Merced River Plan Could Transform Most Popular Parts of Yosemite

stoneman-bridge-yosemite-national-park

Stoneman Bridge – Credit: Jim Goldstein

The comment period for the Merced River Plan will end tonight. The Merced River Plan will drive a number of changes to the park around the Merced River, affecting everything from how many visitors the park can accommodate to the number of campsites.

This plan is separate from the plan to expand Yosemite National Park, and focuses on how to preserve and restore space existing in the park. This summary document (5.6 MB PDF) provides a good overview to the 6 alternatives (including the “do nothing” option).

The plan largely focuses on restoring space near the Merced’s banks. This includes for most place the removal or destruction of many facilities, which is driving the strongest resistance to the plan. Most of the plans will lead to the destruction of historic stone bridges crossing the river, which, among other things, the National Trust for Historical Preservation strongly opposes. Nearly all plans call for a reduction in peak visitor capacity, with nearly a 50% reduction in two of the plans. Most plans call for the removal of visitor services, to varying degrees, with some increasing campsites and others reducing them.

Any alternative (outside of option 1′s “do nothing” plan) would take many years to implement and will likely encounter ongoing opposition. But with time, this could lead to some big changes in the appearance of the Yosemite Valley, from the facilities to how many people can experience the Park.

11 thoughts on “Merced River Plan Could Transform Most Popular Parts of Yosemite

  1. I think I would like to see a reduction, especially if congestion is a problem. It’s unfortunate that capacity becomes an issue but having too many hikers, campers, and tourists really distracts you from the beauty that is Yosemite.

    I know at Mt. Washington’s Summit (in NH), there is a road and train that can take you to the Summit. Most times when I hike it now, I don’t even take a picture at the true summit as the line is insane form all the people who just drove or rode up.

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  4. It’s been many many years since I was last in Yosemite. I stopped going when it started to get congestive. The first time I hiked up the Half-dome I was just a little kid and it was excited. National parks are treasures and any idea to restore if done right is a great idea. Maybe they should close off some roads and force people to ride bikes or actually Hike into areas to reduce noise and air pollution in the area. I’m not a tree huger, however, too many cars spoil the parks. Hiking and camping is a great family experience. You want to get away from noise and enjoy the beauty of the area. Grab a hiking stick instead of a car and head out!

  5. Such a lovely sharing! I really found this blog very informative and helpful to grow my knowledge about camping attractions in The United States. The campground sites that you have discussed above sounds amazing and motivate the blog reader to visit this. I just have experience to camp at Brown County State Park in Midwest and Yosemite National Park two years ago with my wife and found both areas really worthy places for camping in summer. Now after reading this informative blog I wish to enjoy camping at a Merced River campsite. Let me know what time will be best to go there.

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