From: alra@governance.net
Subject: They’re Stealing Your National Parks

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 – Battle Ground, WA  98604
Phone:  360-687-3087 – Fax:  360-687-2973 – E-mail:  alra@landrights.org
Web Address:  http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office:  507 Seward Square SE – Washington, DC 20003
Phone:  202-210-2357 – Fax:  202-543-7126 – E-mail:  landrightsnet@aol.com

They’re Stealing Your National Parks

Yosemite Valley Plan (YVP) Threatens Park & Local Economies

Bush Administration Allows Clinton Yosemite Legacy Plan To Go Forward.

Yosemite Valley Plan Is The Model For All Parks If The NPS Can Get Away With It.

Park Service Took Flood Restoration Money And Used It For Social Engineering In Yosemite.

The NPS Is Removing Over 60% of Family Campsites.

They’re taking Out 75% of The Parking.

They’re Forcing Everyone To Ride Buses To Go Anywhere In Yosemite Valley.  Would You Want To Have To Take All Your Stuff On And Off A Bus to Go Sightseeing?  What If You Had Kids?  The Valley Plan Is A Disaster Waiting To Happen.

Pay Attention to Yosemite.  Your Favorite Park Will Follow. 

Congressional Hearing on YVP Set For Tuesday, April 22nd

Special Meetings Planned To Stop The Park Lockout

Dear Yosemite Region Friend:                                

Testimony Mailing Deadline Tuesday, April 29th.

Tuesday, April 22nd, Congress will hold a hearing in Yosemite Valley to review the Yosemite Valley Plan (YVP).  This plan is a threat to the economic future of Madera, Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties.  Do you care about visitor use, small business, personal freedom, camping, and access?  This hearing is critical.   Anyone who can go to the hearing should do so

You’re being locked out of your national park.  A new local group, “Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite,” has affiliated with the American Land Rights Association to fight the threat to the local economy from the Yosemite Valley Plan.   Together we’ll be holding important public meetings in the Yosemite area this coming week.  Your help is needed to respond to the congressional hearing.   Fill out the Testimony Questionnaire below and fax it to the Congressmen listed on the committee members.

Wednesday, April 16th,  Best Western, Sonora Oaks, 19551 Hess, Sonora   7:30 PM

Thurs, April 17th, Senior Center, 4911 Cinder Lane (behind Comm. Center),Oakhurst 7:00 PM

Monday, April 21st, Best Western Yosemite Way Station, 4999 Hwy 140, Mariposa  7:00 PM

The Park Service is planning to remove cars from Yosemite Valley in favor of an urban mass transit busing scheme, with Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) as the anchor.  Over 75% of Valley parking spaces are targeted for removal compared to what was there before the 1980 General Management Plan.  Over 60% of car accessible Valley camping spots are also going to be removed.

Imagine the young family coming to Yosemite with two children.   They are given no option but to board a bus with all that is necessary to survive for a day—stroller, diaper bag, change of clothes, picnic cooler, fishing pole, camera equipment, etc.  Would you do that?  How do they get off and enjoy places like Bridalveil Fall?  Load.  Unload.  Load.  They’ll be so tired by the time they try to cope with the stress, the young family will go someplace outside the Yosemite Region that is more accessible.

Over the years America has tried to make places like Yosemite handicapped and wheel chair accessible.  But young families?  Forget it.  Middle or low income families?  No chance.  

Why should you care?  Because the special interest driven plan by the National Park Service is damaging the Park and strangling visitorship.  That means the economies of communities in the entire Yosemite Region will suffer substantial long-term economic harm.   This plan will be expanded to parks all over America unless you stand up.

Oh, by the way,” the rich will still get to drive their cars if they have a reservation at the Ahwahnee Hotel or Yosemite Lodge.  So the rich get the treatment.  The less fortunate get locked out.  But they’ll get a surprise.  It is divide and conquer.  Eventually the Park Service will eliminate all cars.

Why would the Park Service get rid of perfectly good campgrounds?  Because the special interest groups need to close those campgrounds to claim “restoration.”  They want to either force you on to mass transit or drive you out.  A top down plan from Washington, DC.   The Park Service needs to justify its social engineering.  It is using flood restoration funds to achieve their objectives.

Now they’re stealing your national park.  But it gets worse. They say the buses into the Valley will be “affordable.”   Buses from YARTS already cost.  But remember they once said buses would be “free” at Denali National Park in Alaska.  Now those folks must pay up to $40 for a bus ticket.  What do you think that would do to visitorship in Yosemite? 

