NPS Visitors Center

There is a growing problem of congestion and long wait times at the Arch Rock Entrance to Yosemite National Park. While the other western entrances to the Park have recently been expanded to offer multiple kiosks to minimize the wait time, expansion at the Arch Rock Entrance is limited by geography. So, while entrance times at the other entrances are minimal there is often a considerable backup with people waiting an hour or more to get into the Park via Arch Rock. We have all seen the car or two ahead of us spend 10 minutes or more getting their orientation to the Park from a Park Ranger or "flat hat". This situation makes it less likely for visitors to choose Highway 140 and Mariposa as their way of entering the Park.

The National Park Service has proposed building a visitors' or first contact center in or near the town of Mariposa. The idea is that tourists on the way to Yosemite via 140 can stop there, visit a Discovery Center, talk to a flat hat, and get their orientation to the Park as well a fast pass so they can zip right through the Arch Rock entrance. Evening programs with Ranger presentations would give visitors something to do after dinner at our local restaurants. We might also work with the Park Service to offer special orientation programs for kids at the center.

I fully support the concept of an NPS visitors' center located in or near the town of Mariposa. We need this Visitors' Center to protect our current level of Yosemite-based tourism and hopefully even expand it.