RICHARD P. DUANE, SBN 37880
BARRY P. GORELICK, SBN 122281
DUANE, LYMAN, SELTZER & GORELICK
2000 Center Street, Suite 300
Berkeley, California 94704
Tel: (510) 841-8575; Fax: (510) 845-3016
LAURENS H. SILVER, SBN 55339
302 Sycamore Street
Mill Valley California 94941
Tel: (415) 383-5688
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
|FRIENDS OF YOSEMITE VALLEY, GREG ADAIR, PAT AMENT, JOHN BACHAR, FRED BECKEY, ERIC BRAND, JIM BRIDWELL, DAVID BROWER, R.D. CAUGHRON, PETER CROFT, YVON CHOUINARD, ROGER DERRYBERRY, HANS FLORINE, TOM FROST, WARREN HARDING, SIBYLLE HECHTEL, TM HERBERT, LYNN HILL, CHRIS JONES, PETER MAYFIELD, JOHN MIDDENDORF, CHUCK PRATT, ROYAL ROBBINS, GALEN ROWELL, KIM SCHMITZ, STEVE SCHNEIDER, ALLEN STECK BROCK WAGSTAFF, THE AMERICAN ALPINE CLUB, THE ACCESS FUND and THE CRAGMONT CLIMBING CLUB
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, BRUCE BABBITT, in his capacity as the SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, ROBERT STANTON, in his capacity as the DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, JOHN REYNOLDS, in his capacity as WESTERN REGIONAL DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, STANLEY ALBRIGHT, in his capacity as the SUPERINTENDENT OF YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, and DOES 1 - 100, Defendants.
(Violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and National Park Service Organic Act)
FOR DECLARATORY AND EQUITABLE RELIEF AND ATTORNEYS FEES
Yosemite Valley ("the Valley") is one of the first two natural areas in the United States set aside for public benefit and appreciation. The Valley, itself unique, contains El Capitan, Half Dome and Mount Watkins-- three of the world's largest exposed granite monoliths. Overnight visitors have the choice of non-camping facilities that range from tent-cabins ($40.00 plus per night) to motel/hotel lodging ($70.00 to $229.00 per night). There are five camping facilities: drive-in campgrounds (sleeping in or next to one's car) available for $15.00 per night on a "reservation only" basis. However, visitors from foreign countries or on indefinite schedules find making reservations difficult, and the young or others with limited budgets cannot afford the camping fees. Many want a better wilderness experience than sleeping in or next to their car. One Valley campground-- Camp 4 (Sunnyside)-- is available to campers on a "first come, first served" basis for $3.00 a night. Campers leave their cars behind and walk to a campsite. These features are particularly attractive to the young, giving Camp 4 the feel of an international youth hostel.
The stewardship of the resources of Yosemite National Park presents the National Park Service with a unique assignment because the Valley is the premier rockclimbing center in the world. The area between the Camp 4 campsites and a series of low-lying cliffs to the east ("Swan Slab") (from the northern rim of the Valley to a road called Northside Drive) has developed through usage and history into a climbing reserve of national and international significance (see aerial photograph, Exhibit "A"). This will be referred to as "the climbers' reserve," "the reserve" or "Camp 4/Swan Slab." The campground in the reserve has served as the base camp and meeting place for those participating in many of the greatest ascents in the history of American climbing. The boulders found in the campground and in the open space immediately to the east of the campground ("Swan Slab Meadow") have been used by generations of climbers as both practice sites and climbing destinations. Some of the boulders are famous internationally and draw climbers from throughout the world. The cliffs to the east of Swan Slab Meadow ("Swan Slab") are one of the few beginning practice areas available to climbers and have been used by the Yosemite School of Mountaineering as a teaching resource for years.
The historic climbers' reserve contains one of the few campsites in the world that is, in and of itself, a travel destination. Climbers come to meet old friends, find climbing partners, practice bouldering, share in the climbing atmosphere and cultural diversity of the area, or just to camp or prepare for climbs in other parts of the Valley. Here young Americans meet and form friendships with their compatriots from dozens of countries.
A road called Northside Drive runs in an east-west direction near the northern rim of the Valley. The climbers' reserve is north of the road. South of the road, and slightly to the east of Camp 4/Swan Slab, lies the Yosemite Lodge complex. The barrier of the road and sufficient distance from the climbers' reserve has prevented the Yosemite Lodge complex from having any significant impact on the quality of the experiences of those using the climbers' reserve.
However, in an April 1997 planning document Defendants announced their intention to move Northside Drive and to build a series of large dormitories in the midst of the reserve, adjacent to Camp 4, for 336 concessionaire employees. These dorms would occupy a space equal to one and one-quarter football fields. Each dormitory would be three stories high (36 to 44 feet). Supporting facilities would take up an additional area the width of a football field. A paved parking lot for the dormitory employees would be the length of two and one-half football fields.
Further, in the undeveloped Swan Slab area immediately east of Camp 4, the Park Service now plans a housing development for Park visitors. Twelve fourplexes, each with the footprint of a home (1600 square feet plus porches) will be constructed in this internationally renown tranquil area to provide lodging for 48 separate visitor groups, up to 190 people.
The impact on the climbers' reserve of the lodging and/or dormitory construction will be devastating. Noise and crowding will replace the pleasure of being in Swan Slab Meadow as some 190-plus visitors rotate through the fourplexes. Campers used to the solitude and climbing pleasures in the meadow will find themselves interlopers in the backyard of the fourplex dwellers. Swan Slab cliff users will lose any sense of serenity or privacy as they learn or practice climbing skills. The tranquil open area in the midst of the climbers' reserve will have its atmosphere altered from pastoral to suburban. The height, proximity and density of the dormitories will end the sense of spaciousness around the campsite. Vistas will be lost. The further crowding created by the presence of some 336 employees will overwhelm this small climbers' reserve.
The plaintiffs objected strenuously, through counsel and personally, to both the employee housing and visitor lodging construction plans in the Camp 4/Swan Slab area in a series of meetings with Defendants' representatives. After the meetings Defendants indicated that the visitor lodging would go forward as planned. However, the plaintiffs are informed and believe that dormitory construction decisions could be delayed. An announcement of any delay has not yet occurred.
Defendants have made clear that visitor lodging construction (which is going forward) will not be preceded by an Environmental Impact Statement or the consideration of any alternatives less destructive to the climbers' reserve.
Plaintiffs are informed and believe that any delay in the announcement of the employee dormitory decisions will not result in: the issuance of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement; a hard look at the environmental impact of the construction; or the review of numerous alternatives that should have been considered prior to the finalizing of any decision relating to the dormitories. They are informed and believe, and based on that information and belief assert that the choice of site locations for the dormitories or the plans for the construction of the dormitories will not be substantially altered by a delay in the decision should such a delay occur. Rather, the delay of the decision will result in the fragmentation of the planning process and only the appearance of diluting the cumulative impact of Defendants' plans on the climbers' reserve.
Each plaintiff in this case has a long history of climbing in Yosemite Valley. Together they challenge and seek a reconsideration of Defendants' plans for the Camp 4/Swan Slab reserve. Many plaintiffs have spent months, even years, using the cultural, recreational and historical resources of the climbers' reserve. Some first came with their parents as children. Some returned as parents with their children. They bring this action, not only on behalf of climbers, but on behalf of all visitors, young and old, climbers and non-climbers, who have and will use the unique, inexpensive facilities of Camp 4/Swan Slab.
