The rundown trails leading to Yosemite National Park's spectacular Yosemite Fall will get a long-overdue $12.5-million face-lift during the next two years, including repaved paths, restored plants and the first-ever wheelchair access to the world-famous tumbling water, officials announced Monday.
The Yosemite Fall project is considered highly important, said park officials and Yosemite Fund administrators, because of its world-renown and beauty. The waterfall is one of the tallest in the world, and at nearly a half-mile high, the highest in North America.
The project involves reviving a 56-acre area at the lower waterfall by restoring forest habitat, shoring up streambeds and repaving trails, which are each about a half-mile long. The trail to the east will be made flatter and wider so disabled visitors have easier access to the viewing area.
The project also calls for removing eyesores such as garbage bins and an old restroom. A parking lot that hosts fume-belching tour buses and cars will be converted to a meadow and picnic area. Tourists will be encouraged to use new shuttle buses equipped with bike racks.
It's the first major leg of a $441 million plan to revive Yosemite National Park by reducing human impact along the breathtaking 7-mile long valley nestled in the Sierra Nevada. The project is set to begin late next month, officials announced Monday.