Yosemite National Park Officials Proposing To Remove Structures From Rockfall Zone

The Rufus Green Bungalow, built in 1922, is one of 72 buildings near the base of Glacier Point in the Yosemite Valley that park officials are proposing to demolish. NPS photo.

Rather than risk visitor and staff safety in the rockfall zone below Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park officials are proposing that 72 rental units closest to that zone be permanently removed from the area.

Late in 2008 a thunderous rockfall from the cliff that holds up Glacier Point slammed down on Curry Village in Yosemite Valley. In the aftermath of that incident, park officials permanently closed 233 tent cabins, cabins with bath, cabins without bath, or roughly one-third of the village's overnight capacity, due to the threat of more rock peeling off from the cliff.

Most of the 233 units already have been removed from the area. The remaining 72 units targeted in the Curry Village Rockfall Hazard Zone Structures Environmental Assessment are hard-sided structures, some of which date to the 1920s.

There are four alternatives laid out in the EA, ranging from doing nothing and removing all the structures from the site to retaining the "most historically significant structures and representatives of architectural types."

Yosemite officials prefer to remove all the structures from the area, as that option, they say, "would maximize safety for park visitors and employees and eliminate the need for administrative access to the closed area."

"This alternative would entail documentation of the historic structures, salvage of historic materials for reuse, removal of all structures remaining in the rockfall zone, installation of interpretative materials, and allowing the area to return to its natural state," a park release said.

The EA does not detail whether consideration was given to relocating some of the historic structures to elsewhere in the Yosemite Valley. Calls placed to the park's media relations staff to inquire about that possibility were not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon.

The document is open for public comment through September 9. A digital copy of the EA is available on this site, and you can leave your comments there, too. The public is invited to discuss the project with park staff on August 31 at the park’s monthly Open House at the East Valley Auditorium behind the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Comments

I'm glad I got to stay in one of these cabins before removal. It's too bad, but if someone was killed in Curry while they were asleep, what would we say then?