Yosemite Gateway Partners Quarterly Newsletter c/o Yosemite National Park PO Box 577 Yosemite, CA 95389 Yosemite Gateway Partners Quarterly Newsletter Don’t forget our next Quarterly Gateway Partners Meeting: Volume 3, Issue 3 | September 2008 Thursday, October 9, 10am-2pm in the Mountain Room! EVENTS Thurs-Fri, October 3-4 • Sierra Business Council / Sierra Nevada Conservancy conference (see pg. 2 for details) Mammoth Lakes, CA Thursday, October 9 • Yosemite Gateways Partners Meeting 10:00 am - 2:00 pm Yosemite Lodge – Mountain Room Sat-Sun, Oct 11-12: • Sierra Art Trails 1:00-5:00 pm Mariposa and Madera Counties www.sierraarttrails.org Weds, Oct 29 and Dec 3: • NPS Open House 1:00-5:00 pm Yosemite Valley Auditorium Check the Gateway Partners website for more community events. Send us your entries for the next newsletter. Yosemite Gateway Partners New Faces... Quarterly Newsletter Volume 3, Issue 3 | 09/2008 Following each Gateway Partners Jeffrey Hentz Named Executive Director of quarterly meeting this newsletter is compiled to highlight what was Yosemite/Mariposa County Tourism Bureau covered, as well as other submissions or items of interest from the Partners. If you have any suggestions, Jeffrey Hentz has been named to the new post Jeff has an extensive career in developing comments or submissions you would of Executive Director for the Yosemite/Maripo- marketing strategies & international /domestic like included in the next issue, please sa County Tourism Bureau (YMCTB). Hentz leisure, corporate, convention, incentive and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. will be responsible for the strategic direction of multiple vertical group market channels. He If you would like to volunteer to the Bureau and developing the county’s tour- joins the YMCTB from Dolly Parton’s Dixie work on the newsletter, that would ism marketing efforts as the destination looks Stampede where he recently served as market- be welcomed as well. Thanks to all to capitalize on increased global opportunities. ing & sales executive director. Hentz has also Partners who submitted information With over 20 years of travel industry manage- held senior marketing/sales positions with for this issue. ment experience in tourism marketing, sales, Ocean Club Cruises, Westgate Resorts, the re- advertising, operations and product / destina- sort and cruise division of Ocean Development tion brand development, Hentz will look to Group, Premier Cruise Lines (a.k.a. official establish the destination brand and develop cruise line of Disney World), United Airlines multiple sales distribution partnerships to Vacations & Apple Vacations Chicago. increase visitation to the county. Dan Cunning Takes the Helm at the Yosemite/ Sierra Visitors Bureau in Madera County By Dan Cunning, Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau Twenty years Years later and after many dollars spent on upon an article about a vacancy with the ago my wife, old and broken boats, Judy and I came to our Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau. With Judy, and senses and decided to finally build our dream nothing to lose and a longing to be home I made the home on property we had in North Fork full time, contact was quickly made to decision to amidst the beautiful Sierras. After two years explore the possibilities of a new position. leave our home and mountains of blasted granite, we were in Yosemite ready to relocate to an area we should have Today I’m home and working with the Lakes Park and never left in the first place. The only problem wonderful tourism products of Madera venture off to a was the fact that I was employed as the head County. I once again experience the amaz- different locale of a very successful Convention & Visitors ing beauty and serenity of the Sierras, an and a change Bureau with few problems and a solid future. experience I deeply missed for too long. in climate. We When our home was completed Judy made Madera County I’m home - and together initially headed south to Palm Springs where the move and I was to occasionally commute. we are going to showcase our area sharing we spent many years and eventually moved on This I did for over a year, creating a difficult all the magnificent wonders our county has to the blistering heat of Lake Havasu, Arizona, situation. to offer and the great opportunities for a the home of the London Bridge. One day while reading the daily news I came unique and very special visitor’s experience. Don’t forget our next Quarterly Gateway Partners Meeting: Thursday, October 9, 10am-2pm in the Mountain Room! Yosemite Gateway Partners Volume 3, Issue 3 | September 2008 GATEWAY NOTES ...and Goodbyes GOALS & PROJECTS Yosemite Superintendent Announces The Gateway Partners are at a cross- roads. Not only is it our five-year anniversary this October, but soon Mike and possibly Kevin, the park leaders who have been with this group since its Retirement After 6 years in Yosemite and 36 years with the National Park Service