Revising the Yosemite Valley Plan


Los Angeles Times opinion writer Karin Klein argues that Yosemite’s problem with too many tourists (nearly 20,000 people visit the valley per day in its peak season) could be solved by forcing people to park their cars outside of the valley and then having them use a combination of the park’s public transit system, and a walking/cycling trail system to get around.

Yosemite park officials know they have a problem, and their current proposition for its management is not to reduce the number of visitors that the valley can hold, but rather to get rid of man-made structures already in place. Among those set to be eliminated: a vintage ice-skating rink, raft and bike rentals, and horseback rides. The park plans to build more campsites, but disallow hotels to install swimming pools.

Klein’s suggestion involves building a sizable parking lot outside of the park. At Yosemite’s entrance, park rangers will inform visitors that if they plan to head to the valley, they’ll have to leave their car in the lot and use a bus or trolley system to see the valley. The roads not used by the buses and trolleys could then be turned into walking/biking paths, she says. Raft rentals could continue with the construction of environmentally friendly raft-launching sites.

“The valley would become instead a recreational spot of extraordinary loveliness rather than a circular traffic jam,” Klein writes.

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