Electronic Newsletter, May 19, 2010

Scoping Begins May 26 for Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan Environmental Assessment

How many people are too many for a wilderness trail? To address this and other questions, the National Park Service (NPS) is developing a plan to provide long-term stewardship of the Half Dome route in a manner that is consistent with the Wilderness Act and the NPS Organic Act. A public scoping period will open on May 26, 2010, and close June 25, 2010.

Half Dome, one of the most popular attractions in Yosemite National Park, lies in designated wilderness. In 2008, up to 1,200 people a day tackled the famous trek up the cables; the high level of use has led to both safety and environmental concerns.

An interim permit program to address safety concerns is currently in place for the 2010 and 2011 summer season. Permits are required to ascend the Half Dome cables on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. Yosemite National Park will be monitoring visitor use on the Half Dome cables and assessing the effectiveness of the interim program at the conclusion of this summer. This data will help inform the development of the long-term management plan.

The Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan will:

  • Consider all ways to preserve and enhance wilderness character. This may include a range of alternatives from removal of the cables, to access restrictions potentially involving day-use permits
  • Institute management prescriptions that protect and enhance the natural and cultural environment
  • Establish thresholds and management prescriptions for appropriate social conditions on the Half Dome trail
  • Provide unimpeded travel conditions, so that visitors may manage their own risk
  • Commit to a program of ongoing monitoring to ensure the goals listed above are met

Public participation is integral for the success of this plan. The public comment period for the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan runs from May 26 to June 25, 2010. To submit comments on this topic visit the park website and link to PEPC website: www.parkplanning.nps.gov/yose

Comments may also be submitted via mail and fax.
Attn: Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan EA
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389

Fax: 209-379-1294

A National Park Service public open house will be held on May 26, 2010, 1 pm to 6 pm in the Valley Visitor Center Auditorium in Yosemite Valley. Staff will be available to discuss this and other ongoing plans during the open house.

Yosemite Open House
Wednesday, May 26

Yosemite National Park will be hosting its monthly open house on May 26, 2010. The Open House is from 1 to 6 pm in the Valley Visitor Center Auditorium. Park entrance fees are waived for attendees.

Project managers will be on hand to discuss the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan, Invasive Plant Management Plan Update, the Wawona Road project, the Tioga Road EA, and many other ongoing projects. Special presentations on the Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan will ocurr at 2:30 and 5 pm.

Half Dome Cables Will Not Be in Place over Memorial Day Weekend

Cool, wet conditions have persisted well into May, resulting in a heavier-than-usual and slowly-melting snowpack. As a result, the subdome, below the Half Dome cables, is covered in snow. A slip and fall from the subdome's steep snowfield could cause serious injury or death. For the safety of employees setting up the cables and hikers, the cables will not be put up until conditions improve. We will monitor conditions over the next two weeks and issue an expected opening date as soon as possible.

If you have a permit for May 21-23 or May 28-31, you will receive a refund.

Last updated: March 1, 2015

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