Programmatic CE - Special Use Permit - Hang Gliding

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This five year programmatic Categorical Exclusion (CE) will cover Special Use Permits (SUP) authorizing the Yosemite Hang Gliding Association (YHGA), a nonprofit group, to conduct noncommercial hang gliding activities in Yosemite National Park. This programmatic CE will cover SUPs issued to the organization beginning on June 1, 2013.

SUPs are issued to companies and organizations conducting nonprofit group activities in Yosemite National Park. The permit holder must agree to abide by the terms and conditions of the SUP which is administered and managed by the Yosemite National Park, Office of Special Park Uses in conjunction with the Yosemite Protection Division.

Hang gliding in the park was originally conducted in cooperation with Yosemite National Park Rangers who both participated in and managed the program prior to 1992. Beginning in 1992 the Yosemite Hang Gliding Association began managing the program under permit from the park.

This SPU authorizes Class 1 and 2, non-powered, hang gliding in Yosemite National Park under supervision of the YHGA. (A basic definition is that a "hang glider" has a frame and a "paraglider" is a foot launch parachute. The difference between class 1 and 2 is a competition issue that separates two different kinds of hang gliders.) Paragliding is not permitted in Yosemite National Park.

Areas of use are limited to the assigned Glacier Point set up area and launch site and the Leidig Meadow landing sites. The activity is permitted to be conducted from June 1 through October 1 of the permit year. Launches are allowed daily from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., but usually only occur on weekends. A maximum of 16 launches are allowed per day, however only 5 to 7 gliders are launched on average. A launch may only occur if approval is received from the Yosemite Emergency Communication Center, and there is no concurrent fire, Search and Rescue or medical air operations in the Yosemite Valley area. A launch may only take place under the supervision of YHGA authorized monitors, pursuant to the Yosemite Hang Gliding Site Manual (Site Procedures and Safety Requirements) and the SPU conditions. YHGA monitors are notified of Peregrine nesting areas that must be avoided while in flight and the information is made part of the preflight instructions for each participant.