Yosemite shuffles into a new era

  Many of the 4 million visitors to Yosemite each year remember the national park for its towering granite cliffs, magnificent glacial valleys - and for its congestion. On Nov. 14, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt unveiled a new management plan that he says will reduce traffic and help restore the park's natural habitat.


Though park officials have been trying to create a new park management plan for 20 years, they were forced to accelerate the process after the Merced River flooded Yosemite Valley in 1997. The Final Yosemite Valley Plan, based on over 10,000 public comments and the outcome of nearly 20 public meetings, will shape management for the next 15 years. The plan, expected to be signed by the Park Service Regional Office this December, will cut day-use parking by almost two-thirds, construct satellite parking lots near park entrances, and use a fleet of 500 buses to shuttle visitors through the park.


The buses may use diesel to start with, though the "cleanest technology" is the goal, says park spokeswoman Debra Schweizer. Although the $343 million plan calls for the construction of new economy motel units and employee housing, the total number of overnight lodging facilities will decrease from 1,260 to 981. Many of the lost spots are tent-cabins, the park's least expensive accommodations. Some Yosemite advocates, including the local chapter of the Sierra Club, say that will make the park less accessible to the average visitor. More important, the groups say the plan allows for too much new construction. "(This plan is) about more concessions and commercialization of the public lands," says Joyce Eden of Friends for Yosemite Valley, "not the people who love and appreciate the park."


Many national environmental groups disagree. Five organizations, including the American Alpine Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, sent out glowing reviews of Yosemite's final plan. "I think they did a remarkable job," says the Wilderness Society's Jay Watson. "When all is said and done, there will be less development in the valley than there is currently."


A copy of the two-volume Final Yosemite Valley Plan can be viewed on the Web at www.nps.gov/yose/planning/yvp/.


High Country News Classifieds
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    HawkWatch International seeks an experienced fundraiser to join our awesome team! This position will provide support in all aspects of the department. We are looking...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING IN TAOS, NEW MEXICO www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
    will develop and execute Wild Utah Projects fundraising plan. Call, email or check full description of job online for more details:
  • HAND CRAFTED LOG HOME IN TETON VALLEY
    on ten acres. Full view of the Grand Teton. 35 miles to Yellowstone and 20 minutes to Grand Targhee Ski Area.
  • ACREAGE WITH HOME, SHOP, BARN FOR SALE!
    Must see for sng/extd fam or corp retreat in pines! $1,030,000
  • WESTERN REGIONAL MANAGER
    The American Forest Foundation seeks a smart and highly motivated candidate to join our Western conservation team. The Regional Manager supports the Regional Director to...
  • TRANSPORTATION PLANNER
    Exciting opportunity to lead the charge on meeting the future transportation demands of our community! This position will develop, coordinate, and implement the Integrated Transportation...
  • ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING INSTITUTE (EWI)
    with Robert Michael Pyle September 26-30, 2018, in Missoula MT.
  • REPORTING FELLOW - BOISE, ID
    Boise State Public Radio is hiring a Reporting Fellow as part of a new nationwide collaborative, Guns & America. Based in the state capitol, Boise...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Middle Colorado Watershed Council. Rifle, CO.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RIVERSEDGE WEST (FORMERLY TAMARISK COALITION)
    RiversEdge West is seeking an entrepreneurial leader with solid nonprofit management skills to lead our high functioning team and help us make an impact on...
  • HIRING BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER DIRECTOR
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring an Education Center Director to oversee the operation of the Bears Ears Education Center....
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR WITH WRA
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) is seeking a talented, organized person with great people skills, who is passionate about protection of the natural environment to work...
  • DIRECTOR OF REGIONAL COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY
    The Wilderness Society is recruiting for an experienced Communicator for our Northwest Region. This position is located in Seattle, WA. For more information please visit...
  • SALMON RIVER IDAHO WILDERNESS RETREAT HOME
    Here is an opportunity to have a piece of self-sufficient paradise on Idaho's Main Salmon River adjacent to the largest Forest Service wilderness area in...
  • RAMMED EARTH SOLAR COTTAGE
    in 5-home conservation community & botanical sanctuary on 20 acres.
  • MEMBERSHIP AND ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR
    The Montana Wildlife Federation is looking for an enthusiastic and innovative Membership and Engagement Coordinator to help grow and maintain our grassroots voice for wildife,...
  • SR ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNER
    The City of Fort Collins is excited to announce a Sr Environmental Planner position within the Natural Areas Department. This position will be housed within...
  • HISTORICAL VACATION CABIN
    on beautiful Snow Angel Ranch located within San Juan National Forest near Pagosa Springs, CO. Lakes, fly-fishing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, horse trails, horse accommodations...
  • FIVE-ACRE VIEW LOT WITH WELL
    5 acres, well. Abuts Carson NF; hike fish ski; deer turkey elk.