Park Service wants to ban most people from Yosemite

July 11, 2013

By Katy Grimes


Yosemite National Park is one of America’s greatest natural treasurers, set aside as a national park nearly 150 years ago by Abraham Lincoln specifically for “the public use, resort and recreation…for all time.”

Yet a proposal by the National Park Service, whose motto is “Experience Your America,” fundamentally changes the entire purpose for which Yosemite was set aside in the first place.

This week I interviewed Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif. He said the National Park Service has been pushing to radically alter the purpose, nature and use of Yosemite National Park in order to remove most visitors.

McClintock has been waging a battle against the National Park Service and what it has been doing behind closed doors, with the help of radical environmentalists.

A few months ago, McClintock discovered that the National Parks Service “opposes commercial activities” in the park, and has been working very quietly to get them removed. Bicyling, rafting, camping, snowshoeing and horseback riding were all put on the hit list. It also opposes the souvenir shops, snack stands and hybrid bus tours. These “commercial ventures” apparently offend environmental justice seekers and a new brand of enviro-park rangers who are hostile to park visitors, most of them taxpayers who pay the rangers’ salaries.

According to McClintock, the park service has already begun the process of removing human activity in Yosemite.

The Royal Forest


“Ninety-five percent of the park is already in wilderness,” McClintock explained. “Yet the overwhelming majority of park visitors come to that five percent where amenities are available for public recreation: where they can rent a bike; where they can stop at the snack shop to get ice-cream cones for the kids; where they can pick up souvenirs at the gift shop; where the family can cool off at a lodge swimming pool.  And it is precisely these pursuits that the National Park Service would destroy.”

For more than a century, the mission of helping the American people enjoy the grandeur of their national treasure was honored by the park’s stewards.  But no more.  The new plan would radically alter the visitor-friendly mission of the park with a new, elitist maxim: “Look, but don’t touch; visit, but don’t enjoy.”

The increasingly exclusionary and elitist policies of the National Parks Service and National Forest Service are part of the environmental justice movement. “These actions evince an ideologically driven hostility to the public’s enjoyment of the public’s land — and a clear intention to deny the public the responsible and sustainable use of that land,” McClintock said.

“During the despotic eras of Norman and Plantagenet England, the Crown declared one third of the land area of Southern England to be the Royal Forest, the exclusive preserve of the monarch, his forestry officials and his favored aristocrats,” McClintock explained. “The people of Britain were forbidden access to and enjoyment of these forests under harsh penalties.  This exclusionary system became so despised by the people that in 1215, five clauses of the Magna Carta were devoted to redress of grievances that are hauntingly similar to those that are now flooding my office.”

“The National Park Service proposal would remove long-standing tourist facilities from Yosemite Valley, including bicycle and raft rentals, snack facilities, gift shops, horseback riding, the ice-skating rink at Curry Village, the art center, the grocery store, swimming pools, and even the valley’s iconic and historic stone bridges,” McClintock told me. “These facilities date back generations and provide visitors with a wide range of amenities to enhance their stay at — and their enjoyment of — this world-renowned national park.”

The NPS seeks to use the Wild and Scenic River designation of the Merced River as an excuse to expel commercial enterprises and dramatically reduce the recreational amenities available to park visitors. Yet according to the author of the designation, former Rep. Tony Coehlo, D-Calif., this was never the intent of the designation.

The Park Service says the restrictions are necessary to comply with a recent settlement agreement, reached with the most radical and nihilistic fringe of the environmental Left, according to McClintock.  But McClintock said the settlement agreement was not mandatory and one in which the Park Service voluntarily entered, then paid $1 million to the environmentalists.

The enviro lawsuit

The changes are part of a new set of principles for the park known as the Merced River Plan. Released only in January, the 2,500-page document comes after years of lawsuits over what should be allowed in Yosemite Valley and the Merced River that flows through it, according to McClintock.


The Merced River Draft Plan public webinars and workshops were held in early 2013, but McClintock said they were essentially a farce.

McClintock said the plan calls for the removal of stone Sugar Pine bridge, built in 1928 and located behind the Ahwahnee Hotel, because its abutments “impede the flow of the Merced River and cause erosion.” It also recommends rebuilding only 40 percent of the 406 campsites lost in the 1997 flood, restoring 203 acres of meadows and improving parking. Visitors still would be allowed to bring bikes, horses or rafts to the park but rentals would not be available any longer.

In fact, that agreement imposes no requirement on the government to do anything more than adopt a plan consistent with current law, according to McClintock. “And current law is explicit: the 1864 act establishing the park guarantees its use for public recreation and resort; the 1916 Organic Act creating national parks explicitly declares their purpose to be the public enjoyment of the public lands, and the Wild and Scenic River Act contemplated no changes to the amenities at Yosemite — so says its author, [former] Democratic Congressman Tony Coelho. Yet the Park Service insists that the law compels these radical changes.”

Flood damage

In January of 1997, the Merced River flooded and caused significant damage to the park. The flood even left more than 2,000 park visitors stranded for several days, because the roads were damaged by the floodwaters.

