The National Park Service is seeking public comment on a framework it has issued for what it refers to as a “comprehensive approach to pack stock management” for Yosemite National Park. The report focuses on overnight wilderness pack stock use from NPS trails in Yosemite as well as camp site access routes, stock holding areas and forage areas for grazing. NPS states that the report itself does not contain any decisions but instead provides information for future management decisions. The comment period closes October 31, 2019.
NPS’ summary of the report is set out below:
The scope of this framework report is overnight wilderness pack stock use (i.e., horses and mules) from NPS trails and extending to camp site access routes, stock holding areas, and forage areas for grazing. This report does not address on-trail use, day use (such as supply trips for the High Sierra Camps), or use by llamas or other pack animals. This report: 1) incorporates existing policies and guidance for stock use types in Yosemite; 2) summarizes past stock use patterns, and; 3) recommends management objectives, tools and a monitoring strategy to augment current guidance to achieve the mission of the park. A suite of best management practices are recommended to determine where (site suitability), when (meadow opening dates), how (handling practices), and how much (site grazing capacity) use at a given site might occur, while avoiding, reducing, or mitigating the occurrence of unacceptable impacts.
The 2018 Pack Stock Use and Meadow Monitoring Summary Report is also provided below. This report summarizes the 2018 pack stock use season in Yosemite Wilderness, in terms of reported use numbers, monitoring efforts related to meadow opening dates and residual biomass, and related management information or changes.
The park welcomes comments, feedback, and additional data to inform pack stock use and meadow management in Yosemite Wilderness.