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The Yosemite Institute (YI), a National Park Service (NPS) non-profit park partner, has provided environmental education programs in Yosemite since 1971 at its Crane Flat campus. Most of the campus structures and utilities are over 60 years old, energy inefficient, and difficult to retrofit to achieve modern standards for health, safety, and accessibility. The campus can accommodate only a fraction of the students in the program; the remainder must be based elsewhere in the park, in commercial lodging. To address these issues, YI and the NPS are considering options to provide better facilities by redeveloping the existing campus, or constructing a new campus at Henness Ridge, and restoring Crane Flat to natural conditions.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement presents the environmental analysis of three alternatives the agency is considering, for public review, according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 1969, as amended): Alternative 1—No-Action; Alternative 2—redevelop Crane Flat campus; and Alternative 3—construct a new campus at Henness Ridge, and restore Crane Flat. Potential impacts to park resources are presented and analyzed under each alternative. Public comments are welcomed and will be considered in preparation of a Final EIS, anticipated for this fall.
The public comment period for the YI Environmental Education Campus DEIS is open now through July 15, 2009. The plan is available on the park's website at http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/eecampus.htm. Public meetings will be held on May 28, 2009 at the Mariposa County Government Chambers from 4-7pm, and at Fort Mason, Golden Gate NRA on June 17, 2009 from 4-8 pm. Public Open Houses will be held at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center Auditorium, with drop-in site visits, on May 27 and June 24, 2009, from 1-4 p.m. (call 209/379-1365 for more details). Additional copies of the plan will be available, and park staff will be on hand to discuss the plan and answer questions.
Written scoping comments should be postmarked no later than July 15, 2009. Comments may be submitted at public meetings, by mail, fax, e-mail, and via the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) database. Submit written comments, or request a CD or hard copy of the DEIS, to the following:
Superintendent, Yosemite National Park
Attn: YI EEC DEIS
PO Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
Fax: 209/379-1294 Phone: 209/379-1365
For more information on park planning efforts, visit the website at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt.htm.