Monday, August 27, 2007

 

Help open access for paddle-boating in Yosemite National Park - Write a Letter

Tell park managers that whitewater river boating is an important recreational activity

Guest author: Bob Hackamack.

Friends: Some of you have boated the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park (California, USA) and know that boating there is presently forbidden. However, a planning process is underway that can change that with your help. Presently, the Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan (TR CMP) is underway for the river in the park, for the main stem, Dana and Lyell forks. The Tuolumne River CMP is open for comments, but has not yet addressed whitewater boating on the Tuolumne River.

I urge you each to write a short statement telling why whitewater boating on the Tuolumne River should be allowed and encouraged. Motor vehicles and bicycles are allowed on designated roads and paths, rock climbing is allowed throughout the park, rubber rafts are allowed on Merced River flatwater in Yosemite Valley, but no whitewater river boating is presently allowed anywhere in the park. This is our opportunity to crack that prohibition—since it is happening anyway and an important planning process is underway. This plan is so important that it amends the General Management Plan of 1980. If registration or a permit is acceptable to boat, say so. Wilderness permits are required to control crowding at popular back country campsites, not access. Camping in the back country requires a wilderness permit, would a wilderness permit be tolerable for boating?

Deadline for letters is Sept 15, 2007.

Input for the present round closes Sept 15, 2007. Send comments to Kristina Rylands, Yosemite Planning, Yosemite National Park , PO Box 577, Yosemite CA 95389-9905 or yose_planning@nps.gov (that is: yose_planning) or fax 209-379-1294. I have written and will write again.

Yosemite National Park is also doing a Tuolumne Meadows Plan at the same time. Scoping is open for that plan and you can say that present things and facilities should be continued, be decreased, increased, eliminated or something added, like boating. You can include both plans in the same letter by using the words TM Plan scoping and TR CMP.

The Planning and Conservation League, Tuolumne River Trust, Friends of the River and Restore Hetch Hetchy have included whitewater boating in their joint scoping input for the TR CMP last year, part of which were written by Dave Steindorf.

For more information:
* National Park Service - Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan and Tuolumne Meadows Plan/EIS.
* Yosemite National Park - Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan/Tuolumne Meadows Plan EIS.

Guest author: Bob Hackamack

is a retired open canoeist, a volunteer worker on Tuolumne Wild and Scenic River concept since 1969 and now Comprehensive Management Plan for the river in Yosemite. Bob is also founding director of Tuolumne River Trust and of Restore Hetch Hetchy, and is a member of Sierra Club Hetch Hetchy Restoration Task Force.

More about: California River Conservation and Recreational River Access.

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