Commercial construction plans for Yosemite halted

A river in Yosemite National Park was the focus of a settled lawsuit.
A river in Yosemite National Park was the focus of a settled lawsuit.
Plans to roll construction equipment through Yosemite National Park are being pulled back after a settlement between environmental groups and the National Park Service (NPS).

According to the Associated Press, two small environmental groups opposed the NPS $442 million commercial construction plan that would have relocated campgrounds and upgraded hotel rooms and sued in order to prevent it. Both the Friends of Yosemite Valley (FYV) and Mariposans for the Environment and Responsible Government said the plan would endanger the Merced River, which runs through the park.

"Now Yosemite is catching up to what the public, the Congress and the laws told they must do, which is protect the place for the appreciation of nature," FYV director Greg Adair told the AP.

As per the agreement, the NPS will delay any construction until at least the last part of 2012. By that point, officials are supposed to have a plan prepared that would help protect the river.

Furthermore, the settlement presents a new process for official to use in order to determine how many people should be allowed into areas of the park without doing damage to the Merced.

Yosemite National Park was one of the first places in the country to be set aside for the purposes of conservation and public enjoyment. Every year an estimated 3.5 million people visit the park.