It’s difficult to imagine how one could improve upon the natural splendor of Glacier Point but it has been done. The National Park Service today officially dedicated a $3.2 million facelift of this world famous bird’s eye vista of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, waterfalls and the High Sierra.
The clean up included the demolition of a snack shop, concession store and restrooms all built as temporary structures almost 30 years ago when the McCauley’s Mountain House and the Glacier Point Hotel burned to the ground at this same location.
What can visitors to Glacier Point now expect to see? Let’s outline it for you:
- reconstruction of the concession shop away from the edge of the overlook
- relocation & upgrading of restrooms and the waste water system
- a new viewing platform
- planting of native vegetation on ground left barren by visitors
- a new 150 seat outdoor amphitheater made of granite
- reconstruction of paths with wooden railings to protect surroundings
- smorgasbord restaurant tucked away from vista area
- new gift shop featuring a better selection of merchandise
- education exhibits and signs
On hand for today’s dedication: National Park Service Director Robert Stanton, Yosemite Superintendent Stan Albright and a host of other dignitaries including Yosemite Concession Services President Gary Fraker and Yosemite Fund Chairman Sam Livermore.
With the Park Service’s dwindling budget in recent years, these most recent improvements were funded by new sources…specifically by the Yosemite Concession Services’ franchise and by the Yosemite Fund, a San Francisco-based nonprofit foundation.
The $3.2 million Glacier Point facelift is the largest privately funded restoration project in Yosemite history. The $2.6 million from Yosemite Concession Services came via a 4.5% mandated contribution of gross receipts with it’s N.P.S. contract. The remaining $600,000 came from the Yosemite Fund which has contributed millions to park restoration in the last decade. Bottomline, this latest Glacier Point improvement cost taxpayers nothing. Editor’s note: Glacier Point has always been what I’ve considered the most beautiful vista I’ve ever seen. I’m proud to say, thanks to this most recent facelift, this awesome experience has been made even better.
One reminder: In the winter, the road is plowed only as far as the Badger Pass ski area. At that time, Glacier Point can be reached via skis or snowshoes only. The Glacier Point Road, offering auto access, is generally open from late spring through late fall.