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Public Comments Wanted For Yosemite’s Big Oak Flat Project

YOSEMITE — Public comments are sought by Yosemite National Park regarding the Replacement of the Big Oak Flat Visitor Contact Station and Emergency Services Facilities project. The park is in the early stages of developing an environmental assessment and is seeking public scoping comments through June 4, 2018.

The Big Oak Flat entrance welcomes about one million visitors to the park annually. The entrance’s Visitor Contact Station orients visitors by providing interpretation, wilderness permits, emergency services, campgrounds information, and limited retail services. It also provides a comfort station with public restrooms and vending machines. The park is in the beginning stages of planning for the replacement of these facilities to improve the shortcomings of the existing facilities.

Park staff at the Big Oak Flat Visitor Contact Station struggle to provide quality public service due to the facilities not being adequately sized or effectively organized to accommodate the volume of visitors. Wayfinding in the area is unclear, leading to confusion and congestion. Visitors often must wait in long lines to access services and restrooms. Space restrictions strain the delivery of emergency services to the public and aging utility systems require a high level of maintenance.

The proposed action will:

  • Unify visitor services with improved wayfinding and orientation
  • Provide an appropriately sized comfort station
  • Address visitor safety issues related to parking, lighting, and fire protection
  • Provide an emergency services facility with unobscured parking for ambulances and ranger vehicles
  • Reduce parking lot congestion and vehicular-pedestrian conflict
  • Upgrade outdated utility systems
  • Address accessibility deficiencies

The park is hosting a public scoping meeting on May 18, 2018, to provide an opportunity to learn more about the planning efforts and environmental assessment, interact with park staff, and ask questions about the project. The meeting will take place from 3pm to 5pm at the Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite in Groveland in the Private Dining Room.

Public participation is an important element of the planning process and we welcome your comments. Your ideas, concerns, issues, suggestions, and potential topics for consideration are important to us as we develop the environmental assessment. Please submit your comments on the Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/BigOakFlatEntrance

You may also mail comments (post marked no later than June 4, 2018) to:

Superintendent, Yosemite National Park

Attn: Big Oak Flat Entrance EA

P.O. Box 577

Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

The park anticipates releasing the environmental assessment for public review and comment in late 2018 and a decision document in early 2019.

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