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Groups Ask for Opinions on Yosemite Plan

Some private property rights groups are handing out questionnaires that ask for residents opinions on the controverisal Yosemite Valley Plan.

The groups, which include TuCare and the American Land Rights Association, say they´re going to gather up the questionnaires and send them to a congressional committee which is considering the $441 million plan for Yosemite National Park.

The private property rights groups say the proposal would be a “lock out” of the park. They claim, among other things, that the plan will force visitors to use buses to access the park. The “forced busing” would hurt local businesses because visitors wouldn´t be able to independently choose their destinations, the groups say.

But, environmental activists say the plan is a balanced approach to restoring some campsites that were wiped out in a 1997 flood. Activists like John Buckley, who heads up the Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center in Twain Harte, says the plan only calls for having transit as an option when the park experiences a high volume of visitors.

During a congressional hearing last month in Yosemite, a congressional panel heard testimony from business owners, environmentalists, and others. At that time, two studies had just been released which say nearly 800 campsites could be built throughout the park, and another 144 could be restored near the Merced River.