The following letter was recently sent to the Madera County Board of Supervisors.
"The Ahwahnee Community Council Board, after reviewing the history of the 1980 Yosemite General Management Plan, the Merced River Plan and the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS), recommends the following concerning YARTS:
YARTS is a taxpayer-funded, nonproductive boondoggle. It's a High Speed Rail project on rubber tires. YARTS is being used by the National Park Service to implement the goal of the Yosemite General Management Plan to eliminate private vehicle access to Yosemite Valley.
Its operating budget is 85% taxpayer subsidized.
It will not benefit our local communities.
It will facilitate the conversion of Yosemite to an elitist experience.
It does not protect the environment.
It will homogenize the national park experience.
It will destroy freedom of access for day visitors.
It doesn't address low-cost, practical solutions for reducing park congestion.
We agree with the March 6, 2011 letter signed by the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau, the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, the Bass Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Coarsegold Chamber of Commerce, the North Fork Chamber of Commerce and the Scenic Byway opposing YARTS.
Furthermore the Ahwahnee Community Council Board recommends that the National Park Service remove the language in the General Management Plan calling for the elimination of private vehicle access to Yosemite Valley, and environmentally reinstitute the thousands of parking spaces in Yosemite Valley that have been incrementally removed since the 1980 plan.
We believe that for those visitors or residents who want to ride a bus or take a Yosemite tour that they work with local private busing or tour companies in the gateway communities.
We believe that encouraging free market/private enterprise businesses creates the best visitor experience and benefits our community the most."
Editor's Note: Members of the The Ahwahnee Community Council Board include Chairman Dan Francoeur, Fern Facchino, Jerry Bosworth, Wayne McAdams, Tony Ward, Ken Croker, Ken Dow, John Pero, Mike Horasanian and Marc Sobel.