Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
On June 16 I attended the subject meeting. The attendance was abysmal. 11 total people for 2 presentations. Many of those from the 4:30 session stayed thru the 8:30. I saw no one from the blog there. Apathy? Or just too hard to get to Berkeley at 4 pm?
The park did its due diligence: 4 staff came down. Mark Marschall, Wilderness Mgr; Mark Fichner, Senior Wilderness Ranger; Donna Sisson, Interpretation and Echo Davenport, Project Management.
* There is nothing sacred about the cables; they are not grandfathered in for protection historically or otherwise. They CAN be taken out.
* The NPS is only focused on the overcrowding situation and not a global concern. They need to provide an escape route off the cables so people can manage their own risk. They are concerned with the last 2 miles of the Half Dome trail.
* The refuse to pursue removing Half Dome from the congressional designation of Wilderness.
* Installation of another set of cables will not be considered.
* They have only received 26 written electronic comments. Remember, up to 80,000 people do this hike annually. Hello?
* PSAR (Preventative Search and Rescue) will be at the Happy Isles trailhead of the JMT at 5 am on Fridays to educate. Not other weekdays.
* There is little staff and money to carry out the program. The existing wilderness budget is covering the permit program and the additional Rangers. Yosemite has to pay the recreation.gov people to administer the Cables permits. That is where the $1.50 fee comes in.
* They’ll propose 3 alternatives: 1) Take the cables down, 2) Limit access via a permanent permit system, 3) Leave things as they were in 2009. My money is on #2.
* Many suggestions were offered and written down from the 11 die-hards at the meeting. These will be captured. We talked about a way to turn in unused permits – there is no money to manage such a system now. Also, a way to have walk-up permits issued.
* I suggested that there be human to human education before a permit is granted – similar to the Wilderness Permit program. It was embellished to reduce resource time by having group presentations scheduled that hikers would have to attend.
June 25 is the deadline for your comments. Send <HERE>.
To learn more about the Program click <HERE>.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Aside from mere money profit one would rather herd wolves than sheep.” – John Muir, 1869
*Mr. Half Dome – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com