Serious solutions are necessary to avoid loving our parks to death
When baseball player Yogi Berra said "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded.", he probably wasn't talking about Yosemite National Park.
But we get his point. Yosemite can very crowded, and it's no fun to sit in traffic when you'd rather be watching waterfalls of wildlife, or wandering along a trail.
Yogi may have been talking about Jellystone Park where his namesake Yogi Bear still relieves park visitors of their picnic baskets on Saturday mornings.
The National Park Service reports that 1,725,036 visitors came to Yosemite during the first six months of 2017, second only to the 2,094,386 visitors who came last year over the same period (bear in mind that three out of Yosemite's four principal entrance stations have seen extended closures this year due to weather or landslides).
Every once in a while, we hear that it is fortunate that Hetch Hetchy was dammed so it is not subject to the overcorwding that sometimes besets Yosemite or other national parks. This view was recently expressed by writer David Yearsley in the Anderson Valley Advertiser: "The damming of Hetch Hetchy in the 1920s ironically bequeathed it a cathedral-like calm free of the motorhome hordes of the park's main attractions." Climber and photographer Galen Rowell also said he appreciated Hetch Hetchy's relative quiet, but he was an early supporter of Restore Hetch Hetchy and in fact hosted our first major public soiree at his gallery in Emeryville in 2002.
Obviously Restore Hetch Hetchy rejects the absurd notion that Hetch Hetchy Valley has somehow been protected by being buried beneath 300 feet of water. We recognize that managing a restored valley so that it can accommodate visitors while preserving the valley's renewed natural splendor will be a challenge and the subject of fierce debate. We look forward to that discussion ever so much, but first we have a lawsuit to win.