Yosemite Plan Rescinds Proposed Ban on Bike, Raft Rentals

Yosemite National Park officials released a revised draft of the Merced River Plan. An earlier of the controversial plan would have restricted recreation and removed swimming pools from the national park's famed hotels.
February 16, 2014, 9am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"In a major reversal, Yosemite National Park officials have dropped controversial plans to ban a wide variety of recreational activities in Yosemite Valley, including ending bike and raft rentals and tearing out swimming pools at the Yosemite Lodge and famed Ahwahnee Hotel," reports Paul Rogers.

The proposed Merced River Plan walks the fine line of park and open space protection: how to protect the natural conditions of watersheds, meadows, and wildlife habitat, while also providing access to the public, in accordance with the democratic ideals of the National Park System.

Rogers details the revised plan, which includes the following measures:

  • Restoring 189 acres of meadows in Yosemite Valley.
  • Increasing the number of Yosemite parking spaces by 8 percent
  • Increasing the number of campsites in Yosemite Valley from 466 to 640.
  • [The] historic Sugar Pine stone bridge, built in 1928 and located behind the Ahwahnee Hotel, will also not be removed -- as had been proposed to control erosion. Instead, parks officials will launch an engineering study to determine how to keep the bridge and reduce erosion."

In response to the previous plan, Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay, whose district includes Yosemite provided the following soundbite in opposition of the plan's restrictions: "The Park Service is hanging out a 'Tourists Go Home' sign."

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Published on Friday, February 14, 2014 in San Jose Mercury News
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