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Merced River Plan alternatives: comment period ends April 18

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Re: Merced River Plan alternatives: comment period ends April 30

Postby rlown » Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:44 pm

fyi from a Yose Planning email today:

Public Comment Period for the Merced River Plan Extended through April 30, 2013

Yosemite National Park announces the extension of the public comment period for the Merced Wild and Scenic River Draft Comprehensive Management and Environmental Impact Statement (MRP) through Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Previously, the public comment period was slated to close on Thursday, April 18, 2013.

“The MRP is an expansive document which guides park management actions for many years. We want to make sure the public has a thorough opportunity to review the draft plan and submit comments,” stated Kathleen Morse, Yosemite National Park’s Chief of Planning.

This extension adds twelve days to the one hundred day the public comment period. The document was released for public review and comment on January 8, 2013. So far, the park has received about 25,000 comments.

For a copy of the plan and a complete description of all alternatives, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp.htm.

Comments on the MRP can be made through the, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/mrp_deis. Comments made through the PEPC website are the preferred method of submission. However, comments can also be sent via email to yose_planning@nps.gov or via U.S. mail to:

Superintendent
Yosemite National Park
Attn: Merced River Plan
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389

Based on a Settlement Agreement the park reached with the plaintiffs in September 2009, the MRP is mandated to be completed by the end of July 2013. The extension of the comment period will allow for park staff to collect and analyze all public comments which will become a part of the Final Merced River Plan.
Helpful MRP Review Tips
An overview of the Merced River draft Plan can be found online: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp-deis.htm
To assist you in your review of the draft plan, consider starting with the following sections:
• Goals of the Merced River Plan (Chapter 1: page 1-3)
• Merced River Plan / DEIS Document Organization (Chapter 1: page 1-4)
• Identification of Planning Issues: Public and Internal Scoping (Chapter 2: pages 2-13 to 2-18)
• Part III User Capacity Discussion (Chapter 6: pages 6-12 to 6-43)
• Alternatives (Chapter 8)
- Process Used to Develop the Alternatives (Chapter 8: pages 8-1 to 8-7)
- Actions Common to Alternatives 2-6 (Chapter 8: pages 8-53 to 8-102)
- Alternative 1 (No Action) Overview (Chapter 8: pages 8-13 to 8-28)
- Alternative 2 Overview (Chapter 8: pages 8-103 to 8-118)
- Alternative 3 Overview (Chapter 8: pages 8-145 to 8-160)
- Alternative 4 Overview (Chapter 8: pages 8-187 to 8-203)
- Alternative 5 (Preferred) Overview (Chapter 8: pages 8-231 to 8-246)
- Alternative 6 Overview (Chapter 8: pages 8-273 to 8-288)
There is also a 20-page Summary Guide: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload ... ze-web.pdf along with a 2-page summary matrix: http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/upload ... ix-web.pdf.




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Re: Merced River Plan alternatives: comment period ends April 18

Postby oldranger » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:44 pm

My Comments

Merced river plan Comments

The NPS is to be commended for considering such a wide range of alternatives. I have several comments that apply to some or all of the alternatives.
Management of visitor use seems determined to focus on the demands placed on the valley by automobile users. Parking spaces seems to be the primary means of regulating use. I would propose three alternative means for encouraging non motorize access or, at least, limiting travel by private vehicles.
Encourage individual to enter by foot, bike, or mass transit by waiving entrance fees and even camping fees for two nights.
Expand shuttle service and develop assigned parking system that requires people to leave their cars either in a specified day use area or at their lodging or campsite (exceptions can be made for handicapped travelers but even then public transportation be such that even handicapped visitor should want to utilize public transportation.
Expand rather than contract the backpackers campground (move it out of the floodplain (or at least a restroom associated with the campground) and do no move it to or rely on additional sites near Camp 4. These are two different types of users. Allow bicyclists and others who use mass transportation to use both Camp 4 and the expanded backpackers camp--free for two nights!
Merced Lake HSC is an important historical feature of Yosemite. Congress designated the Merced River as Wild and Scenic when the HSC was present so It doesn't make sense that it adversely affects the Outstandingly remarkable values. In fact because of the opportunity it provides many people to enjoy the river values it probably enhances them. The white tents do not clash with the natural environment any more than the many white and light colored granite slabs in the area. The white is, to me, and others I know a nice contrast to large trees, duff, nearby meadows and lake.--Kind of an oasis--it surprises yuou and is located such that it is visible for just a couple of hundred yards along the trail.. This and all the HSCs are just tiny islands in the Yosemite Wilderness. Assets that I did not appreciate that much in the late 1950's but now they provide a wonderful opportunity as I slow down a bit and my load carrying ability diminishes.. There are ways to reduce the "risks" mentioned but not quantified without reducing capacity of the camp--certainly flush toilets are not necessary.
I find it strange that planning is occurring for managing the wild and scenic river within a much more comprehensive Wilderness area. This is premature and should not occur until a comprehensive Wilderness Management Plan is developed. Decisions made to manage the Wild and Scenic River corridor can have unintended consequences on broader wilderness management and may, in fact, restrict options for future wilderness management or have unintended consequences on the wilderness.
Given the number of trails that feed into the Merced Lake area I think that the NPS needs to recognize that the Valley to Merced Lake route is a special situation and will never have the sense of solitude that more remote trailed areas have, not to mention the truly remote off trail locations throughout the park. Restricting access in this corridor will limit access to other, more remote areas and at the same time place more pressure on other trailheads to areas that benefit from lower use levels.

