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National Park Service Acting Pacific West Regional Director George Turnbull signed the Record of Decision today for the Yosemite Environmental Education Center Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).
The Record of Decision documents the National Park Service’s (NPS) final decision to adopt Alternative 3, as described in the FEIS, to establish a new environmental education center at Henness Ridge. The center will be located near the intersection of the Wawona Road and the Glacier Point Road. The decision also directs the removal of the existing Crane Flat facilities, and restoring the site to natural conditions. This decision is a culmination of many years of data collection, analysis, planning, public participation, and design.
The new facilities will be owned by the National Park Service and jointly operated by the NPS and Yosemite Institute (YI), a campus of NatureBridge. YI is a nonprofit partner organization, who has conducted experiential environmental education programs in the park for more than 30 years. YI programs are dedicated to connecting youth to the natural world, a shared educational mission of YI and the NPS. YI is a recognized leader in the field of environmental education. In addition to Yosemite, NatureBridge operates three other national park institutes including the Headlands Institute in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Olympic Park Institute in Olympic National Park, and the Santa Monica Mountains Institute in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. This project will allow the Yosemite Institute to continue delivering high-quality, multi-day field-science programs to approximately 14,000 students annually.
It is anticipated that the new education center will be a model in sustainability. Once established, the NPS will seek gold or platinum level certification under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The design team, led by Siegel and Strain Architects from the San Francisco Bay Area, is a leader in green design, and has helped the park incorporate sustainability throughout the planning of the facility—including the selection of the site, the materials, and the utility systems.
For more information and project updates, visit: www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/eecampus.htm or NatureBridge: www.naturebridge.org/yosemite-environmental-education-center