3/31/2003

From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Yosemite Alert

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

Yosemite Alert

REDWOODS  HEADQUARTERS  LEASE  IN  DOUBT 
WAWONA  MEETINGS  SET  FOR  APRIL  5TH


Dear Wawona Advocate:

     If you care about Wawona and the future viability of the community in Yosemite, now is an important time to learn about what is going on.

     Two very important meetings will be held this coming Saturday, April 5th in Wawona.  

-----1.  At 9:00 AM  the Wawona Area Property Owners Association will hold a meeting at the Community Center in Wawona.  The new Yosemite Superintendant, Mike Tollefson, is scheduled  to be the guest speaker.  For those who have not met him, it should prove interesting.   Mr. Tollefson should be treated with respect.   There will be a number of others speaking about a variety of issues.  Chuck Cushman, Executive Director of the American Land Rights Association and a Wawona property owner, will also be at the meeting.  

-----2.  At 3:00 PM the Redwoods will be holding their annual meeting.  The future of their headquarters building is likely to be one of the subjects discussed.  That meeting will take place at the Redwoods office.

      CRITICAL ISSUE:  Several months ago the National Park Service, in a backhanded manner, informed the Redwoods in Wawona that their lease on their headquarters building would be discontinued.  The Park Service has gradually increased the pressure on the Redwoods over the past few years.

      In our view, The Redwoods Board, feeling they had no other alternative, began making plans to build a new office on an adjacent parcel they had purchased for protection twenty years ago.  On the surface, it appears the Park Service is encouraging this move.

     As you may know, the American Land Rights Association began as the National Park Inholders Association in Wawona in 1978.  Over time, ALRA has evolved into one of the leading private property organizations in the United States.  ALRA has become a major player on private land and federal land use issues throughout the country.

     It is our opinion that the Redwoods is a major lynchpin to the future of Wawona.  A healthy Redwoods adds stability and a continuing economic framework to the community.   Many private homes in Wawona are rented to the public by the Redwoods.

     Any action that threatens the Redwoods, threatens the future of Wawona and the community.  

     The Redwoods Board is moving toward a decision to build a new building.  That may in fact be a good decision from a business point of view.   However, they do not know that yet.  They have not completed their economic analysis.  And they have no idea what political and environmental roadblocks may be offered up by Mariposa County regulators and the Park Service.

     It is our belief that it is important to take the gun out of the hands of the Park Service.  That means that while the Redwoods goes forward with their analysis, they need to get a long term stable permit for the existing office so that whatever decision they make about the future, it is not made under duress.

     Originally the parcel next door to the Redwoods was purchased to trade to the Park Service for the existing building or build a new building.  So there are three options.

-----1A  Build a new building.  That may be the best decision from a business point of view.  Nobody knows yet if it can and will work out.  Many question marks exist.

-----2A  Get an extended permit.  With the Bush Administration appearing to care about landowners and communities, an extended permit would seem likely, despite Park Service objections.  The new Congress is certainly more favorable to landowners and communities as well.  If there was ever a time to lock in long term protection for the Redwoods, now is the time.

-----3A  Trade the lot next door to gain permanent title to the Redwoods office building.  Trades are long, drawn out affairs, especially with the Park Service.  But the SDA camp on the South side of the river is doing a trade now for similar reasons.  This is clearly an option that should be discussed.

     No matter what your perspective is on this important matter, it is clear the Redwoods Board has done a good job over the years of following a successful path.  But they have never had their backs against the wall like they do now.  

     We believe it is important for the Redwoods to stand up to the Park Service, no matter what their ultimate plan is.  They need a long term permit to make sure the Redwoods can weather future political storms as they chart the best course for the Redwoods from a business point of view.

     Whatever your views, this is a very important meeting.  You should attend.   If you had not planned to come to Wawona this weekend, please do your best to help chart the future of the Redwoods and ultimately, Wawona.  Do your best to be in Wawona April 5th, even if only for the day.

     YOSEMITE VALLEY PLAN  -- American Land Rights has been contacted by a number of people in Madera and Tuolumne counties regarding the plan to eliminate cars from the valley, force people to use busses and reduce campgrounds by a cumulative of nearly two thirds since the 1980 Yosemite Valley Plan was first proposed.   Many people will be largely locked out of the park with this plan.  

     The Plan appears to affect, in a very negative way, lots of small businesses on the various corridors leading to the park.  That includes small businesses in Wawona.

     I will be in Wawona for the WAPOA and Redwoods meetings.  In addition, I will be at meetings with leaders in Wawona, Groveland, Oakhurst and other communities to discuss the Yosemite Valley Plan in order to gather the information necessary to set an appropriate course of action. 

     Anyone wishing to reach me to discuss any of the issues I have raised may call me at (360) 687-3087.   I will be on my cell phone from 1:00 PM Friday, April 4th until 9:00 PM Monday, April 7th.  That number is (360) 607-3312.  My phone number in Wawona is  (209) 375-6314.

     I welcome your calls and hope that you will do everything you can to make sure these issues are discussed at these meetings.  I will be available to meet with others concerned with these issues throughout the extended weekend and even beyond.

Sincerely, 
																		March 31, 2003
Chuck Cushman

Executive Director, American Land Rights Association
Formerly known as the National Inholders Association

PS.  We do not have a complete and up to date address list.   Please make it a point to call at least three friends or neighbors in Wawona to urge them to come to these meetings.  Do not assume they will know.

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