Chamber is asking the wrong question

December 20, 2012 

Dear Editor,

The Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce recently asked their members to respond to a survey regarding public transit on Highway 41 to Yosemite (YARTS), but failed to ask the right question. Unfortunately, critical facts were omitted:

Regional transit (aka YARTS) on all four corridors leading into Yosemite (including the Highway 41 corridor) facilitates the 1980 Yosemite General Management Plan (GMP) goal to totally eliminate private vehicle access to Yosemite Valley.

The National Park Service has already removed 6,000 Valley parking spaces over the past several years as they incrementally move toward the 1980 GMP goal.

You, the taxpayers and owners of Yosemite, not only would be forced to ride a bus to Yosemite Valley, you will be subsidizing as much as 85% of the operational costs and apparently 100% of the capital budget.

Based on past and present feedback from tourists, the local economy will suffer a net loss as tourists choose to drive elsewhere.

And apparently the chamber is not interested in local residents who support the local businesses who would, at full build-out, have to put up with increased bus congestion in town replete with air pollution, infrastructure wear and tear, and irreparable damage to our local foothill environment and quality of life.

The question the chamber should be asking is: What must we do to protect our freedom to visit Yosemite Valley in the manner we choose while motivating the Park Service to put back in an environmentally compatible manner as many Valley Parking spaces as possible, and stop wasting our tax dollars?

When will the residents be served by the chamber?

Lou Aceto, Oakhurst

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