November 6, 2007
2005 Merced River Plan: Status of Appeal
The appeal for the 2005 Merced River Plan/Environmental Impact Statement has been rescheduled for November 28, 2007 in Pasadena, California at 125 South Grand Avenue.
El Portal Market Contract Available in Yosemite National Park
The El Portal Market has been a fixture in the small community of El Portal, California for as long as locals can remember. Since 1966, the market has been operated by Vaughn, Vaughn and Carter, LLP, and particularly its principal, Hugh Carter, under concession contracts issued by the National Park Service. Recent grocery and general merchandise revenues, net of taxes, have averaged over $660,000.
The current concession contract covering the El Portal Market will expire on December 31, 2007, and Mr. Carter plans to enjoy retirement with his family. In the interest of continuing the "old time" grocery and general merchandise services that the Market has traditionally provided, the National Park Service is issuing a prospectus to recruit a new operator under a new concession contract. The term of the new concession contract will be six years. It was released on October 19, 2007 for a 60-day response period with proposals due by December 18, 2007.
The prospectus is available for review on the Internet at https://concessions.nps.gov/news.cfm.
Inquiries concerning the prospectus should be directed to Marvin Mann, National Park Service, Yosemite National Park, at 209/372-0271.
Project and Planning Updates
Museum Masterplan: The Yosemite Museum is now over 80 years old. Over the years, the interior of the building has been modified to accommodate staff and storage needs. A new Museum Masterplan is now underway to consider how to best address museum functions and space requirements. Information on the Museum Masterplan will be shared at the November 28, 2008 Open House in the Yosemite Valley auditorium, and will be available on the web at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/planning.htm shortly thereafter.
Hodgdon Meadow Trailer Replacement Project: Construction is anticipated from November 2007 to October 2008. Public review and comment period on the Environmental Assessment was held from July 16 until August 15, 2007. Comments are posted at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/hodgdon.htm. A Finding of No Significant Impact was signed on September 7, 2007.
Tunnel View Overlook Rehabilitation: The public comment and review period on the Environmental Assessment took place from October 3 through November 2, 2007. These comments are currently being reviewed and analyzed, and the document updated accordingly. Public scoping was held from June 4 until July 9, 2007. Scoping comments are posted at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/tunnelview.htm
Environmental Education Campus: Park staff are wrapping up this season's resource surveys that will provide more detailed site information for Henness Ridge. Yosemite Institute and park staff have conducted meetings to select a new design contractor that will develop design concepts for a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified campus. A new environmental analysis consulting firm has also been selected, and will begin compiling this information for a draft environmental impact statement, with public review anticipated for spring 2008. Public scoping was completed in November 2002. These scoping comments and additional data collection at Crane Flat informed the park's decision to broaden the range of alternatives to include the Henness Ridge location. More information about the project is available at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/eecampus.htm, or at our monthly Open Houses.
Hetch Hetchy Communications System Upgrade: The public comment and review period on the Environmental Assessment/Initial Study took place from October 2 through November 2, 2007. These comments are currently being reviewed and analyzed for response, as appropriate. Public and internal scoping was held in spring 2006. Scoping comments are posted at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/hetchyproject.htm
Glacier Point Road Rehabilitation: A Finding of No Significant Impact has just been signed for the much-needed rehabilitation of Glacier Point Road. The winding Glacier Point Road leads visitors from Chinquapin intersection at Wawona Road to popular destinations such as Badger Pass ski area, Taft Point, and Glacier Point, with spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley floor and the Sierra Nevada. Glacier Point Road was designed and constructed in 1932, and has recently been determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. This project, scheduled to begin in spring 2008, will include traffic safety improvements at Chinquapin intersection, viewing area improvements at El Portal overlook, culvert repair, and rock work along the first 5 miles of Glacier Point Road, to and including the Badger Pass parking lot. The public review and comment period for the environmental assessment occurred from June 27-July 29, 2007.
Parkwide Comprehensive Transportation Plan/EIS: Public scoping anticipated after the holidays, in early 2008.
Tuolumne River Plan/Tuolumne Meadows Plan
This summer, nearly 300 comments were received during the summer-long comment period for the Tuolumne Planning Workbook. (Comments will be posted to the web later this month.) Currently, work continues on refining the range of draft alternatives for the Tuolumne River Plan, and an agency preferred alternative will be identified this winter. Once a preferred alternative is identified, the Yosemite planning team will focus on creating a range of area-specific alternatives for the Tuolumne Meadows Plan. Public workshops will take place this spring, and the preliminary Tuolumne Meadows Plan alternatives will be available for public review in summer 2009.
Yosemite National Park to host a User Capacity Symposium
Yosemite National Park is hosting a User Capacity Symposium in February 2008. In accordance with our commitment to resource protection and the provision of quality visitor experiences, this symposium will address current best practices for addressing user capacity in national parks and related protected areas. Look for more information about the forum and how to participate soon.
Big Oak Flat Road: Patching and curb repair are currently causing minimal delays. Total delays should be no more than 30 minutes. Big Oak Flat Road slide repair will begin November 12, 2007. One lane will remain open with signal lights in place.
Wawona Tunnel: Wawona Tunnel repair starts the week of November 13 and will continue through April 1, 2008. One lane traffic control will occur at night; hours have not yet been set.
Fire Information (as of November 4, 2007)
As of today, fourteen fires have resulted from the thunderstorms of October 29, 2007. Four of these fires are in the Yosemite Wilderness and are being managed as Wildland Fire Use (WFU) fires. Since the early 1970s, Yosemite National Park has allowed natural fire to function whenever possible as a landscape process. Lightning-ignited fires from these storms will continue to spread naturally as long as they may be safely managed by park fire managers. Lightning-ignited fire is a natural ecological process in Yosemite National Park. Each year, lightning strikes result in wildland fires that help shape Yosemite’s wilderness. Naturally occurring fire allows forests to be thinned, opening the canopy and allowing sunlight through which allows for the sprouting and re-growth of plants, shrubs, and trees. Fire also allows for the recycling of nutrients to the soil while reducing the amount of dead, woody debris. Wildland Fire Use also helps limit the size and severity of subsequent fires.
Additional Information: The park website, www.nps.gov/yose/fire, has information about fire activity and smoke effects in Yosemite.
CORRECTION: Planning Update Newsletter
The back panel of the Planning Update Newsletter, Volume 32, October 2007 incorrectly states that the new planning website address is www.nps.gov/parkmgmt/planning.htm. The correct address is www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/planning.htm.
STATUS: Planning Website
The Yosemite planning website is experiencing a re-design to unify the look of all National Park Service web pages. This consistency will make navigating park service websites more user-friendly. The new web address is: www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/planning.htm. In the future, the old site www.nps.gov/yose/planning will redirect you to the correct page. There may be occasional difficulties in accessing the site during the transition. If you experience difficulty and want to request a document, email e-mail us.