Defendants will proceed with the construction of the lodging in the midst of the climbers' reserve without having prepared an Environmental Impact Statement, and without having considered any far less invasive alternatives. The lodging construction for these upscale facilities is proposed at the very time that the demand for less expensive overnight campsites is rapidly increasing. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and, based on that information and belief, allege that the decision-making process with regard to the employee dormitory construction will proceed without either the preparation of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement or the consideration of alternative sites or solutions. Defendants' planning process ignores the procedural requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the substantive requirements of the National Park Service Organic Act. In doing so they fail to carry out their mandate to preserve the "...resources that contribute to Yosemite's uniqueness..." and to protect its " historic... cultural resources" [Emphasis added] (see Draft Yosemite Lodge Area Concept Plan Environmental Assessment at 1, citing the Congressional enabling legislation of 1890).
1. This complaint arises under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended ("NEPA"), 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq. , and its implementing regulations, adopted by the Council on Environmental Quality ("CEQ") and applicable to all agencies, 40 C.F.R. Pts. 1500-1508. Judicial review is sought pursuant to Section 10 of the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., authorizing judicial review of all governmental agency actions. This court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1311 and 1316, and may grant declaratory relief and further relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202.
2. Venue lies in this judicial district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) and 42 U.S.C. § 390 since plaintiffs David Brower, Hans Florine, Peter Mayfield, Galen Rowell, Brock Wagstaff, Greg Adair, Alan Steck, Steve Schneider and R.D. Caughron are residents of this district, and the defendants who are officers or employees of the United States, acting in their official capacities, have an office in the district (San Francisco) that carries out functions relating to the Yosemite National Park planning process that is the subject matter of this lawsuit.
3. Brief descriptions of the plaintiffs are as follows:
a. Plaintiff FRIENDS OF YOSEMITE VALLEY is an unincorporated association founded by Greg Adair, John Middendorf and Tom Frost. It was formed by them in direct response to threats to Camp 4/Swan Slab ("the climbers' reserve") arising out of the planning process relating to development of Yosemite National Park. Its specific purpose is the protection of the climbing heritage and the natural environment of Yosemite Valley on behalf of past, present and future climbers, and on behalf of the public generally. Each of the co-founders of plaintiff Friends of Yosemite Valley has personally objected to the construction plans of Defendants complained of herein and has requested that Defendants consider alternatives to those plans. Each co-founder has made specific use of Camp 4/Swan Slab. Each has definite plans to use the reserve in the future, including after the commencement of the construction and development complained of herein.
b. Plaintiff DAVID BROWER resides in Berkeley, California. His first visit to Yosemite Valley was with his parents in 1918. His initial first ascent in the Valley was of the Panorama Cliff in 1937. He subsequently made 18 additional first ascents in the Valley. He served with the United States Army, Tenth Mountain Division, from 1942 through 1946 and taught thousands of troops climbing and mountaineering techniques. Plaintiff Brower was the Executive Director of the Sierra Club from 1952 to 1969 and has served as a Board member of the Sierra Club for 17 years. He is currently a member of the Sierra Club Board of Directors and the Board of Directors of the Yosemite Concessionaire Services, which provides concessionaire services to visitors in Yosemite Valley. Mr. Brower is an honorary member of the American Alpine Club, which has established the David Brower Conservation Award, given annually to persons who have made important contributions to the protection of mountain environments. Mr. Brower has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three times.
c. Plaintiff ALLEN STECK is a resident of Berkeley, California. During the early 1950s he established long climbing routes in Yosemite Valley, including a route on Sentinel Rock with climber John Salathe that expanded the vision of what is possible and helped pave the way for the revolutionary age of climbing in the 1950s and early 1960s. He is the co-author of the book The Fifty Classic Climbs of North America (Sierra Club Books, 1979)and is an editor of the publication Ascent (Sierra Club Books). Mr. Steck is an honorary member of the American Alpine Club (1996).
d. During the period loosely described as the late 1950s and early 1960s plaintiffs WARREN HARDING, ROYAL ROBBINS, TOM FROST, YVON CHOUINARD, CHUCK PRATT and TM HERBERT came to the Valley and established routes that revolutionized the concept of big wall climbing and placed the Valley on the international stage for climbers throughout the world. Among those climbs (sometimes with others who are not plaintiffs) were: the first successful ascent of the northwest face of Half Dome (by plaintiff Robbins); the first ascent of El Capitan (by plaintiff Harding), the first successful continuous ascent of El Capitan (by plaintiffs Frost, Pratt and Robbins); the first ascent of the Salathe Wall on El Capitan (by plaintiffs Frost, Pratt and Robbins); the first ascent of the North American Wall (by plaintiffs Robbins, Frost, Pratt and Chouinard); and the first ascent of the Muir Wall (by plaintiffs Chouinard and Herbert). One of the boulder climbs in this reserve is named after plaintiff Pratt. Plaintiff Robbins is largely credited with establishing the standards, ethics and techniques now adopted by big wall climbers throughout the world. Plaintiffs Chouinard and Frost conceived and designed much of the equipment that made the big wall climbs feasible and they subsequently entered into a business producing that equipment. Plaintiffs Yvon Chouinard and Royal Robbins are honorary members of the American Alpine Club. Plaintiff Chouinard is also a recipient of the American Alpine Club Underhill Award for outstanding mountaineering achievement. Said award is given annually to those persons demonstrating the highest level of skill in the mountaineering arts and who, through application of their skill, courage and perseverance, have achieved outstanding success in the various fields of mountaineering.
During this period of climbing history, plaintiffs PAT AMENT and ROGER DERRYBERRY also participated in these climbing efforts.
During the era of these great ascents, the plaintiffs frequently stayed at Camp 4 while they planned and prepared for their climbs. Plaintiff Herbert returned years after his historic climbs to use the Swan Slab cliffs to teach his children climbing skills. His son Tom is now one of America's great climbers. Plaintiff Tom Frost returned to the Valley in 1997 and camped in the Camp 4/Swan Slab reserve for a period of more than two months while he and his son repeated many of the climbs previously described. While there he learned of Defendants' development plans for the climbers' reserve and engaged Park officials in informal discussions in an effort to try to convince them to either consider other options or to stop the development altogether.
Plaintiffs Frost and Ament have also compiled a history of Camp 4 and climbing in the Valley, and have submitted a request that Camp 4 be placed in the National Historical Register. Plaintiff Tom Frost has plans to use the climbers' reserve with his son this year and next year. Plaintiff Pratt last stayed in Camp 4/Swan Slab two years ago and will return within the next year to stay again. Should the development by the defendants go forward, plaintiffs Frost and Pratt will be directly and negatively affected in a significant and irreparable way.
e. Plaintiff GALEN ROWELL resides in Berkeley, California. He first started going to Yosemite Valley with his parents in 1943. He completed his first climb in the Valley in 1957. Among his climbs were an early ascent of the northwest face of Half Dome in 1962 and the first ascent of the south face of Half Dome. He has approximately 25 first ascents to his credit.
