SOURCE: Federal Register, June 11, 1999 (edited)

National Park Service, Department of the Interior

Notice of Scoping for the Merced Wild and Scenic River Management
Plan, Yosemite National Park; Mariposa and Madera Counties, California

SUMMARY: The National Park Service is initiating public scoping for a
conservation planning and environmental impact analysis process for a
Merced River Management Plan for river segments in Yosemite National
Park. This will culminate with a river management plan that
comprehensively encompasses protection and enhancement of the values
for which Merced River was designated as a Wild and Scenic River. The
plan will address resource protection, potential development of lands
and facilities, user capacities, and other management practices
necessary or desirable to achieve the purposes of the 1968 Wild and
Scenic Rivers Act. The purpose of this scoping phase is to elicit early
public comments regarding issues and concerns, a suitable range of
alternatives and appropriate mitigation measures, and the nature and
extent of potential environmental impacts which should be addressed.


In 1987 Congress designated 122 miles of the Merced River as Wild
and Scenic, including 81 miles within Yosemite National Park.
Subsequently the Bureau of Land Mangement and U.S. Forest Service
jointly completed a comprehensive river management plan for Merced
River segments outside of Yosemite National Park. The National Park
Service is now initiating planning for the remaining segments. The two
segments subject to this effort are the Merced River (the main stem,
originating near Mt. Lyell and meandering through Yosemite Valley and
flowing out of the park near El Portal) and the South Fork (originating
near Triple Divide Peak and flowing out of the park near Wawona). In
accord with the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the river segments
within Yosemite National Park have been classified, boundaries delineated, and
outstandingly remarkable values identified.

Scoping and Public Meetings

Involvement of interested individuals and organizations will be a
key element of the current conservation planning and environmental
analysis process. At this time it has not been determined
whether an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact
Statement may be appropriate. However, all written responses and
comments received during the forthcoming public meetings will aid in
the preparation of either document. Suggestions regarding issues to be
addressed and information relevant to determining scope of the current
planning and analysis process are being sought, through July 14, 1999.
Four public scoping meetings will be held from 6pm to 8pm, as noted
below; additional information will be released via regional and local
news media, and updates are also available by phone at (209) 372-0584.
    June 22, San Francisco (Upper Fort Mason, Building 201, Golden Gate
National Recreation Area, near the intersection of Bay and Franklin
    June 23, Modesto (Mallard Inn, 1720 Sisk Road);
    June 24, Mariposa (Best Western Yosemite Way Station, 4999 Highway
    June 28, Yosemite Valley (Visitor Center, East Auditorium).

Decision Process

Scope of issues identified to date include: cultural and natural
resource protection, development standards for any facilities, land
management, user capacities, appropriate types of recreation, and
protection of visual resources. All scoping feedback received will be
incorporated into the information base guiding the preparation of a
comprehensive plan for future management of the river. Written comments
should be addressed to the Superintendent, Yosemite National Park, PO
Box 577, Yosemite National Park, California 95389, and must be
postmarked not later than July 14, 1999 (or if sent via e-mail,
transmitted by that date to ``'').
    Notice of future developments, including availability of the draft
environmental document and plan, will be accomplished via regional news
media, direct mailings, and Federal Register if warranted. The official
responsible for final decision regarding the forthcoming plan is the
Regional Director, Pacific West Region, National Park Service; the
official responsible for subsequent implementation would be the
Superintendent, Yosemite National Park.

Dated: June 4, 1999.
John J. Reynolds,
Regional Director, Pacific West Region.

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