Merced River Plan Introduction

Merced River Plan Public Comment Period Extended! Comment Period Open Until April 30, 2013 

Fall image of the Merced River from Valley View
Fall image of the Merced River from Valley View

The National Park Service has released the Merced Wild and Scenic River Draft Comprehensive Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for public review and comment.

Once adopted, this plan will serve as the blueprint for all activities within the 81 mile corridor of the river in Yosemite National Park, including site-specific actions needed to protect the river in Yosemite Valley, El Portal, and Wawona.

The Merced River Plan (MRP) presents the environmental analysis of six alternatives.  The alternatives provide a range of actions from no action in Alternative 1, to a 46% reduction of lodging in Alternative 2 to an increase in lodging of 21% in Alternative 6. 

The park has identified Alternative 5 as the preferred alternative.  Under Alternative 5, the park would:

  • Restore 203 acres of meadow and riparian habitat.
  • Significantly increase the campsite inventory in all river segments (+28%) and in Yosemite Valley (+37%).
  • Increase day-use parking spaces in Yosemite Valley (+11%).
  • Reduce commercial services within the river corridor by:
  •  Removing Curry Village raft rental, ice rink and bike rental stand
  •  Eliminating horseback day rides in Yosemite Valley
  •  Removing Yosemite Lodge bike rental stand and swimming pool
  •  Removing The Ahwahnee swimming pool.
  • Make significant changes to the traffic circulation pattern in Yosemite Valley to accommodate ecological restoration goals and reduce traffic congestion. 
  • Maintain the current use level of approximately 19,900 visitors per day in Yosemite Valley.
  • Continue to manage overnight use capacity through wilderness permits and reservation systems for     lodging and camping.
  • Manage day-use capacity in Yosemite Valley through intentional traffic diversions and monitoring.

To learn more, download a quick overview of each of the proposed alternatives (220KB).

You can also find more information and links on how to view the full document as well as other summaries, fact sheets, and recorded webinars on the National Park Service website.

Make Your Voice Heard

Three ways to share your comments with the National Park Service:

  1. Comment Online
  2. Mail printed comments to the following address:
    Superintendent, Yosemite National Park
      Attn: Merced River Plan
      P.O. Box 577
      Yosemite, CA 95389
  3. Email your comments to: yose_planning@nps.gov