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Yosemite National Park announces Public Scoping for the Ansel Adams Gallery Buildings Rehabilitation Environmental Assessment

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Date: July 19, 2011

Yosemite National Park announces the opening of public scoping for the Ansel Adams Gallery Buildings Rehabilitation Environmental Assessment (EA). Public scoping will be open from July 20th through September 2, 2011. The public is invited to attend two Open Houses at the Auditorium behind the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on July 27, 2011 and August 31, 2011. Park staff will be available to discuss the project, answer questions, and accept comments. The National Park Service is preparing an EA according to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) guidelines, to develop and analyze alternatives, including a no action alternative, for stabilization and rehabilitation of the buildings. The Gallery buildings were initially constructed as Best’s Studio in 1902, and improved upon and occupied by Ansel Adams and his family through the early 1970s. The proposed project consists of rehabilitation of four buildings (the Ansel Adams Gallery, photo studio, and two residences behind the Gallery) in Yosemite Valley, adjacent to the Visitor Center. The private residences and commercial photography studio and gallery which have been continuously occupied and operating since the 1920s, are in the Yosemite Valley Archaeological District, the Yosemite Village Historic District, and on the National Register of Historic Places. The buildings are contributing elements to the district and are significant for their historic association with Ansel Adams himself. All four buildings are outside the Merced River corridor and 100-year floodplain.

A Facility Assessment in 2002 recommended that the main building undergo substantial stabilization and rehabilitation, and the residences either be substantially stabilized and rehabilitated or completely replaced due to their deteriorating condition. Minor repairs have been made since then, however, major, comprehensive repairs are still needed to rehabilitate the structures and achieve fire/ life/safety and accessibility standards. The park is seeking input from the public on concerns, issues, and ideas for how best to address these issues, while maintaining and protecting sensitive cultural and historic resources.

Written comments may be submitted by mailing: Superintendent, Attn.: Ansel Adams Gallery EA, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389; or electronically, via the Park’s Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/planning.htm. Comments must be submitted in writing by September 2, 2011 to receive full consideration in the development of alternatives for the EA.

Did You Know?

Nevada and Vernal Falls

In Yosemite Valley, dropping over 594-foot Nevada Fall and then 317-foot Vernal Fall, the Merced River creates what is known as the “Giant Staircase.” Such exemplary stair-step river morphology is characterized by a large variability in river movement and flow, from quiet pools to the dramatic drops of the waterfalls themselves.