His experiences hiking and climbing in Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada led to his career as a professional photographer. Plaintiff Galen Rowell is a winner of the Ansel Adams award for photography and is the former photographer laureate for Yosemite Valley. He edited the book, The Vertical World of Yosemite (Wilderness Press, 1974), a collection of writings and photographs on rockclimbing in Yosemite, and published his own book (The Yosemite, Sierra Club Books, 1989) combining his photographs of Yosemite National Park with the writings of John Muir. He is a member of the boards of directors of the Yosemite Fund, Yosemite National Institute and the American Land Conservancy and has lectured throughout the country on various environmental issues. He camps at and/or visits Camp 4/Swan Slab almost every year and will be socializing, camping and/or bouldering within the climbers' reserve almost every year into the foreseeable future. He will, therefore, be directly and negatively impacted by these development plans in a significant and irreparable way.
f. Plaintiffs JIM BRIDWELL and KIM SCHMITZ both climbed in Yosemite beginning in the 1960s and 1970s and spent extensive periods of time in Yosemite Valley. They are credited with advancing the techniques and speed with which big wall climbs in the Valley were accomplished. Plaintiff Bridwell has over 200 first ascents to his name, including six on El Capitan, four on Half Dome and one on Mount Watkins. He also was the founder of the Search and Rescue (SAR) team that is responsible for saving the lives of numerous Valley visitors. He camped extensively in Camp 4 for approximately 17 years. Plaintiff Bridwell returns to Yosemite Valley approximately once or twice each year and will do so for the foreseeable future. When he returns to the Valley he goes to Camp 4/Swan Slab for the purpose of meeting old friends and connecting up to the ongoing climbing culture. Those climbing with him will frequently be staying at Camp 4/Swan Slab. If the plans of the defendants are allowed to go forward he will be negatively affected in a significant and irreparable way.
g. Plaintiffs JOHN BACHAR and PETER CROFT both camped and climbed in Yosemite Valley, along with others, and are credited with greatly advancing the technical skills brought to "free climbing." (Free climbing is climbing that uses such aid as slings, ropes and other equipment only to catch falls rather than to assist in ascending a climb.) Their solos ascents, difficult routes and speed climbs are of historic significance. Both Mr. Bachar and Mr. Croft are recipients of the American Alpine Club Underhill Award.
While completing these great climbs, both spent significant time in the Camp 4/Swan Slab area. Plaintiff Bachar first learned of climbing as a child when he saw beginners practicing in Swan Slab. He spent most springs, summers and autumns in the Camp 4/Swan Slab reserve for a period of eight years. Plaintiff Croft returns to Yosemite Valley each year and will do so in the future. Both Plaintiffs have made extensive use of the boulders in this area. When plaintiff Croft visits the Valley he goes to the climbers' reserve to camp, socialize or to climb on the numerous boulders. He intends to return to Camp 4/Swan Slab for these purposes after the commencement or completion of the development plans of the defendants complained of herein. He will be negatively affected by those plans in a significant and irreparable way.
h. Plaintiff LYNN HILL first came to Yosemite Valley with her parents in 1974 at the age of 13, returning to climb in 1975. During the period of 1976 to 1978 she spent most of the summers climbing in the Valley and camped frequently at Camp 4. She was a member of the Search and Rescue team. In 1993 she astonished the climbing world by doing the first "free ascent" of The Nose route on El Capitan. She is the recipient of the Underhill Award and is presently the only female honorary lifetime member of the American Alpine Club. She was climbing in the Valley on El Capitan in April/May of 1998 and just completed the first female ascent of a Camp 4 boulder route called "Midnight Lightning." The route is on Columbia boulder, an internationally famous boulder within the climbers' reserve. She planned to establish a new route on El Capitan but was thwarted by foul weather. She will return when weather and time permit to complete that plan. During her return trip she will visit and/or use Camp 4/Swan Slab and will be significantly and negatively affected if Defendants' construction plans proceed. ??i. Plaintiff BROCK WAGSTAFF is an architect who works and resides in Marin County, California. He became deeply involved in climbing in 1970 and has been visiting Yosemite Valley ever since. He has spent numerous days camping in and/or visiting Camp 4 and using the Swan Slab area. He has, among his Yosemite ascents, routes on Washington Column, the Lost Arrow, El Capitan, Mount Watkins, Half Dome and the Leaning Tower. He was a member of the American Alpine Club Board of Directors from 1981 to 1987.
Plaintiff Wagstaff submitted formal, written commentary during the comment period opposing the development plans complained of herein and made specific proposals. Among other things he proposed that the "overall site plan" for the construction be reassessed with a view to tightening up the building relationships.
Plaintiff Brock Wagstaff has a specific plan to return to the Camp 4/Swan Slab areas in the spring of 1998 and autumn 1998. It is his plan to camp there and to prepare for climbs on El Capitan and on Half Dome. He intends to return to the climbers' reserve every year thereafter for the immediate future. He will return to Camp 4/Swan Slab after the development complained of. As such, he will be negatively affected in a significant and irreparable way.
j. Plaintiff GREG ADAIR is a resident of San Francisco and a graduate of environmental design from the University of California, Berkeley. He first visited Yosemite Valley with his fourth grade class in 1970. His interest in the outdoors led him to climbing. In the last three years he has stayed at Camp 4 approximately six times and engaged in numerous climbing trips in Yosemite National Park, including the Valley. He has discussed with the Park Service, both formally and informally, his objections to the plan to place housing and/or lodging in Camp 4/Swan Slab. Plaintiff Adair is a member of the American Alpine Club and a co-founder of Friends of Yosemite Valley. He has specific plans to return to the climbers' reserve this summer and/or autumn while he prepares for climbs on Washington Column and El Capitan. He intends to return to the Valley and the climbers' reserve during each climbing season every year for the foreseeable future. As such, he will be negatively affected in a significant way and will suffer irreparable harm.
k. Plaintiff SIBYLLE HECHTEL resides in Boulder, Colorado. She first stayed in Camp 4 in 1960 at age 10 with her father, mother and grandmother while her father climbed. Her life has been completely affected by her experiences in the Valley. She stayed at Camp 4/Swan Slab for at least a portion of 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1978. She was a member of the Search and Rescue team that helped save climbers, hikers and campers who got into trouble in the Valley. She also made the first all-female ascent of the south face of the Washington Column. She is a life member of the American Alpine Club. She has also climbed in Canada, Mexico, the Soviet Union and Tibet. Plaintiff Hechtel was most recently employed on the Search and Rescue Team during the summer of 1996 and part of autumn 1996. She last lived in the climbers' reserve in June and October of 1997. She has applied for and expects to receive the job with SAR for 1998 and to live in Camp 4/Swan Slab. She plans to return to work in the Yosemite Valley and to live in the climbers' reserve for a portion of each summer for the immediate future, including the years 1999 and 2000.
l. Plaintiff ERIC BRAND first went to Yosemite in 1960 at about the age of six. He began climbing in the valley in 1977. In 1980 he made his first multi-day climb, completing a winter ascent of the west face of the Leaning Tower. He has two first ascents on routes on El Capitan. He took the climbing techniques used in Yosemite Valley to Baffin Island where he completed a 33-day ascent of Mount Thor. He was Chairman of the Sierra Nevada Section of the American Alpine Club from 1995 through January 1998.
m. Plaintiff CHRIS JONES resides in Marin County, California. He was born in Great Britain and came to Yosemite Valley in 1965 because of his interest in the mountains. He climbed in the Valley regularly from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, each year spending from one to three months in the climbers' reserve. His book, Climbing in North America, published by the University of California Press (1976), records much of the history of climbing in Yosemite Valley and gives a short synopsis of Camp 4's role in that climbing history.
