I was lucky enough to have a link to the audio recording (Thanks Jack!) made inside the court room during the arguments and questions at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing regarding the Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan. Rick Deutsch was nice enough to do a copious write up and post it to his blog.
Hike Half Dome Blog: “After some introductory comments and brief history, FJ asked DS if the park is proposing a wait and see approach – i.e. monitor the crowds THEN take action. Why not take steps before degradation occurs? DS said the park has a use monitoring system, green-yellow-red. When yellow crowd conditions appear, they can monitor traffic and divert cars/buses to Glacier Point, El Capitan or areas away from the Valley. Their interim steps are working and allow flexibility. JO then began to speak. She started saying there are 4 key things wrong with the NPS position. As she began (no specific numerical limits), she was interrupted by MJ who asked: what number do you want? Why can’t they monitor then act? JO replied that she is not qualified to pick a number – the NPS was supposed to do that. That monitoring may be too late and degradation may already occur. She said that increased visitation directly leads to degradation. Although the park is large, 70% of the visitors go to the MRC.”
If you’d like to listen to the arguments and questions yourself you can check out the audio at the Courts website here.