Rep. Jeff. Denham today introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 3640, authorizing the National Park Service, through the Secretary of the Interior, to acquire up to 18 acres of land in the community of Mariposa, on which they will locate a visitor center and administrative facility. The land acquisition will provide for improved visitor services for Yosemite National Park, a vital part of the Mariposa community and economy. “This legislation will provide benefits to Mariposa County, Yosemite National Park and those visiting the area. It will provide economic opportunities for the community and enhance visitor services at no cost to the taxpayer,” Denham said in a news release.
The Yosemite National Park’s General Management Plan identifies the need and importance of establishing administrative and visitor services in Mariposa. The location of Mariposa was decided on because of a growing concern about administrative facilities in the crowded park coupled with the majority of employees living in Mariposa. The proposed project looks to acquire the land without using federal or state tax dollars, but rather utilizing funds that are received from park attendees. “We particularly appreciate Congressman Denham’s proactive approach to helping Yosemite National Park advance its visitor service objectives and recognizing the strategic role gateway communities share in that vision,” Mariposa County Board of Supervisors Jim Allen said in the release. The bill is a great opportunity to celebrate the values of Mariposa and Yosemite through a partnership effort to provide services to visitors. “Congressman Denham’s bill is a great opportunity for the County and Federal Government to collaborate on a project that is very valuable to the economy of the local area. The bill provides the opportunity for a great partnership between Mariposa County and Yosemite National Park to better serve the visiting public,” said Mike Tollefson, Director . This is a great location to have a center that would support both Mariposa County and visitors to Yosemite National Park. “This project is a win-win for the NPS, the visitors, employees and Mariposa County. There are probably 100 NPS employees driving the river canyon over an hour each way to work only to sit at a computer for 8 hours. These jobs could be much more efficiently completed in office space outside the park. Establishing orientation visitor services in Mariposa will dramatically reduce entrance station congestion and enhance visitor education.” Kevin Cann, Supervisor District IV, Mariposa County. Denham’s legislation was introduced in tandem with Congressman Sam Farr’s (D-CA), which will upgrade the Pinnacles National Monument in San Benito County to ‘National Park’ status.