All of this is being done at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.  For years the Yosemite Valley Plan and the Yosemite General Management Plan languished because of money.   Then came the perfect storm—the flood of 1997.   What is happening to all the restoration money Congress gave the Park Service to repair Yosemite?  It is going to carry out the “Clinton-Babbitt Park Grab Plan.”

The Yosemite Valley Plan has become a boondoggle.  The money is being misspent, unaccounted for and probably just plain missing.  They have more planners than interpreters for the park.  Did you ever take a nature hike with a planner?  The plan has little or no science.  It is largely driven by organizations who believe people are bad and they must be restricted from the parks.  

     Congressman George Radanovich has stated publicly in the press, “the preparation of the plan, in fact the entire planning process, has been fatally flawed.”   When Congress passed Public Law 105-18 in June of 1997 awarding a $187,321,000 flood recovery package to Yosemite National Park, it was with the understanding that it would be used“…for `construction’ for emergency expenses resulting from flooding and other disasters . …”  Yet then-Superintendent B.J. Griffin testified at the subcommittee El Portal Oversight Hearing that more than $123 million was for pre-flood projects.

Something as basic as the sewage infrastructure, which was severely damaged in the flood, is in such disrepair and so poorly maintained that the California Regional Water Quality Control Board voted to fine the National Park Service for negligence in the never-ending sewage spills.

Yosemite has become a Lego building block project for the Clinton-Babbitt planners.  The LA Times said in 2000, that “Babbitt personally intervened in the drafting of the final report.  He has said he regards the Yosemite Valley Plan as central to the Clinton Administration’s environmental legacy.”

The draft Yosemite Valley Plan came with a $343 million price tag, but only a few months later the final document suddenly increased to $441 million.  It could go as high as ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

You can turn the Yosemite Valley Plan around.  Don’t believe those who say it is a done deal.  Wasting hundreds of millions of dollars is never a done deal.  


-----1.  E-mail back your Testimony TO ALRA immediately.    Send it to alra@landrights.org     We AGREE with all the statements, but you don’t have to.  Your testimony will be hand delivered to YOUR CONGRESSMAN.  It will go in the OFFICIAL  RECORD  of the HEARING.   Try to email it by Tuesday, April 29th.

-----2.  Join the Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite for only $25 per year.  That will help you defeat this terrible Yosemite Valley Plan.  In addition, please send a special Contribution to help defeat the Yosemite Valley Plan.  This fight cannot be won without your quick help.   This is a fight for all national parks.  Help stop the Yosemite Valley Plan and maybe you won’t have to fight to save your local park.

-----3.  Call your Congressman at (202) 225-3121 or the temporary FREE NUMBER (800) 648-3516.  Tell him:  NO  PARK  GRAB,  KEEP  YOSEMITE  OPEN  AND  AVAILABLE  TO  ALL.  Call each of the National Parks Subcommittee Members listed below.

-----4.  Come to the hearing in Yosemite Valley on April 22nd if you are close enough.  Please e-mail back your Testimony to ALRA or send it to PO Box 400, Battle Ground, Washington, 98604.   To attend, call “Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite” at (559) 683-4635 (Dan Carter) or (209) 962-4000 (Peggy Mosley).    

 “Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite,” in cooperation with ALRA, is mailing tens of  thousands of testimony questionnaires.  Your contribution will help mail more of them.  This fight will not end with the April 22nd hearing.  It has only started.  Join us and win. Send your testimony today.

Please return your TESTIMONY QUESTIONNAIRE to ALRA and include your check for $25 to join the NO PARK GRAB team.   No money is required but it sure would be appreciated.  This is a fight for all Americans carried on by a local constituency.   Support Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite.

Do your part to stop the Yosemite Valley Plan.  Send your special contribution for $30, $50, $75, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 to help build the network necessary to stop this threat.   No money is required to mail your testimony.  Any contribution is appreciated.  Please mail it by Tuesday, April 29th.

You can make history.  They’re trying to lock your family out of Yosemite.  Eventually they will try to lock you out of your local national park if they are not doing it already.  They don’t care about you, your community, your job, or your economic future.  They only care about their agenda. 


Chuck Cushman, American Land Rights and 
Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite.

