Yosemite National Park Proposes Removal of Historic Sugar Pine Bridge

Draft Plan Acknowledges Park's Historic Resources but Fails to Adequately Protect one of America's Most Endangered Historic Places

Washington - The National Park Service (NPS) recently released a plan that affects the bridges of Yosemite Valley, named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2012 list of America’s Most Endangered Historic Places. The Merced Wild and Scenic River Comprehensive Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Merced River Plan/DEIS) outlines six possible management strategies for the Merced River which flows through the heart of the Yosemite Valley and is framed by eight historically significant stone bridges. The NPS’s preferred strategy calls for the removal of the Sugar Pine Bridge, while three of its other proposals call for the removal of additional historic bridges. The following is a statement by David J. Brown, Executive Vice President and Chief Preservation Officer:

“We are encouraged that this plan classifies a dozen historic bridges in Yosemite Valley as ‘outstandingly remarkable values,’ meaning their protection and enhancement is required under the federal Wild and Scenic River Act. However, we are disappointed that the NPS’s preferred alternative for the river’s management still calls for the removal of Sugar Pine Bridge—a key element of a nationally significant National Register historic district. We strongly believe a balanced management approach that protects all of the river’s natural, historic and cultural values is possible. The National Trust is eager to work with the National Park Service through the current planning process to develop a final plan that protects Yosemite’s rich heritage, including all of its majestic Rustic style stone bridges, while safeguarding the Merced River itself. We owe it to current and future generations to strive for this win-win outcome.”

BACKGROUND ON THE BRIDGES OF YOSEMITE VALLEY
Yosemite National Park is one of the most treasured and visited parks in the world, attracting nearly four million visitors a year. The centerpiece of the park is Yosemite Valley, where the iconic Half Dome and the Yosemite Falls tower over a nationally significant historic landscape. Among the most distinctive of the 900 historic buildings and structures in the valley is a collection of Rustic style bridges built between 1928 and 1932, which span the Merced River. In 1987, the U.S. Congress designated the Merced a Wild and Scenic River. In accordance with the law, the National Park Service is preparing a plan to guide future management of the river corridor while protecting and enhancing the natural and cultural values for which the river was designated.

In late 2011, the National Park Service released a planning workbook that considered included the proposal to remove up to three historic bridges. In response, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the bridges of Yosemite Valley to its 2012 list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Since then, the National Trust has deepened its involvement, naming Yosemite’s collection of historic Merced River bridges a “National Treasure,” a place that epitomizes the American story but that faces distinct threats. National Trust staff has worked steadfastly with our preservation partners and park managers to ensure that Yosemite’s historic resources are conserved in a responsible way that will ensure their enjoyment by current and future generations. Visit http://www.savingplaces.org/treasures/yosemite-valley-bridges for more information.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places to enrich our future. PreservationNation.org

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
PreservationNation.org