The primary plan designed to guide the National Park Service in protecting and managing Yosemite National Park is the 1980 General Management Plan. This long-range plan for the entire park outlined five broad goals:
* Reclaim priceless natural beauty
* Reduce traffic congestion
* Allow natural processes to prevail
* Reduce crowding
* Promote visitor understanding and enjoyment
The Yosemite Valley Plan aims to help carry out these goals and, in the process, to restore Yosemite Valley's natural processes.
But apparently they have had a change of heart.
Natural gem losing its allure
By Paul Rogers
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
Yosemite National Park has long been known as a place with stunning waterfalls, dramatic rock formations, and frustrating weekend crowds. But all that is changing.
The waterfalls and rocks are still there. A lot of the people aren't.
The number of visitors to Yosemite, in northern California, hit a 16-year low last year, according to statistics made public last week. Nobody knows exactly why attendance has been falling for a decade, although park officials point to busy families, video games, and a series of natural disasters.
The 3.36 million visitors in 2006 were nearly 20 percent fewer than Yosemite's peak 10 years ago, even though California added seven million people - equivalent to the combined populations of Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia - in that span.
"The traffic is less. I'm not seeing the backups that we used to see," said Scott Gediman, a ranger who has worked in Yosemite since 1996. "You don't see crowds of people as much."
Key holidays such as Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends and the Fourth of July remain busy. But increasingly, very crowded days are the exception. A few minutes' walk up a trail from Yosemite Valley can mean solitude.
"You can go out on an August day on a Tuesday afternoon and it is more peaceful and quiet now, which is wonderful," Gediman said. "But we'd like people, if they haven't been here in a couple of years, to come back.
Which is it, NPS? Do you want us to come, or stay away?