Carry on!

Mike ........


note the time sent in--just made it. : :rolleyes:
Mike

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Merced River Plan alternatives: comment period ends April 18

Postby rlown » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:23 am

July 26, 2013

Merced River Plan – Judge grants extension to December 31, 2013

Yosemite National Park was under a court-approved settlement agreement deadline to publish a Record of Decision (ROD) for a new Merced River Wild and Scenic River Plan by the end July 2013. Because of the extensive public comments received on the Draft Merced River Plan / EIS, the US District Court granted a schedule extension to publish a ROD by December 31, 2013. The extension grants the NPS more time to respond to comments and incorporate feedback into a final plan and ROD.

The park received almost 30,000 comments for the Draft Merced River Plan/EIS. Public comments and concerns have been and continue to be an important part of this planning process. Over the course of the entire planning period, the NPS conducted 66 public meetings and webinars to encourage public participation in developing the draft plan. The park will host a public meeting to address the changes between the draft and final plan later this fall. Thank you for your continued participation in this important process.

NOTICE:
You received this email because you either commented on the Merced Wild and Scenic River Draft Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement or requested to be added to Yosemite National Park’s email list. If you do not wish to receive future communications, please use the link at the bottom of this email to unsubscribe.


This was from an email as i'm on their list. There was no URL pointer. You can probably find it on the Yose site.

Russ
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Final Merced River Plan/EIS Available

Postby rlown » Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:58 pm

Yosemite National Park Announces the Release of the Merced Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement

Comprehensive Management Plan will provide access and protect Merced River resources
Yosemite National Park announces the release of the Merced Wild and Scenic River Final Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

“This plan will protect the Merced River and its outstandingly remarkable values into perpetuity and provide quality visitor facilities and access,” stated Don Neubacher, Yosemite Superintendent. “The planning process has been a monumental effort and we appreciate all the public input we have received. We now want to move forward with actions in the Plan that are critical to the preservation and enjoyment of this iconic national treasure.”

The Merced River was designated a Wild and Scenic River by the U. S. Congress in 1987 to preserve its free flowing condition, water quality and outstandingly remarkable values. Under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, Yosemite National Park is required to develop a management plan to protect and enhance the 81 miles of the Merced River that are within the park. More than 30,000 comments were received on the draft plan during a formal public comment period, which ran from January 8, 2013 through April 30, 2013.

Public involvement has been a cornerstone of the planning process. Throughout plan development, the park conducted more than 60 public meetings, both in the park, and throughout the state. The park also conducted several webinars to help people understand some of the more complex elements of the plan so they could provide informed comments. Many of the changes between the draft and final plan were the direct result of concerns raised during public meetings, agency and tribal consultation, and in public comments.

“We spent thousands of hours reading and responding to comments to make sure we understood everyone’s concerns. The preferred alternative was modified to accommodate many of the changes requested during the public review,” stated Kathleen Morse, Yosemite Chief of Planning. “This final plan integrates the ideas of a passionate public with proven stewardship practices and the best available science to create a powerful vision for the future of the Merced River and Yosemite Valley.”

The final preferred alternative (Alternative 5: Enhanced Visitor Experience and Essential Riverbank Restoration) is based on guiding principles that include restoring natural conditions to riparian areas, riverbanks and meadows, modifying the transportation system to provide a better visitor experience in Yosemite Valley, enhancing recreational opportunities, and reducing or eliminating unnecessary facilities and services in the river corridor.

...

For a copy of the complete five-volume Plan and EIS (approximately 3,000 pages), please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp.htm or http://parkplanning.nps.gov/mrp_feis.

A public meeting will be conducted to provide information about the final plan. The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 6, 2014, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Yosemite Valley Auditorium. The public meeting will also be available via webinar at http://yose.webex.com.



