Yosemite Trees To Be Chopped Down For Prettier Views


Photo by mcaretaker via Flickr CC

Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places on the planet and millions of people flock there every year to take in the sights. Well, they would if it weren't for the blasted trees. Those stupid bushy things are blocking the views, so the park is looking at just chopping the trouble-makers down. Um... say what?The Telegraph reports that two years ago, the park's management surveyed 181 scenic vistas within the park and found that 28% had, well, trees in the way. Yep, visitors can't see the forest for the trees.

Last week, the park approved a "scenic vista management plan" that includes chopping down those trees and shrubs to ensure the scenic vistas remain vistas.

"[T]he park wants to 're-establish Yosemite's important viewpoints and vistas, consistent with the natural processes and human influences that created them.' That includes re-establishing views captured in iconic images by the photographer Ansel Adams, who in 1916 described how 'there was light everywhere' in Yosemite."

Sure, views are important when you're traveling to a location in no small part to take in those views, but to cut down the trees to ensure it? It's a rather unusual strategy. But it actually makes a lot of sense.

The LA Times reports
, "Yosemite was set aside as the nation's first national park in part because of the magnificent, wall-to-wall vistas afforded by its open meadows...Those open valley floors were maintained first by Native Americans who regularly set fires to clear trees, or by blazes sparked by lightning. Travelers in the 19th century grazed their livestock in the Yosemite Valley and planted crops, relegating trees to the edges of the meadows...But the park service moves quickly to stamp out fires that might otherwise thin the stands of trees that spread their seedlings into meadows. Some of those saplings are now towering to 100 feet, spoiling the party for tourists seeking to immortalize their vacation with a postcard backdrop."

So essentially, the park managers want to restore the views that the valley has been known for, based on human influence, for hundreds of years.

The park plans to start the work this fall and it could last for the next decade, according to the Telegraph, since the park will only work during September and October to avoid disturbing birds and bats as much as possible. Also, the park will avoid harming any tree over 130 years of age, and no Giant Sequoias will be touched.

While it is part of park management to make sure people can enjoy these spaces, it is rather unusual to hear that the motive is to make a park more scenic looking, and not for more practical purposes. But it sounds like Yosemite management is taking both the park's and the visitors' best interests to heart.

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