n. Plaintiff JOHN MIDDENDORF is a graduate of Stanford University, a resident of San Francisco and a designer for The North Face, a recreational clothing and equipment company. During his 20-year climbing career he has spent approximately 2,000 nights camping in the Valley, including within the climbers' reserve. He has made 30 ascents of El Capitan and is a board member of the American Alpine Club. In 1996 he founded, along with plaintiffs Greg Adair and Tom Frost, an organization called "Friends of Yosemite Valley." He has been engaged since 1996 in educating the climbing community and others about the impact of the National Park Service's development plans on Yosemite Valley. He last visited the Valley and the climbers' reserve in May of 1998 and plans to return to Camp 4/Swan Slab every year into the foreseeable future. As such, he will be negatively affected in a significant way and will suffer irreparable harm.
o. Plaintiffs HANS FLORINE and PETER MAYFIELD both lived in Yosemite Valley, including the climbers' reserve, for extensive periods of time and established, individually or with others, some of the more difficult climbs in the Valley. Hans Florine's speed ascents of El Capitan and other great walls brought international recognition to himself and to the climbing possibilities in Yosemite Valley. Peter Mayfield established one of the most difficult climbs on the northwest face of Half Dome. He was also the Chief Guide for the Yosemite School for Mountaineering. He is a certified guide and a key person responsible for establishing the indoor climbing industry. Through these indoor climbs, persons interested in climbing can learn and practice their skills in urban locations during the off-climbing season. Both Hans Florine and Peter Mayfield have climbed throughout the United States and foreign countries, including Argentina. Plaintiffs Mayfield and Florine return to the Valley to visit or boulder at Camp 4/Swan Slab on a regular basis. As such, they will be significantly and negatively affected and will suffer irreparable harm.
p. Plaintiff STEVE SCHNEIDER is a resident of Oakland, California. He first went to Yosemite Valley at the age of one and has been to the Valley every year since 1961. He completed his first climb in the Valley with his father and brother at the age of eleven in 1971. He lived in Camp 4 in the summers of 1978 through 1981. He was an employee of the Search and Rescue Team (SAR) in 1982 and lived in the climbers' reserve during that employment. He has been back to Camp 4/Swan Slab at least once a year almost every year from 1982 to the present date. He is credited with approximately fifteen first ascents in Yosemite Valley, including two routes on El Capitan. He earns a part of his living as a mountain guide. He plans to return to El Capitan and to the climbers' reserve for every year of his life until his health or other unforeseen circumstances prevent it. Thus, he will be significantly and negatively affected by Defendants' plans and suffer irreparable harm.
q. Plaintiff R.D. CAUGHRON resides in Berkeley, California. He first spent time living in the climbers' reserve during the spring and autumn seasons of 1973 while he was climbing in the Valley. He estimates that he has spent over 365 days in Yosemite Valley since 1971. His last visit to Yosemite Valley to climb was late in the summer of 1997. He expects to return there on a regular basis. The skills that he learned there helped him in subsequent climbs in Pakistan, Nepal, China, the Soviet Union, Canada and in other parts of the United States. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the American Alpine Club from 1979 to 1981. He has visited or stayed in the climbers' reserve on a regular basis and will continue to do so for years to come. He will be negatively affected in a significant way by Defendants' plans and will suffer irreparable harm.
r. Plaintiff FRED BECKEY is considered by most American climbers to have more first ascents in North America to his credit than any other climber. He is the author of three guidebooks and a personal memoir of his climbs.
s. Plaintiff THE AMERICAN ALPINE CLUB is the leading national organization in the United States devoted to mountaineering, rockclimbing and a multitude of issues facing climbers today. Founded in 1902, it is an IRC § 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation incorporated in Pennsylvania and is headquartered in Golden, Colorado. Among other things, The American Alpine Club is dedicated by its Bylaws to "the conservation and preservation of the mountain environment... and the representation of the interests and concerns of the American climbing community." Individual plaintiffs Greg Adair, Fred Beckey, Eric Brand, David Brower, R.D. Coughran, Tom Frost, Sibylle Hechtel, Lynn Hill, Chris Jones, John Middendorf, Royal Robbins, Galen Rowell, Steve Schneider, Alan Steck and Brock Wagstaff are all members of the American Alpine Club. The Sierra Nevada section of this national organization has over 400 members. Members of the organization have made extensive use of the climbers' reserve. Many members will use this reserve in the future, including after the completion of the development plans objected to in this complaint. Should the plans of defendant National Park Service go forward, those members will be directly and negatively affected in a significant and irreparable way.
The American Alpine Club submitted a written objection to the National Park Service's plans for the area within this reserve during the comment period established by the National Park Service. It asked defendants to consider a number of alternatives, including a suggestion of further planning and further architectural design, and a reconsideration of the proposed introduction of buildings into currently undeveloped areas north and to the east of the Yosemite Lodge. It offered voluntary architectural assistance from its members.
t. Plaintiff THE ACCESS FUND is a IRC § 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation organized in Illinois. It is a conservation and advocacy organization representing the interests of over 500,000 rock and mountain climbers throughout the United States. The Access Fund's mission is to preserve the climbing environment and maintain climbers' access to climbing resources. To accomplish this mission The Access Fund, among other things, participates in the development of land management plans affecting climbing, and contributes to the formulation of policies concerning climbing by federal and state land management agencies. It has approximately 8,000 members nationwide and currently has about 1,453 members in California, some of whom reside within the Northern District. Access Fund members have used Camp 4/Swan Slab while climbing in Yosemite Valley and will continue to do so.
Because of its concern over the plans of Defendants to develop the areas within this climbers' reserve, The Access Fund met with Park planners on five occasions, and submitted written objections and proposals to National Park Service during the comment process. It objected to any new development north of Northside Drive. It asked Defendants to rethink their priorities and to delay any new development until other critical management issues in Yosemite Park could be addressed, including visitor and employee transportation, and suggested rethinking the reducing the amount of lodging made available for guests.????
u. Plaintiff THE CRAGMONT CLIMBING CLUB is an unincorporated association of climbers located in Northern California. Formed in 1989 when the rockclimbing section of The Sierra Club was discontinued, its principal purpose has been the promotion and organization of climbing activities among its members. The Club objected in writing to the development plans of Defendants' comment period. It specifically opposed the construction of any new buildings closer to the Valley walls than had already occurred and asked the Park to consider other alternatives, such as building employee housing outside of the Valley, or rebuilding employee dormitories in the same locations formerly used.
Many of the members of the Cragmont Climbing Club have, and will continue to, use Camp 4/Swan Slab. This use will occur even after the development plans of Defendants objected to herein are completed. Members will, therefore, be directly and negatively affected in a significant and irreparable way.
4. Defendant, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, through its agency, the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, administers Yosemite National Park. The National Park Service, pursuant to Pub.L. No. 95-625 § 604, is devising and implementing a general management plan for the preservation and use of the Park.
5. Defendant BRUCE BABBITT is sued in his official capacity as the Secretary of the Department of the Interior and is responsible for implementation of Pub. L. No. 95-625 § 604, as well as other laws pertaining to Yosemite National Park.
6. Defendant STANLEY ALBRIGHT is sued in his official capacity as Superintendent of Yosemite National Park. Defendant Albright signed the Finding of No Significant Impact with respect to the April 1997 Yosemite National Park Lodge Area Development Concept Plan that is the subject of this action. Defendant ROBERT STANTON is sued in his official capacity as the Director of the National Park Service. He is responsible for overseeing the administration of the national parks, including Yosemite National Park, and for implementing the policies of the National Park Service. Defendant JOHN REYNOLDS is sued in his official capacity as the Western Regional Director of the National Park Service. As such, he is a direct participant in the planning processes for Yosemite National Park that are complained of herein.