that time will come for inception, will be moving on. For these reasons, at our last quarterly meeting Some changes are about to take place in the me in January. I am very proud of all that we the group decided to devote one hour of park: Mike Tollefson, Yosemite superintendent, have accomplished together; Yosemite is a better the October meeting to a discussion that has announced his plans to retire effective Janu- place for the visitor and the resource is more helps flesh out our goals as an organiza- tion and identify the projects we want ary 2009. He will still be a part of our Yosemite protected. I am confident of your commitment to focus on next year. Some of the leg community though, as he has accepted a new to protecting Yosemite’s future and know that work for this was previously handled in position as the President of the Yosemite Fund. the next superintendent will receive the same a 2006 workshop, where many potential projetcs were identified. At the upcom- support that you have given to me. ing meeting we will revisit those proj- The National Park Service is firmly committed ects, and see what needs to be added to continuing to grow the partnership we have But I am not going far away. It is with great and which ones we want to focus on for all developed over the past few years. When the excitement that I move on to a new chapter of 2009. Come be a part of the discussion! hiring takes place for the next Superintendent my life. Beginning in January I will serve as it will be with a deliberate eye towards someone President of The Yosemite Fund. I am very ex- WEBSITE Have you checked out the Gateway who shares this philosophy of collaboration. cited to continue the connection with Yosemite. Partners website lately, designed to My overarching goal will be to build on The help foster communication and dialogue From Mike: Yosemite Fund’s successes of the last 20 years. among the Partners? You can find it at “It has been a pleasure and a highlight of my I feel uniquely positioned to continue to sup- YosemiteGateways.sharepointsite.net life to be superintendent of Yosemite National port Yosemite’s special projects and initiatives If you haven’t signed up yet, email Park and work with all the dedicated employees through private funding and resources. I am Miguel Maldonado at email@example.com for a login and and partners that pull together to make Yosem- excited to help those that care about Yosemite password. ite the unique and special place that so many feel good about contributing to Yosemite’s love. At some point it is time to move on. future.” 2008 SIERRA SOLUTIONS Tools for Sustainable Communities, Economies and the Environment October 3-4, 2008 | Mammoth Lakes, CA Badger Pass ski-and-ride packages Be inspired to help form the future. By Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce Shuttle service will entice those individuals that The Sierra Nevada Conservancy and would like to visit Yosemite in the winter, but the Sierra Business Council invite your This winter the Oakhurst Area Chamber of are not comfortable driving mountain roads in participation at this year’s conference in Commerce, the Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau, winter conditions. The benefit to our region is Mammoth Lakes, CA. Delaware North Corp. and Yosemite National obvious – more visitors! Sierra Solutions will highlight solution- Park, along with Yosemite Sightseeing Tours, based tools, processes and opportunities Crossroad Tours, and the hotels and B & B’s Tickets for the ski packages (with or without for ensuring sustainable and vibrant in Eastern Madera County, will all join forces shuttle services) will be available to purchase Sierra communities, landscapes and lo- to promote skiing at Badger Pass in Yosemite. on the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce cal economies. The promotion will include “Park and Ride” ski website. Television commercials will run on a Don’t miss this fabulous opportunity to packages as well as “Stay and Play” packages that number of channels in the Central Valley in network with community and business include lodging. January and February to promote the program. leaders working to improve the environ- mental, economic and social well-being of the Sierra Nevada Region. An aggressive marketing campaign is being This program would not have been possible launched that focuses on the Central Valley to without the collaboration between the Chamber, For more information, visit attract new skiers to Badger Pass. Delaware the Visitors Bureau, the Park Service, and DNC. www.sierranevada.ca.gov/ We are very excited to be working as a team for North has put together several great packages conference.html the betterment of all who rely on tourism and for Badger pass skiing. They have everything for Did you know... that the Yosemite the beginner (including equipment rentals and the draw of Yosemite National Park. Gateway Partners first began at this very lessons), to packages for