From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Yosemite -- Urgent Message from Peggy Mosley

Land Rights Network
Phone: 360-687-3087 – Fax: 360-687-2973 – E-mail: alra@landrights.org

Request for Funding - Yosemite Valley Plan Threat

Good Afternoon, Tuolumne, Mariposa & Madera County Merchants
Your help and support is needed TODAY!
The Bad News Is:
As you are all aware, the Yosemite Valley Plan (YVP), in its present state, threatens to reduce visitation into Yosemite significantly.  Should this occur, ALL our businesses will feel the negative impact.  
Every tourist dollar spent in the county turns over 7 times before it leaves!  (My Vet was quite surprised to realize he was impacted by tourism.  During the ’97 Flood in Yosemite, the Park was closed for 3 months.  During that time I furloughed several kitchen staff – one of whom had scheduled to have her cat spayed.  Because of the layoff, she cancelled the surgery.)
The Good News Is:
Chuck Cushman with the American Land Rights Association (ALRA) joined our team in April 2003 to fight the implementation of the Yosemite Valley Plan in its present form.  Chuck has been incredibly successful in getting major media attention to our issues, sending and physically handing out thousands of information material and questionnaires to park visitors and the general public.  The return rate for his questionnaires is quite significant.  Responses are overwhelmingly in support of maintaining the freedom of driving your own vehicle into the valley and restoring many of the campsites.  Another batch of information/questionnaire packets is going out tomorrow.  (See the information below)  
During the past few weeks, I have done numerous interviews with newspaper, radio and TV media (LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Modesto & Fresno Bees, Stockton Record and KQED) on this issue.  The door is opening and we MUST continue our battle and WIN!
In addition to the Chuck Cushman effort, Congressman George Radanovich has introduced legislation, HR 2715, to undo the YVP in its present state, by restoring a major portion of the parking sites, restoring campsites along the Merced and several other items that will enhance the visitor experience.  
What Can You Do To Help?
The cost of printing and mailing these information/questionnaire packets is $3500.00.  We must raise enough to pay for them.  Please send me your check for ANY AMOUNT today.  Please call me at 209-962-4000 with pledges and I’ll get the check off to Chuck Cushman to cover the cost of printing and mailing tomorrow.  We really need your financial support to keep this effort moving.
And…please fill out the questionnaire referenced below, go to www.landrights.org to send your personal testimony and get it back in time to be counted in the Official Congressional Record.
I can’t thank you enough for your support – both financial and assistance in getting the message out.
Peg Mosley
The Groveland Hotel at Yosemite National Park
West’s Best Inns – Sunset Magazine
Top Ten Inns in U.S. – Country Inns Magazine
Wine Spectator Award of Excellence
Testimony Questionnaire Mailing Deadline Thursday, July 31st.
Go to www.landrights.org and download the Testimony Questionnaire.
Mail it back to American Land Rights, PO Box 400, Battle Ground, WA 98604
Dear Yosemite Advocate: 
Rep. George Radanovich just introduced a bill (HR 2715) in Congress to put back SOME of the campsites lost to the flood in 1997.  The bill also restores SOME of the parking the Yosemite Valley Plan has set for removal.   The bill makes it more difficult for the Park Service to force you to ride a bus. 
Radanovich arranged for a hearing in the Resources Committee for Tuesday, July 22nd.   
You have until Thursday, July 31st to mail YOUR PERSONAL testimony.   
That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it (HR 2715) does not go nearly far enough.  The NPS has asked Congress for almost 500 million dollars to “restore” Yosemite.  They’ve gotten half so far.  Yet most drive in campsites are disappearing and there’s a huge loss of parking planned.  
You must encourage Rep. Radanovich with his bill but urge he and Congress to really restore Yosemite and protect access for families and children, the handicapped, elderly as well as climbers and hikers.  That means that all 800 Valley drive in campsites must be saved.  And the 3,500 parking places in the Valley must not be reduced to 550 as is now planned.
The battle to save Yosemite and secure the future of your access to Yosemite National Park has been ongoing.    Media events organized by Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite (VCOY) and American Land Rights (ALRA) have resulted in numerous articles and media reports.
VCOY worked with American Land Rights to mail over 20,000 letters to people living in communities near Yosemite.  That resulted in over 1,000 official testimony statements to the Congressional Hearing held by Representative George Radanovich in Yosemite Valley in April.
VCOY organized greeters at each entrance to Yosemite over Memorial Day and Fourth of July Weekends to hand out surveys asking how visitors feel about being forced to ride buses into Yosemite.  They were also asked their opinion about the Park Service closing over 70% of the parking and 60% of the campsites in Yosemite (a reduction from 800 drive-in spots to 330).
Over 12,000 surveys were hand delivered to cars carrying approx. 36,000 people.   In response to informal questions, approximately 80% opposed the busing, loss of parking and campsites.  
VCOY and American Land Rights will be carrying out another Greeters at the Gates program for the Labor Day weekend.  We’ll need volunteers for Friday through Monday, August 28th through September 1st.  
Fran Mainella, Director of the Park Service bragged at the hearing in Yosemite Valley in April that a few years ago 80% of the visitors to Yosemite stayed overnight.  She said that number has completely reversed and is now 80% day-trippers.   A recent study indicates that visitors who stay in gateway communities overnight and visit Yosemite in their own cars spend over 65% more in the Yosemite Region than those who just drive in for the day.
