From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Save Your Access To Yosemite (And Other 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

Save Your Access To Yosemite (And Other Parks)

You can stop the Park Service Forced Busing Plan.    You can keep camping, parking and personal freedom in Yosemite


MAILING DEADLINE (Snail Mail) for your Testimony is Friday, May 2nd
(You have until Monday if you fax it directly to the committee or ALRA) (Numbers below)

Download a specially formatted Testimony Questionnaire and letter.

Go to:  www.landrights.org    It will be right there on the home page.  Fill out your Testimony Questionnaire and fax it to the committee or ALRA by Monday.

Special Fax and e-mail addresses for Congressmen on the Resources Committee below.

From the Front Page:

See the updated Testimony Questionnaire and letter below.   By stopping the Yosemite Valley Plan, you will set the stage for keeping all national parks open to the public with the freedom to use them, camp in them and fully enjoy them with your family.  FORCED BUSING didn’t work in the schools and it cannot work in the national parks.

REASON TO MAIL YOUR TESTIMONY TO ALRA:  Because of the Anthrax scare, all mail to Washington, DC goes through a holding and radiation process.  If you mail your testimony by snail mail, it will not arrive in time. If you mail it to ALRA, it will go by Federal Express to Washington and then be hand delivered to the committee.

American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400
Battle Ground, WA 98604
(360) 687-3087
FAX:  (360) 687-2973
E-mail:  alra@landrights.org

Summary of Attached Information:

1.	The Front Page story from the Fresno Bee about the Yosemite Congressional hearing.  Dozens of other papers covered the issue prominently including the LA Times, SF Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Modesto Bee and many more.  The demonstration by local communities and camping activists led by American Land Rights was very successful.  Twenty people dressed as prisoners to show they were being held hostage by the Yosemite Valley Plan.

2.	A testimony questionnaire for you to fill out and send to the National Parks Subcommittee.  We would prefer that you mail it or e-mail it to American Land Rights so we can hand deliver it to the committee and other congressmen..  You must mail your testimony by Friday, May 2nd.  You can e-mail it by Sunday, May 4th.  Be sure to express in your own words your concerns in the space provided in the testimony questionnaire.  That makes it much more valuable.  

3.	A letter explaining the Yosemite Valley Plan and the background controversy and how the National Park Service is closing 75% of the parking, 60% of the campsites and will ultimately force nearly all visitors to ride the bus with all their stuff.

Fresno Bee, Wednesday, April 23rd.  Front Page.

 YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK -- This was definitely not the land of the happy camper Tuesday.

Dozens of campers and other outdoor enthusiasts gathered in Yosemite Valley to tell Rep. George Radanovich that park plans are not giving the public enough campsites. The Mariposa Republican was holding a field hearing at the park to discuss campgrounds in the valley.

At issue are the 361 campsites that were wiped out in the 1997 flood. The National Park Service doesn't plan to bring them back, and Radanovich, who wants to restore many of them, wanted to hear more discussion.

Radanovich got his wish even before testimony began as he paused to spend a moment speaking with Yosemite Valley schoolchildren outside the hearing room.

About three dozen residents (Editor note: most dressed as prisoners) from surrounding communities and others chanted against the backdrop of the snow-dusted granite cliffs surrounding the valley.

"What do you want?" yelled Chuck Cushman, executive director of the American Land Rights Association and spokesman of a new coalition called Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite.

"More camping!" the marchers cried.

With Yosemite National Park in his congressional district, Radanovich is willing to oblige. But an approved valley plan -- a $441 million management blueprint signed in 2000 after two decades of effort -- already excludes the 361 campsites.

A potentially long and difficult rewriting process would begin again if too many campsites are restored.

At the same time, Radanovich said he wants the valley to serve everyone, including people who can't afford to spend the night at park motels. He would like to see "no net loss" of campsites.

National Park Service Director Fran Mainella, who attended the hearing, said officials could add 25 campsites to the valley without rewriting the plan. She said the park could place other camping spots in locations such as Crane Flat or Tuolumne Meadows, outside of the valley.

"We could add 204 campsites outside the valley," she said.  "We need to emphasize the day-use visitor. We see greater day-use here and around the country -- people biking, hiking and picnicking for the day."

Quiet groans rippled through the crowd of about 200 in the hearing.

Plenty of people and groups are watching this closely, hoping for changes.

Why? Because millions of people pass through Yosemite Valley each year. The 7-square-mile glacial valley, known for its views of Half Dome, El Capitan and Yosemite Falls, attracts campers, rock climbers, hikers, backpackers and many others who feel passionate about using the park.

Officials have worked since 1980 on various plans to manage visitors and revive nature in the valley. Lawsuits and lack of money continually delayed the process until a massive 1997 flood crippled the valley.

