Revising the Yosemite Valley Plan

yosemite-bike-ride

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.

What do you think?

 

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-yosemite-valley-20130109,0,4749771.story

 

Comment Feed

10 Responses

  1. They’ve been talking about doing this since my son was born 30 years ago! Time to quit talking and do it! People who want to enjoy nature should get out of their cars.

    AnonymousJanuary 25, 2013 @ 6:42 pmReply
  2. The park management plan just doesn’t make sense. The problem is overcrowding and pollution – keep the bikes and get rid of the cars.

    AnonymousJanuary 25, 2013 @ 6:46 pmReply
  3. Have an offsite parking lot. Date tickets for all cars parked there. Fine overparkers or haul their cars away for impoundment.
    Issue a limited number of parking permission tickets per day.
    Have timed entry tickets for people entering the park. Tickets could go on-line as they do in other parks…one year before requested date, no earlier.
    Have all visitors wear ID tags colored with the time that they must exit the park.
    Charge per diem, per week, etc.
    Hold bus drivers/and their companies liable for any bus riders not exiting the park on schedule.
    Have one or two special buses a day to make trips to remote locations for hikers.

    AnonymousJanuary 25, 2013 @ 6:57 pmReply
  4. I think that a system similar to that used in Zion could be implemented.

    Under this scenario, a parking lot could be built at El Portal. From there, electric buses could take over. Auto traffic could still be allowed into the valley, based on hotel and campground reservations, but the day-tripper/windshield trips would be eliminated. this seems like a good step and on

    Closely associated – it seems to me that the long-term solution is to work toward re-establishing some version of the old Yosemite Valley Railway (light rail?) that operated from Merced to El Portal (1902 to 1945). Quite a bit of the YVRy right-of-way is still intact, but with half a century neglect, washouts, and tunnels & ROW now co-opted for highway use, this is definitely long-term and expensive target.

    SteveL in Dallas

    AnonymousJanuary 25, 2013 @ 7:58 pmReply
  5. Really?? So what is the plan for disabled or elderly citizens who can not “get out of their cars” to ride a bike, nor walk, nor stand, nor endure wait times for public transportation. SOL? A doctor’s note to be able to take a personal vehicle into a public area on a public road?

    Make it difficult enough and of course the “problem” of the number of people allowed to experience Yosemite will be “solved”. Only the hale, hearty, and determined will see certain, previously available to all, wonders of nature.

    Make out-of-park parking and bikes, buses available? Yes. Make bikes and buses an attractive alternative? Yes. Make that the only way? No. Perhaps use incentive rather than a ban.

    AnonymousJanuary 25, 2013 @ 9:25 pmReply
    • I STRONGLY AGREE with this person!!! If the car ban was in effect, My Mother and I would NEVER have been able to experience the EXTRAORDINARY BEAUTY AND EXPERIENCE of Yosemite!!! My Brother was Our Driver, so We were able to experience Yosemite’s Beauty at the pace that Our INabilities would allow Us to. We DO NOT consider Ourselves to have DISabilities, because We are ABLE to do things, We just NEED to be AFFORDED the OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO!!! We BOTH suffer with Vertigo & Chronic Debilitating Migraine Headaches. I also suffer from Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, & difficulties from Spinal Injuries from Vehicle Accidents which WERE NOT MY FAULT!!! SO…I and My Mother were SO GRACIOUSLY AFFORDED the Opportunity of EXPERIENCING YOSEMITE’S GRAND BEAUTY because of My Brother’s Willingness to Allow Us The EXTRA Time We NEEDED , AND because of the absence of a car ban!!! There are MANY People like My Mother and I Who would be FURTHER penalized for CONDITIONS OUT OF OUR CONTROL if a car ban were to be put in effect! PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS….I HAVE PLANNED TO BRING MY CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO EXPERIENCE YOSEMITE AND HER BEAUTY EVER SINCE I EXPERIENCED HER INDESCRIBABLE BEAUTY!!!!!

