SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— National Park officials could get an earful at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Thursday night at a public comment meeting to examine a plan to eliminate bike and horse rentals in Yosemite Valley.

Among other major changes in the 2,500 page Merced River Plan, the push to restore the park’s natural setting could mean eliminating a lot of popular activities, including the suggested closing of the ice rink at Curry Village and the swimming pools at the Yosemite Lodge and Ahwanhee Hotel. They would be ripped out while rafting rentals on the Merced River would end as well.

The plan is based on a 1999 lawsuit meant to protect the river. Some environmental groups are applauding the move saying they don’t want to see Yosemite Valley turned into Disneyland, but others have said they came to support the park because they grew up biking and rafting in the area.

“When you stop bike rentals, you stop the kids from exercising; from possibly seeing the showpiece of the world—The Yosemite Valley in a way where they use their body,” said KCBS and Chronicle Outdoors Editor Tom Stienstra.

You could still bring your own bikes and rafts to the park, but rentals would not be allowed.

The plan also calls for the demolition of the longest stone bridge in the valley because it allegedly impedes the flow of the Merced. Sugar Pine bridge was built in 1928.

A 90-day public comment period on the plan is in effect until April, 18th, 2013.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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