A high official in the Park Service in Yosemite was recently quoted as saying that traffic in Yosemite was worse than downtown New York City.  That kind of anti-gateway community misinformation is driving people away from the Yosemite Region.
It’s clear the Park Service’s Yosemite Valley Plan is a social engineering project to reduce the visitors, make them buy inside the park, and force people out of their cars and onto buses from remote locations, bypassing many communities.  Many people like the shuttle system in the Valley. We’re talking about hundreds of large, slow, smelly buses from 50 and 100 miles away.  After the Park Service implements this planned change and when people find out they cannot go to Yosemite unless it is on a bus . . . .they won’t go.  It has not happened yet . . . but it will unless you help stop the Yosemite Valley Plan.
If the Yosemite Valley Plan is stopped, then this spread across the country to these restrictive forced busing, limited camping and parking plans at other parks will be cut back or eliminated.
Visitation to Yosemite was down by approximately 1,000,000 people since 1996 at last count.  If that trend continues, it spells economic disaster for Madera, Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties.  Those counties show what will happen in gateway communities at all most National Parks across the country.
Tourism in all three counties adjacent to Yosemite is very much in doubt if the impression is carried nationwide that you cannot visit Yosemite Valley unless you are on a bus.   
Camping is so limited; people will go elsewhere.  Even day-trippers will find little if any parking available.  And the Park Service adds to the perceived congestion by closing parking spaces so day trippers and overnighters alike drive around and around looking for a parking spot. 
Save Access to Yosemite  -- The Yosemite Valley Plan can be and must be overturned.  Rep. Radanovich’s HR 2715 can help if he really gets behind it and you do too.  But it must also be fixed.
History is in your hands.   The vocal minority that wants to largely shut down access to Yosemite is well on their way to achieving their objectives.   While your parking is being reduced from 3,500 spaces in Yosemite Valley to 550 spaces, the Wilderness camper parking increases by 25%.  Sounds like a double standard.  While drive-in campsites are being reduced from 800 to 330, walk-in campsites increase by 140% from 67 to 160.    
This will happen in all parks unless you act NOW!
Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite in partnership with American Land Rights is carrying out an aggressive campaign to encourage Congress to force the Park Service to save the parking and the campsites.  VCOY and ALRA plan to do everything possible to stop forced visitor busing.  
The Park Service has never before had to face the kind of organized opposition now coming from Yosemite Gateway communities.   Climbers, hikers, campers, Yosemite Indians and community leaders have joined to protect Yosemite’s environment, accessibility and affordability.
Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite is planning more mailings throughout the region.  We must reach out to allies who share our view that the National Parks must be open to all, not just be enclaves for the rich.  That means more mailings, more printing and postage and increased faxes.
The Park Service is biding their time.  They think you will not keep up the fight.  They think they can hunker down and you’ll lose interest. You must help prove them wrong.
VCOY must raise over $50,000 this year to pay for the mailings, buy signs, bumper stickers, and organize meetings and events.  VCOY will be working with American Land Rights to build support in Congress for an open Yosemite.  ALRA has a huge e-mail, fax and mailing list of allies across America in many parks and other areas.   
This is your last chance to save Yosemite Valley from the extremists.  You must not stop now.   The Yosemite Valley Plan will be overturned if you do your part.
What you must do NOW!
-----1.  Download your personal Testimony Questionnaire from www.landrights.org
-----2.  Download one or more of the signs that are on our website.  FAX a copy to your Congressman.  Use the 800 number below to call your Congressman to ask for his fax number.
-----3.  Mail back your Testimony Questionnaire quickly.  We agree with all the statements, but you don’t have to.  The mailing deadline is Thursday, July 31st.  It would help if you would send your check to support this effort for $25, $50, $75, $100, $200, $500 or some other amount.  No money is required to mail your testimony.
-----4.  Join Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite.  Your $25 membership also gets you automatic full membership in the American Land Rights Association with all the benefits.  That is $10 off the regular rate.  All the funds received on this project go to Visitors and Communities for an Open Yosemite.
-----5.  Call Rep. George Radanovich at (202) 224-3121 or the FREE NUMBER (800) 648-3516.   Thank him but urge him to fix ALL the campsites and parking damaged by the flood of 1997.   You can send him a fax at:  (202) 225-3402.
-----6.  Call and fax your Congressman to urge him to cut all funding for the Yosemite Valley Plan.  While it seems like in only affects Yosemite, you will send a signal that all anti-family actions by the Park Service must be opposed. 
Please consider joining VCOY today for $25 and support keeping Yosemite open.   It is critical that we get as much testimony to Congress as possible.  Your financial support is needed to help pay the printing, postage and fax costs.   Your commitment to the Yosemite Region must not waver.  And remember, you get full membership benefits in the American Land Rights Association included.
Fighting a battle of this size comes with a price.  Please do your part by sending your special contribution for $50, $100,  $200, $500, $1,000 or more today.  Mail it by Thursday, July 31st,
Stop the massive takeover of our National Parks by those who would force you on to a bus, close your camping and parking areas nationwide.  Help keep Madera, Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties and the Highway 41, 140 and 120 corridors in the fight with the National Park Service to restore camping, parking and maintain freedom of access. 

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