Support New Makeover Plan for National Park

Target: Jonathan Jarvis, Director of the U.S. National Park Service

Goal: Support an agency’s plan to improve the condition of Yosemite National Park

In an attempt to improve conditions in Yosemite Park, the National Park Service has developed a plan that will curb the number of visitors to the Merced River, which flows through approximately 81 miles of the park. In order to “shrink the human presence” along the Merced River, park officials want to close nearby rental facilities for bicycling, horseback riding, and rafting. Officials also propose to remove swimming pools, an ice rink, and a stone bridge.

The Park Service’s plan would restore more than 200 acres of meadows, reorganize transportation and reduce traffic congestion. Scott Gediman, a spokesman for Yosemite National Park, stated that the current plan contains more scientific analysis and public input than previous versions. The Park Service has held 60 public meetings and received 30,000 comments; two-thirds of the participants supported the plan.

In 1997, the Merced River flooded and destroyed many facilities. In 2000, the Park Service drew up a rebuilding plan that would also protect the river. Two environmental groups sued the agency, and the first plan and a revised plan were rejected by several courts. After a federal appeals court ruling in 2008, which specifically cited harmful commercial services near the river, the Park Service began working on its current plan.

As with most initial plans, it is not perfect. Some environmentalists argue that the plan “did not go far enough in protecting Yosemite Valley and the Merced River.” Greg Adair, the leader of the environmental group Friends of Yosemite Valley, says there “could have been 30 or 40 such things put on the chopping block.” Still, it is a promising start and future discourse can further improve the plan. By signing this petition, you are supporting the National Park Service’s plan to improve the condition of the Merced River area in Yosemite National Park.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Jarvis,

In an attempt to improve conditions in Yosemite Park, your agency has developed a plan that will curb the number of visitors to the Merced River, which flows through approximately 81 miles of the park.

Although the proposal has many positive benefits, certain activist groups believe that it needs more attention. Most opponents believe that the plan does not go far enough in protecting the Yosemite Valley and the Merced River. Some would like to see more restoration of the riverbanks and a significant reduction of the daily maximum capacity of visitors that is proposed. Others are simply upset that bicycle rentals and other services would be removed.

Fortunately, the current plan contains more scientific analysis and public input than previous versions. Your agency has conducted 60 public meetings and received 30,000 comments; two-thirds of the participants supported the plan. Due to this fact, it make sense to continue discussions of the proposal so that it can be further improved. I support the National Park Service’s plan to improve the condition of the Merced River area in Yosemite National Park.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Ba’Gamnan via Wikimedia Commons

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