Court Halts Yosemite Development Projects

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Confirms Yosemite River Plan is Invalid

San Francisco/ On Tuesday, April 20, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered the National Park Service to halt, “any and all projects developed in reliance upon the invalid CMP [Comprehensive Plan for the Merced River].” The Merced River Plan is foundational to the Yosemite Valley Plan and its development projects. “Despite this clear ruling, today, on Earth Day, the National Park Service continues to market its urban redevelopment plan for Yosemite Valley as a “restoration” plan. The public wants the truth about the Yosemite Valley projects, not more greenwashing,” noted Joyce Eden, Co-Director of FoYV. “These projects would mean more development, pavement, and commercialism. Yosemite visitors want a quiet more direct experience of nature, not a costly resort.” This ruling stopped the logging operations which the Park Service had begun in the Yosemite Lodge, Curry, and other areas of the treasured Valley. The Yosemite Lodge Plan would immediately bulldoze a new road in an undeveloped area next to the River, would construct over 27 buildings in an undeveloped woodland west of Curry, and dig trenches at various locations around the Valley to accommodate an increase in utility capacities. Construction totaling $441,000,000 with barely 6% towards restoration is scheduled to follow. In October, 2003, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the Merced River Plan is invalid, overruling the District Court. It directed the District Court to issue an order requiring the Park Service to address user capacity in a manner that would protect the River and to re-draw boundaries for the Yosemite El Portal area. When the District Court failed to do so, Friends of Yosemite Valley et al, brought the issue back before the Appeals Court which reaffirmed its order. The full text of the ruling can be viewed at www.yosemitevalley.org