On February 26th, American Whitewater's California Stewardship Director Dave Steindorf met
with Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher and his staff to discuss the prohibition
on boating on most of the rivers within the Park. Yosemite is currently undergoing a
Comprehensive Management Planning process for the Wild and Scenic Merced Rivers. While the Park
is considering opening portions of the South Fork and mainstem Merced to boating, it is
considering limiting use on others, treating boaters differently from other visitors to the Park.
The good news is that the Park is open to addressing the issue.
As the Park considers how to proceed, the voice of the paddling community continues to be
important in this process. Thanks to everyone who provided comment for the Tuolumne River
Plan last month! You can read American Whitewater's comments on the Tuolomne Plan by
downloading the file to the right. Comments on the Park's Merced Wild and Scenic
River Draft Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement are due Thursday,
American Whitewater believes that rivers within the Park can be open to paddling while protecting
the values of the Valley and the river with appropriate and relevant use numbers. Boating should
be managed as any other use in Yosemite. The Park has an established method for managing trails
throughout the Park, and the rivers should be treated the same.
Paddling is human-powered, place-based, low-impact, quiet, non-consumptive, skill-based, and
Wilderness-compliant. In short, it is exactly the kind of activity and experience that the Park
system was created to foster. Banning boating on our public rivers doesn't line up with
National Park System policy, and prohibiting paddling on Wild and Scenic Rivers is inconsistent
with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Boaters should be allowed the freedom to choose whether or
not to experience all of the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers given their individual skills and
Comment on the Draft Wild and Scenic Merced River Management Plan by
e-mailing the park
, or sending your written comments to:
Yosemite National Park
Attn: Merced River Plan
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
With your help, we can advocate more effectively for opening these stunning and amazing
rivers to the public!