemite Village to Yosemite Falls and toward the park exits. Significant work is also being conducted at Camp 4, a popular campground in Yosemite Valley. The current work is expected to be completed by this winter, and complements the work that was completed earlier this summer.

On Northside Drive, work is being done to repave the road and add curbing for safety and resource protection. Work is also being done to realign portions of the road and do some sewer and utility work. The work on this portion of the road is in addition to work completed earlier this year which included a total redesign of the Yosemite Village Parking Area (formerly known as Camp 6), installation of a roundabout, and the repaving of the road from Stoneman Bridge to Yosemite Village. The total cost of the roadwork is approximately $14 million, coming from Federal Highway Administration, and the Recreational Fee Program.

In addition to the benefits of improving traffic flow and delineating visitor parking, the road projects include 1.7 acres of wetland restoration in an ecologically important and sensitive area of Yosemite Valley. The work is part of the implementation of the Merced River Plan, finalized in 2014, which directs actions that protect the Merced River (a federally designated Wild & Scenic River) and enhances the visitor experience.

Concurrently, significant work is being conducted in and around Camp 4, a popular walk-in campground in Yosemite Valley. Currently, the parking lot is being expanded, bringing the capacity to 130 vehicles. Either later this fall or in Spring, 2018 , 25 campsites are being added (each site can accommodate 6 people) which will bring the total to 57 campsites. A new comfort station is also being constructed in which showers will be included. This will be the first park campground that will provide shower facilities for people staying in the campground . The total cost of the campground project is approximately $2 million (funded by the Recreational Fee Program) and is expected to be completed in 2018.

All roads within Yosemite Valley and Camp 4 remain open during the construction. There are some lane closures and traffic delays associated with the ongoing work. There will be no active construction in the winter, and projects will resume in Spring 2018.
https://www.nps.gov/yose/learn/news/yosemite-national-park-implements-road-and-campground-improvements.htm

I'm reasonably sure that 36 + 25 = 61, not 57, so this seems to confirm that a few of the historical Camp 4 sites will be phased out. As to issuing a press release well after the projects started...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 19, 2017 - 09:25am PT
The "old Camp 4" (which our historic myopia defines as the present one, but take a tour with Haan and Breedlove someday, wandering ghosts wondering where their Camp 4 was) is being reconfigured out of the newly defined rockfall demarcation zone.

My guess on the reason there are only 25 new sites (as opposed to all the planning documentation stating 35 new sites) is that additional, and extensive, environmental documentation would have to be supplied to extend the site further.

Also, nothing was mentioned as to whether the new sites will have fire pits.

I think the point of the meeting we went to, Anders, was to invite us (climbers) to provide input as to the actual layout of the 35 new camping sites in the extension. The YNP architect seemed keen to have our input on these details, and less keen to hear us complain about the overall process. In his mind, that was a fait accompli, he was interested in moving on to complete the plan.

His job is to "enhance" our experience, he obviously thought showers were an enhancement over the traditional dip in the Merced River at the "swinging bridge" (which doesn't swing anymore), the climber's equivalent.

The problem with "enhancement" is easily recognized, the current construction project is laying in the infrastructure, plumbing, electrical, etc... disrupting the natural setting.

Not only that, but the new parking plan will put the tour busses between the two Camp 4 sites rather than off behind the Lodge parking and services area. The new parking area is defined as an entry "destination" for visitors, all visitors, and considered another "enhancement."

Of the five MRP options, I thought the "visitor self sufficiency" option was closest to the original vision of National Parks. And I voted for that one...

who else voted?
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