To say Yosemite National Park is an eyeful is an understatement. Everywhere you look it seems there's something to fix your gaze on -- Half Dome, Glacier Point, El Capitan, Tenya Lake.
But how can we preserve those vistas for future generations? How can we ensure that they're as marvelous (if not more so) 50 or 100 years down the road as they are today?
Those are questions the folks at Yosemite are hoping to be able to answer in the months ahead. Beginning February 12 the park will embark on a 30-day-long public scoping period to gather thoughts on what should be considered as they move forward with developing a Scenic Vista Management Plan Environmental Assessment
Written comments should be postmarked no later than March 13, 2009.
Historians will tell you that Yosemite was originally set aside for preservation due to its outstanding scenery. Back in 1851, when Dr. Lafayette Bunnell, first set his eyes on the Yosemite Valley, this is how he described the incredible setting of rock, water, and trees: "...the clouds...partially dimmed the higher cliffs and mountains. This obscurity of vision ... increased the awe with which I beheld it, and as I looked, a peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being."
Millions of modern-day explorers have experienced this same view. Today, we call it Tunnel View. It’s just one of many iconic views and vistas for which Yosemite is famous.
With that accepted, the purpose of the Scenic Vista Management Plan is to:
* Protect Yosemite’s historic viewsheds and the natural processes that created them.
* Preserve the historic and cultural contexts in which the viewpoints were created.
* Restore visitor-use opportunities associated with lost vistas.
* Where historic viewpoints cannot be rehabilitated, identify potentially new views or vistas.
* Restore or maintain vistas by restoring natural species composition, structure, and function to systems or by using traditional Native American management practices.
A public open house is scheduled for February 25 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Valley Visitor Center Auditorium in Yosemite Valley. Park Admission fees will be waived for those attending the open house.
You can either submit your thoughts at that meeting, fax them to 209-379-1294, email them from this page, or, after February 12, use the National Park Service's Planning, Environment, and Public Comment commenting system.