2014-02-13 / Front Page

Yosemite final document unveils winners, losers

Erik Skindrud / GAZETTE Editor

Yosemite's final Merced River Plan will retain Yosemite Valley's ice rink, bike and raft rentals and Sugar Pine Bridge. Valley equestrian rides and an historic superintendent's residence are now slated to go, however.

Since a draft plan marked several much-loved amenities for removal in January of 2013, Park planners heard an earful from visitors and others determined to keep them in the Valley.

In a statement included with the plan's Valentine's Day release, planning chief Kathleen Morse said her team heard the public while revising the plan.

"The (final document) was modified to accomodate many of the changes requested during the public review," Morse said. "This final plan integrates the ideas of a passionate public with proven stewardship practices and the best available science."

The ice rink and rental facilities will be moved to limit their impact on the river, the report says. Swimming pools at The Ahwahnee and Yosemite Lodge survive in the final report. 

Park watchers had a mixed response to the final document.

Anthony Veerkamp of the National Trust for Historic Preservation praised planners for expanding the number of Yosemite Valley structures subject to protective "management standards."

Last year's draft document applied the standards to about 20 structures. The final version links them to "hundreds," Veerkamp said.

"I think (planners) heard our criticisms and came around," Veerkamp said. "The original plan failed to account for the significance of Yosemite's history, and the new plan corrects that."

Veerkamp was less upbeat about the altered status of a 1912 sturucture that once housed the Park's superintendent, however.

Last year's draft document would have relocated the house. This week's final version would raze it.

"Through this process, I beleived we would prevail on Res. 1," Veerkamp said, using a shorthand term for the structure. "So it is a real surprise and a big disappointment... The Park has actually backtracked, and now, instead of moving (the house), will demolish it."

The final Merced River Plan will add 194 camp sites in Yosemite Valley--fewer than the close to 300 sites eliminated following a 1997 flood that submerged Upper River and Lower River campgrounds.

The final plan's decision not to restore the missing campsites irked Brian Ouzonion of the Yosemite Valley Campers Coalition.

"I'm glad the bridges are going to stay," Ouzonion said. "But they're going to plow up undisturbed parkland to create a few new (camp) sites. It's terrible. The campground spaces already exist where people want them--by the river."

Links to the entire, 3,000-plus page report can be found at  http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp_finalplan.htm

Sugar Pine Bridge, located near The Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley, was taken off a removal list in the final Merced River Plan document this week. Erik Skindrud/The GAZETTESugar Pine Bridge, located near The Ahwahnee in Yosemite Valley, was taken off a removal list in the final Merced River Plan document this week. Erik Skindrud/The GAZETTE


 

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I'm so sad to hear the

I'm so sad to hear the superintendent's house will be demolished. A beautiful building. What a loss.

The campgrounds should

The campgrounds should stay in an area that campers , especially young children , do not have to cross any main roads to access the river . In the old days Camp 14 was a wonderful campgound. I was just like everyone there was one big famiy watching out for each others kids . To me and many other the number of campgounds should be what they were before flood. Even if we have to limit the number of visitors from out of country . This and all other Natioal Parks should give first priority to Americas

I so hoped the "homeless

I so hoped the "homeless shanties" that are housekeeping cabins would become history, as well as the so-called temporary housing in the parking lot behind the visitor center area. Really disgusting accommodations in a world heritage park.

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