      AnonymousJanuary 27, 2013 @ 1:39 amReply
  6. Zion’s plan works quite well–day trippers park outside and take a bus or trolley in and around the park; overnighters with reservations be allowed to park in hotel or camping site parking lots. No cars or RV’s allowed without a “pass” on their windshield. Finance project with $5.00 per day tickets for bus.

  7. I sincerely hope they decide to keep cars out of Yosemite. I am sure accommodations can be arranged for those with disabilities or elderly persons. Would be a welcome change to help preserve the beauty of this unique resource!

    • PLEASE CONSIDER THOSE OF US WHO WOULD NEVER BE AFFORDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT, OR RE-VISIT, YOSEMITE IF A CAR BAN WERE PUT INTO EFFECT! WE ARE THOSE WHO HAVE IN-ABILITIES, NOT DIS-ABILITIES!!! WE DO NOT HAVE SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS OR SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS!!! WE LOOK ‘NORMAL’ YET WE HAVE MEDICAL CONDITIONS THAT ARE NOT APPARENT DISABILITIES, BUT THEY DO CAUSE US TO BE LIMITED IN WHAT WE ARE ABLE TO DO LIKE ‘NORMAL, HEALTHY’ INDIVIDUALS! THIS IS VERY FRUSTRATING & CHALLENGING IN EVERY DAY LIFE AS WELL AS WHILE VACATIONING AND ENJOYING THE VAST BEAUTY OF OUR COUNTRY!!! PLEASE CONSIDER THIS AND DO NOT TAKE IT FROM US!!!

      AnonymousJanuary 27, 2013 @ 1:53 amReply
  8. I love Yosemite. I live close by and I am there hiking at least once a week during the spring, summer and fall. I do feel the park needs to find a way to manage the traffic and pollution. However, if they decide to instill a mandatory shuttle system, that will be a joke. Given the way they currently manage their existing shuttle system.

    I avoid the valley floor at all costs due to the # of people and the fact that the current shuttle system in Yosemite Valley is a joke!!! 99% of the time there are so many people crammed on the shuttle that it’s uncomfortable to ride. You have people standing practically on top of you, foreigners coughing all over you, having to smell people’s BO or choking on all the perfume they bathe in.

    I enter Yosemite through the South entrance and believe it or not, they do have a shuttle to the valley floor that leaves from Wawona Store parking lot at around 8:00 AM. Which is nice, however the shuttle leaves the valley floor to go back to Wawona at 3:30 PM. That doesn’t leave you much time to spend in the Valley.

    And what’s the difference between seeing cars all over the valley floor or bumber to bumper shuttle busses? Because that’s what it will take to move all those people around.

    The other problem with a mandatory shuttle is that more facilities would have to be built to accomodate the people who need to eat and drink, but don’t feel like hauling a cooler with a days worth of food and water on the shuttle bus. Does Yosemite Valley really need more commercial facilites??? NO!

    How many acres of wilderness would have to be destroyed to build the parking lots needed to accomodate all the cars that need to park before catching the shuttle? Too many!

    I agree, Zion’s mandatory shuttle system is wonderful!! But I don’t see that working in Yosemite because Yosemite is a lot larger than Zion. It takes over an hour and a half of driving to get from the South entrance station to the valley floor. You can go the entire length of Zion and back on the shuttle in less than an hour.

    I do not feel the valley floor needs more camping facilities. They should shut all the camping and lodging facilites down.

    I do agree the bike/raft rental, horseback riding and ice skating facilites should be shut down.

    The problem with Yosemite as I see it, is too many people, period. And that problem can only be solved by limiting the # of people allowed in the park. Unfortunately, with the world population exploding, we better start getting used to being limited to the things we can enjoy, because it’s only going to get worse.

    AnonymousJanuary 26, 2013 @ 4:29 amReply



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