NPS considers public input into Half Dome access

Posted: Feb 27, 2012

Written by

JOSHUA EMERSON SMITH, Merced Sun-Star
Half Dome cables

When you think of the final 400-foot ascent of the Yosemite Valley's Half Dome Trail, what words come to mind? "Majestic?" "Breathtaking?" "Crowded?"

Recently, park officials released for public review an environmental analysis of the effects of allowing various numbers of daily hikers on the Half Dome trail.

Park officials endorsed a draft proposal to reduce the number of visitors to 300 per day, stating on the park's website that the stricter limit "provides the optimum visitor experience while protecting wilderness character along the trail."

However, officials are considering several options, including the current cap of 400 people a day, Cobb said. "The Half Dome hike is the most popular hike in the park," she said. "Because of its popularity, we've seen cases of concern for safety. By implementing a permitting program, we not only are providing for the safety of our visitors, but also providing a genuine wilderness experience."

The comment period for the Yosemite Half Dome Trail Stewardship Plan ends March 15.

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