/ NEWS: Yosemite Access Threatened - Your Chance to Help!
The final day for submitting comments is Thursday 4 February.
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=51630
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.
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.
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.
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!
> 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.
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.
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.
"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...
> 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.
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.
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.
all quiet, largely due to the regulations and restrictions!
> all quiet, largely due to the regulations and restrictions!
Erm, more to the flooding of the valley in the 1920s.
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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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)
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) :-)
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.
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.
Lucky for the natural world that the climbing community's view isn't dominant.
> 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!
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