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Thread: Big Changes in Yosemite

  1. #21

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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    Yosemite Valley at it's worse is on those stupid free admission days. Gridlock City. Garbage everywhere. Mobs of guests crowding the "Ahwannee" of public latrines at the base of Yosemite Falls. No room on the trams and no parking spaces, gridlock even on the pedestrian foot paths so if you thought you were been smart by taking YARTS up, it's still a pita---even worse than a typical July or August week end. If it weren't a free admission day when the public demands enterance, the rangers would have likely closed the gates by 10:00AM.
    Get out of the Valley of course, and all's well.

    That said, the parks are ours and I agree that we shouldn't be charged for using our own property--in many National Parks like Golden Gate, Redwood, Olympic etc...we aren't.
    I must end this because I'll waddle into politics, which isn't allowed.

    Big changes coming in Yosemite? Read up on the History of Yosemite Valley and you'll see big changes have been coming (and going) with regularity for the past 150 years!

    Some of my fondest memories are from the 1950's Yosemite Valley, a very different Yosemite Valley than today's and a Yosemite Valley which as been illegal for the past half century. But the domes and falls and meadows and cliffs and Merced remain constants.

    My advice for anyone wanting to enjoy Yosemite Valley is go off season---Spring, Winter or Autumn. Yes it gets cold in the Winter, the mosquitoes are especially hungry in the Spring, and most of the concessions close for the season in Autumn but IMHO that's a small price to pay for all that grandeur.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  2. #22
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    I was in Yosemite during the Veterans Weekend free days (camping in Upper Pines) this month. Absolutely no problems...but then I spent each day at the Ansel Adams Gallery taking an incredible workshop on gum-over-platinum from Kerik Kouklis...no one around in the early mornings and it was getting dark by the time we were through each day. I would show the results, but we used digital (inkjet) negatives and mine were sourced from a digital camera...a first for me! And while not the last, it will be rare!

    Mid to late February! Short days but a great time/light -- as is the week before Memorial Day Weekend. I was in the Park one Memorial Day Weekend many years ago. They were turning people away at the enterances, but because the Glacier Point road was still closed, I backpacked (w/ 4x5 and a Rollie, and a friend) from the Wawona Tunnel to Glacier Point over 4 days. We saw a few people the first and last days -- but looking down into the Valley, it was bumper-to-bumper!

    Took this image (16x20 print from 4x5 TMax100) when we camped to top of Sentinel Dome (how's this for one of the busiest weekends of the year for the Park?)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mistaking the Map for the Territory, YNP_16x20.jpg  
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #23

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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    Hanging Lake and Conundrum Hot Springs are two great examples from Colorado. No, neither are in National Parks, and no fees are charged to see them. But the National Forest Service has simply limited access so that they won't get trashed out -- actually, they already are. The solution is to allow free, but limited, access to our "high use" public lands (there are many ways to do that), and provide adequate funding to protect them.

    It already common in many areas. Want a permit in the popular areas of Grand Canyon or Canyonlands? Expect to wait five years! No fee. They can and should do the same sort of thing all around.

  4. #24
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    I am glad I took many week to 11-day solo backpack trips in the Grand Canyon when I did --starting in 1977. Seeing people the first and then on the last day -- up to 9 days without seeing anyone in between...sweet. The trick back then was to plan on a couple dry camps when you got your permit -- only so many people were allowed to be in any one zone per day, each zone often associated with a watershed(s) -- with or without surface water. Being willing to carry enough and wisely use water to have a dry camp gave me a wider selections of areas to camp...99+% of the other hikers will not willingly have a dry camp. But usually water was available within a half-day's hike.

    And I have to admit, being a seasonal wilderness ranger at the time (in CA) did help me get on-the-spot permits at the Park. It's been too many years now (25+ years)...don't think it would have much weight now...but it always gets me out of the lectures on wilderness ethics, bears, etc. when one signs the permit. Inside the Grand Canyon can be a garden mid-April and the hike got me in shape for my wilderness (May - Oct) Carried a 4x5 most the trips (Rollie on the first couple), but no images I am drawn to do anything with...a tough place to photograph beyond the obvious splendor.

    I heard rumors that they (Grand Canyon) did not, or for awhile did not, allow backpackers to go solo...that would be a massive bummer for me. Almost as much as knowing I don't have the legs to do that kind of trip anymore!
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  5. #25

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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    Quote Originally Posted by xkaes View Post
    Hanging Lake and Conundrum Hot Springs are two great examples from Colorado. No, neither are in National Parks, and no fees are charged to see them. But the National Forest Service has simply limited access so that they won't get trashed out -- actually, they already are. The solution is to allow free, but limited, access to our "high use" public lands (there are many ways to do that), and provide adequate funding to protect them.

    It already common in many areas. Want a permit in the popular areas of Grand Canyon or Canyonlands? Expect to wait five years! No fee. They can and should do the same sort of thing all around.
    I agree with all of this, except maybe this bit: 'They can and should....' They should, but I don't know that they can. Do they have the the authority to do it, yet?