With millions of dollars in flood repair ready and waiting, officials pulled together the Yosemite Valley Plan, which was approved at the end of the Clinton administration. The plan, which deals with everything from motel construction to habitat restoration, will take many years to complete.

Transportation is another sticking point in this plan. Officials would reduce valley parking spaces from about 1,600 to about 550 in years to come. The park would provide satellite parking outside the valley and buses would eventually shuttle visitors into the valley.

Many critics believe a bus ride would ruin their experience, cost them more money and limit their freedom.

"We're concerned about the ultimate removal of the automobile," said Stephen Welch, executive vice president of the Pines Resort in Bass Lake, which is near the Highway 41 corridor outside Yosemite.

"Access and affordability are issues for our customers."

Some environmentalists like the idea of reducing the number of vehicles in the valley as well as re-establishing natural conditions -- instead of campgrounds -- next to the Merced River.

Wilderness Society regional director Jay Watson, a vocal supporter of the Park Service's plan, said the riverside restoration would help an area rich in biological diversity.  He added that the plan provides 1,461 overnight accommodations in the valley.

"Out of this total, 1,179 are campsites, rustic tent cabins and economy-scale cabins," he said. "Only 282 beds, so to speak, or 19%, would be at the upper levels in cost."

Another supporter, Michelle Jesperson, associate regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association, said it's time to move on with the plan.

But critics said the plan falls far short of camping accommodations compared to 1980 levels. Paul Minault, regional coordinator of The Access Fund, representing rock climbers, said the 1980 Yosemite General Management Plan called for almost 1,000 more campsites in the park, including almost 300 more in the valley.

The Park Service should be promoting camping as a way to bring together people from all walks of life, he said.

"The nation's great parks present an opportunity to be a force for social equality," he said. "Unfortunately, the lodging picture in Yosemite preserves the social distinctions."

The reporter can be reached atmgrossi@fresnobee.com or 441-6316.

This article is protected by copyright and should not be printed or distributed for anything except personal use.

You can find this story on the web including pictures of the prisoners at:

Specially formatted version available at www.landrights.org

Mailing Deadline Friday, May 2nd

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

National Parks Subcommittee
George Radanovich

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 personally written comments here will make this document much 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 Friday, May 2nd.

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 who attended the hearing.   Be sure to fax your Testimony to each of them.

Congressmen on the National Parks Subcommittee Expected To Attend:

National Parks Subcommittee
George Radanovich, Chairman
Phone:  (202) 226-7736
Fax:  (202) 226-2301
Web:  http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/parks/

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

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 Who Did Not Attend:  (Fax testimony to them anyway.)

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

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) 2225-3286
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

Yosemite Valley Plan – Background letter.

Specially formatted version available at www.landrights.org

Dear Yosemite Friend:                                 

Testimony Mailing Deadline Friday, May 2nd.

Tuesday, April 22nd, Congress held 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.  It is a threat to all national parks.  Do you care about visitor use, camping, small business, personal freedom, and access?  The hearing was a critical first step in the battle to stop the Yosemite Valley Plan.  

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 held successful public meetings in Sonora on April 16th, Oakhurst on April 17th and Mariposa on April 21st. 

The Park Service is planning to remove cars from Yosemite Valley in favor of a forced busing urban mass transit scheme, with 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.  Ultimately nearly all visitor cars will be excluded.  Forced busing will be your only option.

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 political 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.   It is not based on science.  There are no peer reviewed carrying capacity studies. 

Oh, by the way, for now 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. It is divide and conquer.   But the rich will get a surprise.   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” after the flood.  They want to either force you on to mass transit or drive you out.  A top down plan from Washington, DC.  

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.”
( Over, please)
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.  Congress has serious reservations about how the Yosemite Valley Plan is being managed.  


-----1.  Mail back your Testimony TO ALRA immediately.  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.   You must mail it by Friday, May 2nd. 

-----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 reach out to more people.  These mailings are very expensive.  But they must be done. The families, campers and other users being locked out must be told.  This fight cannot be won without your quick help.  Yosemite and other parks must not be locked up just for the  wealthy elite.

-----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.

“Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite (VCOY),” in cooperation with ALRA, is mailing thousands of testimony questionnaires.  Campers groups, hiking organizations, visitors bureaus and lots of others are supporting VCOY.  Your contribution will help build more allies.  This fight only started at the April 22nd hearing. Join us and win.    Send your testimony today.

Please return your TESTIMONY QUESTIONNAIRE and include your check for $25 to join the NO PARK GRAB team.  Support Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite (VCOY).  NO MONEY IS REQUIRED TO SEND YOUR TESTIMONY.

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 good.  Please mail it by Friday, May 2nd.

     You can make history.  They’re trying to lock your family out of Yosemite.  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 Friday, May 2nd.   

Please forward this message widely. Thank you.

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