NPS Merced River Plan meeting, Part 2

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing


Kristine Bunnell, NPS Planning, Project Mgr



I want to talk some more about the Merced River Plan. Folks this is a big one and worth your paying attention and getting involved. The NPS has a cast of skilled planners assigned to develop the plan that will decide how Yosemite is steered into the future. The slate is clean and they plan to relook almost EVERYTHING going on at the park. This is a big deal. How did we get to this point?  There are a raft of Legislative actions that govern Yosemite (and other NPS lands). Everything from the original “Organic Act” of 1916 that created the NPS  to the 1964 Federal Wilderness Act & the 1984 Calif Wilderness Act to the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and a multitude of environmental laws and many more. Well, in the mid ‘80’s the Merced River was being threatened with significant “changes.” In response, it was declared a Wild and Scenic River to stop encroachment. Then the ’97 flood hit and wiped out many park facilities. A Comprehensive Management Plan was drafted in 1999 which was released in 2000.  This was followed by the Yosemite Valley Plan. In August 2000 a lawsuit was filed that was upheld twice and brought on an injunction that stopped the park from further action. On Sept 29, of this year a settlement was reached between the park and the plaintiffs. This settlement requires a relook at all planning (with a clean slate) and with a court mandated target for a December 2012 Plan and Environmental Impact Statement to be done. Then it gets implemented and we live with it.

While all this may sound like legal mumbo jumbo, if you care about the park, you need to jump into the pool and get familiar with all this. The point being if you don’t voice your opinion – others will for you. And you will be stuck with the results. I’ll do my best to cut to the chase for you. To their credit, the park sincerely wants public input. They are even willing to come to your organization to “’splain it to me, Lucy” so we all understand. For now open yesterday’s blog and send the park you feelings on the 4 questions they are asking. Give them your address and email to stay informed. I am asking for webinar hook ups so we don’t need to drive hours to attend follow-up meetings. They are working on it (firewall issues). They are considering MyFace, Twitter and other means to reach younger folks. It was sad to see only 16 in the audience last night.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, you’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive. Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’, and we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.” – The Bee Gees

*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch –


3 Responses to “NPS Merced River Plan meeting, Part 2”

  1. Randy Says:

    Thanks for reminding me Rick. This is indeed a “big deal”, and I am encouraged by the fact that the NPS is willing to elisit the opinions of park users.

  2. Kathy Says:

    Just submitted my comments to the NPS. I wasn’t able to be at a live meeting. Do keep us informed if you here about a webinar, or Facebook or ????

  3. Rick Deutsch Says:

    Will do. I asked all the NPS planners and acting Super Dave Uberuaga about the webinar concept. They cited Govt internet security issues. I reminded them that Yosemite Fund is hosting a Webinar on the 17th (see prior post) and they have no issues. NPS could use the YF set-up and be clean. Also since there is Internet wifi into many places in the park, they could use that and keep the .gov domain apart.T he cost of GO-TO-MEETING or other commerical tools is tiny compared to travel for 5 people at these scoping meetings. I later talked to David Guy, the YA head and also mentioned this to him.


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