Visitors May Soon Be Without a Place to Stay

In Camping, Local, Lodging, News, Outside the Park, Travel

Photo: Haze and smoke over the Stanislaus National Forest above Arnold California. Photo by Loyd Schutte.

During the summer months getting a campsite or hotel reservation within Yosemite can be a nightmare and often visitors turn to campground in the Stanislaus, Inyo and Sierra National Forests as a place to stay when they can’t find room anywhere else. Things are changing for those who’ve found places they like in the Stanislaus National Forest outside Yosemite on Highway 120 as the National Forest has penned the finishing touches on a plan to do away with campgrounds and facilities for visitors. “Within the next five years, changes are in store for most of the Stanislaus National Forest’s 89 developed sites.

Those sites – including campgrounds, picnic areas, boat launches and overlooks – were reviewed as part of the forest’s Recreation Facility Analysis, which is expected to be completed today.

Forest employees have worked on the RFA for more than two years with the intent of getting rid of the forest’s run-down, unmaintained sites while at the same time reducing deferred, or backlogged, maintenance.

‘It accumulates and takes on a life of its own,’ forest landscape architect Brian Kermeen said.

The result is a plan that eliminates four developed campgrounds, increases fees at 12 sites and starts charging new fees at 11 others. There will also be seasonal reductions at places like the Niagara Creek Campground and Donnell Vista overlook on the forest’s Summit Ranger District.

On the plus side, the RFA aims to improve services at many sites, such as increasing staff and law enforcement presence and cleaning sites more frequently.

The most significant change since the proposal went public in September, Kermeen said, is not removing the toilet at Rim of the World – an overlook between Groveland and Yosemite National Park.

The Stanislaus plans to “decommission” some sites by removing structures like tables and toilets, however, people will still be allowed to camp or visit those locations.

Several sites are expected to undergo some form of decommissioning.

Four of them — Boards Crossing Campground on the Calaveras Ranger District, Cottonwood Picnic Area and Herring Creek Campground on the Summit Ranger District and Moore Creek Group Campground on the Groveland Ranger District — are expected to be decommissioned.

Five other sites will experience a partial decommission, while the Grouse Flat Campground on the Calaveras Ranger District will keep its toilet until it is no longer operable. “

Photo by Loyd Schutte.

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