Sunday, February 3, 2013

A farewell to my youth in Yosemite

Exactly one year ago today, I described how I got my love for the outdoors in Relative: Yosemite video from Vimeo.
I spent at least part of every summer growing up in Yosemite and both my sisters worked there... The brother of one of my ex-girlfriends worked there, too, and knew my sisters. That story, when I tell it, will be filed under "it's a small world."
Today's not the day for that story, even though it's not a coincidence that I've only mentioned Yosemite on February 3rd.

It's also not the day to expound on this story, even though it shows how much I still love Yosemite.
I use the park and its features every chance I get in my Geology lectures, including this past Wednesday, when I showed my students the hikers climbing up the back side of Half Dome. One of the scenes in the video shows that. I tell my students that I love Geology, because it's my chance to get paid showing my family vacation photos. I'm only half joking.
I plan on giving that same lecture tomorrow.  This time, I might show my students the video in last year's post.  But enough of that.

Instead, I want to say goodbye to the Yosemite I knew growing up as described in this story from the Los Angeles Times.

Yosemite plan calls for more campsites and parking spaces
The National Park Service would restore 203 acres along the Merced River and eliminate an ice rink, commercial horseback riding, hotel swimming pools and raft and bicycle rentals.
By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
January 9, 2013
Yosemite Valley would have more camp sites and parking spaces — and the number of daily visitors would not be reduced — under a National Park Service plan intended to ease congestion in one of the country's most scenic spots.

The proposal is the agency's third attempt to produce a legally acceptable management plan for the Merced River and the ever popular valley that it flows through. Environmental groups have twice sued the agency, winning court orders that compelled the park service to draw up new blueprints.

The latest effort, a lengthy draft document released Tuesday, navigates a middle course. The agency's preferred alternative would restore 203 acres along the river, change traffic circulation and parking, and eliminate an ice skating rink, commercial horseback riding, hotel swimming pools and raft and bicycle rentals.

But the plan steers clear of the politically sensitive issue of reducing the number of visitors to the valley, which on a busy summer day can be packed with nearly 20,000 people.
On the one hand, this has been a long time coming.  The first signs of the trend leading to this plan appeared during the early 1970s, when the park began to talk about getting cars out of Yosemite Valley.  After more than 40 years, I can't say that I'm surprised.  As an environmentalist and former National Park Ranger, I can also see why the NPS would consider the changes to be necessary.

On the other hand, I remember the "ice skating rink, commercial horseback riding, hotel swimming pools and raft and bicycle rentals."  In fact, I have fond memories of swimming in the pools at Camp Curry and Yosemite Lodge, rafting down the Merced River, and riding rented bikes and horses.  Now, those memories will be as much ones of a bygone era to people of this century as the ones in the video below would have been to me.


  1. I have written a short story for children about the Yosemite Park it is about 1500 words can I post this?