Paddling in Yosemite–Comments Due April 18th

posted April 2, 2013
by Megan Hooker

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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, April 18th. 

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 abilities.
 
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
Superintendent 
Attn: Merced River Plan
P.O. Box 577
Yosemite, CA 95389
 
If you need help getting started on your comments, take a look at a sample letter. And for more information, visit the website for Yosemite National Park's Wild and Scenic Merced River Management Plan
 
With your help, we can advocate more effectively for opening these stunning and amazing rivers to the public!


Associated Rivers

Merced, S. Fork [CA]
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Associated Projects

  • Yosemite Whitewater (CA)
    AW advocates for opportunities to enjoy the unique and spectacular rivers of Yosemite National Park.

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