/ NEWS: Yosemite Access Threatened - Your Chance to Help!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
UKC News - on 02 Feb 2010
[Royal Arches & Morning Mist, Yosemite Valley, 3 kb]Access to climbing in Yosemite is threatened by some complex legislation involving developments for managing the Merced River. The plans involve reducing traffic, restoring developed land, improving campgrounds and other facilities, and creating a user capacity program. All of this sounds positive but one upshot appears to point to significantly restricted access to many of the major climbing crags.

The final day for submitting comments is Thursday 4 February.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=51630
Joe Miller - on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to UKC News: Thanks for alerting the climbing community, but I won't be signing their petition. Having done a bot of digging, I found this website; http://www.yosemitevalley.org/index.php It seems that the 'small groups' alluded to in the article, are, in fact the people who live there who are trying to fight off big government attempts to have huge construction projects funded in order to increase visitor numbers.
It seems that the park is suffering the same problems as many areas of scenic wilderness; over-popularity. If the upshot of this is that visitor numbers need to be restricted so that everyone has the chance to enjoythe wilderness, then so be it.
Just my tuppence, anyway.
jon on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to UKC News:

Ironic isn't it that when Hetch Hetchy was flooded, Yosemite was seen to have been saved. In hind sight Hetch Hetchy was preserved and Yosemite ruined.
Belaywhenready - on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to Joe Miller: I agree after reading all the articles it doesnt sound like it will be bad for the valley
Enty - on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to UKC News:

I've just read all the articles too.

I'm heading out there in September and it probably won't effect me - I'd much prefer to have to hike everything in for 5 miles and there be no queue on The Nose.
For this reason I won't be signing either.

Enty
alex_arthur - on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to UKC News:

On the 4th of july weekend last year numbers entering the park were around 400000 if I remember correctly. Around 4 million people enter the park every year. Although a huge amount of time, money and effort goes into protecting the park, this level of use is near impossible to keep sustainable

Climbers form only a tiny minority of those entering the park.

Anything that will help preserve the park should be supported by the climbing community. As enty points out the restriction may actually improve the climbing experiance in the valley.

There's plenty of other crags in the sierra nevada for people to be getting on with. The rostrums closed most of the year due to nesting restrictions and middle cathedral is a bit of gauntlet for rock fall anyway!


Enty - on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> I've just read all the articles too.
>
> I'm heading out there in September and it probably won't effect me - I'd much prefer to have to hike everything in for 5 miles and there be no queue on The Nose.
> For this reason I won't be signing either.
>
> Enty

I have actually been there 3 times before - I hate all the hassle about camping, queing for sites - heavy handed rangers etc etc

However I don't run a business up there so mixed feelings really.

Enty
seaofdreams - on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to UKC News:

According to Jesse McGahey there is a bit more too this than just access.

I too think that climbing/tourism in the valley needs a bit of a shake up (the nose is horrible in places) and some of the ideas which are NOT on this UKC news item need thought about.

To quote

"In this plan, the agency will address resource protection and restoration; development (and/or removal) of lands and facilities; user capacities; and specific management measures that will be used to protect and enhance the river's outstandingly remarkable values....The Merced River Plan/EIS will address the quantity and mixture of recreation and other public uses that may be permitted without adverse impact to the river's outstandingly remarkable values, including a discussion of the maximum number of people that may be received in the river corridor. The Plan/EIS will also include site-specific planning for Yosemite Valley, El Portal, and Wawona, along with an analysis of parkwide transportation solutions."

Its a big deal but you don't have say nothing. you can make positive contributions which In my eyes could be "no cars on the valley loop, use the buses and park outside the park" (obvious problems - just a suggestion to the big wigs).

I think UKC news may have missed a subtle point or two here...

http://tinyurl.com/ylc6d6m
http://tinyurl.com/yg7lgxk
wilding - on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to jon:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> Ironic isn't it that when Hetch Hetchy was flooded, Yosemite was seen to have been saved. In hind sight Hetch Hetchy was preserved and Yosemite ruined.

How on earth has Yosemite been ruined? I live in California, it is a great place to visit. It is very easy to escape the crowds in the Valley, just walk 15 minutes along a trail.

jon on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to wilding:

And the cars and the trucks and the noise and the smoke and the regulations and the restrictions and the tarmac and the shops and the campsites you have to book months in advance......... and Hetch Hetchy all quiet.
petejh on 02 Feb 2010 - host86-175-219-202.wlms-broadband.com
In reply to UKC News: This was brought up on UKB three days ago, I signed it then with some reservations, along the lines of what people above have said. The petition IS worth signing but they didn't do a good job of explaining why - the big potential underlying issue is that in the new management plan there is a list of the 'Outstanding Remarkable Values' of the Merced River which must be protected for future users - things like recreation activities, geological interests, cultural interests etc etc, but climbing hasn't been listed down as one of the recreation activities (my guess is because all the activities are river related and just no-one stopped to consider climbing). The valley is tourist hell Spring-Autumn (for those who haven't been imagine Betwys y Coed/Ambleside on a sunny bank holiday weekend) and anything that reduces numbers, including climbers, allowed into the valley will be good in the long run, worrying about climbing is fine but there's bigger problems than that and climbing's always going to go on there.
gabriel_m on 02 Feb 2010
In reply to UKC News:
There is no excusing this level of selfishness. There is a ridiculous amount of climbing in California of all types. Yosemite is effectively a small town right in the middle of one of the most beautiful valleys in the world. I can't think of any reason* why additional steps to preserve what makes it special shouldn't be taken.

