Wilderness Watch recently 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.
• Read WW's comments
Photo: Yosemite Wilderness by George Wuerthner