Barcelona Field Studies Centre

Yosemite: Attitudes to Management

For Management Plans

•  Tourists

They enjoy the accommodation in the Park and the scenery. On the other hand, they resent the crowds and traffic they have attempted to escape by going to the mountains.


•  Environmentalists

They believe that a general reduction in commercialization and the number of cars will enable the park to restore some of its already impacted ecosystems. Facilities and development should be located outside the park and that a regional transportation system should be set up, using fees paid by businesses located in the Park.


•  Artists, Photographers and Writers

They need to gain inspiration for their artistic work and would be willing to use public transportation if it meant less congestion in the park.


•  Business owners in outlying areas

If there is a reduction in the number of people allowed in Yosemite Valley, their businesses could suffer. On the other hand, more people might seek their services if facilities inside the park were limited.

 

Against Management Plans

• Tourism-related businesses

The importance of tourism to the local economy can be illustrated by the impact of the catastrophic 1997 floods that closed the Park. This caused locally severe economic losses to the areas around the park. In the most heavily impacted area, Mariposa County, 1997 personal income was reduced by an estimated US$1,159 per capita (US$18 million for the entire county) - a 6.6% decline. The county was also estimated to have lost US$1.67 million in county occupancy and sales tax revenues, and 956 jobs, a significant number in a county of fewer than 16,000 residents. Any plan that reduces visitor numbers will have a severe impact upon the wider economy.

• Land Rights Association

"What they're doing is nothing less than stealing a national park from the people," says Chuck Cushman, founder and executive director of the American Land Rights Association. "They're taking out 60 percent of the car-accessible, drive-in family campsites  including all the river campsites, which is where people like to camp. Chuck CushmanThey're reducing the parking by 75 percent of what was there in 1980 – and with no parking people will be forced to use buses, which will be especially hard for the handicapped and the elderly and young families. That's the killer. What young family is going to want to travel around the park like that, with babies and small children, loaded down with diaper bags, picnic supplies and all their other gear? It's nuts."

National Government

The contract to operate the hotels and business operations is worth more than $1 billion in gross revenue. Over 20% is returned to the federal government, which owns all major buildings in Yosemite. This revenue will fall if there is a reduction in visitors.

•  Resident of El Portal

The small town of El Portal lies outside the park and may become much larger if all the development in the park is relocated. The town is on a wild and scenic river, which would be affected by development.

•  Yosemite Educational Institute

If all Park developments are moved out of the park, environmental education will be far less effective. This should take place within the Park, which provides the ideal natural resource.

•  Park Employee

Employees would be rehoused outside the Park, losing one of the key benefits of their job - a house with a view.

•  Visitors

Many feel that the plan has the "ultimate goal of turning Yosemite National Park into a sort of living museum," the idea being "to remove virtually all human imprint." Once the plan is fully implemented it will be "almost impossible for anyone to enjoy [Yosemite] in the manner that's been available to visitors since the 1800s".

"If those changes are made, it will be harder to get in – raise the entry fees, prohibit certain traffic and reduce available roads; impossible to drive in – can't have those exhaust fumes; almost impossible to camp in – people can be so messy and campfires pollute; impossible to horseback ride in – horses trample the brush and manure spreads seeds not native to the area; difficult to hike or bike through – those paths deface meadows and woods; or even raft in the river – rafters disturb the fish and disturb the beaches. They actually want to remove restroom facilities!"

2007 Update: Yosemite court battle ponders access vs. protection

• Court to hear arguments on how much protection Yosemite National Park needs
• Judge's ruling in November stopped construction projects; appeal pending
• Debate: Should number of visitors be limited to protect park's resources?
• Opponents say if access limited, park will be playground for the rich

Yosemite court battle

Sources:

WorldNetDaily Debate roars over future of Yosemite