Management Tools and Framework for Pack Stock Use and Meadow Monitoring in Yosemite Wilderness
The management and monitoring of pack stock use (saddle and pack stock horses and mules) has been the subject of litigation on public lands surrounding Yosemite National Park since 1995. Pack stock is used at Yosemite for commercial, administrative, concessioner, and private purposes, and has potential to impact wilderness character and the integrity of natural and cultural resources valued by society. Changes in the magnitude and patterns of use have occurred since Yosemite's 1989 wilderness management plan. In addition, an array of science-based studies regarding stock use in wilderness have been completed in recent years. As a result, a comprehensive approach to pack stock management can be synthesized from these efforts to inform park planning and augment the protection of wilderness and park resources. The aim is to benefit all parties, including stock users, other park visitors, and park managers.
The scope of this 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 park is solciting feedback on this study/framework, and welcomes any comments, data, or other information to help inform decision-making. The park will adjust this framework periodically based on field experience during the season and comments from stock operators and the public.
To review and comment on the framekwork report and the yearly pack stock use and meadow monitoring summary report, click on "Document List" on the lefthand side of the screen.
Ed Dunlavey, Wilderness Manager, 209-372-0501