On April 14, former Congressman Tony Coelho sent a letter to Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher and officially commented on the draft Merced River Plan currently being reviewed by the Park Service to eliminate activities enjoyed by some of the 3 million who visit Yosemite annually.
Congressman Coelho authored legislation to include the Merced River in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, but offered to clarify the congressional intent of his legislation as the Park Service weighs rather to dramatically expand the reach of the law and eliminate recreational activities in Yosemite Valley as part of a legal settlement.
"I am the author of the legislation that included the Merced River in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA) ... The WRSA designation was intended to apply to the Merced River outside the Park to the west," wrote Coelho in his letter.
Founders of Yosemite for Everyone have been working with congressional leaders and people with expertise about Yosemite's history and management to educate the public that the current draft Merced River Plan will eliminate and curtail visitors opportunity to enjoy the park and affect the region's tourism industry. We believe this clarification of former Congressman Tony Coelho's legislation should be weighed by the Park Service.
Congressman Coelho stated that, "The Merced River in Yosemite Valley has been recreational for almost 150 years. Yosemite Valley has never been wilderness.
"Any plan which proceeds under the WSRA should not change any infrastructure, or ban any activities traditionally carried on in Yosemite Valley such as bicycle rental, raft trips, daily horseback rides, or removal of the ice rink or swimming pools, nor should it require removal of historic bridges. I oppose any such measures.
"Yosemite Valley should be left as it is under any plan required by the WSRA, subject only to traditional management by the NPS."
Yosemite National Park recently extended the public comment period to April 30. Yosemite for Everyone encourages you to comment and protect Yosemite Valley for current and future generations.
To comment please visit Yosemite National Park's webpage at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/mrp.htm for details about how to comment on the draft Merced River Plan that is currently being promoted by Superintendent Don Neubacher and his planning team as the Preferred Alternative. Details: yosemiteforeveryone.com.