Yosemite plan forums coming up

By Margie Thompson, The Union Democrat, @margielou

Yosemite National Park officials plan to hold a series of meetings in person and over the Internet to collect public input on two long-term park management plans.

The National Park Service public meetings and webinars relate to the Tuolumne and Merced Wild and Scenic River plans. The series includes two meetings at the Groveland Community Center, one for each plan.

Each plan outlines strategies for improving the rivers' watersheds. The Merced River flows through the Yosemite Valley and the Tuolumne runs from Tuolumne Meadows to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

The Merced plan has drawn criticism because it would eliminate some recreational opportunities - like bike and raft rentals, multiple swimming pools and the Curry Village ice skating rink - while also increasing parking and campground spaces.

The park's preferred version of the Merced plan also seeks to keep the valley's visitor capacity at just less than 20,000.

The Tuolumne Plan proposes restoring informal trails, replanting native vegetation, restoring hydrological conditions, continuing visitor access to the Tuolumne, repairing meadow damage and other proposals. It would also increase day-use capacity at the popular Tuolumne Meadows.

The live, three-hour public meetings will include a presentation by park officials about the plan, a question-and-answer session for attendees and an open house with materials on the plan. The half-hour webinars - which are online seminars open to the public - will focus on specific aspects of the plans.

Yosemite National Park officials are accepting public comments on both plans - the Merced River Plan through April 18 and the Tuolumne River Plan through March 18.

To view the Merced and related documents or to comment on the plan, visit www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp.htm. For the Tuolumne River Plan, visit www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/trp.htm.

11888176
The Union Democrat
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