P. S. Converting the Park to a never-ending stream of buses, the Yosemite Valley Plan will eliminate 75% of the parking and more than 60% of the campgrounds in Yosemite Valley. Tent and rustic cabins will be replaced by upscale lodging.  Families with children will be either forced to ride a bus all day or be deprived of enjoying the wonders of Yosemite.   Seniors, the disabled, climbers, rafters, fishermen, swimmers, and picnickers will become the next “endangered species.”

Please give Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite (VCOY) the funds necessary to protect the park while saving the economy of the Yosemite Region.  Don’t allow the Park Service to bully your community.  Join VCOY and ALRA with your $25 subscription to stop the Yosemite Valley Plan and send a contribution with your Testimony Questionnaire by Tuesday, April 29th.   Mail it to PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA 98604.

Mailing Deadline Tuesday, April 29th

Congressional Hearing Tuesday, April 22, 2003 – 
Yosemite Valley Plan

National Parks Subcommittee (List of Committee Members below.)

Resources Committee
Richard Pombo, Chairman

U.S. House of Representatives
Honorable ___________________
US House of Representatives

Please review my responses to the following statements and consider this document to be my testimony regarding the Yosemite Valley Plan.    I understand that I can attach additional comments and pages.  Please consider a photocopy of this document as valid as the original.    

I am deeply concerned about the Yosemite Valley Plan.  If implemented, it will destroy Yosemite’s profound beauty replacing it with crass commercialism accessed by unlimited streams of buses.  Low impact camping will be replaced by upscale lodging.  The average American family, seniors, the disabled, climbers, rafters, fishermen, swimmers, and picnickers will become the next “endangered species.”  Gateway communities, setting the tone for a pleasurable visitor experience while supporting the regional economy, are at risk.

I believe the US House of Representatives appears to have failed to listen to many witnesses about the negative impacts of the Yosemite Valley Plan.   Many people represented by you do not have any idea how seriously they are threatened. 

Please circle your answer - You may write additional comments by each question or in the comment section on the back.   Your personal comments make this document more valuable.

1.	The Yosemite Valley Plan discriminates against middle and lower income families and individuals.  It is an elitist plan that caters to the rich.  Yosemite should be open to all Americans.


2.	Closing nearly 60% of drive-in campgrounds in Yosemite Valley forces families with young children, seniors, and the physically challenged to go elsewhere rather than deal with the increasingly difficult conditions in Yosemite.


3.	New campgrounds have not been planned or funded for other areas in the park.  They talk about new campgrounds as a way to sooth opponents. They don’t want campers in the park.  That is the real issue.


4.	The Park Service has to get rid of the River Campgrounds because they represent the “heart and soul” of the restoration in what is supposed to be a restoration plan.  Yet the campgrounds represent the least impact on the environment and are the least expensive to maintain.


5.	Most Americans will not subject themselves to being forced onto buses.  This is especially true for seniors, the disabled, and families with young children.  Riding the bus for a whole day, lugging your family freight, will result in a more costly, commercialized, and more controlled experience—a  visitor’s worst nightmare.


6.	The average family would get on a bus way outside the park, have to get off with all their gear if they want to visit Bridlevail falls where they have no way to guard their supplies while they hike, then get back on the bus, reload their stuff, get off at the next site, unload all their stuff etc etc.  Most people will simply not accept this level on inconvenience.  They will go somewhere else.


7.	The Yosemite Valley Plan appears to be merely a busing plan developed around opportunities to increase revenue for the Park concessionaire.  City planners forcing visitors out of their cars.


8.	Parking is critical in Yosemite.  Over 70% of the pre 1980 parking will be closed.  It is very difficult for young families to fully enjoy Yosemite without the freedom of their cars.  No cars in the Valley will mean driving many, if not most, families to other places.  This deprives them of the unique experience Yosemite offers and inflicts economic hardship on the gateway communities surrounding Yosemite.


9.	The Yosemite Valley Plan resembles an urban renewal plan and appears to be a boondoggle.   Most of the money (96%) is allocated for construction and redevelopment.  Only 6% is targeted for restoration—primarily removal of the Rivers Campgrounds and popular picnic areas (Swinging Bridge and Church Bowl).  All of this at a cost that could go well over half a billion dollars.


10.	The Yosemite Valley Plan was largely funded by Congress in response to damage caused by overly exaggerated 1997 flood estimates.  Most of the money is not going for flood repair but instead to achieve a predetermined Park Service agenda responding to the anti-people goals of a noisy minority.


