Curry Village Rockfall Hazard Zone Structures Environmental Assessment

Hard sided cabin in Curry Village next to boulder that is much bigger than cabin
 

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Overview

In response to rockfall events during 2008, the National Park Service realigned the boundary of the rockfall hazard zone in Curry Village. To reduce health and safety hazards, all of the structures within the updated rockfall hazard zone were closed.

Curry Village is located at the base of sheer granite walls below Glacier Point near the eastern end of Yosemite Valley. As a result, portions of Curry Village are within the newly defined rockfall hazard zone established by Yosemite National Park. The Curry Village area is historically significant and is included in the Camp Curry (Curry Village) and the Yosemite Valley Historic Districts.

The National Park Service developed an environmental assessment to address the structures in the Curry Village rockfall hazard zone. The purpose of the project was to:

  • Mitigate inherent safety risks associated with unauthorized visitor access to the closed rockfall hazard zone.

  • Minimize the potential for further loss of historically significant structures and/or features that contribute to the Curry Village Historic District.

  • Identify appropriate mitigation to resolve the potential adverse effect on the Curry Village Historic District

Park management had closed all of the structures within the updated rockfall hazard zone to reduce health and safety hazards. As a result, the disposition of the structures within the rockfall hazard zone had to be addressed because:

  • The closed structures created a nuisance that attracts curious on-lookers.
  • Some visitors were circumventing the temporary hazard fencing and entering the rockfall hazard zone and abandoned structures, causing the potential for vandalism and creating an illicit use of the abandoned structures.
  • Wildlife use the buildings for nesting or foraging in and beneath the buildings, which could cause further structural damage.
  • The historic structures would continue to deteriorate and could be further damaged if not stabilized and maintained, or removed.
Although the greater Curry Village area was later addressed as part of the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan (MRP), the hazards associated with the existing structures in the rockfall hazard zone needed to be addressed prior to the completion of the MRP. The actions taken under this project did not influence decisions made about user capacity and protection of the river’s outstandingly remarkable values in the Merced River planning process.

Public scoping comments on this project were accepted through April 7, 2010. The Cultural Landscape Report Camp Curry Historic District was finalized in May 2010. A Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) documents the history, significance and treatment of a cultural landscape. A CLR evaluates the history and integrity of the landscape including any changes to its geographical context, features, materials, and use. A CLR can provide managers, curators and others with information needed to make management decisions. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) reviews for this planning effort were conducted concurrently. The public review and comment period for the environmental assessment and NHPA Section 106 Determination of Effect took place in winter 2011. The Finding of No Significant Impact for this plan was finalized in February 2012.

 

Last updated: February 5, 2020

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