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O, Yosemite!

November 18, 1990

I cannot believe the rage and frustration I felt as I read "Who Owns Yosemite?" by Maura Dolan (Sept. 30). I'm no hard-liner; I've enjoyed the conveniences provided by the Curry Co. over the years. But enough is enough.

For the past 10 years, I've watched the valley grow increasingly crowded and noisy. Employee vehicles roar past Yosemite Lodge, with added ruckus from distant garbage trucks and buses. Crowds of rowdy people often dominate campsites. Sure, you can hike out of the congestion, but what if you'd like to explore the valley floor, sit quietly by the Merced River or simply sleep in peace? More people in Yosemite Valley has meant an increase in pollution, crime and trampled meadows, and greater encroachment on animal habitats. Much of this so a private company could add to its multimillion-dollar profits.

It's time, once again, to save the valley from the very people who want to enjoy it; and to encourage the Park Service to exert stricter control over a company whose recruitment efforts helped increase visitors to 3.4 million in 1989.

Let's move out the grocery stores, automobiles, swimming pools, employee housing and some visitor accommodations. Keep, if we must, a few restaurants, stores and educational programs. The Curry Co. claims its profits are actually below average for resorts. Yosemite is not a resort. The park is a treasure that can lift our hearts and spirits. But only if we can experience its natural wonders without the distraction of traffic, noise and overcrowding. Or else, why leave home?

DEBRA CONKEY

Laguna Beach

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