7. The earliest records of those who came to live in or visit Yosemite Valley document the human response to climb there. Seven miles long and a mile wide it contains towering cliffs, domes and spires that rise as high as 3,000 feet. Native Americans told of a legendary descent of one of the prominent features. Joseph Walker, the first European known to have visited the Valley, arrived in 1833 and wrote of some of his failed rockclimbing attempts. John Muir wrote in 1867 of an attempt to climb Half Dome by a man named Bailey (it was first climbed in 1875).
8. The urge to climb in Yosemite Valley blossomed during the Twentieth Century. Ascents of its prominent features-- The Lost Arrow, Cathedral Spires, Half Dome, Sentinel Rock and El Capitan, to name a few-- made the climbs, and those who pioneered them, legendary in the international world of climbing. The Valley is as well-known to the international climbing community as Mount Everest.
9. Central to the American climbing history has been a small campground and climbing practice area known as Camp 4/Swan Slab. Its location, fairly close to El Capitan and along the northern rim of the Park, made it an ideal place for the early and modern day climbers to gather and plan their ascents. It is quiet. When other parts of the Valley are lost in shadow, Camp 4 has light. Large magnificent boulders and low-lying cliffs nearby make it a perfect place to practice or relax before and after climbs. Mixed in with these climbers are visitors not there to climb but to take advantage of Camp 4's beautiful setting and inexpensive facilities.
10. As the great ascents of the Valley occurred and became known, climbers from all over the world gathered there to share in the comradeship, to learn new techniques from each other, and to plan still more ascents.
11. The techniques, strategies and equipment devised around the campfires in Camp 4 soon were adopted in other parts of the world. So famous was the campground that it became a preferred destination for all visiting climbers. CAMP 4: The Recollections of a Yosemite Rockclimber by Steven Roper (The Mountaineers Press 1994) has recorded this history and the significance of Camp 4. A French and Czech edition of it has been published.
12. So central is Camp 4/Swan Slab to the living history and oral tradition of international climbing that on any given day one is likely to find gathered there American climbers mixing with climbers from Japan, France, Germany, Argentina, Taiwan, Italy, New Zealand, Australia and other countries from around the world.
13. Immediately to the east of Camp 4 is an open space, framed on its northern rim by a stretch of low-lying cliffs (Swan Slab). Many of the magnificent boulders that lie between Camp 4 and Swan Slab are known throughout the national and international climbing communities for the difficult climbing problems they present. The boulders have names-- Columbia, Kor, Titanic, Elegant Gypsy, to name a few-- that are as permanent as the names of the great ascents of the Valley. The Swan Slab cliffs are used by beginning climbers to learn and master the skills they will need on more difficult climbs and by Yosemite Mountaineering School as a classroom.
14. On July 16, 1997 a Finding of No Significant Impact ("FONSI") was signed by Yosemite National Park Superintendent Stanley Albright. The Superintendent approved the Draft Yosemite Lodge Area Development Concept Plan issued in April 1997. As a result of this approval the National Park Service announced its intention to construct four dormitories, each three stories high for 336 employees. Two of the dormitories would be north of Northside Drive, as presently configured.
15. Further, the National Park Service intends to construct in the immediate future, without waiting for any other further planning documents to be issued, twelve fourplexes each with a footprint of 1600 square feet. The purpose of these fourplexes will be to house visitors to the Valley. The fourplexes will be built north of the area known as Northside Drive and in the area within the climber's reserve known as "Swan Slab Meadow." Each of the twelve fourplexes will accommodate 16 visitors for a total of 192 visitors at any one point in time. The presence of the fourplexes in Swan Slab Meadow will alter this presently pastoral meadow/groveland space and convert it to a suburban space for a housing development. The additional 192 visitors will present the climbers who have traditionally used this area with a highly impacted and crowded condition.
16. Although the Yosemite Lodge Area Development Concept Plan has been adopted as a separate and distinct plan, it can be understood only as part of the larger framework of planning for the Park. The General Management Plan ("GMP"), which was published in 1980 pursuant to the National Park Services Organic Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., set the goals for future planning in the Valley. All subsequent planning documents should be viewed as an attempt to carry out those goals. One of the strongest goals stated within the GMP was the removal of development in the Valley that was not compatible with the purposes of the Park. Under the GMP, which has as its principal goal the "reclaiming of the priceless natural beauty of Yosemite" (GMP at 1) it is stated that Yosemite is "...too valuable to use for... parking, or any commercial services that do not contribute directly to a quality park experience" (Id.). A specific stated goal was to "preserve, restore, or protect significant cultural resources (historic and pre-historic)." In carrying out these general goals the Park would "permit only those levels and types of accommodation and services necessary for visitor use and enjoyment of Yosemite" [Emphasis added](GMP at 9). While carrying out these plans the Park would take the steps necessary to "provide the opportunity for a quality wilderness experience."
17. The General Master Plan was specific about the problem of employee housing within the Park. The purposes of the Plan would be carried out by making sure that housing in the Park would be provided only for employees "whose jobs regularly required them to be near their worksite," and for other employees "only when there is no viable alternative for securing housing outside the Park" (GMP at 24). The Plan contemplated keeping housing for no more than 480 employees within the confines of the Valley.
18. The GMP also made it clear that Camp 4 ("Sunnyside") was a recreational resource that would definitely be retained. (GMP at 39)
19. In 1992 a Concession Services Plan ("CSP"), with an accompanying Environmental Impact Statement, was adopted by Defendants as a supplement to the 1980 General Management Plan and the 1980 Environmental Impact Statement for Yosemite National Park. It specifically decided that various economy cabins without baths would be replaced but they would be replaced with additional economy units with baths. Based on Defendants' understanding at the time of any predictable flood arising from the Merced River, the decision was made that there was enough space in the Yosemite Lodge area to allow the Yosemite Lodge complex to continue as the primary year-round lodge facility in Yosemite Valley (CSP at 9). One hundred seventy-three cabin rooms (without baths) would be replaced with about 60 new economy cabin rooms in duplex or quadraplex structures. The replacement units would "comply with flood guidelines" (CSP at 9). A map attached to the CSP showed that the replacement units all would be placed south of Northside Drive in the general area already developed as part of the large complex. All funding for these concession facilities "generally would not come from funds appropriated by Congress."
20. In 1992 a proposed housing plan for employees was released but none of the proposals were ever acted upon.
21. In December 1996 the Park Service issued a housing plan as an amendment to the proposed 1992 Housing Plan (so-called Proposal "E") and as a Supplement to the 1980 GMP Environmental Impact Statement. It radically altered the GMP goal with regard to employee housing by proposing to build in-Valley housing for 1,016 employees, rather than 480. Proposal E suggested that the Yosemite Lodge dorms would be removed and relocated within a larger complex of dorms "in the same general location" (Draft Addendum Yosemite Valley Housing Plan, Supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the General Management Plan, at 15). The dormitories slated for removal were facilities south of Northside Drive and remote from Camp 4/Swan Slab. Proposal E suggested building new dormitories for 344 employees in the same spot as the dormitories that were being replaced. Because of the remoteness of the proposed new dormitories from the climbers' reserve, it was unnecessary to consider alternatives for dormitory site locations in order to avoid negatively impacting Camp 4/Swan Slab. The review and finalization of housing Proposal E has gone on since its issuance without any consideration of any negative impact on the climbers' reserve. The comment period for the proposal was ignored by climbers and climbing organizations because their reserve was not affected by Defendants' plans. The eighteen month review following the comment period is rapidly approaching its end and will be completed in July 1998. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that the final document is already in the drafting stage.
