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Secretary of the Interior for a Day

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Re: Secretary of the Interior for a Day

Postby Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:28 am

I would allow more experimentation - provisional rule changes to study the effectivenss or need of the rules. For example, do away with permits for Yosemite north of Tioga Road for 1-2 years and see what happens. Put in solar powered motion sensors near the trailhead and at various locations on the trail, to monitor the use. In conjunction put up information on the park website that try to get people to use the less used trails. Will people "regulate" themselves or do they need permits? Another provisional program - allow bow hunting by selling special permits. With bow hunting the safety issue is addressed. I know bow hunters who would be willing to pay $100 or more just to hunt. The park needs the revenue. Hunt both deer and bears. Getting bears to fear humans again is a good thing. The deer population also needs occasional culling. This may be good for the park, or may not, but you never know if you do not try it. The goal should be just enough regulations to get the job done, but not mindless over-regulation. I think there is room for a lot more "non-quota" trailheads. Obviously, the big named trails like the JMT need to be regulated.

Fees - here we need to do more evaluation of how to get revenue without making parks only for the rich. The Bay Area is a prime example of how NOT to do this! I think State Parks have shot themselves in the foot by raising fees so high that few people can afford to go.

I definitely would add more "walk-in" campgrounds. Make them small but have more of them. Yosemite Valley needs at least one more "Camp 4". I would also segregate RV's and tent camping. They do this at Lodgepole, and I really like it.

I would do more trail maintainence. One reason maintained trails are so crowded is that some of the older trails have been left to deteriorate, thus people are channeled onto the better maintained trails. I would like to see the Conservation Corps program expanded. It is a win-win for both the parks and the young people who are in the CCC.

I would reduce entrance fees and have automated entrance stations. I think it is a waste of resources to have two to three rangers man entrance stations. Those rangers can do a lot more good patrolling the park.

Personal car use within the park should be reduced but not eliminated. I think the current programs of expanding cheap shuttle services are heading in the right direction. If you build a really good public transportation system, people will use it once they realize it saves them from sitting in traffic.

Over the years I have run into more and more large groups of international backpackers, particularly on the JMT. The parks are first and foremost FOR the American people. The number of permits given to non-nationals should be tracked and proportionally limited. I think there is room for everyone, but there has to be better permit management in this regard. We at least need to have this discussion- when access is limited, who should be first in line?

Eliminate open campfires in Yosemite Valley from May to November. Most people cannot build a good campfire and smog in the valley is a real problem. The geographical nature of the valley just cannot handle the smoke. If people want campfires, then they can to up on the rim to the campgrounds with better wind.

Prescribed burns need to consider air pollution and be limited to only a few months of the year. A well managed forest would need less prescribed burns. Allow selective logging where needed.

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Re: Secretary of the Interior for a Day

Postby rlown » Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:36 am

Not really Secretary of the Interior for the day, but a chance to participate:

April 2, 2012
April 4: Yosemite’s Merced Wild & Scenic River Plan: View Preliminary Alternative Concepts in San Francisco

Yosemite National Park is committed to engaging the San Francisco community throughout Yosemite’s planning process for the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan. To support this effort, Yosemite released the Preliminary Alternative Concepts Workbook. Within the workbook, five alternative concepts offer a range of options to manage river values, visitor use and capacity, and land use. The workbook will guide discussions at a series of spring 2012 public workshops—including 5:30-8 p.m. April 4 at Fort Mason Center’s Golden Gate Room. Also consider joining a 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 11 webinar—register at

Download a workbook at or receive a paper copy at a public meeting.

To share your feedback on the range of preliminary alternative concepts, visit

Public comment and internal review will be incorporated into the draft alternatives that will be analyzed in the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) due to be released in fall 2012.
Event Date and Time Location
Workshop April 4 5:30–8 p.m. Golden Gate Room, Fort Mason Center
Webinar April 11 6:30 PM (PST)
Site Visit April 12 2–4 p.m. Meet at El Portal Community Hall
Workshop April 12 5:30–8 p.m. El Portal Community Hall
Site Visit April 13 10 a.m.–noon Meet at Wawona Community Hall
Workshop April 13 1–3:30 p.m. Wawona Community Hall

For more information or questions, call the Planning Division at 209/379-1110 with questions.

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Re: Secretary of the Interior for a Day

Postby tomba » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:11 pm

Interesting and well-prepared document.

Page 11:
Facilities reduced across all alternatives
  • Camp 6 Day-use Parking Area
  • Wawona Campground
  • Lower Pines Campground
  • Curry Village Residence Area
  • Yosemite Valley Backpackers’ Campground
Dismissed from further analysis
  • [...]
  • Development of additional campgrounds outside of Yosemite Valley
  • Alterations to the wilderness boundaries within Yosemite National Park

Most alternatives propose removal of some bridges and addition of camping within the valley. All remove or reduce Backpackers Camp. Some talk about day-use permits to visit the Valley.
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Re: Secretary of the Interior for a Day

Postby rlown » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:46 pm

Tomba, thanks for at least reading the document. If you all want something to fall a certain way, please read and provide a comment. No guarantees, but at least you let yourself be heard.
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Re: Secretary of the Interior for a Day

Postby markskor » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:22 pm

From above, I see something about "reducing" Yosemite backpacker camp.
This disturbs me as there is no other alternative for that first night (or last night) other than by getting a real site family - (which is not why we are in the Valley).
Anyway, encourage all to write - as stated above -
and ask YNP not to close down/reduce the Valley backpacker area.
I plan to send in one a day...maybe two.
Thanks -
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Secretary of the Interior for a Day

Postby dave54 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:29 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:. ..Prescribed burns need to consider air pollution and be limited to only a few months of the year. A well managed forest would need less prescribed burns. Allow selective logging where needed.

They do. All prescribed fire on federal lands must follow state and local air quality regulations. That is the single most important limiting factor in the inability of the land agencies to meet all the burning targets.

Without going into a details, you get different fire effects from burning in the Spring versus the Fall, so the season of burn depends upon your objectives. Summer is usually too hot and dry and risky. Winter is usually too wet to burn (this last winter was a notable exception -- a lot of burning was done January and February).

Lassen NF did a study a few years ago on the number of available burn days. Compared the average annual number of days when burning was feasible (not too dry, not too windy, not too wet, not too calm, etc) with the average number of allowable burn days from the Air Quality District. Result: average 18 days per year. Since even on allowable burn days there are a limited number of acres total the AQ District allows to be torched, the public agencies are also competing with private timber companies, farmers, ranchers, construction companies, and anyone else that wants to burn on the same day and who gets their 'Mother may I' in first.

The Sierra Nevada Conservation Framework basically fell apart for this reason. It heavily depended on prescribed fire to maintain the desired conditions. In most areas a trebling of acres over the current level. The fire managers all said it was impossible. As one now retired fire management officer said "Grant me waivers from the Clean Air Act, NEPA, Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act, grant me immunity from any civil and criminal litigation from escapes, and increase my budget five-fold and I maybe could meet the new targets. Without those, fuggedaboutit." The FS struggles now to meet current burn targets. An increase is not going to happen.

As to not needing to burn -- that is contrary to current scientific thinking and contemporary knowledge of forest ecology. Logging in any form is only a incomplete method and does not solve all the problems. It depends upon the objectives for that particular patch of forest.
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