July 26, 2005
Record of Decision Signed
for Revised Merced River Plan
Yosemite National Park Superintendent Michael J. Tollefson announced today that National Park Service (NPS) Pacific West Regional Director Jon Jarvis signed the Record of Decision for Merced Wild and Scenic River Revised Comprehensive Management Plan and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS).
This signing records the decision of the National Park Service to adopt the preferred alternative as proposed in the Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS. The preferred alternative will augment the park’s existing user capacity management program with the Visitor Experience and Resource Protection (VERP) program, along with interim facility limits in order to comply with the user capacity requirement of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The plan also implements a quarter-mile river corridor boundary in the El Portal segment.
This planning effort amends the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan, originally completed and approved in 2000. The specific purpose of the revised plan is to remedy two deficiencies identified by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Namely, the plan must adequately address the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act’s user capacity requirement by creating what the Court calls “specific measurable limits on use.” The Court also specified that the revised plan must draw a corridor boundary in El Portal that protects and enhances the river’s Outstandingly Remarkable Values—those unique qualities that make the river worthy of protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The revision also describes how the comprehensive management plan amends the park’s 1980 General Management Plan.
The NPS manages 81 miles of the 122-mile Merced Wild and Scenic River, including the main stem in Yosemite National Park and the El Portal Administrative Site, as well as the South Fork through Wawona. As a whole, the Merced River Plan (as amended) will guide all future activities and projects in the river corridor to insure the protection and enhancement of the river’s unique values. The plan does not prescribe management of uses and activities on private land.
The Revised Merced River Plan/SEIS and its Record of Decision are available for review on the park’s web site at www.nps.gov/yose/planning/mrp. To request a hard copy or CD ROM version of the plan, call 209/379-1365; fax a request to 209/379-1294; send an email to e-mail us; or write to Superintendent, ATTN: Revised MRP/SEIS, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389.
For information on this and other planning efforts in Yosemite National Park, go to www.nps.gov/yose/planning.