Yosemite Case May Affect Access to Parks
Jan 28, 2007
By GARANCE BURKE
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) - The plunging waterfalls and soaring crags chiseled by the Merced River draw millions of visitors each year, but the crowds are precisely what threatens the waterway and the park.
Efforts to safeguard the Merced have spawned a court battle over the future of development in Yosemite National Park's most popular stretch. The case may come down to the challenge facing all of America's parks: Should they remain open to everyone, or should access be limited in the interest of protecting them?
In November, a federal judge barred crews from finishing $60 million in construction projects in Yosemite Valley, siding with a small group of environmentalists who sued the federal government, saying further commercial development would bring greater numbers of visitors, thus threatening the Merced's fragile ecosystem.
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