Love Yosemite? Leave it Alone

New plan to protect the park will cut facilities like bike rentals and rafting

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 29, 2013 4:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – The National Park Service is under pressure to help protect and restore the Merced River in Yosemite National Park. The catch: those who love it most will be able to use it less. The Park Service wants to remove horse, bicycle, and raft rental facilities, as well as swimming pools and an ice rink, in order to reduce traffic and add 200 acres of meadows to the park. But the plan has divided park lovers, between those who think it goes too far and those who believe it doesn't go far enough, the New York Times reports.

Rep. Tom McClintock, whose district includes Yosemite, criticized the plan as pandering to "the most radical and nihilistic fringe of the environmental left," while the leader of Friends of Yosemite Valley believes it should have cut 30 or 40 more facilities. The head of Yosemite for Everyone wants to protect part of the river, but doesn't want to lose things like bike rentals. "We want the amenities and recreational activities that have been there for 150 years to continue," she says. But as an associate director of the National Parks Conservation Association points out, plenty of things that used to be enjoyed in the park aren't around anymore for the greater good—like park rangers feeding the bears.

Yosemite National Park's Stoneman Bridge, in the foreground to Half Dome, the park's most iconic feature.
Yosemite National Park's Stoneman Bridge, in the foreground to Half Dome, the park's most iconic feature.   (AP Photo/Tracie Cone)
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