22. In January 1997 a flood occurred in the Valley of such magnitude that it exceeded any floodlines that had been used by Defendants in their planning processes. There are three areas where visitor lodging and employee housing has been concentrated in Yosemite Valley: Curry Village, the Ahwahnee and the Yosemite Lodge complex. Only the Yosemite Lodge area was drastically affected. The flood, according to the National Park Service, damaged fifty percent (50%) of the Yosemite lodging. There is no independent determination of Defendants' damage estimate. The extent of the flood was an environmental fact not previously understood when Defendants made their decisions about the total amount of lodging that would be available through the concessionaire, where the lodging might be concentrated in the Valley, where the specific lodging rooms might be placed, how much employee housing would be left in the Valley, or where employee housing might be located.
23. In the fall of 1997 the National Park Service was to issue the long-awaited Draft Yosemite Valley Implementation Plan Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (VIP). The purpose of this document was to integrate all of the planning decisions into one final proposal. It would be in this document that decisions relating to employee housing, visitor lodging, traffic patterns, the availability of inexpensive camping facilities, etc. would finally appear as one coherent plan to implement the goals of the 1980 General Management Plan.
24. In April 1997 Defendants issued the Draft Yosemite Lodge Development Concept Plan ("the Lodge Plan"). This plan, which is challenged by Plaintiffs herein, made decisions about lodging in this area before any member of the public could read, consider or comment on the Valley Implementation Plan ("VIP"). The Lodge Plan purports to settle all visitor lodging and employee housing decisions in the Yosemite Lodge complex area, and areas nearby, without waiting for any finalization of the VIP proposals. It is accompanied by an Environmental Assessment (rather than an Environmental Impact Statement).
25. Under the Lodge Plan, five three-story dormitories were to be built immediately adjacent to Camp 4/Swan Slab instead of in the location of the old dormitories as recommended in Proposal E. No consideration was given to any other location in the Valley. No massing studies for the proposal or architectural renderings of any sort were included for review in the Environmental Assessment. No discussion of how the planning might affect the climbers' reserve was included, save to say that Camp 4 was, in the opinion of one reviewer, not eligible for the National Historical Register (an application to have the Camp 4 campsite placed on the National Historical Register is currently pending).
26. The Lodge Plan also proposed, for the first time, that visitor lodging for 190 visitors was to be built north of Northside Drive, immediately to the east of Camp 4 in Swan Slab Meadow. The Lodge Plan was not accompanied by detailed drawings to show the exact location of the proposed lodging relative to Camp 4. Nor did the documents contain any renderings or other architectural drawings or plans that would assist those concerned in understanding the dimensions and impact of the lodging project. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that the twelve fourplexes in the Swan Slab Meadow all are to be placed north of Northside Drive in the area currently used by climbers and other visitors as an open area for walking, the pursuit of solitude and for bouldering. Plaintiffs are also informed and believe that a number of the fourplexes will be within close proximity and easily seen from the cliffs known as Swan Slab.
27. The Draft Yosemite Lodge Area Development Concept Plan's Environmental Assessment ostensibly considered two alternatives: a "no action" alternative and the recommended proposal to build the lodging and housing complained of herein. The "no action" alternative was to repair in place the employee housing and visitor lodging facilities damaged by the January 1997 flood. The National Park Service, however, stated that Executive Order 11988 of the OMB excluded this possibility. It therefore offered only one alternative in its Environmental Assessment.
28. A brief period of time was prescribed for public comment on the EA. Some of the plaintiffs in this action submitted comments. Subsequently, after the comment period, they submitted additional comments to Defendants regarding the proposed location of employee housing at Camp 4 and lodging adjacent to Swan Slab. These objections sought a more thorough study and the consideration of alternative proposals. All of the objections sought to stop construction to the north of Northside Drive in the climbers' reserve.
29. Despite the fact that the flood of 1997 completely altered Defendants' understanding of the amount of available space for employee housing or visitor lodging in the Yosemite Lodge complex area, none of the decisions regarding the concentration of housing and lodging in this area were revisited in the Lodge Plan.
30. The comments submitted on the EA reflect substantial public controversy about the environmental effects of the proposed action with respect to the location of employee housing and the overall environmental effects of the new development proposed for the Yosemite Lodge area.
31. On July 16, 1997, defendant Albright approved the Lodge Plan with a Finding Of No Significant Impact. Because of the FONSI, no Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") was prepared in connection with the above-described project.
32. In the autumn of 1997, the Draft Valley Implementation Plan (VIP) was released. Because the earlier Lodge Plan already laid out the plans for the Yosemite Lodge complex, no further consideration was given to the construction plans for this area. This was true despite the fact that both Proposal E (the December 1996 draft housing plan) and the VIP discussed alternate sites for employee housing and specifically listed the Yosemite Village maintenance area as an available site if it was needed. The Yosemite Village maintenance area is a previously developed portion of the Valley, away from all camping and lodging, and only .6 miles from Yosemite Lodge. It is far removed from the flood zone and already contains, to the east and west, Park Service homes.
33. Some of the plaintiffs have made oral and written comments objecting to the inadequacy of the EA in assessing the environmental impact associated with the construction in the area between Camp 4 and Swan Slab, north of Northside Drive. They have requested that Defendants consider alternatives and have exhausted available administrative remedies.
34. Plaintiffs hired counsel, who indicated to Defendants in March 1998 Plaintiffs' intention to litigate regarding plans for construction in the climbers' reserve. Various prelitigation meetings, both in San Francisco and in Yosemite Valley, were held under a confidentiality agreement. Plaintiffs are now informed and believe that the Lodge Plan FONSI may be amended. No amendment has yet occurred. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that no Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared. Plaintiffs are informed and believe that, under the circumstances, no hard look has been given to analyzing the environmental impact on Camp 4/Swan Slab of the Lodge Plan dormitory construction proposals.
35. The construction of the buildings, as discussed above, will cause the individual plaintiffs and the members of the various plaintiff-organizations to suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law. The noise and crowding that is an inevitable result of the establishment of lodging between Camp 4 and Swan Slab will destroy the tranquillity of this historic climbing cultural landscape. Climbers using the boulders and cliffs in the Swan Slab Meadow and along Swan Slab will lose any sense of wilderness experience as they are reduced to practicing their skills in the backyard of the lodgers. The pastoral nature of Swan Slab Meadow and the quiet and solitude that existed there for climbers and non-climbers alike will be destroyed. Both climbers and non-climbers will suffer a permanent and irreversible loss as the integrity of the recreational resources known as Camp 4/Swan Slab is destroyed by suburban sprawl.
36. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate by reference the allegations in paragraphs 1 through 35.
37. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 ("NEPA"), 42 U.S.C. §4332(2)(c), requires all agencies of the federal government to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for all major projects significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. The approval by the Park Service of the Lodge Plan was a major federal action significantly affecting the human environment within the meaning of Section 4332(2)(c). The failure of the Park Service to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement that considers the environmental impact of building lodging closer to Camp 4 and between Camp 4 and Swan Slab in the Swan Slab Meadow, as well as the environmental impact of additional acres of development on areas in the Valley not currently developed and on which there is natural cover, was an abuse of discretion and violated NEPA.