Following the flood, Congress appropriated $17 million to restore the parking and campgrounds that were wiped out. “That money was spent, but the parking and campgrounds were never restored,” McClintock said. He has made several formal inquiries to the National Park Service asking where the money went. Only just this week he received a report from Yosemite officials. Once he has thoroughly reviewed the report, I will share his findings.

Following the flood and Yosemite’s failure to restore the camp sites or parking, McClintock said the number of annual visitors to the park dropped from 4 million to 3 million, a 25 percent drop. Revenues also dropped about 25 percent.

Protected toads and frogs

Further complicating matters, and providing additional evidence of the radical environmentalist agenda behind the Yosemite proposals, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s announced it was going to list the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and the mountain yellow-legged frog as endangered species, and the Yosemite toad as a threatened species. And service was going to designate a critical habitat for these species.

“These listings and the associated critical habitat will impact over two million acres of private, state and federal land,” McClintock said. He noted this was exactly why the Fish and Wildlife Service took the action it did. “Critical habitat designations will likely cause severe restrictions on land access and could limit or forbid activities such as grazing, trout stocking, logging, mining, and recreational use, resulting in a devastating impact on the local economy.”


Write a comment
  1. Sharon Denison
    Sharon Denison 11 July, 2013, 11:16

    I am not in favor of any legislation that would limit the use of public trust lands to the public. We pay for them and should have access. Just my take on this; with the fear of a major earthquake and the strong likelihood that it will trigger a massive volcanic eruption,it may be that they are looking for ways of limiting/stopping access as a means of public safety. Anything in the park at the time of a major eruption will be doomed.

    Reply this comment
  2. us citizen
    us citizen 11 July, 2013, 13:37

    I dont think Yosemite has volcanoes, it was made by a glacier…….I think you are thinking of Yellowstone.

    Even sooooo, these parks are paid for by us and we should have access and amenities. Who do these people think they are anyway that they can dictate who can go where.

    Some of my best memories as a kid was camping in Yosemite…….when they used to have fire falls!

    Reply this comment
  3. Rightwinger
    Rightwinger 11 July, 2013, 14:53

    The Park Service is trying to do this in another park in Tuolumne County as well (Yosemite spans 2 counties)… Pinecrest Lake. The Forest Service proposed limiting the number of boats moored on the lake from currently over 150 to something like 30 and this is a lake known for it’s small boat racing & sailing. The public went ballistic! So hopefully they will be rethinking that move…but it is so typical of the ‘liberal elite’…we pay their salaries,benefits, and retirement…nice thanks we get; The Tax Payer and the ultimate owner of these parks!! Keep up the pressure Mr. McClintock!

    Reply this comment
  4. Alice
    Alice 11 July, 2013, 19:57

    Agenda 21 in action

    Reply this comment
  5. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 11 July, 2013, 20:49

    These exclusionary policies of the National Park Service are just a little preview of Amerika’s future. When the EnviroNazi’s consolidate power we will see their real agenda. Most of this country will be off limits to human habitation. Internal passports will be needed to travel anywhere. Special permission will be needed from the Eco-Overlords to travel outside of designated human habitation zones. Anyone caught without official permission outside these zones will be subject to harsh penalties including draconian fines and incarceration in Soviet style hard labor camps.

    All crimes against Gaia will be considered high crimes against the state and will be punished accordingly. Remember, the environmental elites think of the rest of us as a cancer on the planet, ruining their vision of an ecological paradise free of teeming masses of humanity. Can eugenics in the name of Mother Earth be far off? Never underestimate the ruthlessness of the Environmental Totalitarians.

    Welcome to the United Socialist Environmental States of Amerika.

    Reply this comment
  6. Bob Smith
    Bob Smith 11 July, 2013, 21:15

    What a great deal for the park rangers! If there are no people, the rangers would be paid to do nothing.

    The settlement agreement referred to sounds like the latest in a line of offensive legal strategies being employed by leftists within the Federal government. To wit, invite a friendly litigant, then settle on pre-agreed terms. Then do whatever is demanded by the settlement, which is nearly always something said leftists were forbidden to do on their own.

    Reply this comment
  7. Bill
    Bill 11 July, 2013, 22:53

    As Alice already stated…Agenda 21 in action–and coming to a national park, national monument, national forest, wilderness area, near you! Human no-go zones, meaning the human invasive species is persona non-grata.

    Check out (search engine) Freedom Advocates for a primer on so-called Sustainable Development and the land grabs happening across this country.

    Reply this comment
  8. Queeg
    Queeg 12 July, 2013, 07:35

    Maybe doomer cheapskates may have to pay more to have an enviro outing!

    Reply this comment
  9. Rod Smith
    Rod Smith 12 July, 2013, 08:14

    Just as the NPS has been destroying the trout fishery in Bright Angel Creek in the Grand Canyon that was established in the 1920s. If the enviro-parkies want everything like it was before human influence, they need to admit to needing to do things like destroy Glen Canyon Dam and Hoover Dam, as well as Hetch-Hetchy reservoir. Of course there will then be a need for fresh water for millions of us with no available replacement. There will also be no need for most of those now employed by the NPS. Sadly, Bob Smith is correct in recognizing much of the nonsense is designed to invite litigation which will ultimately be settled when the greenie organizations deem their payoffs adequate to drop their litigation. Sad times for the country.

