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Merced River Plan Delayed

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Yosemite, CA — Flooded with comments from the public on the plan, Yosemite gets a reprieve. The National Park Service and activist groups filed papers earlier this week to push back the July 31st deadline to finish the final draft of the plan. On Thursday, the U.S. District Court in Fresno granted a delay until Dec. 31.

Ranger Scott Gediman says they were hit with 30,000 comments. “We’re very happy that we got that many comments, but with the volume of comments and the complexity of them it would have been literally impossible to get them done by next week. The court was gracious enough to grant us a few extra months to go through all of the comments,” says Gediman.

He reports they have finished logging all the comments, but they have to review them. Gediman says most of the comments revolve around preserving recreational use in and around the park.

The National Park Service has proposed removing several amenities from the park, including an ice rink, bicycle rentals, swimming pools, horseback riding and the Sugar Pine Bridge. Two previous attempts to complete a Merced River Plan were shot down in court battles, dating back to August of 2000. It was noted that some of the details included in the third plan were the result of a settlement agreement.

An adamant opponent of the new plan has been Republican Congressman Tom McClintock, whose district covers the park. He wants to leave the amenities untouched.

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