That will almost certainly mean more campsites built outside the mile-wide valley. A park study identified 400 to 600 potential out-of-valley campsites, though none have been created.
In the valley, Gediman said, it will mean designing campsites that maximize space and ease environmental impacts -- special RV spaces with electrical hookups to eliminate noisy on-board generators, and walk-in campgrounds that squeeze more people into a smaller space. The goal is to eventually shoehorn in 638 valley campsites.
Construction was set, he said, for 30 such RV spaces and 59 walk-in campsites, but a long-running legal fight with environmental groups over plans for Yosemite Valley has put the work on hold. Gediman said he finds it ironic that Ouzounian is in the court record supporting a lawsuit that is blocking campsite construction.
"Those sites would have been finished and in use by now," he said. "Brian has cut off his nose to spite his face."
Ouzounian has earned a reputation among park officials. At public meetings and in private, he has at times left staffers feeling bullied, Gediman said.
"Raising your voice, antagonizing people and being rude isn't the way to get it done," Gediman said.
Ouzounian is unapologetic. "I'm their worst nightmare," he said.
Such tough talk seems incongruous coming from a man who can turn misty-eyed from campfire memories. As he walks amid the valley's campground conifers, the balding father of three college-age kids waxes philosophical.
He points out that Abraham Lincoln was the first president to recognize Yosemite's grandeur. He delights in quoting Frederick Law Olmsted, the pioneering landscape architect who in 1865 visited Yosemite and wrote of the effect of nature's beauty on the human soul and government's responsibility to preserve the nation's wild lands.
To Ouzounian, car campers are the embodiment of Olmsted's philosophy because they enjoy the outdoors with far less impact than visitors who spend the night in a hotel or come for the day.
While day trippers clog roads with pollution-spewing cars, campers get around on bikes, he says. They bring their own food instead of relying on the vast infrastructure of delivery trucks and food-service employees and utilities needed by restaurants. They bunk down in tents that don't require maid service, laundered sheets and all the rest.
"That's an environmental equation the park would rather you not know," Ouzounian said.
His ire for the park service isn't part of his DNA. As a boy, Ouzounian saw rangers as his idols. Each summer, his grandparents, Yosemite campers since the 1920s, invited the campground ranger over for dinner.
"Now a ranger walks up and you wonder when they're going to pull their citation book out," he said.
He's been chided by bear-wary rangers to put away toothpaste tubes left out for five minutes, and cited for hanging up a fly trap that could disrupt insect life.
It all seems petty to Ouzounian, particularly in contrast with the old traditions. Back in the day, tents were pitched wall to wall, he said. The tight quarters yielded lifelong friendships, families he has known for generations. They attend one another's weddings, graduations and funerals.
When he was a boy, his big thrill each morning was making Grandpa's fire. It was stoked under the lid of a 55-gallon oil drum, jury-rigged with a piece of rusty tin pipe as a flue.
The kids slept on old Army-style steel cots. Sleep came only after the evening fire show concluded off Glacier Point. (The summer ritual of sending an avalanche of blazing cinders off the cliff was halted in 1968.)
On the banks of the Merced River, Grandpa would demonstrate how to make a water wheel out of a tin can, cutting flaps and then mounting it on a stick.
When the old man died, the family paid tribute to his lifetime love of camping in Yosemite. They bowed at his open casket and placed a piece of black oak inside.
North Pines Campground has always been Ouzounian's haunt. All things being equal, he tries for a space on the narrow spit at the junction of the creek and river.
The family used to simply show up and elbow into the horde.
Now a week's stay requires going online five months in advance to make a reservation -- and this year, Ouzounian's repeated attempts to reserve a site failed. The Internet throngs sold out the valley within the first minute the reservation system was open.
Ouzounian managed to hitch on at a campsite reserved by friends. But instead of relaxing, he spent much of the lovely July week walking the campgrounds, talking up his cause and handing out placards: "SAVE NORTH PINES: Planned for Removal by the National Park Service."
His fear on this front stems from the master plan for Yosemite Valley, approved at the beginning of the decade over the protests of critics who said it favored hotel lodging and smacked of elitism. Among the targets for removal was North Pines, the Ouzounian clan's second home.