    Reply this comment
  10. Hondo
    Hondo 12 July, 2013, 08:34

    The Park circus wants to protect the park for the drug dealers who use the park to grow idiotic amounts of marijuana.

    Reply this comment
  11. Wayne White
    Wayne White 12 July, 2013, 11:09

    I agree that we are being shut out from our own outdoor recreation areas and we need to fight back. But….that fight must be to put a stop to the pigs that leave their trash behind! I picked up a bagful at Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite last year. I picked up a pile at The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, not to mention the graffiti on the walls of even the Primitive Baptist Church. I posted on FB a photo of the trash out in the woods at Ten Killer Lake, Oklahoma and again this week at my local Success Lake, California. Disgusting Pigs are not helping our cause of continued access to our outdoors and I’m angry about it!

    Reply this comment
  12. Gayla Mitchell
    Gayla Mitchell 12 July, 2013, 11:34

    I say cut all funding from the Government until “sanity” comes back to the environmentalists involved. Too much Control of the People for what reason? They want our “money”, but not us……

    Reply this comment
  13. Steele, Ted, When only the very best will do!
    Steele, Ted, When only the very best will do! 12 July, 2013, 14:36

    Katy– We Fox Newsers are too fat to get to Yosemite any other way than driving our stinking polluting massive suv’s right all up in there! Is Obama taking my freedom again?

    Reply this comment
  14. Chich Goss
    Chich Goss 12 July, 2013, 15:57

    Come on, public safety is NOT the issue here; it is the radical environmentalists that feel no one should put a foot on this endangered (so they say) land; also, this not volcanic. .. .. in the area. This is glacial. … . What we need to do here is possibly limit the numbers of people at any given time, etc. People, pay attention to this one .. . . it is only the beginning.

    Reply this comment
  15. Steele, Ted, When only the very best will do!
    Steele, Ted, When only the very best will do! 12 July, 2013, 16:24

    Yes Goss– it’s only the beginning! The enviros are comming! Lock the doors! We’re doomed ! Doomed I tell ya!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  16. Suzanne
    Suzanne 12 July, 2013, 17:30

    Dyspeptic – 5 years ago I would have called you a conspiracy theorist, but now…. You are exactly right. The environmentalists won’t be happy until humans are contained in high-density limited urban areas.
    And Sharon, the last thing environmentalists care about is public safety or the human condition. They won’t be happy until the human population is drastically reduced and they will use any means possible including eugenics and extermination.

    Reply this comment
  17. Queeg
    Queeg 12 July, 2013, 19:47

    Yosemite is not a cheap vacation….staying in a housekeeping lean to costs over $880. per week….ice about 5 bucks a medium bag…food an expensive caloric nightmare….grocery store purchases make you whimper…some cry…

    Brunch at the Awhanee makes you yearn for Dennys….your wallet at least 20 bucks lighter including tip for a local who was an xtra in “Deliverance”.

    Reply this comment
  18. Jackrabbit90813
    Jackrabbit90813 13 July, 2013, 14:34

    Notice the Limousine Liberals who run the Sierra Club and Yosemite Assn EXPANDED the Ahwanee Hotel at the same time they closed the Rivers Campgrounds. They have shut down the open access to Half Dome, requiring a permit.

    Reply this comment
  19. The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System
    The Africanized Swarm of Ted Steele System 13 July, 2013, 17:38

    Suzzanne—- LOL— the enviros are going to exterminate people? LOL you have found a home here at CWD– the home of the “Bunker Doomer”(tm) !

    Reply this comment
  20. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 14 July, 2013, 20:17

    Teddy….your always is right! The smoke in the valley is real…..pollution…..ever notice how whizzened the midnight bears look chomping on campers’ Chips Ahoy artificially petrified cookies!

    Reply this comment
  21. Daniel
    Daniel 14 July, 2013, 21:00

    I predict the Ahwanee Hotel will be next on the chopping block after they tear down the bridges, and since they wont legally be able to tear it down I predict it will be damaged beyond repair due to a flood, rock fall or fire.

    Reply this comment
  22. rebecca
    rebecca 16 July, 2013, 16:10

    United Nations Agenda 21, Thank goodness for Tom McClintock, we need more like him. Get out and vote, be a voice and educate people about sustainable development —smart meters and more

    Reply this comment
  23. Steele, Ted, When only the very best will do!
    Steele, Ted, When only the very best will do! 22 July, 2013, 15:34

    Yes– Tic tock McClintock is Jesus.

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply

Related Articles

We wuz robbed!

There’s an old rule in journalism that says always credit your sources. I think they still teach it in Journalism

State estimates on cost of new lighting rules far too low

It looks like California business interests have yet another example of state bureaucrats downplaying or ignoring the cost of new

Behind push against truancy/absenteeism: unions’ money hunt

What is by far the single most important factor in how California government functions? I stand by my theory that