It's a long email i got from Yose so i didn't include it all here. Use their website or get on their mailing list.

russ
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Re: Merced River Plan alternatives: comment period ends April 18

Postby markskor » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:28 am

SUMMARY OF CHANGES BETWEEN DRAFT AND FINAL PLAN

The Final Merced River Plan/EIS has been shaped by coordination and consultation with members of the public, traditionally associated American Indian tribes and groups, agency partners, and other stakeholders. Many of the changes between the draft and final plans were the direct result of comments raised during public meetings or consultation efforts. This collaboration has produced a final plan that will improve visitor experience and better protect the Merced River’s unique values.
Alternative 5 (Preferred), as presented in the Final Merced River Plan/EIS, includes several changes made in response to public comment and consultation. New development previously proposed for West Yosemite Valley has been eliminated, bicycle and raft rentals are relocated rather than removed, and proposed changes to lodging at Curry Village have been revised to better preserve historic resources.

The primary changes to the draft preferred alternative are as follows:
•Increase the number of campsites proposed for Upper and Lower River Campgrounds to provide a total of 72 sites (60 walk-in, 10 auto sites, and two group sites). Camping will be increased by 37% in Yosemite Valley. This includes building 72 sites in the location of the former Upper and Lower River Campgrounds, 35 walk-in sites east of Camp 4, and 87 sites at the existing Upper Pines Campground.
•Increase total number of lodging units at Curry Village to 482 to account for units recently relocated from the rock-fall hazard zone. •Relocate the Curry Village ice skating rink from within the river corridor to its original 1929 location at the south end of the Curry Overnight Parking area.
•Retain bicycle rentals in Yosemite Valley by moving the Curry Village and Yosemite Lodge rental facilities to locations outside of the river corridor.
•Provide raft rentals at a location outside of the river corridor.
•Eliminate the 100 parking spaces originally proposed for West Valley and increase the size of the El Portal Remote Parking Area to 300 spaces. Provide shuttle service from the El Portal parking lot to Yosemite Valley.
•Eliminate the Eagle Creek Campground originally proposed for West Valley.
•Eliminate the proposed 164-bed dormitory at the Huff House temporary employee housing area; retain the historic Huff House and 10 canvas tent cabins; add employee housing to locations outside the river corridor in Yosemite Valley and El Portal.
•Reduce the size of the Yosemite Village Day-use Parking Area to provide 750 parking spaces (from the 850 originally proposed) and provide 189 day-use parking spaces at the Curry Village Day-use Parking Area (the site of Huff House temporary employee housing).
•Retain Sugar Pine Bridge. Conduct further hydrologic impact study to determine the effects of the bridge on the river’s alluvial nature. Consideration of bridge removal would involve tiered NEPA compliance and Section 106 Consultation.
•Remove Superintendent’s House (Residence 1) and Garage.
•Retain the Ahwahnee and Yosemite Lodge swimming pools.
•Retain 50 historic canvas tents and 14 non-historic cabin-without-bath units at Boys Town and construct 52 new hard-sided cabin-with-bath units.
•Retain the Housekeeping Camp Store.
* Retaining and preserving the Ahwahnee Hotel, Wawona Hotel, Wawona Covered Bridge, LeConte Memorial Lodge, Merced Lake High Sierra Camp, and other historically significant properties.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Merced River Plan alternatives: comment period ends April 18

Postby oldranger » Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:39 am

Re : Merced Lake HSC.
Reducing capacity by 18 (from 60) a few years ago I wouldn't have cared, but as I approach 70 it does not make me happy. It is a good way to extend my backpacking and it is already hard to get reservations.

Both HSC and backpackers camp toilets will be changed from flush to composting. This seems to deal with largest issue associated with current capacity of HSC.

There are other decisions about stock and commercial use in the Upper Merced but I'm on the road and haven't had time to digest the meaning of those decisions.

I am happy to see more camping opportunities in the valley and that backpackers site #s are maintained. Somewhat surprised that there were no specific restrictions on the number of nights allotted to markskor. :D

Mike
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Re: Merced River Plan alternatives: comment period ends April 18

Postby rlown » Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:59 pm

only 130+ MBs of PDF to download. ugh.. like a bad Microsloft patch Tuesday..

What i find funny.. VRA:

The inventory of sites
includes analysis of each site with a Visual Resource Assessment (VRA) score that looks at a vista site with
factors such as current infrastructure, numbers of scenic icons and quality of the view, and quantifies them
for comparison. The sites are then prioritized by VRA score as high, medium or low based on their score up
to eighteen. Low priority sites, scoring seven and below, are also be removed from consideration.


When did "nature" care about VRA? so we're sculpting it for us, which would go against anything nature intended. This is their measure to justify tree reduction.
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Re: Merced River Plan alternatives: comment period ends April 18

Postby rlown » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:58 pm

As a reminder in this thread, the comment period ended April 30th, 2013. LAST YEAR. What i posted and Mark elaborated on was the final draft. so, it's done. Look at the docs on Alt 5. It's buried somewhere in the 2 or 3a or 3b sections.
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