38. The Council on Environmental Quality ("CEQ") promulgated regulations to implement NEPA. These are found at 40 C.F.R. Pts. 1500 et seq. The Park Service's approval of the Lodge Plan without preparing and approving an EIS violated the following parts of these regulations:
a. 1501.2 requires lead agencies to identify environmental effects and values in adequate detail so that they can be subjected to economic and technical analysis. Among the matters not considered in adequate detail was a discussion of how the proposed construction would remove the availability of the impacted space in the climbers' reserve for less expensive visitor facilities such as a new or extended walk-in, no reservation required campground. Nor was there any discussion of how the demand for less expensive camping facilities would be met after the flood of 1997 removed approximately 362 drive-in campsites from use. Insofar as the EA failed to identify the environmental effects of the proposed action in sufficient detail, it violated Pt. 1501.2.
b. Insofar as the EA failed to properly identify the acres as being newly developed, the EA fails to describe adequately the environment of the area to be affected by the proposal and alternative, in violation of Pt. 1502.15.
c. Insofar as the EA failed to disclose the full environmental impacts of the proposed action, including any adverse environmental effects that cannot be avoided and any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of resources that would be involved in the proposal should it be implemented, Defendants violated Pt. 1502.16. Since the Valley is the premier rockclimbing center in the world, the boulders and campsites within Camp 4/Swan Slab are a unique climbing recreational resource not found in any other part of the Valley or in any other national park within the United States, and the Swan Slab cliffs are one of the few beginner climbing practice areas within the Valley, a serious discussion of the diminishment of the experience within this unique recreational resource had to be faced and addressed. The failure of the EA to disclose environmental effects and irreversible and/or irretrievable resource commitments also includes the absence of an accurate discussion of the percentage of developed acres gained and lost in the Yosemite Lodge area.
d. 1508.27 of the CEQ regulations requires that, in determining the "significance" of the effects of the action for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not to prepare an EIS, the responsible agency officials take into account the degree to which the effects on the quality of the human environment are likely to be highly "controversial." The site plans of the National Park Service were controversial, not only because there was opposition to them but because there was a substantial dispute over the overall effect of the construction proposals. In light of this controversy, the Park Service abused its discretion when it determined that it was not required to do an EIS in connection with the Lodge Plan.
e. 1508.27(a) and (b) require the National Park Service to consider the severity of the impact on the locale of a site-specific action. In its Environmental Assessment, the National Park Service did not adequately consider the direct or indirect effects on the recreational area and Park resource known as Camp 4/Swan Slab, save in a cursory way. More specifically, it did not consider the impact on this recreational area of building three-story dormitories immediately to the east of Camp 4 and placing the equivalent of a housing project (12 fourplexes with a footprint of no less than 1,600 square feet each) to the immediate east of the dormitories. The impact not adequately considered on this area includes, but is not limited to: the permanent introduction of a home for 336 employees within the climbers' reserve; the introduction of 190 visitors on a rotating but full-time basis within the reserve; the psychological loss to the campers resulting from the presence of lodgers, employees and permanent buildings in Camp 4/Swan Slab; the increase in noise and foot traffic; the loss of vistas; the loss of open space; and the loss of light.
f. 1508.27 of the CEQ regulations requires that, in determining the "significance" of the effects of the action for the purpose of determining whether to do an EIS, the responsible agency officials must consider not only the effect of their individual actions but the "cumulatively significant impact" on the environment by a series of interrelated decisions. More specifically, the National Park Service did not take into consideration the intensity of the impact on Camp 4/Swan Slab imposed by the necessity to build supporting facilities for the dormitories immediately to the south of Camp 4. Included within that supportive services project are an additional dorm south of Northside Drive, an athletic facility room, and other construction such as a parking lot the length of two football fields.
g. 1508.27(b)(3) of the CEQ regulations requires that, in determining the significance of the effects of the action for the purposes of determining whether or not to do an EIS, the responsible agency officials must take into account the "unique characteristics of the geographic area, such as proximity to historic or cultural resources...." The EA and the documents relating to it fail to treat, save in the most cursory way, the historical and cultural significance of Camp 4 in the world of American and international climbing. Nor did the EA give adequate consideration to the fact that the boulders and camping facilities are a unique climbing resource within the central rockclimbing area of the world.
h. In considering whether to complete an Environmental Impact Statement, the National Park Service did not consider the intensity of the impact, direct and indirect, on the users of the facility at the Yosemite Lodge area by the presence of the dormitory facilities and the supporting services for the dormitories immediately to the west of the Yosemite Lodge area.
i. 1502.9 of the CEQ regulations requires that, in determining whether to issue an Environmental Impact Statement (or a Supplemental EIS), the responsible agency officials must take into consideration any "...significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts." In deciding to go forward with employee housing and lodging projects in the Yosemite Lodge area without the issuance of an Environmental Impact Statement, the National Park Service failed to take into consideration the following significant new environmental circumstances:
1. the flood of January 1997 vastly limited the amount of available space in the Yosemite Lodge area for housing and lodging, thereby calling into question all prior decisions to make the Yosemite Lodge area a central location for either employee housing or expanded visitor lodging;
2. the flood of January 1997 showed for the first time that other areas, such as the Yosemite Lodge maintenance area, Curry Village and the Ahwahnee would be utterly unaffected by even a major flood and would, therefore, be better locations for the concentration of either lodging or employee housing;
3. a dispute continues to exist as to where the 100 year flood line should be drawn, even after the flood of January 1997, thus making it impossible to say with certainty that the Lodge Plan construction will conform with the "100 year" flood guidelines;
4. when the GMP proposed to keep 688 campsites for employee visitors, there were only two million visitors to the Park per year. When the January 1997 flood damaged Upper River Campground, Lower River Campground and portions of North Pines Campground there were only 421 campsites left for visitor use. By January 1997, four million people were visiting the Park each year. The demand for inexpensive overnight facilities had drastically increased at the very time the Lodge Plan was projecting the building of more expensive ($70.00 or more per night) lodging;
5. in 1980 the GMP projected keeping 58 campsites at Camp 4 (Sunnyside). In the 18 years following the GMP the reputation of the Valley as a world climbing center had grown enormously, as had the demand for sites at Camp 4. By April of 1997 sites at Camp 4 had been reduced from 58 to 38, rather than increased to meet the enormously increased demand;
6. when the Concession Service Plan ("CSP") was released in July 1992 and proposed the building of upgraded cabins (fourplexes) in the Yosemite Lodge area there was far more available space in the area and there were 362 more drive-in campsites;
7. when the CSP was released in July 1992 and proposed the building of upgraded cabins (fourplexes) it was specifically promised that public funds would not be used. The Lodge Plan proposes to use Congressionally appropriated flood monies; and
8. when the CSP was released in July 1992 and proposed the building of upgraded cabins (fourplexes) the boulders in the campers' reserve had not yet developed, through usage and the evolution of climbing, into unique recreational resources in and of themselves.
47. Plaintiffs re-allege and incorporate by reference the allegations in paragraphs 1 through 35.
48. A central requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act ("NEPA") (whether or not an Environmental Impact Statement or an Environmental Assessment is required) is that federal agencies must consider all reasonable alternatives to their proposed actions. Section 102(2)(e) of NEPA requires all agencies to "study, develop and describe appropriate alternatives to recommended courses of action in any proposal which involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources." CEQ regulation 1502.14 requires an agency to explore all reasonable alternatives, and "for alternatives that were eliminated from detailed study, briefly describe the reasons for their being eliminated." 1507.2 restates the requirement of each agency to "... study, develop and describe alternatives to recommended courses of action in any proposal which involves unresolved conflicts concerning alternative uses of available resources."
49. CEQ regulation 1508.9(b) specifically requires that an agency issuing an Environmental Assessment "[S]hall include brief discussions of the need for the proposal, of alternatives as required by sections 102(2)(e) of the environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives...."
