CSERC strongly believes that the Tuolumne River (and the unique, world-famous Tuolumne Meadows area) should be managed for an extremely high level of natural, wild value. People can already go to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite Valley, or Mammoth to find spectacular scenic areas with retail services, lodging, campgrounds, commercial recreation activities, and lots of cars and traffic. CSERC believes that it is time to set a new direction for both the Tuolumne River and Tuolumne Meadows – to establish a new “legacy” for future visitors that will provide a recreational experience amidst what is primarily a natural, pristine, and wild setting, with reduced congestion, commercial enterprises, and accommodations that are not consistent with the surrounding wilderness.
As part of our involvement in the planning process, CSERC advocates that the public and Park decision-makers deserve a reasonable range of alternatives to consider as the process moves toward an eventual final decision. For instance, CSERC is pressing the Park Service to modify Concept One, the so-called “wilderness maximization” alternative, so that it would phase out use of the Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp, phase out use of the Tuolumne Lodge facility, and upgrade/convert the retained core service facilities at Tuolumne Meadows by replacing the current store/grill/gas station complex (above) with a far more lodge-like, natural appearing service center. We also urge that roadside parking be shifted to screened-off parking nodes tucked away from the scenic corridor. If the modified Concept One alternative eventually removed commercial lodging at the Glen Aulin camp and at the Tuolumne Lodge, the resulting restoration could enhance wild river values and the overall area’s natural ecosystem. Visitor use could still be high, but impacts would be less.