11.	Yosemite park planning has catered more to political timelines and special interest agendas resulting in piecemeal project development rather than a comprehensive, systematic approach that ensures protection of the environment and serving the public in the best way.


12.	Reductions in overnight lodging are achieved by removal of low-cost rustic cabins and tent cabins.  In their place will be upscaled, more expensive accommodations pricing out the average family.


13.	The Yosemite Valley Plan lacks scientific credibility.  As of now, the Park Service says it will do the scientific work sometime in the future.  That makes no sense.  An aggressive Inventory and Monitoring Program needs to be in place FIRST to provide information critical to the planning process.


14.	The Park Service has failed to do their homework.  They have not quantified the Park’s carrying capacity.  The Park Service is unable to scientifically document the amount of visitor use the park can sustain before negatively impacting resources.


15.	The general public was sold a bill of goods.  The Final document resembles a loosely bound framework of open-ended projects with no design-level specifics, each requiring further environmental review and compliance.  The result will be a public that has been left out albeit greatly disturbed at the sleight-of-hand tricks the Park Service has been using to leverage flood restoration money to further their “grand planning scheme.”


16.	I believe the Yosemite Valley Plan is a top down, command and control plan imposed by Washington, DC, on visitors and communities.  It is part of a nationwide campaign, targeting high profile national parks, to force people out of their cars and on to mass transit, ignoring the environmental, human and economic costs.


17.	Public participation and input into plan preparation is meaningless.  Public comments are just part of a check off list to show cursory compliance and are largely ignored. 


18.	A subtle outcome of the Yosemite Valley Plan is the staunch support of YARTS (Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System) by the National Park Service as a means for ultimately removing all private vehicle access to Yosemite Valley.


19.	The sewage system in Yosemite is falling apart.  I believe the Park Service should fix this environmental hazard before embarking on a grand scheme to remake Yosemite at the request of special interest groups.


 (Your written comments here will make this document more valuable.)

(If needed, use additional sheets or attach a personal letter.)

To validate your comments please fill in completely (PRINT) and be sure to sign.
Fax ___________________ 
Phone ____________________
Please do not fail to mail this testimony even if you receive it late.   Please return it to American Land Rights, PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA 98604.

Mailing Deadline Tuesday,  April 29th.

Please feel free to fax it to your Congressman.  Call the free number above to get his or her fax number.

Here are the National Parks Subcommittee Members expected at the hearing.  Be sure to fax your Testimony to each of them.

Congressmen on the National Parks Subcommittee Expected To Attend The Hearing:

George Radanovich (R-CA)  Chairman
Phone:  (202) 225-4540
FAX:  (202) 225-3402
Website:  www.radanovich.house.gov

Barbara Cubin (R-WY)
Phone:  (202) 225-2311
FAX:  (202) 225-3057
Website:  www.house.gov/cubin

Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Phone:  (202) 225-2523
FAX:  (202) 225-3404
Website:  www.nunes.house.gov

Donna M. Christian-Christensen
Phone:  (202) 225-1790
FAX:  (202) 225-5517
E-mail:  donna.christensen@mail.house.gov

Other Committee Members Not Expected To Attend:  (Fax testimony to them anyway.)

Elton Gallegly (R-CA)
Phone:  (202) 225-5811
FAX:  (202) 225-1100
Website:  www.house.gov/gallegly

John Duncan (R-TN)
Phone:  (202) 225-5435
FAX:  (202) 225-6440
Website:  www.house.gov/duncan

Walter Jones Jr (R-NC)
Phone:  (202) 225-3415
FAX:  (202) 225-3286
E-mail:  congjones@mail.house.gov

Chris Cannon (R-UT)
Phone:  (202) 225-7751
FAX:  (202) 225-5629
E-mail:  cannon.uto3@mail.house.gov

John Peterson (R-PA)
Phone:  (202) 225-5121
FAX:  (202) 225-5796
E-mail:  john.peterson@mail.house.gov

James Gibbons (R-NV)  Vice Chairman
Phone:  (202) 225-6155
FAX:  (2020 225-5679
E-mail:  mail.gibbons@mail.house.gov

Mark Souder (R-IN)
Phone:  (202) 225-4436
FAX: (202) 225-3479
E-mail:  souder@mail.house.gov

Rob Bishop (R-UT) 
Phone:  (202) 225-0453
FAX:  (202) 225-5857
Website:  www.house.gov/robbishop

Please forward this message widely. Thank you.

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