50. The Draft Yosemite Lodge Area Development Concept Plan's Environmental Assessment ostensibly considered two alternatives: a "no action" alternative and the recommended proposal to build the lodging and housing complained of herein. The "no action" alternative was to repair in place the employee housing and visitor lodging facilities damaged by the January 1997 flood. The National Park Service, however, stated that Executive Order 11988 of the OMB excluded the possibility of acting on the "no action" alternative. It therefore offered only one alternative in its Environmental Assessment, the proposed action.
51. The Environmental Assessment failed to consider any alternates for size and site location of employee housing and/or lodging except the one complained of herein. Among the alternatives it failed to consider were:
a. placing whatever employee housing deemed necessary within the Park in the Yosemite Village maintenance area, which had already been designated in the December 1996 Proposal E housing plan and the 1997 VIP as an available site, and which had National Park Service and concessionaire executive housing developments nearby;
b. placing whatever employee housing deemed necessary within the Park within El Portal (a location outside of the Park), which had already been designated in the December 1996 Proposal E housing plan and the 1997 VIP as an available site, and which had National Park Service and concessionaire executive housing developments nearby;
c. placing whatever employee housing deemed necessary within the Park in the Curry Village area, which had been completely unaffected by the January 1997 flood;
d. placing whatever employee housing deemed necessary within the Park within the Ahwahnee area, which had already been designated in the December 1996 Proposal E housing plan and the 1997 VIP as an available site, and which had National Park Service and concessionaire executive housing developments nearby;
e. placing whatever employee housing deemed necessary within the Park within the Lower Tecoya area, which had already been designated in the December 1996 Proposal E housing plan and the 1997 VIP as an available site, and which had National Park Service and concessionaire executive housing developments nearby;
f. placing whatever employee housing deemed necessary within the Park within the Lost Arrow dormitory complex, which had already been designated in the December 1996 Proposal E housing plan and the 1997 VIP as an available site, and which had National Park Service and concessionaire executive housing developments nearby;
g. placing portions of the employee housing in one or more of the aforementioned areas and leaving only those portions in the Yosemite Lodge area that could be built south of Northside Drive;
h. delaying the building of any permanent housing for employees and using temporary housing until all of the issues raised by the Valley Implementation Plan could be publicized, commented upon and responded to;
i. placing more employee housing outside the Park in areas other than El Portal, so that the impact on any of the areas in the Park would be lessened;
j. using other areas south of Northside Drive, within the old Yosemite Lodge complex and above the flood line, for employee housing;
k. properly exploring and considering the possibility of rebuilding housing and lodging within the flood zone that would be impervious to or otherwise protected from future flooding;
l. building the fourplexes within the Yosemite Lodge complex south of Northside Drive;
m. building lodging structures other than single-story fourplexes to reduce the aggregate footprint;
n. building lodging in the areas near the Yosemite Village maintenance area but closer to the residences of the Park and concession officials;
o. expanding the number of inexpensive overnight facilities in the Camp 4/Swan Slab reserve rather than putting in expensive permanent lodging, since those facilities are desperately needed and would be compatible with the type of use already existing in the climbers' reserve; and/or
p. reviewing and reversing the decision to concentrate visitor lodging in the Yosemite Lodge complex area rather than at Curry Village or in the Ahwahnee area, since these latter two areas were unaffected by the flood of 1997.
52. In failing to consider alternatives other than one proposed by the Lodge Plan the defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2)(E) and various CEQ regulations including, but not limited to, Pts. 1502.14, 1505.1(c), 1507.2 and 1508.9(b).
52. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate by reference the allegations in paragraphs 1 through 35.
53. The planning process commenced in 1980 by the defendants, and each of them, is carried out pursuant to the mandates of the National Park Service Organic Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. Section 20 of the Act requires that any development within the Park be carried out so that heavy visitation will not unduly impair Park values and so that such facilities will be limited to locations where the least damage to Park values will be caused. It is also the requirement of said Act that "... development shall be limited to those that are necessary and appropriate for public use and enjoyment of the National Park area in which they are located and that are consistent to the highest practical degree with the preservation and conservation of the areas."
54. Eighteen years of planning have gone into the proposals that are now incorporated into the Valley Implementation Plan. However, the plans complained of herein were established in a quick decision-making process in April of 1997 that was ostensibly in response to the flood. The April 1997 site proposals will result in the building of permanent lodging and dormitories in areas that are not consistent with the mandates and limitations imposed on the National Park Service by the National Park Service Organic Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1 et seq., and/or by the regulations and policies promulgated thereunder.
55. Plaintiffs reallege and incorporate by reference the allegations in paragraphs 1 through 35.
56. The Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701, et seq., entitles a party to seek judicial review of an agency action where a legal wrong is alleged and the party alleging the violation is adversely affected or aggrieved by the agency action. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. §706(1)(A), a reviewing court shall hold unlawful and set aside an agency action found to be arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not in accordance with the law. The action of the Park Service in approving and adopting the FONSI for the Lodge Plan was arbitrary, capricious and violative of the provisions of NEPA, as alleged in the First and Second Claims for Relief, supra, inasmuch as the record does not support the Park Service's finding that the project will have no significant impact on the environment. Specifically Defendants' decision was arbitrary and capricious in light of public comments submitted and other information in the record that indicates that the proposal may have significant adverse impacts greater than those set forth in the EA. The decision is also arbitrary and capricious in that it failed to consider numerous reasonable alternatives.
WHEREFORE, PLAINTIFFS PRAY FOR RELIEF AS FOLLOWS:
1. For declaratory relief that the defendants have approved the Lodge Plan without first preparing and approving an EIS, in violation of applicable laws, that the defendants failed to discuss reasonable alternatives to the proposed action in the EA, in violation of applicable law, that the defendants violated sections of the CEQ Regulations in determining whether the project had no significant impact, and that the defendants acted arbitrarily and capriciously and in violation of law in making a FONSI with respect to the proposal.
2. For declaratory relief that the defendants must: prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; give a hard look at the environmental consequences of its proposed dormitory and visitor lodging construction plans; consider all reasonable alternatives to its dormitory and visitor lodging construction plans; and that a new comment must be allowed following the finalization of any housing and/or lodging plan if that plan proposes dormitory and/or lodging construction in the Yosemite Lodge complex area that falls within the climbers' reserve.
3. For injunctive relief compelling the defendants to comply with the provisions of NEPA and the implementing regulations by preparing an EIS for the
project, or supplementing the EA to discuss reasonable alternatives to the proposed action and setting aside the FONSI made in connection with the proposal.
4. For preliminary and permanent injunctive relief prohibiting demolition, site preparation and/or construction in connection with the construction of employee housing at Camp 4 and/or the construction of visitor lodging in the Swan Slab area, and for relief prohibiting the commencement of any construction of employee housing at Camp 4 or employee housing or visitor lodging in the Swan Slab areas until such time as the requirements of NEPA, the CEQ Regulations, the National Park Services Organic Act and the APA have been complied with by the defendants.
5. For an order awarding Plaintiffs costs of suit, including reasonable attorneys' fees and expert witness fees.
6.?For such other and additional relief as the Court shall deem just and proper.
Dated: May _____, 1998????? ??DUANE, LYMAN, SELTZER & GORELICK
By: RICHARD P. DUANE
Attorney for Plaintiff
DUANE, LYMAN, SELTZER & GORELICK
2000 Center Street, Suite 300
Berkeley, California 94704