    I also think that, if there were a limitation on visitors, lots of folks would not bother getting on the list, being impatient, so maybe the wait wouldn't be quite that long for those of us who'd be on it.

    Places around the world are being loved to death, as the population grows -- and even more important, the population of people with the means to travel grows, too. With proper funding for crowd control and regulation enforcement, I know that some of these places can handle an amazing number of visitors each year, but lots of other places are too delicate to risk. But we haven't reached the point where we value these places enough to protect them.

  6. #26
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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    Quote Originally Posted by xkaes View Post
    Enjoy what they offer while you can. The current proposal is to raise the DAILY admission fee from $20 to $70. That should solve all the problems you have mentioned -- because you won't be able to afford to go there!

    Well, let's think that through. Haven't been to Yosemite in about five years, but regularly go to Yellowstone. (Was in Mt Rainier & Olympic a few months ago.) I see a lot of $3,000 cameras with $5,000 lenses in these places. Travel to Yosemite for my wife & I would cost somewhere around $2,000 (plane & rental car). Hotels are what, another $150+ per night? Meals in NP lodges are running us about $30+ each. Wife & I each have ~$200 boots, and probably $150 in outdoor clothing, plus nice Osprey back packs. Most of the others we see at the NP are dressed about the same. I don't have a $3,000 camera or $5,000 lens, but the Nikon stuff I do have is not cheap either. What I'm getting at here is the park entrance fee is in the end about the cheapest part of the trip. I wonder if there could be some sort of alternative to an entrance fee though, such as maybe some hours of service to the park? I honestly wouldn't mind running a chain saw or Bobcat along a trail to help out.


    Kent in SD
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  7. #27

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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Well, let's think that through. Haven't been to Yosemite in about five years, but regularly go to Yellowstone. (Was in Mt Rainier & Olympic a few months ago.) I see a lot of $3,000 cameras with $5,000 lenses in these places. Travel to Yosemite for my wife & I would cost somewhere around $2,000 (plane & rental car). Hotels are what, another $150+ per night? Meals in NP lodges are running us about $30+ each. Wife & I each have ~$200 boots, and probably $150 in outdoor clothing, plus nice Osprey back packs. Most of the others we see at the NP are dressed about the same. I don't have a $3,000 camera or $5,000 lens, but the Nikon stuff I do have is not cheap either. What I'm getting at here is the park entrance fee is in the end about the cheapest part of the trip. I wonder if there could be some sort of alternative to an entrance fee though, such as maybe some hours of service to the park? I honestly wouldn't mind running a chain saw or Bobcat along a trail to help out.


    Kent in SD
    There is! My Scouts did that several times but private parties are also welcome---entrance and campground fees are waived for participation in projects.
    In past years several groups would join forces and descend on Tuolumne Meadows to pick up litter on a designated day.
    Actually as crowded as Tuolumne Meadows gets, that's a sweet deal just to score a campsite!
    Just send whatever park you want to visit an email and request a POC who can send you a calendar listing available projects.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  8. #28

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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    There is! My Scouts did that several times but private parties are also welcome---entrance and campground fees are waived for participation in projects.
    In past years several groups would join forces and descend on Tuolumne Meadows to pick up litter on a designated day.
    Actually as crowded as Tuolumne Meadows gets, that's a sweet deal just to score a campsite!
    Just send whatever park you want to visit an email and request a POC who can send you a calendar listing available projects.
    Cool!

  9. #29
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    Different crowd in the campgrounds. An interesting mix, to be sure! Huge RVs and trailers, lots of rental Rvs, a couple other VW camper vans, tents galore, christmas lights, solo campers and huge groups in 4 or 5 connected sites, large Sprinter vans driven by people in their late 20s/early 30s (possible DIY conversions), all night laughter from the old travel trailer, a Smart Car, white vans your mother warned you about, vintage teardrop trailers, and a bunch of people of various races, cultures and nationalities who had no clue about this thing called camping, but had a great time. My four nights were $52 total(1/2 price w/ Geezer Pass).

    A Yosemite Valley motel room is $300+ a night.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  10. #30

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    Re: Big Changes in Yosemite

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Kinzer View Post
    I agree with all of this, except maybe this bit: 'They can and should....' They should, but I don't know that they can. Do they have the the authority to do it, yet.
    They have the authority. There #1 job is to protect the environment, and they know too well if they don't, they will be sued. I was Volunteer Coordinator for the State of Colorado for the Sierra Club for over a decade, and the Club -- there are many other similar groups -- has LOTS of young (and some old) Pro Bono attorneys who would love to get their name in the paper for protecting the Wilderness.

    But the Parks, Forests, etc. can't do it unilaterally. They have to hold public hearing, produce studies on the costs/benefits, etc. before they do anything. The current public review period for raising National Parks fees was just extended by an extra month because of so much public input, for example. And here in Colorado, the Forest Service held many public hearings about the Hanging Lake and Conundrum Hots Springs problems. In those two instances, the areas are in such bad condition, most of the public is in strong support of the changes. Many businesses strongly oppose increased fees and/or limited access to Parks, Monuments, etc. because their livelihood depends on tourism, which obviously complicates the matter, but still, the #1 job is to protect the environment.

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