Big Oak Flat Road Half Dome Overlook Rehabilitation

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Currently the Half Dome View consists of a paved oblong shaped parking area separated from Big Oak Flat Road by half round concrete barriers and connected by two entrances. There are no marked parking spaces, resulting in haphazard vehicle parking. There are no defined walkways and visitors walk around parked vehicles to get to the viewing area and take photos while standing on the paved parking area. The one wayside exhibit interprets forest fire but does not orient the visitor to Yosemite Valley. Soil erosion and user created walkways along the edges of the pavement, around the viewpoint, and down the slopes have caused soil erosion and vegetation trampling.

The purpose of the Half Dome Overlook Project is to improve resource protection and the recreation visitor experience. This project will remedy vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to pedestrian safety issues, correct soil erosion and drainage deficiencies, provide clear circulation patterns for pedestrians and vehicles, enhance viewing opportunities for visitors, and provide accessibility to the viewing platform. The plan maintains the naturalistic, rustic, historic site integrity found along Big Oak Flat Road, which has also incorporated mitigation measures provided by the park's Historic Landscape Architect during the conceptual review of the alternatives and value analysis phases of the project. Project includes a clearer site boundary with walkways, granite curbing, and seat wall that will be provided with resulting enhanced protection of the natural resources. The design will provide accessibility to the viewing platform for visitors with disabilities.
Project includes:
• Provide separated pedestrian viewing photo area with hardened surface and defined edges.
• Provide and outdoor recreation site that is accessible to visitors with disabilities.
• Provide improved vehicular circulation and safety. Provide improved pedestrian circulation and safety.
• Provide visitor orientation as for many this may be the first stop in Yosemite National Park.
• Provide informal visitor seating.
• Provide direct views that maximize the views into Yosemite Valley and the Merced River Canyon.
• Provide Best Management Practices for soil erosion prevention on all unplanned and user created trails.

One concept and three alternatives were reviewed by the NPS core team. A Value Analysis (VA) workshop was held, which resulted in a preferred alternative and was approved with minor changes by the park Management Team on 2/11/09. Review meetings and the VA workshop were attended by representatives from all divisions in the park.