Park Boundary Expansion Afoot at Yosemite

April 24, 2013 by   - () Comments Off on Park Boundary Expansion Afoot at Yosemite

Map shows the locatiton of a proposed addition to Yosemite National Park. Map courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle

Boundaries for Yosemite National Park would be extended to include a vast tract of former timberland that naturalist John Muir envisioned for the park more than a century ago under legislation introduced Tuesday (April 23) by U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

The Yosemite National Park Boundary Expansion Act of 2013 would incorporate two separate tracts of privately owned land on the west side of the national park, including 793 acres that was recently purchased by the conservation group Pacific Forest Trust, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The bill does not commit the federal government to purchase the private inholdings, but would allow such acquisitions when and if Congress appropriates money for that purpose.

In all, 1,575 acres of undeveloped land would be incorporated into the park boundary if Congress passes the legislation. Feinstein’s office said the bill has broad bipartisan support. The new acreage would remain in private hands and the owners would retain their property rights, but the expanded boundary would allow the federal government to begin negotiations to buy land from willing sellers under the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. Yosemite West, a developed area of vacation homes and cabins, is not included in the proposed addition, but the legislation would surround the subdivision with Yosemite land and potentially prevent its expansion.

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