families, and the more conference in Mammoth in October 2003 Stay tuned as we roll out more details of the advanced skier. program .... Oakhurst Downtown PARk UPDATES Redevelopment ANNOUNCING PUBLIC SCOPING ON They are also working on an idea for the empty THE TENAYA LAkE AREA PLAN By Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce Tenaya is the largest lake in Yosemite’s lot at the intersection of Highways 41 and 49 front-country, and because of its Civic Circle project will lead to a more and if they are successful in their endeavors, remarkable scenic qualities and its visitor-friendly, walkable, and visually the same developers will help with that as well. proximity to Tioga Road, it is one of the most popular destinations for pleasing town center More details will be forthcoming as they con- summer visitors in Yosemite. Problems tinue to work with the property owners. associated with visitor use, visitor Oakhurst is currently working on plans to The team members and developers are also safety, and resource impacts have working on the south parcel of the two empty been occurring for decades. develop a new town center on the east side of Highway 41, in an area being referred to as Solutions for the Tenaya Lake plan Civic Circle. The project looks at making this may include ecological restoration, a key area of downtown for locals and visitors picnic area improvements, trailhead and parking improvements, comfort alike. It will look at the Fresno River as a focal stations, and trails. In addition, an point instead of a back wall, and will include a environmental assessment will be pedestrian-friendly area with shops, museums, completed as part of this plan. a new visitor center, and transit options. Public scoping will remain open for 45 days, from September 4 to October 18, “Things are really starting to move,” says Kathy 2008, during which, comments with Artist rendering of the new Oakhurst downtown issues, ideas, and suggestions for the McCorry, Executive Director of the Oakhurst Tenaya Lake Area Plan may be submit- Area Chamber of Commerce. “There is a new lots at the Vons Center, where Central Valley ted. The public will have a second player that joined the team. A local developer Community Bank will have their new bank formal comment period when the draft has partnered with Mr. Pashayan [a major building. This parcel will be developed first, environmental assessment is ready for review. More information is available landowner in the area] to develop the property since the major tenants (like Central Valley on the park’s website at: where the Midway used to be. We have many Community Bank) are already lined up. http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/ areas of agreement in our vision for the future tenaya.htm. of Oakhurst and Highway 41.” It is the goal of the Chamber and the Econom- BE HAPY! ic Development Committee to work with the Come join the Habitat Protectors of The Eastern Madera County Foundation and property owners of these empty lots, to develop Yosemite (HaPY) program. Programs and/or beautify them by the year 2012, when run on Fridays from May 2 - October the County have applied for two grants that 31. Work with park staff to remove will allow them to research the feasibility of the Oakhurst turns 100 years old. It is an ambi- invasive plants and learn basic project. The grants will provide them with the tious goal, but they are dedicated to the cause. ecological principles. All volunteers are opportunity to reach out to the community for If you have any questions or would like more required to wear pants and closed-toe shoes. Long sleeves, sunscreen, water, their thoughts and ideas. information, contact the Oakhurst Area Cham- and snacks are recommended. Meet in ber office at 559-683-7766. front of Yosemite Valley Visitor Center at 9am. Bring a lunch and join us! WANT TO CLIMB HALF DOME THIS Ridership Up SEASON? Cables come down October 15th, so the last day to hike will be the 14th. By Dick Whittington, YARTS transit manager and a 25% increase in August. July ended up being the highest monthly rider count in the I had been saying that I was ready for some history of the service. The Telegraph Fire did good news for a change and we got it in the some harm to the August numbers, but the 2007-2008 fiscal year. Despite the Ferguson results were still excellent. Rockslide detour, despite having to use the smaller buses, despite the construction in the The rest of the good news, of course, is that the park, which made it impossible for us to hold detour now carries our full-sized buses and the to our schedule, WE SET A RECORD for construction at the narrows is no longer creat- ridership during the fiscal year and beat the ing 30-minute delays. previous year by over 20%. We are anxiously waiting for the September Since then, the new fiscal year started off with ridership numbers to confirm the trend started a bang. We recorded a 35% increase in July in the first two months of the year.