Paying and preserving at Yosemite National Park


Visotors huddle under umbrellas at a Yosemite Valley vista point overlooking Bridalveil Falls, center right, alongside Cathedral Peaks.

Today’s column is nominally about the noxious proposal to jack Yosemite entrance fees way up — which may be just another poorly tought out policy idea by the Trump administration.

But it’s also about my perennial concern for Yosemite: that the forces of exploitation are winning over the forces of preservation.

I have actually toyed with the idea of starving the park of dollars, as Reaganite conservatives strive to do to government, to set limits on its visitor capacity. A more sensible approach is simply to reduce the limits on park visitors and vehicles.

You may disagree. Yosemite should welcome all, you might say. Yosemite should be affordable to all, I counter. But the limits on human incursion must emanate from the natural order, from Yosemite’s natural capacity, not misplaced ideas of egalitarianism. Humans have to meet nature on its own terms or they don’t meet nature at all.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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