Yosemite Park officials
are considering a key plan to
restore the Mariposa Grove!
A letter or e-mail from you now
can help make a difference.
In October, the Park Service released the final environmental impact statement for the Restoration of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to restore the ecology of the Grove, while also significantly improving the overall visitor experience.
The Mariposa Grove contains 500 mature giant Sequoias that are among the oldest, rarest, and largest living organisms in the world. The giant trees inspired President Lincoln to sign legislation permanently protecting the Grove and Yosemite Valley. But with a MILLION people each year crowding into the Grove, and with a poorly designed parking and access system, the Grove often is the source of noise, crowding, traffic jams, and frustration.
When CSERC staff did wildlife photo surveys in the old growth forest on beyond the Grove, we often found tourists upset over parking congestion, smelly bathrooms, and pavement blanketing the roots of some of the biggest trees. A noisy commercial tram operation caused those seeking a natural experience to be offended by tour guide speakers echoing through the giant trees or having to wait as the trail intersected with paved tram access.
Park planners promote a compelling Preferred Alternative
Out of four alternatives, Alternative 2 is the Park’s proposed action. It would remove pavement from the Lower Grove and restore meadow habitat. It would shift most parking to a carefully designed hub area near the South Entrance, where restrooms, visitor services, and educational items would be available. Shuttle service would bring visitors to the Lower Grove and the Grizzly Giant area. The overall noise, disturbance, and congestion would be greatly reduced by eliminating traffic jams and removing the commercial tram in order to create a more natural visitor experience amidst these ancient, towering trees.
CSERC strongly supports Alternative 2 – the Preferred Alternative.
The other Alternatives are described below.
Alt. 1 – the No Action alternative – leaves everything in its current congested, high traffic, low protection condition.
Alt. 3 – Grizzly Giant Hub – would create a major new parking area close to the Grove in currently undisturbed forest habitat. This Alternative would extend a new road, new paved parking, and two bridges. It would discontinue the commercial tram, but it would also discontinue any public transit service from the South Entrance. Of key concern is that it would concentrate cars, greatly increase traffic, and increase noise and pollution in a forest area that has been proven to provide habitat for rare furbearers.
Alt. 4 – South Entrance Hub with Modified Commercial Tram Service – would do exactly what the name reveals. It would mimic the benefits of pulling paved parking and traffic congestion out of the Lower Grove and relocating services to a carefully-design hub near the South Entrance to the Park. But unlike the Preferred Alternative (Alt. 2), this Alt. 4 would still be based on continuing to have the commercial tram operation drive up through the lower and mid Grove areas. For great numbers of people on foot who are trying to have a natural experience in this precious forest cathedral, that experience would continue to be frustrated by the motorized tram squeezing between the giant trees, echoing tour guide messages out into the forest, and making the atmosphere one of a urban park rather than an ancient forest experience.
A Letter From You Can Help Make A Difference!
Send your comment letter TODAY or ASAP! Time is of the essence, since the Park may issue a final decision at any time!
Attn: Mariposa Grove/FEIS
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389