Most climbers drive to the park, pay as little as possible by staying at Camp 4 and many do their best to cheat the park systems in some way for the sake of a few dollars. Given that many actually cost the park money, I'm not sure that the climbing community really has a leg to stand on. I'm sure the park would much rather have tourists in their place.

*Unlike 99% of climbers, foreign and local, when I visited I took the train to Merced and the bus from there to Yosemite. The inevitable annoying wait in between the two and the long train journey through the San Joaquin Valley gave plenty of time to reflect on what California's wealth is based on. Yosemite clearly offers opportunities to those living in the nearby towns, many of which are extremely bleak. Beyond the below minimum wage jobs given to illegal Mexican workers in the fields, there is little in the way of prosperity to be found. Unsurprisingly nearby Fresno is having it's present and future destroyed by widespread crystal meth use.

But this is a completely separate issue and cannot be used as an excuse to fight for the further urbanisation of Yosemite valley. One national park could never sustain the population of the surrounding counties and other solutions need to be found whichever way this case goes.
Simon Caldwell - on 03 Feb 2010
In reply to jon:
> the regulations and the restrictions ... and Hetch Hetchy all quiet

all quiet, largely due to the regulations and restrictions!
jon on 03 Feb 2010
In reply to Toreador:
> (In reply to jon)
> [...]
>
> all quiet, largely due to the regulations and restrictions!

Erm, more to the flooding of the valley in the 1920s.

Offwidth - on 03 Feb 2010
In reply to gabriel_m:

Lets not get carried away. Climbing is now integral to the history of Yosemite and climbers do more than most to keep the place in good condition and think a lot harder than your average tourist about their enviromental impact and the suitablility of the new development plans. As an example, the annual Sept clean-up is an immensely impressive community action.
Monk - on 03 Feb 2010
In reply to gabriel_m:
> (In reply to UKC News)

>
> Most climbers drive to the park, pay as little as possible by staying at Camp 4 and many do their best to cheat the park systems in some way for the sake of a few dollars.


I think climbers tend to stay in camp 4 mainly as you have to book the other sites at least a year in advance, and they are expensive. And part of the reason that people cheat the system is that the system is draconian. You queue for hours, only to be told you haven't got a place. What do you do? Head home again? Or doss for the day/night somewhere and try again. Even more draconian rules won't change this.

I have very mixed feelings about Yosemite. It is an amazing place, and people obviously want to see it. In that respect, I see the valley floor as a sacrificial lamb - it is busy and bustling but keeps other areas clearer. Walk 15 minutes though, and you can be totally alone. Most people don't leave the main areas. To be fair to the park, for the number of visitors they have, I think that they manage it very well, and the impact is kept to a minimum. Banning cars from entering may be an idea, but would require the traditional family campsites to close, as it isn't practical to carry family tents etc on a bus.

I too travelled to the park by train/bus and it was actually very easy, and the shuttle buses are excellent.
Monk - on 03 Feb 2010
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to gabriel_m)
>
> Lets not get carried away. Climbing is now integral to the history of Yosemite

Very good point. Not just integral to the history, but a major tourist attraction too - just look at all the people in the valley excitedly spotting climbers on the faces.
seaofdreams - on 03 Feb 2010
In reply to Monk:
> (In reply to Offwidth)
> [...]
>
> Very good point. Not just integral to the history, but a major tourist attraction too - just look at all the people in the valley excitedly spotting climbers on the faces.

Yes - the "ask the climber" idea (not sure if it was Jesse's or Tom Evans's) seems to be going great with "normal climbers" being encouraged to talk to the tourists in a positive fashion like Tom has been doing for years (rather than making monkey actions as the tour passes camp 4 or making silly jokes about "how you get your ropes up there?"). they are also working on the museum to make more of the history in the valley and the clean up which is awesome.

The NPS will not drive the climbers out but we do need to give them our thoughts or we could end up with permits like the ones for the half dome cables this year... (which i support)
Simon Caldwell - on 03 Feb 2010
In reply to jon:
> Erm, more to the flooding of the valley in the 1920s.

Camping isn't allowed at Hetch Hetchy, and there's a curfew by when visitors have to leave.

And yes I know that these restrictions are due to the reservoir (and mr bin laden) :-)
gabriel_m on 03 Feb 2010
In reply to Monk:
Tourism wouldn't dry up if less people were on the nose. I reckon you average tourist would much rather see a bear or watch the falls than try and figure out just where the tiny speck their friend thinks they can see is on El Cap. I'm not entirely convinced that climbing is integral to the history of Yosemite. As climbers that is the only narrative we are aware of. The first settlement was there a long time before climbing as we know started. It just so happens to be a spectacular phenomenon, hence the museum.
Offwidth - on 03 Feb 2010
In reply to gabriel_m:

Lucky for climbing your view isn't dominant then. I'd love to see the response from some Yosemite activists to that view that climbing isn't convincingly integral to the park history or that climbing is the only narrative they are aware of.
gabriel_m on 06 Feb 2010
In reply to Offwidth:
Lucky for the natural world that the climbing community's view isn't dominant.
Fredt on 06 Feb 2010
In reply to Monk:
> (In reply to gabriel_m)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
>
> I think climbers tend to stay in camp 4 mainly as you have to book the other sites at least a year in advance, and they are expensive. And part of the reason that people cheat the system is that the system is draconian. You queue for hours, only to be told you haven't got a place. What do you do? Head home again? Or doss for the day/night somewhere and try again. Even more draconian rules won't change this.
>

No, you camp outside the valley, and drive in. I've been three times and each time all the Valley sites were full, so we stayed each time at North Flats. 30 minutes drive and we were on the Nose. One year we didn't have a car, but we waited at the bus stop and hitched out and in. They allow pigs on the buses!

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.