Merced River plan on docket

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

PUBLIC MEETING: Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors, 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, 2 S. Green St., Sonora.

Tuolumne County leaders are scheduled to weigh in on the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan on Tuesday.

The agenda for the county Board of Supervisors meeting includes a discussion of what will eventually be the county's official response and comments on the plan.

The National Park Service is taking feedback on the plan. It's drawn interest because it could nix some operations and amenities in Yosemite Valley, through which the river flows. Possible areas of contention include proposals to eliminate pools, bike rentals, ice skating, raft rentals, and commercial day horseback rides.

The plan's stated goal is to protect and improve the Merced River watershed while improving the "visitor experience" at one of the most popular national parks. About 4 million people visit the park a year. Most go to the eight-mile Yosemite Valley.

The plan was released in January. Park officials will be compiling official comments through April 18. Interested parties can view the plan and related documents, as well as submit written comments, by visiting

The plan had received more than 500 comments as of last week, and park officials have said they expect the majority to come closer to the deadline.

The plan is contained within three volumes, each several inches thick, and proposes six management options that each include dozens of changes. It dates back to 1986, and its development was drawn out as park officials have tried to address concerns ranging from congestion to natural-resource preservation and balance environmental interests and park accessibility.

Also on Tuesday's agenda:

• A presentation on the results from a survey on mobilehome rent control in the county.

• A presentation on the joint powers agreement for the Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency.

• A request for a reduced assessment by Raytheon Company.

• Vendor applications for the 2013 Father's Day Fly-in.

• Multiple closed-session items, including property negotiations for the Jamestown Mine and Jamestown Landfill properties, as well as labor negotiations for all county bargaining units.

The Union Democrat
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