YOSEMIT E NATIONAL PARK -- The National Park Service unveiled a
plan to ban most cars in Yosemite Valley, a first for a U.S.
The long-delayed plan to carry out the provisions of the 1980
General Mangement Plan, which sought to protect Yosemite National
Park from the impact of traffic congestion, includes the concept of
staging areas outside the park where motorists would get an
orientation about Yosemite and transfer to shuttle buses to see the
In a statement Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt called the plan
"a major step on the way to improving the experience of our
visitors while protecting the natural beauty .of this magnificent
The only motorists who would be allowed into Yosemite would be
those with reservations at the valley's hotels or campgrounds. The
plan, if approved, could be a boon to motorcoach tour operators,
said one operator.
Motorcoaches would be allowed to travel into the valley and
their passengers would not have to transfer at the staging areas.
Instead, they would transfer to a public transportation system
within the valley once they arrived there, said Karen Davey,
operations manager for Yosemite Gray Line and a member of the
Yosemite Area Regional Transportation Strategy board, a new agency
that is considering transit options.
"The point of the plan is to encourage travelers to get out of
their cars, not to inconvenience those who are coming in by
motorcoach," she said. It would become more convenient for
travelers visiting San Francisco to take a motorcoach tour to
Yosemite rather than rent a car and make the drive on their
Public hearings on the plan will be held in mid- to
late-November at various locations in northern California. If
approved, the ban on private cars would take place gradually over
the next four years.