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In Yosemite, Not All Are Happy Campers

September 27, 2002

Re "Don't Derail Yosemite Plan," editorial, Sept. 24: The losers in the current Yosemite Valley Plan are valley campers and their families. Camping is the only acceptable and compatible use for our national parks. Concession and lodging services are enhancements and are welcomed, but they are not to drive park policy, which is the current plan mantra. Smog in Yosemite Valley is from the San Joaquin Valley, surrounding major cities and unregulated diesel tour buses, not campers in emissions-regulated autos. The people who oversee the park and Rep. George P. Radanovich (R-Mariposa), who is slowly getting the point, know that we campers love Yosemite. It is outgoing park Supt. David Mihalic and The Times who just don't get it. Do your homework!

Brian H. Ouzounian

Santa Monica

*

Your editorial was right on target. As a native Californian and Yosemite lover since the '50s, former park technician in Yosemite, participant in the Yosemite master plan debates in the '70s and one who was married in Yosemite, I find the actions of Radanovich (and perhaps his staff) myopic at best and disastrous at worst. In Mihalic, Yosemite finally had a park superintendent who had the will and skill to move the master plan forward and, in doing so, turn Yosemite into what a national park was intended to be.

One of our crown jewels was becoming another Jellystone Park through the actions of a short-sighted politician who plays local politics. Radanovich's actions are so very sad for future generations who may never know Yosemite and our national parks.

James Huning

Lincolnville Beach, Maine

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Just a minute. Let's say my grandmother is in a wheelchair and her family is willing to wait for a reserved parking spot so she can see Yosemite. Most of it, anyway. I have tramped the Yosemite backcountry since 1957. Grandma ain't going to Hart Lake. John Muir's Yosemite Valley is fantasy. It's gone. But Grandma wants to see the most beautiful place on Earth. As it still is. The most aggressive features of the Yosemite plan have Grandma's family manhandling her onto a bus and looking for a rack for her wheelchair.

One more thing. No more "sport" wheels on walking paths in the valley. Confine bicycles to the leisurely road traffic and ban skateboards from walkways. I walked 50 miles into Yosemite, over the 10,500-foot Isberg Pass, over 40 years ago. I wasn't disappointed to find people there. It was as beautiful and timeless then as now. I ask The Times and its readers to advocate a plan that remembers Grandma.

Tom Sloss

Fountain Valley

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