Yosemite National Park is currently seeking the public's input on how the Wild and Scenic
Merced and Tuolumne Rivers will be managed in the future, including the question of whether to open paddling
within Yosemite National Park. The Park's current policy is to prohibit boating on all
rivers within the Park except for a short segment of the Merced in Yosemite Valley and a segment
of the South Fork Merced downstream of Wawona Swinging Bridge. The Park is considering numerous
alternatives for managing boating on the Merced and Tuolumne Rivers, and we're pleased to see
that some include opening boating. Unfortunately, the Park's Preferred Alternatives for
both rivers keep the long-standing prohibition on paddling in place between Sentinel Beach
and Pohono Bridge and in the Merced Gorge on the Merced River, and also continues to ban paddling
on the entire length of the Tuolumne River. American Whitewater believes that all rivers
within the Park should be open to paddling.
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
Now is the time for the Merced and Tuolumne to join the numerous other rivers in the National
Park System that are open to paddling. The Park needs to hear from you about whether
the Wild and Scenic Merced and Tuolumne Rivers should be open to boating and
If you need help getting started, take a look at a sample letter
can view the Wild and Scenic River Draft Comprehensive Management Plans and Environmental Impact
Statements for the Merced
How to Submit Comments
Online at the Park Planning, Environment and Public Comment Site for the Merced and Tuolumne.
Via fax: 209-379-1294
By mail: Superintendent
Attn: Merced and Tuolumne River Plan
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389.
Public comment is open until March 18, 2013 for the Tuolumne
River Plan, and until April 18, 2013 for the Merced River Plan.
Attend a Public Meeting
Webinars will be held February 14th and 27th for the Merced.
With your help, we can advocate more effectively for opening these stunning and amazing
rivers to the public!