Yosemite Wilderness George Wuerthne 200x150rMt Rainier NPS

Wilderness Watch submitted comments on Yosemite National Park’s Wilderness Stewardship Plan (WSP) Preliminary Concepts and Ideas. The 704,000-acre Yosemite Wilderness in California makes up 94 percent of the Park. 


The Park Service is focusing on just two of the four issues identified during scoping—visitor use and capacity, and stock use—however, trail management, non-conforming structures/uses, and commercial services also need to be addressed.


We are urging the Park Service to:

• Limit overnight group size to 10 people plus nine head of stock (beating hearts or number of legs might be better measures) on trails and four to six people off-trail. This limit should apply to day use also;

• Devise a plan to account for the skyrocketing number of through-hikers when considering the park’s carrying capacity;

• Monitor stock use and fully evaluate the agency-suggested alternatives that would potentially eliminate or limit it to only administrative or private use;

• Limit (or end) commercial services in the Yosemite Wilderness to what is truly necessary;

• Remove structures from potential wilderness and designate it as Wilderness; 

• Remove nonconforming structures such as the cables

on Half Dome; and

• Eliminate chainsaws, helicopters, and other nonconforming uses for routine management actions.

 All alternatives should ensure that the wilderness character of the Yosemite Wilderness is preserved. The Park Service must allow natural processes, not human actions, to define the character of the Wilderness.


Wilderness Watch previously submitting scoping comments on the Park Service’s Wilderness Stewardship Plan/EIS for Yosemite National Park and on the Wilderness Management Plan for Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington’s rugged Cascade Mountains. TThe 228,480-acre Mt. Rainier Wilderness makes up about 96 percent of Mt. Rainier NP. Unfortunately, the Park Service’s proposed alternatives fail to recognize the primary tenet of Wilderness—its wildness.

The Park Service has raised four issues in the scoping letters for Yosemite and Mt. Rainier National Parks—visitor use and capacity, stock use, trail management, and commercial services. These important issues are all related to overuse and over allocation.


In our scoping comments, we urged the Park Service to:


  • respect the intent of the Wilderness Act to limit commercial services in Wilderness;
  • stop routine use of helicopters and other motorized equipment in Wilderness;
  • remove nonconforming structures and uses in potential wilderness within the Parks and designate those areas as Wilderness;
  • ensure that all alternatives protect and preserve wilderness character;
  • implement a strong wilderness monitoring program;
  • better manage visitor use; and
  • allow natural processes to determine conditions in Wilderness.


Read our second round of scoping comments on the Wilderness Stewardship Plan/EIS for Yosemite National Park

Read our scoping comments on the Wilderness Stewardship Plan/EIS for Yosemite National Park

View our action alert on Yosemite's Preliminary Concepts and Ideas (9/30/16 deadline)
Read our comments
on the Wilderness Management Plan for Mt. Rainier National Park

Photos: Yosemite Wilderness by George Wuerthner; Mt. Rainier by NPS

Contact Us

Wilderness Watch
P.O. Box 9175
Missoula, MT 59807
P: 406-542-2048
E: wild@wildernesswatch.org

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2833 43rd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55406

P: 612-201-9266

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P.O. Box 9623
Moscow, ID 83843

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